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.

29 comments

  1. [7]
    autumn
    Link
    I started Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites, and I’m head over heels for it. The style reminds me of Hitchhiker’s Guide in the best way. I also have a copy of Brain Hacks by Lara Honos-Webb on the...

    I started Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites, and I’m head over heels for it. The style reminds me of Hitchhiker’s Guide in the best way. I also have a copy of Brain Hacks by Lara Honos-Webb on the way. Both of these are part of a witchy science book club I joined.

    If anybody is on Oku (GoodReads alternative), I’d love to connect with more readers there.

    https://oku.club/user/autumn

    11 votes
    1. TheRtRevKaiser
      Link Parent
      I wish I could go back and read Pratchett for the first time again. There are just so many good books that he wrote, and all of the different series have different wonderful things going for them.

      I wish I could go back and read Pratchett for the first time again. There are just so many good books that he wrote, and all of the different series have different wonderful things going for them.

      5 votes
    2. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      The discworld witch series is one of my favorites! My only complaint is that we don't get nearly enough time with Magrat before she's replaced with Agnes, but it's still an easy 9/10.

      The discworld witch series is one of my favorites! My only complaint is that we don't get nearly enough time with Magrat before she's replaced with Agnes, but it's still an easy 9/10.

      3 votes
    3. [3]
      tomf
      Link Parent
      how has the performance of this site been for you? I just signed up and its dying on me. It looks pretty good, though.

      how has the performance of this site been for you? I just signed up and its dying on me.

      It looks pretty good, though.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        autumn
        Link Parent
        I don't use it a ton, so I couldn't say. It's been working okay for me as far as I can tell.

        I don't use it a ton, so I couldn't say. It's been working okay for me as far as I can tell.

        2 votes
        1. tomf
          Link Parent
          ok cool. it looks like they’ve had some issues over the last few days. i was certain i broke it :)

          ok cool. it looks like they’ve had some issues over the last few days. i was certain i broke it :)

          2 votes
  2. [7]
    wervenyt
    Link
    I've recently finished reading Thomas Pynchon's V. and Frank Herbert's Dune, and am currently working through William Gaddis' The Recognitions. V. was hilarious at times, and fairly traumatic at...

    I've recently finished reading Thomas Pynchon's V. and Frank Herbert's Dune, and am currently working through William Gaddis' The Recognitions.


    V. was hilarious at times, and fairly traumatic at others. This is one of those books which was a little too dense to feel as though my casual methods of reading (you know, sans encyclopedia and detailed notetaking) were able to glean even the majority of the text, let alone subtext. Regardless, it was a fun read, I think I'll come back to it soon enough.


    Dune was a nice reprieve. For some reason, I went into it with the attitude that it was going to be a typical hero's journey plot with a lot of worldbuilding. It really isn't that. The worldbuilding is vast, and it's conveyed with just the right balance of exposition and mystery. Having read, outside of Pratchett, primarily Real Literary Works for the past year, it was great to sit down with a page-turner that didn't try to tackle The Human Condition or anything else so silly.

    minor Dune spoilers After spending the first part of the book immersed in a melange eh? of wonder at this new universe and political intrigue, and the second unveiling the mysteries of Arrakis and watching all the dominoes set up, the conclusion felt overly simple. Everything got wrapped up nice and neatly, but it all just...happened. It didn't feel like the reader was able to witness every strike of the tiles.

    The Recognitions is really a tough read. The prose ranges from pseudo-classical to purply to slang, and Gaddis wastes no time alerting the reader to context shifts, swinging from dialogue into illustration into the thoughts of characters without more than a period to indicate a change in subject. Funnily, a huge number of complaints about this book say that the long passages of conversation without enough exposition to even alert the reader to the identity of the speaker are torturous, but Gaddis seems to have done an excellent job of writing dialogue with distinct voice. I'm actually getting more lost in the rest of the book!

    I probably made a mistake starting The Recognitions so soon after V.. Supposedly, it had some direct influence on Pynchon writing V., and, uh, that's pretty apparent. They feel very different, but thematically, there is a huge amount of overlap, and a few of the character dynamics have some similarities. That's not a knock on V., it's not even close to a rip-off, but with the meandering prose of Recognitions, it adds a lot to the disorientation. It's nowhere near as silly as V., but there are some very funny metatextual elements.

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      CALICO
      Link Parent
      Re: Dune So, it seems Frank Herbert felt similarly. The next book—Dune Messiah—makes a time-jump but deals with the repercussions of Paul usurping the Emperor and embracing the Fremen messianic...
      Re: Dune

      the conclusion felt overly simple

      So, it seems Frank Herbert felt similarly. The next book—Dune Messiah—makes a time-jump but deals with the repercussions of Paul usurping the Emperor and embracing the Fremen messianic figure. It's very good. It also leans towards the psychic element that Herbert was fascinated by, and introduces some very important concepts that get explored deeper in the further novels.

      Would recommend.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        wervenyt
        Link Parent
        Glad to hear it's a good book. I've heard less than stellar things about the sequels, and so wasn't sure whether or not to invest the time into reading them. I think I'll do so now.

        Glad to hear it's a good book. I've heard less than stellar things about the sequels, and so wasn't sure whether or not to invest the time into reading them. I think I'll do so now.

        2 votes
        1. CALICO
          Link Parent
          Fans differ on their thoughts. Personally I love all of the ones that Frank wrote, and didn't care as much for the ending his son wrote. Just had a different feel, y'know? But others love the...

          Fans differ on their thoughts. Personally I love all of the ones that Frank wrote, and didn't care as much for the ending his son wrote. Just had a different feel, y'know? But others love the ending; it's individual. But I also thought the fourth book was the peak, and thematically it's the end of an arc, so. But ALSO the last book Frank wrote is really good, I just can't abide cliffhangers!

          But I'm just one internet voice among many.

          2 votes
    2. [2]
      daturkel
      Link Parent
      Wow you picked three long, dense books to read in a row. I try to at least switch between easy and difficult reads. Were you aware that the edition of V available in the US is technically...

      Wow you picked three long, dense books to read in a row. I try to at least switch between easy and difficult reads.

      Were you aware that the edition of V available in the US is technically unauthorized/uncorrected?

      2 votes
      1. wervenyt
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Frankly, Dune was very much an easy read in comparison to the others, so it worked well as a buffer. I saw that, and decided that I'll hunt down the "authorised" edition upon a reread. There was...

        Frankly, Dune was very much an easy read in comparison to the others, so it worked well as a buffer.

        I saw that, and decided that I'll hunt down the "authorised" edition upon a reread. There was enough stuff that just flew right past me for worrying about varying editions to not be worth it.

        3 votes
    3. krg
      Link Parent
      The Recognitions is fuckin' great! I agree that Gaddis did a pretty damn good job of giving every character a unique enough voice that following along was never exceedingly difficult... though, I...

      The Recognitions is fuckin' great! I agree that Gaddis did a pretty damn good job of giving every character a unique enough voice that following along was never exceedingly difficult... though, I do have to admit to getting lost on occasion when my focus lapsed.

      2 votes
  3. [6]
    pycrust
    Link
    I'm about halfway through Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. It's incredible. Language I haven't seen before. Not just the wording, but the phrasing and punctuation as well. It's vast, violent,...

    I'm about halfway through Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. It's incredible. Language I haven't seen before. Not just the wording, but the phrasing and punctuation as well. It's vast, violent, and completely engrossing. Highly recommend.

    6 votes
    1. [5]
      tomf
      Link Parent
      Cormac McCarthy is a remarkable author across the board, but Blood Meridian really stands out. I read it a few months ago and the second I was done, I considered starting over again. I think I'll...

      Cormac McCarthy is a remarkable author across the board, but Blood Meridian really stands out. I read it a few months ago and the second I was done, I considered starting over again. I think I'll do it again early next year.

      There have been attempts to make a film, but it doesn't seem like anybody can crack it. I think a long-form series would suit it best, a la Too Old to Die Young where it used inconsistent episode runtimes.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        pycrust
        Link Parent
        Love the idea of a long form series. The book is quite episodic as well as it starts from the POV of the kid, and gradually moves away from it. I think that'd be a good way to tell the story.

        Love the idea of a long form series. The book is quite episodic as well as it starts from the POV of the kid, and gradually moves away from it. I think that'd be a good way to tell the story.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          tomf
          Link Parent
          In my dream-world the Coen brothers take it on. Them and Fincher seem to be the only ones who can work with the author and pretty much shoot the novel as is, within reason. The Coen's did an...

          In my dream-world the Coen brothers take it on. Them and Fincher seem to be the only ones who can work with the author and pretty much shoot the novel as is, within reason. The Coen's did an excellent job with No Country, so that's my pick :)

          Yeah, going with the POV of the kid would be perfect. I'd open with the first bit of the epilogue. He looks around at his work and as the camera pans right a faded revival tent comes into focus... and we get going.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            pycrust
            Link Parent
            Love that!

            Love that!

            2 votes
            1. tomf
              Link Parent
              let’s do it! all we need is about $100m — how hard could that be? :)

              let’s do it! all we need is about $100m — how hard could that be? :)

              2 votes
  4. [2]
    skybrian
    (edited )
    Link
    After seeing a recommendation in an online forum, I ended up reading quite a bit of Harry Potter fan fiction. Specifically, The Arithmancer, its sequel, Lady Archimedes, and the epilogue, Annals...

    After seeing a recommendation in an online forum, I ended up reading quite a bit of Harry Potter fan fiction. Specifically, The Arithmancer, its sequel, Lady Archimedes, and the epilogue, Annals of Arithmancy.

    In this story the main character is Hermione, who starts out as a math prodigy. By applying math and science to magic to learn how to make new spells (known as arithmancy in the story), she gradually becomes a top magical researcher as well as a sort of superhero.

    I've only read the first Harry Potter book and I've seen none of the movies, but it seems that this story follows the yearly structure of the original books (similar things happen each year). However, the details are different - for example, different people die. The author has a lot of fun describing how Hermione comes up with new spells. Plot holes in the original books are plugged in interesting ways. (The author has clearly read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and plugged some plot holes brought up there too.)

    By the second book, it's become more of a war story. I think people who like action will appreciate the battles, which are quite suspenseful and well done for that sort of thing. However, I found it quite grim; the author doesn't shy away from the horrors of war and what it does to the participants.

    Another theme that I found more interesting was Hermione's investigations into the limits of magic. She becomes increasingly concerned about the dangers of possibly world-ending inventions; this is sort of reflecting back on the experiences of physicists with the invention of nuclear weapons, as well as other weapon designers. The proliferation of newly invented spells during the war, many invented by Hermione, becomes increasingly concerning.

    The epilogue is about the post-war era and how people get on with their lives. New crises come up that require cooperation with muggles. I thought it ended just when the story was getting really interesting, which I suppose is a sign of a good ending.

    (This series is longer than the original novels, so it's impressive that the author was able to finish it.)

    5 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      A second series I read was Potter Who and the Wossname's Thingummy. I'm not sure how much of this is the character versus the author, but it's erudite (to the extent that it gets in the way of the...

      A second series I read was Potter Who and the Wossname's Thingummy. I'm not sure how much of this is the character versus the author, but it's erudite (to the extent that it gets in the way of the story), obscure, loosely plotted, and unfinished. It has its moments. In some ways it reminds me of Douglas Adams.

      3 votes
  5. ras
    Link
    I'm currently reading Tower of Secrets by Victor Sheymov and Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. I'm not far enough into either of them to make a judgement on how they are just yet. I just...

    I'm currently reading Tower of Secrets by Victor Sheymov and Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. I'm not far enough into either of them to make a judgement on how they are just yet.

    I just finished Needful Things by Stephen King. I enjoyed it but felt like it was a couple hundred pages too long. I felt like I knew where the story was going and how it would end about 3/4 of the way through the book. Enjoyed it and have been enjoying my read through King's bibliography, however, I did start Gerald's Game right after I finished NT and immediately shelved it. I was not into it AT ALL and probably won't actually read it.

    4 votes
  6. alf
    (edited )
    Link
    Logical Chess, Move by Move. A classic, great for beginners. The author goes through 32 games commenting every relevant move. It assumes nothing, and the games were not selected for being highly...

    Logical Chess, Move by Move. A classic, great for beginners. The author goes through 32 games commenting every relevant move. It assumes nothing, and the games were not selected for being highly unusual or brilliant. Much to the contrary, they demonstrate the simple, powerful ideas good chess is built on. And the commentary is delightful.

    3 votes
  7. soks_n_sandals
    Link
    I've been reading memoirs lately. I just finished Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam Jr., and am about halfway through Son of the Rough South by Karl Fleming. Karl Fleming was a civil rights reporter and...

    I've been reading memoirs lately. I just finished Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam Jr., and am about halfway through Son of the Rough South by Karl Fleming. Karl Fleming was a civil rights reporter and it's been a fascinating view into the South during the WWII and civil rights era. I find the writing to be quite enjoyable, as one may expect from a veteran journalist.

    2 votes
  8. Contentus
    Link
    I'm reading Philipp K Janert's - Data Analysis with Open Source Tools: A Hands-On Guide for Programmers and Data Scientists. It's part of the curriculum for the The Open-Source Data Science...

    I'm reading Philipp K Janert's - Data Analysis with Open Source Tools: A Hands-On Guide for Programmers and Data Scientists. It's part of the curriculum for the The Open-Source Data Science Masters (https://github.com/datasciencemasters/go).

    I found the book boring to begin with but now I'm trying to be more disciplined in my reading. I uninstalled some distractions on my phone so I either read this book or some articles on Data Science or Machine Learning. The book starts looking at a bunch of visualization techniques which I find boring but now it's starting to touch on statistics, simulations, modeling, etc. That's the stuff I really like.

    2 votes
  9. joplin
    Link
    I mentioned in another thread that I've been trying to learn more about how FM Synthesis works for generating sounds. After downloading the DX7 emulator dexed and running through some web...

    I mentioned in another thread that I've been trying to learn more about how FM Synthesis works for generating sounds. After downloading the DX7 emulator dexed and running through some web tutorials, a coworker recommended reading The Complete DX7 which is available on archive.org. You can even download a PDF of it! (That's great because on Amazon it's currently listed at about $150.00 for a used copy!)

    2 votes
  10. krg
    Link
    Finally finished Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl, mostly because I took a long layoff after making progress at a good pace. Anyhow, I don't have enough good words for...

    Finally finished Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl, mostly because I took a long layoff after making progress at a good pace. Anyhow, I don't have enough good words for the amount of good words in that novel. Suffice it to say, it is a beautiful piece.

    I've since moved on from that to something a little more crude: Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels. The writing is entertaining and adept... and I enjoy the epigraphs.. but... I feel like I'd enjoy it more as a work of fiction (though, considering the writer... maybe much of it is). In other words, so far it feels like a side-story in a Pynchon novel (but not as well rendered).

    2 votes
  11. cmccabe
    Link
    My Ántonia by Willa Cather

    My Ántonia by Willa Cather

    1 vote