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What Are You Reading?: January 2008

Vague

Member
I'm currently reading Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Just started it but its pretty good so far.
 

h0pper

only Fernando's ripe melons are good enough for me
Osorio said:

I'm reading it too Osorio. About half way through so far. Very entertaining.

I also read The Man in the High Castle by PKD.
 

FnordChan

Member
LordMaji said:
Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail'72 - Hunter S. Thompson

That is one helluva book and the best thing HST ever wrote. For anyone wondering what sort of wrangling will be going on behind the scenes at the Democratic convention this summer, start here.

FnordChan
 

Sallokin

Member
lilraylewis said:
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
The Stranger - Albert Camus

Very impressed with both so far.

If you like The Stranger, you should check out The Fall by Camus.

My G/F is sort of forcing me to read the "The Dark Is Rising" sequence of books. They're extremely quick reads and quite well written considering they're more for junior high kids. As soon as I finish that I'm going to check out "My Boring Ass Life" by Kevin Smith.
 

thomaser

Member
Finished "Life - A User's Manual" by Georges Perec and "Philosophy in the Boudoir" by Marquis de Sade. The first is bloody excellent and highly recommended, the other is not.

Just started on these two:


East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I've only read Of Mice and Men before among his books, and liked that a lot. This seems like a very different kind of beast, however.


Carpenter's Gothic by William Gaddis

Have no prior experience with Gaddis, but the first few pages seem interesting, with a very realistic dialogue. Broken sentences, lots of repetitions, hectic and "driven" etc., like people really talk when they're unsure or nervous about something.
 

Not really sure what this is about. Someone suggested I read it. So far, it's about Victorian women in prison.

Prolific readers might want to check out LibraryThing. You can keep an online catalog of your book and get recommendations based on what books you like, and see what other people who like the same books are read. Pretty cool.

You can see a sample in my catalog: catalog
 

thomaser

Member
nakedsushi said:
Prolific readers might want to check out LibraryThing. You can keep an online catalog of your book and get recommendations based on what books you like, and see what other people who like the same books are read. Pretty cool.

You can see a sample in my catalog: catalog

That's great! I've been looking for something like that for a while, and this seems more useful than other similar sites I've seen. Here's my very preliminary catalogue.
 

Google

Member
Suite française - Irène Némirovsky

It's really quite an entertaining read. I didnt know what to expect, but a in casual look at the evacuation of Paris in 1942 is not what I had in mind.

Very heartfelt in places, and quite an eye opener.

Check it.
 

beelzebozo

Jealous Bastard
twenty pages of unbearable lightness of being left. then going to move on to one of the following:

the satanic verses by salman rushdie
atlas shrugged by ayn rand
brave new world by aldous huxley
hopscotch by julio cortazar

. . . none of which i've read previously.
 
ivysaur12 said:
Just finished:



Amazing book, one of the best I've read in a long time.

I read my hardback so often that it literally fell apart and I have to get a new one. Love that book. Love Ishiguro's writing style. Got When We Were Orphans for Christmas and can't wait to start it.

Currently reading:

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie (not loving the writing style, but story works for me so far)

Fragile Things, by Neil Gaiman (audiobook received for Christmas... not usually much for audiobooks, but I figured I'd give this a go)

Self Help, by Lorrie Moore (hilarious)

Just ordered The Road, since so many people keep talking about it... can't wait to read it. Hope it comes and I can finish it before the baby gets here!

Props on World War Z and American Shaolin, noticed 'em in the thread. Read both in the past year and loved them.
 

Eric P

Member
i stayed up two hours past my regular bed time finishing up Spin.

absolutely amazing book.

so many "wow that's awesome" moments

there were something about the book which didn't get answered or were only touched on briefly which kind of dissappointed me because i wanted more more more.

hard sci fi with a human edge.

read it



no idea what i'm going to read next
 

Eric P

Member
QVT said:
What genre are you looking at?

oh, i have a ton of stuff on my bookshelf that i've been meaning to read

2 French Crime Classics

Fantomas

Arsene Lupin

I have Victor Vinge's Rainbows End

Umberto Eco's In the Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. (I've only read Bauldolino which i loved by him)

I was contemplating a read through of Lovecraft Tales (Library of America edition) but i've read all of the stories before, just not recently so I may just dip into one or two favorites (like Rats in the Walls).

Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me

Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen books await me, as do Mieville's Perdid Street Station and Rat King.

and that's just the stuff off the top of my head for fiction.

I've got a ton of non-fiction to read as well. :|
 

beelzebozo

Jealous Bastard
finished unbearable lightness of being by milan kundera today. the last twenty pages nearly brought me to tears, as a friend warned me they might. it's a beautiful book, and one that's infectiously readable, largely because the sections are kept in bite-sized chunks--you'll read one two page chapter, think, "oh, that wasn't enough to satiate my needs," read another, and another, and another, all the while wishing you could force yourself to stop and take it all in. it inundates you with the splendor and ugliness of humanity, and i can't recommend it enough

started freakonomics based on a friend's recommendation. thirty-five pages in and i love it.
 
That reminds me, the fourth Temeraire book was released November 2007. Might have to pick it up.

Eric P said:
oh, i have a ton of stuff on my bookshelf that i've been meaning to read

...

You've got two Umberto Eco novels on your bookshelf and you haven't started reading them yet? :O I'd also describe the Arsene Lupin chronicles as highly enjoyable.

Anyway, recently finished Malazan: Memories of Ice (Book 3). Another great Malazan outing; indeed, it would be safe to say that they get better with each installment. Erikson has a gift for setting out stories that contain complex characters and mounds of depth punctuated with great action. I think the only weakness that can be derived from his novels is that typical of any story with a huge ensemble of characters, you sometimes feel yourself bored with a character or two, especially if the previous chapter was quite fast-paced. However, almost all the plot threads pay off in the end, and as usual, the final act leaves you breathless. Erikson also drops hints throughout that fills in the background of many significant people and groups, including the Malazan Empire itself - and/or lives on to further tie into future novels.

Is this the pinnacle of epic fantasy? In terms of scope and vision, I'd say it's incomparable even in contrast to writers like Martin or Donaldson, but I think it can be agreed upon that it's leagues ahead of the likes of Jordan, Eddings or Feist, and while "merely" solid, that's certainly still enjoyable-type fare. Otherwise, I'm halfway through Malazan: House of Chains (Book 4) and you guessed it, I've liked it even more than the last. (yes, I bought the entire series so far, which is quite pricey even in paperback form) Good times.
 


Read it two times in two days.
As long as it keeps me from re-reading "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" then I'm fine.

Tim the Wiz said:
Anyway, recently finished Malazan: Memories of Ice (Book 3). Another great Malazan outing; indeed, it would be safe to say that they get better with each installment. Erikson has a gift for setting out stories that contain complex characters and mounds of depth punctuated with great action. I think the only weakness that can be derived from his novels is that typical of any story with a huge ensemble of characters, you sometimes feel yourself bored with a character or two, especially if the previous chapter was quite fast-paced. However, almost all the plot threads pay off in the end, and as usual, the final act leaves you breathless. Erikson also drops hints throughout that fills in the background of many significant people and groups, including the Malazan Empire itself - and/or lives on to further tie into future novels.

Is this the pinnacle of epic fantasy? In terms of scope and vision, I'd say it's incomparable even in contrast to writers like Martin or Donaldson, but I think it can be agreed upon that it's leagues ahead of the likes of Jordan, Eddings or Feist, and while "merely" solid, that's certainly still enjoyable-type fare. Otherwise, I'm halfway through Malazan: House of Chains (Book 4) and you guessed it, I've liked it even more than the last. (yes, I bought the entire series so far, which is quite pricey even in paperback form) Good times.

It's very true. I haven't met a person who has read him that thought Gardens of the Moon wasn't by far the weakest of any of the books he's written. In fact, the person who recommended me the books actually got me to start with book 3, what she considered to be the best of the series, then I read 2, then 4, then 1, then onward. I thought it made GotM a little bit more enjoyable for me because I got to see a lot about where the characters started, especially learning about just how depressed the Bridgeburners were at the time.

I still don't know how anyone makes it through Memories of Ice with
out crying. Not only do you have the whole "Shield Anvil", Iktohvian going around being Jesus and all but you've got Toc the Younger being reborn, the final massacring of the Bridgeburners, and on top of that Whiskeyjack.. oh god, Whiskeyjack... Whiskeyjack.

I warn you here and now. It does not get any better. You might think it does, for a time, but it does not. I think it's Erikson's goal to have you weeping and on your knees by the end of this whole ordeal.

As far as Erikson's place in fantasy writers go, I have him and Martin standing at the pillars of both fantasy. I think Martin is more of the "high fantasy" - he's still primarily for almost 95% of his characters dealing with nobleborn (bastards or not), so even though there are a lot of characters it's just because his world is huge. I've yet to read someone who compares with him though. In this class I dump most fantasy; Jordan I think belongs here, people like Brooks go here too.

As for Erikson, he's by far and away the best writer of the "low fantasy" - the soldier, the so-called everyman. His books come right out and attack nobles from all angles. He gets away from this when the Empire is conquering things but there's always the bitter steaming about useless nobles. There are other authors in this genre, such as Glen Cook, who really influenced the Bridgeburners with his "Black Company," but as of such I haven't read any better than Erikson.
 

FnordChan

Member
Eric, glad you dug Spin. Let us know how you like How Much For Just The Planet? when you're done with it.

Meanwhile, I finished Conspiracies, the third Repairman Jack novel, and decided to diverge from the series for a bit. That's why I'm currently reading a romance novel.



I decided to pick up Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks after stumbling across a couple of positive reviews, not least because I was in the mood for more supernatural noir stories after running out of Dresden Files novels.

So far (70 or so pages) it's pretty darn good. As far as I can tell, it's genre classification (it says Paranormal Romance on the spine) is somewhat arbitrary; oh, sure, the book centers on an inevitable relationship and I'm sure the steamy bits are coming up, but it's also a procedural with a well realized supernatural setting. In the world of Tempting Danger, the supernatural is an established fact, particularly the existence of Lupi, i.e. werewolves. Apparently after years of state control ranging from registration to being shot on sight, depending on what state you're in, Lupi were recently granted full rights as human beings. Now, with a Species Citizen Act being debated in congress, a werewolf killing in San Diego threatens to raise hell, especially as the (ragingly hot) prince of a Lupi tribe is a suspect. Enter our heroine, Lily Yu, a smart, ambitious (and, of course, attractive) young detective who's both good at her job and sensitive to the supernatural.

I realize the setup sounds cheesy as hell, but Wilks did a great job with her world building and the supernatural elements work very well. Also, our heroine is pretty damn cool and her grandmother is totally awesome. That's one of the big selling points of the book - instead of being a loner, Yu has a close relationship with her family, who show up on a regular basis in one way or another. It's a nice change of pace. Meanwhile, the Lupi she's going to be hooking up with is pretty intriguing himself, and there's plenty of Lupi politics, both internal and external, going on that add a lot to the book. Between the political intrigue, the police procedural, and the budding romance, I'm digging it.

FnordChan
 

beelzebozo

Jealous Bastard
finished freakonomics and started blink by malcolm gladwell, which i finished nearly overnight. what a fantastic book.

this non-fiction kick has been really refreshing to my literary palate. as an english major you're just bombarded with great fiction so much that you become nearly immune to it, and a good book about sociology, or psychology, or just whatever can really remind you why reading is great again.

i started hopscotch by julio cortazar, which some of you may find structurally interesting as far as its creativity. from its wiki:

Written in an episodic, snapshot manner, the novel has 155 chapters, the last 99 being designated as "expendable." The book can be read either in direct sequence from chapter 1 to 56, which, Cortázar writes, the reader can do “with a clean conscious,” or by hopscotching through the entire set of 155 chapters--except chapter 55--according to a table provided by the author that leaves the reader, finally, in an infinite loop between the last two chapters in the sequence.
 

FnordChan

Member
Eric P said:
it's hard to get through How Much for Just the Planet honestly.

it's the long singing passages

Admittedly, if you don't know the songs you're not going to get as much out of 'em. I suggest you just start skimming if you can't pick up the tune.

FnordChan
 

Eric P

Member
yeah, i didn't know a foreknowledge of operetta was going to be a prerequisite. lol.

but it's still quite enjoyable beyond that.

i'm about 50 pages from the end and will probably be reading Rainbows End next
 

Eric P

Member
finished Star Trek. Overall, I enjoyed it. Kind of wacky, kind of hi-jinky, but still a worthwhile read. If I'd put some thought into it (as opposed to reading a few pages before i sleep) I could have finished it in one sitting.

I was in the mood for something radically different from all the science fiction I had been reading recently so I picked up Amusing Ourselves to Death.

This book is not worth my time. If you've never thought about media or the business of television before, then this will probably come as huge shocking revelations, but really it's a rehash of earlier stuff (the guy was a STUDENT of Mcluhan for god's sake).

I had picked up the 20th anniversary edition and the introduction alone was fuck awful. They should have gotten someone OTHER than his SON to write the introduction to give us a bit of history and contextualization.

I made it to page 15 and seriously wish I could get my money back. Because not only is it old hat about the fragmentation of dissimulated (mass) media and the refraction of messages, but it's also written with a huge streak of "GET OFF MY LAWN YOU CRAZY KIDS! GO READ A BOOK."

His message is sound, but his tone is horrible. I wish i had brought the book to work so i could pick out sentences which are asinine.

I seriously have not had a book anger me this much since The DaVinci Code and I don't even WATCH TV. You'd think this book would be aimed squarely at me.

If you've never thought about comminication or television, this may be worth your time but only as a jumping off point to more worthwhile books, but if you don't fit into that demographic, this is crap written poorly.
 

Keen

Aliens ate my babysitter
Currently on my first sci-fi stint. Have read some Morgan (Black Man, Altered Carbon and Broken Angels) and am now on book 2 of Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy.
Good so far, although I'm not really sure about the premise. Some things are pretty stupid imo.

 

Alucard

Banned
This month, I have finished reading...


Good stuff. Solidly written, entertaining, and philosophical. "There is no justice...there is just me."


Deceptively simple to start. It had me grating my teeth for the first little while at the ridiculous use of the word "fart," and the age of the children still seems ludicrous, but by the end I was completely won over.

Started this yesterday...


About 50 pages in, and I'm intrigued. I know virtually nothing about the science which is talked about in this book, so I have had to plough through those sections just a little bit, to get to the character-driven conflicts of human egos. I figure, as long as I have the basics of the science and know what the end result means, I'll be fine. Enjoying it, and Asimov continues to climb the charts as one of my favourite authors.
 

Eric P

Member
Alucard said:

About 50 pages in, and I'm intrigued. I know virtually nothing about the science which is talked about in this book, so I have had to plough through those sections just a little bit, to get to the character-driven conflicts of human egos. I figure, as long as I have the basics of the science and know what the end result means, I'll be fine. Enjoying it, and Asimov continues to climb the charts as one of my favourite authors.

i'd like to suggest some Aurthor C Clarke. Specifically Childhood's End and Redevous with Rama
 


A brilliant exploration of contemporary physics, and particularly the problems related to string theory. A knowledge of physics or math isn't required, but there are some parts you may need to skim over if you're just looking for the meat of the book. I'd suggest it to anyone who has even a passing interest in physics. The book can get a bit heady at times, but I like it.



I bought this book a couple years back but never actually got around to finishing it. I'm rereading it from the beginning and planning to finish it this time.



Just started this. Heard the series was good.
 
Went on a PKD kick and read "The World Jones Made" and "Vulcan's Hammer". Damn, talk about wearing your feelings on a sleeve. I get it, you're anti-technology. Also anti-abortion, though TWJM was a more thinly-veiled stab at it than his short story "The Pre-Persons". Going to read "Eye in the Sky" next.

as an aside, who the hell is Fax Goodlife? She wrote a foreword to Vulcan's Hammer that made me want to tear my eyes out. the gist of it was that EFT is the work of the devil and all of the account numbers begin with 666 and you can't donate to any religious causes OMGWTFBBQ etc. It's like one of those emails you get from your idiot aunt who believes Microsoft really is tracking the message and she will be getting a check any day now.
 

Wraith

Member
I'm just finishing up my second reading of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. After that I'll probably head over to Half Price Books and see if anything grabs me.
 
From the recommendations in this thread, I finished:


It really is a great book. It's even better if you go into it without knowing anything about it.

Now I'm tackling:


Wish me luck.
 

Tamanon

Banned


Sleeping With the Devil by Robert Baer

Interesting read, well researched but not dry. Lots o f information on the tangled web of oil contracts and employment for both Republicans and Democrats over the years. It makes a man kinda angry.
 
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