What are you Reading Now?


Ok so I finished Tolkien's Letters a while back. It was difficult getting to the end of his life, especially the letters from after Edith died. And his death came so suddenly, right after he wrote a very normal letter to his daughter about the vacation he was on. But wow, did I learn a lot from reading his own thoughts in his own words. What a remarkable man.

After that I read Lord of Light which was amazing. On one hand I wish I had read it long ago but on the other hand would I have been ready to truly appreciate it? Zelazny's writing is just so smooth and evocative. I really need to read more of it and it looks like his works are FINALLY being turned into ebooks so it'll be easier to.

I started a new manga called Takane and Hana and binged right through all 7 volumes currently in English. It's an absolutely hilarious romantic comedy. One of the few that has made me literally burst out loud into laughter many times. The banter between the main couple is just utterly delightful.

Then I picked up Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters on sale. I had never read anything by this author before (though I understand she's quite beloved) and I don't read a lot of normal historical fiction but I have a deep love of Egyptian archeology so I couldn't resist. It was quite good. I liked the female main character quite a lot. I'll have to pick up more in this series eventually.


toujours gai, archie
Currently reading another O'Brian novel (vol. 11). His prose is a consistent pleasure, though I rather fear the second half of the book is going to teach me far more about English law courts in the Napoleonic era than I ever would care to know. :) But I do enjoy the characters and the writing.

It is such a relief after trying once again to read N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season. Never mind the present tense and even the occasional use of the second person, both utterly pointless as far as I can see. It's the storytelling itself that puts me off. Arbitrary references to things that are both inconsequential and unexplained. Actions that have no discernible motivation, or else have them pasted on like a travel stickers on luggage. Social structures that seem to exist solely to serve the plot. This is my third run at it and I've got no further than 16%. I do not understand why so many people are so enthusiastic. Switching over to O'Brian was like walking out of a 19thc factory floor into bright sunlight and fresh air. I don't think I'll go back in there.

Also dabbling along with P.C. Hodgell's God Stalker Chronicles. It's a bit wooden, but still a step up from Jemisin, and is a nice break from O'Brian now and again.


Just finished Listening to my first Audio Book .... I've tried a few in the past and just couldn't do it. I definitely prefer print/ebook ... still convenient to listen while walking (which I've been doing a lot of lately about 10 miles/day and often read my kindle books)

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Totally trippy magical realism generational family saga. Ending was about as I expected....wonderful book from the late 60's :)


It's fun to read these posts and see what others are reading. Today I am lamenting the closure of Borders Books, back when I had a bookstore one block from my apartment. The media was saying Barnes & Noble was going to go under, too, but they've held on pretty well.

I am reading Dan Brown's Digital Fortress, which is more techno-thriller than fantasy but which moves at a breakneck pace that I really like. I've read Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, by the same author, and enjoy his storytelling style. Much of it is implausible, but that is a minor consideration in fiction. I'm going to finish it in a few days, and then I'm turning to Writers of the Future #35, which is a short story anthology. I read the latest volume every year, because there are always at least a few stories I like. I've been reading WotF for ten years, and I'm looking forward to this one, as well.


Just saw that the 3 volume The Dark Crystal Creation Myths comics were on kindle unlimited so I gobbled those up. Very interesting. I'd almost forgotten how cool the world of Thra was. Many years ago I read the official novelization of the movie and really enjoyed the extra detail in it. I think I'm going to have to find it again and probably all the other Dark Crystal stuff out there in anticipation of the new series coming out this summer!
I tend to have way too many books going at once but right now these three are definite finishers in the coming week or so:

Song of the Current
The Witches of New York
The Night Tiger


By happenstance I came over a rather obscure work, "The Notes of a Cavalryman" (my own translation) by Nikolay Gumilyov about his service in the Imperial Russian Army in the First World War. Its a bit of a detective work because the text was both censured by Soviet authorities when it was released and also as the author was an unapologetic conservative monarchist I suspect he's kind of whitewash the war and the Russian army's part in it. Because eveyone's always cheerful and positive and while the Germans are advancing into Russia, you get a feeliing the Russians are essentially running circles around their enemies all the time. No fear, panic, feeling of loss, hate or rage. Everyone's just jolly, brave and upstanding soldiers. I would suppose there's a reason as to why there's happy tales of brave reconnaissance of the Russian cavalry into East Prussia in 1914, but then the text kind of jumps ahead with no mention of the Battle of Tannenberg and the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes in 1914.

And its kind of a theme. At every mentioned encounter the Russians gets the better of the Germans or the Austrians, but somehow its the brave and jolly good Russian soldiers who are retreating despite constant success. I remember a comment by a military historian writer that the greater the focus is on individual heroics by a side, the worse the war is going for them. And there are alot of individual Russian heroics in this one.
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FINALLY finished Lamekis or The Extraordinary Adventures of an Egyptian in the Inner Earth, with the Discovery of the Island of the Sylphides by Charles de Fieux de Mouhy. This monster, published in parts from 1735-1737 is easily the most insane fantasy story I've ever read. It follows in the tradition of Lucian's A True History but is more dedicated to crafting a detailed world of nonsense. The book weaves multiple odd narratives and framing stories together in a setting including ancient Egypt, a couple of imaginary North African countries, a vast subterranean country featuring an empire of violent worm people, and a realm in the sky peopled by sylphs. Throughout de Mouhy interjects footnotes detailing absurd rituals and customs of these various places and makes references to imaginary writings about the setting by the likes of Plato, Strabo, Aristotle and many more as if this book was really a scholarly historical work being translated by the author. It really is something. Ambitious. Wildly imaginative. Pure fantasy with no limits. But honestly I'm glad I'm finished.


It seems I can't edit my previous post, but I'd like to add a comment.

In despite of my earlier folly I have finally understood that the text itself was published in Russia between 1915-1916 and hence it wasn't the early Soviet authorities who censured the text but Tsarist ones, It also explains why the Russian soldiers are seemingly always successful and in a good mood. I suppose that unless you fancy a relocation to Siberia you had to write what the censors considered acceptable.
In the middle of reading the Drizzt Do'Urden series and I can't read them fast enough. Also impatiently waiting for Stormlight 5 to come out, I love the series so far!


My local library's general fiction section is like 6 rows of shelves thats mostly christian romance novels. It's bad. Very, very bad. No fantasy novel that is even a little bit off the beaten path, except some weird arthurian stuff i have no interest in. The young adult section is, admittedly, rather robust, and i find myself bringing home and rejecting YA books over and over. Almost nothing on my TBR is even there if it's not YA. I don't have the money to buy things just so I can see if I like them, or buy them at all, and i'm sure as hell not buying just the second book in a series.
Does your library belong to a system? Because if so you can usually request books from other libraries in the system that your local branch doesn't have. My local library growing up had 2 rooms and a budget comparable to a 1-room schoolhouse, but I was able to get a ton of books through their interlibrary loan system. (Seriously, the YA section was 2 shelves. This was also a little before the YA fiction boom so everything was either outdated or crap or both.) I would request at least 4 or 5 new books a week and they'd usually ship in to my library branch within a day or two of placing a hold on them. Looking back, the website they used was prehistoric....

In modern times, you can also borrow ebooks from your library system (if they're that up on the times). I use the Libby app developed by Overdrive, mostly because I like the reading mechanics better than Hoopla and the original Overdrive app. Pretty sure you can also request digital copies of movies/tv shows on Hoopla.


toujours gai, archie
Reading Malice by John Gwynne. I'm not enjoying it much, as it seems to be rather plodding and predictable, but lots of people speaking highly. Plus, he's published and I ain't, so the ought to pay attention.


So right now I am reading...

J.R.R. Tolkien: a biography by Humphrey Carpenter
Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley by Lord Dunsany
Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant


I'm reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman and really enjoying which surprises me as I tried reading Neverwhere several times and just couldn't get into it.


I'd like to keep reading both "The Cossacks" by Leo Tolstoy as well as "Village Life in Late Tsarist Russia" but my glasses are broken and it seems like it will be two weeks or more before I can get them fixed. :(


Article Team
Recently I've read:
Trust A Few, by E.M. Swift-Hook (sci-fi)
The Atrocities, by Jeremy C. Shipp (gothic horror)
Tallis Steelyard. Deep Water and other stories, by Jim Webster (fantasy short story collection)
Binti and Home, by Nnedi Okorafor (science fantasy)
The Caged Kingdom, by M.A. Price (fantasy)

Next up, I'll go for the next book in the Binti series, and then I'll probably pick up another Tallis Steelyard collection.
Most notably, it feels like I've found the joy of reading again. For years now, it's been something I've done more out of a sense of obligation, than because I've really enjoyed it. I've read some good books in that time, but the urge to drop everything else just to read hasn't been there, and I can't remember when last I felt it this strongly.


Picked up Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman for sale on kindle. This is one that's been on my "want to read" list for a while. I had no idea it was actually a tv series first. So far so good, but I have a feeling I'm ultimately going to be disappointed by the level of world building. But that's just a personal taste issue. For me, more world building is (almost) always better.