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What are you Reading Now?

Tom

Istar
Currently reading:

Authority by Jeff VanderMeer (book 2 of the Southern Reach trilogy)
The Farthest Shore by Ursula K Le Guin (book 3 of Earthsea)
POP: How Graphic Design Shapes Popular Culture by Steven Heller

I started the summer off with the goal of rereading the Earthsea books, as well as reading Dune for the first time. I feel like I can't really call myself an SFF writer till I do. I'm planning to reread Good Omens (for like the thousandth time) as well.

I also picked up the Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, after watching the Alex Garland movie based on it. It could work as as a standalone, but I've also decided to read the other two books in the trilogy. The style is sparse and atmospheric, picking its words carefully, which I love--I have to say, I also really appreciate VanderMeer's refusal to be transparent. It seems in recent years there's been a trend toward authors feeling as if they must explain, whether explicitly or implicitly, the inner workings of their world in order to hold our interest. Nothing gets explained in Annihilation. At most the main character/narrator speculates, but nothing she theorizes about her surroundings is ever proven. It's refreshing and intriguing.
 

Mythopoet

Auror
Finished Neverwhere. Yep, world building was just a bit too shallow for me. It was a good book, but for me not a great one.

Also read The Rose Princess, book 9 in the Vampire Hunter D series. Very interesting. Explored a different perspective of the Nobility (vampires). I love how each book slowly reveals more and more about the world. It's really an amazing setting.
 

CupofJoe

Myth Weaver
Finished Neverwhere. Yep, world building was just a bit too shallow for me. It was a good book, but for me not a great one.
Snap! :)
But I liked the sparse world-building. I thought it showed Richard Mayhew's incomplete understanding of what was happening to him. My copy was illustrated so maybe that helped fill in some of the gaps. I thought it very different, from the TV series and usually the better for it. I have a special love for the TV show as it was one of the last old-style BBC Doctor Who budget serials [no money, all smoke and mirrors].
 

Mythopoet

Auror
Snap! :)
But I liked the sparse world-building. I thought it showed Richard Mayhew's incomplete understanding of what was happening to him. My copy was illustrated so maybe that helped fill in some of the gaps. I thought it very different, from the TV series and usually the better for it. I have a special love for the TV show as it was one of the last old-style BBC Doctor Who budget serials [no money, all smoke and mirrors].

Oh I certainly wouldn't claim that the sparse world building was a bad thing. Obviously it was a conscious decision made to complement the storytelling style and characters. Just that because of my personal taste it made the reading experience less rich and enjoyable for me.
 

pmmg

Vala
I just finished The Widows Second Chance by our own Chessie. Very well done.

I started Win Bigly by Scott Adams. Not a fiction one that, but I find the presentation engaging anyway.
 

Insolent Lad

Maester
I'm currently on 'Alas Babylon' which I hadn't read since I was a teen. It comes off as a bit of a long-winded boy scout manual. But as I've gone along I realized it was an influence on some of my very earliest world building, which was of the post-apocalyptic sort.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
Reading Warriors: Into the Wild to my nine-year-old grandson. He loves it, but I'm astonished by how many basic guidelines the writing violates, including a perfect landslide of dialog tags. If ever a book was written adverbially, this is one. The premise is decent and there are a few nice touches, but for the most part it's a huge step down from Treasure Island.

Current book for myself is Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay. It's ok, but it's another work with so many different points of view that it's hard to get deeply invested in any of the characters so far. I just catch a glimpse of someone whose story looks interesting and I'm whisked off to someone else. l've been trying to figure out why it's distracting in several novels I can name, yet works well in something like War and Peace. No conclusions yet.
 

Jez

Dreamer
Last night I started Semiosis: A Novel of First Contact - Sue Burke.
It hooked me in pretty quickly.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
I'm currently on 'Alas Babylon' which I hadn't read since I was a teen. It comes off as a bit of a long-winded boy scout manual. But as I've gone along I realized it was an influence on some of my very earliest world building, which was of the post-apocalyptic sort.

A disheartening number of books-I-loved-in-my-youth haven't stood up to a re-read. One I remember along the lines of Alas, Babylon is Earth Abides. Have you read that one? No, I haven't gone back to that one; I'm just remembering. The very best nuclear apocalypse book for me remains On the Beach by Neville Shute. One of the bleakest books I've ever read that somehow managed to make me proud to be a human.
 

Insolent Lad

Maester
A disheartening number of books-I-loved-in-my-youth haven't stood up to a re-read. One I remember along the lines of Alas, Babylon is Earth Abides. Have you read that one? No, I haven't gone back to that one; I'm just remembering. The very best nuclear apocalypse book for me remains On the Beach by Neville Shute. One of the bleakest books I've ever read that somehow managed to make me proud to be a human.
I did read 'Earth Abides,' almost as far back as 'Alas Babylon.' I have some memory of the plot, such as it was, in my head. And 'On the Beach,' yes. I've read a fair bit of Shute since but might revisit that one some day. There was another post-apocalyptic novel I remember from that general period too, 'A Canticle for Leibowitz.' I suspect it would also be a disappointment though I ate it up at the time.
 

Mythopoet

Auror
After Neverwhere I read Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver. It's very rare for me to read a non-fantasy book, but I do have a soft spot for "gothic" thrillers. It was certainly gripping.

I also started reading The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang because I've seen it recommended so often and it was on sale. Predictably though, I began losing interest as soon as the actual war started around 40%. At 55% I'm stalled. I just don't find war very interesting. It doesn't help that I can't really relate to or sympathize with the MC.

Now I'm rereading Dune Messiah because I was just in the mood for it. The Dune books are ones that I tend to reread every few years.
 

Mythopoet

Auror
Finished Dune Messiah. Oh man. I cried so much. I forgot how heart-wrenching that book is. Though from what I've seen it seems like I'm the only person who really, strongly sympathizes with Paul and his anxieties. Most people I've talked to about the books don't have much patience for him. Moved directly on to Children of Dune because how can I not. As much as I love Paul and I really love Paul, I might possibly love Leto II more.
 
I also started reading The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang because I've seen it recommended so often and it was on sale. Predictably though, I began losing interest as soon as the actual war started around 40%. At 55% I'm stalled. I just don't find war very interesting. It doesn't help that I can't really relate to or sympathize with the MC.

I had the same experience though I finished the book halfheartedly. It IS a wonderful bit of world building from the beginning, but the war? It didn't work for me either at that point.

Currently reading: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill
 
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