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What are you Reading Now?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Mythopoet, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

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  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Second of the Starfarers books by Vonda McIntyre.

    Plus I discovered Deborah Turner Harris. Reading her Mages of Garillon books. So good.
     
  3. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

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    Although it's short (a novella in fact), I'm taking my time to reread Jack Vance's 'The Dragon Masters.' I am being reminded why it is one of the classics of science fiction.
     
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  4. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I've finished reading Children of Dune and it was almost a different experience entirely from the last time I read it. I feel like I understood certain aspect better this time. Having had deeper experiences with the first 3 Dune series books this time around, I think I will reread them all this time. Normally I don't both rereading Heretics or Chapterhouse. I'm really looking forward to having new revelations in God Emperor of Dune next.

    But first... I want to immerse myself in research reading. I have a TON of books I want to read to help me with my world building. Though my world is decidedly fantasy, it's basically our world in an "alternate universe" where I'm taking a ton of stuff I find fascinating in our world and putting it in a blender and whipping it up into a delicious smoothie. So I take a lot of material from history, particularly ancient to late antiquity, and a ton from various mythologies. So I have a huge reading list of books about mythology and history and culture. I started reading Pliny's Natural History the other day and wow is it wild.
     
  5. Zander Willmore

    Zander Willmore Minstrel

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    I am currently reading Bombs Away the first book in the Hot War series by Harry Turtledove. It is a story where America used the atomic bomb in the Korean War. It is a what if of course but it is very good. I have a tone of books on my to read pile. I havnt read much this year because I was focused on reading comic books.
     
  6. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

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    I'm not a big novel reader but am currently enthralled with The Overstory by Richard Powers! Pulitzer Prize winner Incredible, Amazing, he is literally a genius!

    Came out last years, but I've been waiting since about April (when the Pulitzer Prize was announced) on hold from my local library...
     
  7. Rogue

    Rogue Dreamer

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    So a small taste of what's on my literary plate at the moment...

    I just finished up a sci-fi anthology of short stories; The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection. Most of them were nice stories but nothing that left me really wowed. I also recently finished Blood Rites by Jim Butcher, book six in The Dresden Files and if the first five books were two and three-star books, then I'd give this one a four out of five. I only give it such a high rating because I think it is so much better than the five before it, doing a better job of finally capturing the tone of the noir genre that people keep telling me the Dresden books are all about.

    I'm currently about halfway through listening to The Great Hunt, book two in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time and I'm not really feeling the hype. I'll likely end up listening to the third book in the series but if it's the same as the first two, I'll probably end up putting down the series. The only reason I've made it this far is because the narrators (Michael Kramer and Kate Reading) have done such a wonderful job of breathing some life into an otherwise listless narrative. Unless I decide to move directly on to the third book in the series, I'm considering making Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke my next Audible listen although I am curious as to how her many footnotes will fit into its narration.

    I recently picked up Ursula K. Le Guin's The Books of Earthsea, the illustrated edition that contains all of her Earthsea novels and short stories. I forgot how heavy they are on the narrative, with very little dialogue and told more like a brief history, but I'm still enjoying them much as I did when I first read them as a boy. Still, there's a lot of telling and practically no showing and isn't something that I would recommend to people who don't enjoy the classics of the fantasy genre. In fact, if not for it being a childhood favorite of mine, I probably wouldn't enjoy it myself.

    I'm also about a quarter of the way through John Grisham's The Reckoning. I have vague memories of reading The Firm when I was a teenager but I don't have any interest in returning to it. At first, I didn't think I was going to like The Reckoning. It starts out with a heavy narrative and not enough dialogue, something that I prefer when it comes to moving the plot along. Grisham is a former lawyer and it shows in his writing (I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing). He's often touted as an author of thriller and I'm not seeing that in this book but it's still an intriguing story and there has been a noticeable increase in character dialogue so I find myself becoming more and more interested as I read which is always a good sign.

    Having recently finished Games People Play by Eric Berne, M.D., I am ready to pick up another non-fiction title and currently have my eyes set on Against Empathy by Paul Bloom, another subject in psychology. As for Games People Play, I recommend to anybody thinking about reading it to keep in mind the time in which it was written and the time during which the author would have received their education in psychology. There is no way around it, there is obvious sexism and homophobia to be found in many of Dr. Berne's ideas but his fundamentals concerning transactional analysis when it comes to social interactions is still heralded as revolutionary and he offers one a lot to think about. Suffice it to say, much like everybody else in society, Dr. Berne is playing his own game.

    The next fantasy novel I am considering picking up is The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, the first book in what I believe is a trilogy but I may end up reading Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman first as I've flipped through it and feel that it may be a quicker read. I don't consider myself a fast reader though I've never timed myself. This is why I like to read multiple books at once, usually within different genres so as to avoid crossover. Although not a fantasy, I also have my eyes on From Here To Eternity by Caitlin Doughty; what appears to be a charming little narrative about death that I found in the psychology section of my local bookstore. It's author, a mortician, says that it is a true story, her story, but written in the form of a first-person narrative with a few names being changed for the sake of privacy.

    I keep track of what books I've read and those that I want to read on Goodreads. I even rate those ones I've read but I don't typically leave reviews. I use the site more as a virtual bookshelf to help me keep track of the many titles I'm interested in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2020
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  8. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

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    I also read a short one -- The Tin Man a literary queer fiction book, but more literary than queer and totally fascinating. (more a love story than myth though ;) )
     
  9. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

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    I am currently working my way through Ernest Bramah's Kai Lung books, the five that were published in his lifetime (all free as ebooks at Project Gutenberg). I had read the first two years ago when they were part of the Ballentine fantasy reprints. Enjoyed revisiting those and now on the first I hadn't read. Humor in an improbable fantasy world resembling (but never named as) China.
     
  10. ThisAdamGuy

    ThisAdamGuy Dreamer

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    I'm a total Brandon Sanderson nut. My sister got me his latest book, Starsight, for Christmas, and I'm rereading the first book in the series, Skyward, before diving into it.
    I'm also listening to The Wheel of Time: Fires of Heaven as an audiobook while I drive and am at work.
     
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  11. Rogue

    Rogue Dreamer

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    I first discovered Sanderson by accident when I came across The Way of Kings hardcover that had been mistakenly marked down a substantial amount. I was originally just looking for something to read during a pending car ride but I recognized Michael Whelan's artwork on the cover and figured for the price, I'd take a shot in the dark. I've been hooked since then although I haven't really read his other novels; I've considered some of his YA work for quick reads.

    Have all of the previous WoT novels been audiobooks? I'm currently grinding my way through The Great Hunt but have started a job that offers me significantly less drive time and I'm not sure how interest I am in future titles. The narrators are great, however. They also read Sanderson's Stormlight Archive.
     
  12. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I'm trying to read the original version of The Hobbit. So far it is pretty much as I remember the tale from my childhood. There have been a couple of sentences that seem different or new, but I've only just got to The Last Homely House.
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Reading Stacy Schiff's biography of Cleopatra.
     
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  14. Rogue

    Rogue Dreamer

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    Do you read a lot of biographies? Especially of less recent historical figures. I ask because I'd like get into more historical bios but I'm always overly skeptical of sources that I've just started turning to individual referrals.
     
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Not many. I read a fair amount of history, but not as many biographies. Sourcing is an issue, especially when you're going back to Cleopatra's time, for example. I think Schiff does a decent job of talking about sources and where they contradict, and also making clear when she is making suppositions. She is clearly enamored of Cleopatra, though. So far, it is a very favorable depiction.
     
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  16. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    With biographies it's more subtle than merely are the facts right. A biography is like a portrait. By it's nature it cannot be a perfect likeness, yet it can be more revealing than a photograph. The best way to get into biographies is the same as getting into other genre of literature: read, and develop your own taste.
     
  17. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Right now I'm reading The Dragon's Path, by Daniel Abraham. It's pretty good, though I confess I'm getting tired of court drama in fantasy. Still, Abraham does it better than most. And other plot lines hold my interest better (he has multiple).

    But I also want to note that Abraham is one half of the writing team that is James S.A. Corey (The Expanse). I love that series. Best SF I've read in a very, very long time. What strikes me is writer voice. On one side it's SF, on the other it's traditional fantasy. On one side it's a writing team, on the other it's the one author. Can one hear the writer's voice?

    I think I do, but it's very difficult to say exactly what. There's something about the pacing of sentences. There's a curious blend of hard-eyed coldness layered over genuinely deep emotions. There's a sense I get that somehow Abraham himself is in there, down in individual scenes and certain emotions. There's definitely a use of small moments to add depth and pacing.

    Surely all those things can be said of other authors, yet somehow once you total them you come to a different sum for Abraham than you would for another author. It's something akin to being able to recognize a painter's style, or how you know that different musicians have each their own style, and you'd be able to pick them out even if they were all playing the same song.

    Art is weird.
     
  18. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

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    I just listened to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy on audio. Loved it.
     
  19. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    The grand strategy of the Byzantine empire by Edward Luttwak. It's nice to learn more about historical things on the edge of the public consciousness. I knew the Byzantine empire existed. But nothing more than that. It was always sort of the lesser child of the roman empire which just existed and slowly withered away. It's nice to be corrected and learn there was (a lot) more to it. Also, it's useful from a writing perspective to learn a bit about strategy, war and so on.
     
  20. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

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    Read Jeff VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts -- was very disappointed...2 stars....too weird, no real story flow, disjoint with long boring sections (blue fox in particular) looks more like his 'notes and thoughts' supporting his writing of Borne which I'm reading now and Loving!!
     
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