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What books are you currently reading?


Books

8,101 to 8,130 of 8,130 << first < prev | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160 | 161 | 162 | 163 | next > last >>

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Finally done with S.P.Q.R.-not a bad read, but a lot of material, and I'm picking up a bunch of tedious stuff for my Masters program, cutting into my "read for fun" time.

Have moved on to another period of Roman history, a sort of comparative biography- Augustine: Conversion to Confessions by Robin Lane Fox


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The Making of the President, 1960 - By Theodore White. Really fascinating in that we Americans seem to keep battling over the same things over and over again. Interesting to see introspective of JFK without the assassination hanging over him. White definitly wouldn't be classified as a racist by the standard of his time, but he does say stuff that really wouldn't fly nowadays.

Just finished the Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by GRRM. Nice to see Westeros with a story that isn't quite as pessimistic as ASOIAF.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'm beginning to read Lord of Runes by Dave Gross. I'm finally back to fiction after reading a boatload of gaming material. I'm likely to start of some Cherie Priest next.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Readerbreeder: Cherie Priest is great!!! :-D I think I've read all her Clockwork Century stuff (steampunk zombie-not-quite-apocalypse Civil War).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just finished The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson.

I just started Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence.


Finished The Slaveholder's Republic. It runs the gamut from superfluous to good, not helped by the leaden prose of the guy that finished it. The last substantive chapter collapses into a biography of Lincoln, which doesn't quite work. He absolutely needs to be in there, but it comes at the expense of reducing Congress and military action against and for slavery (mostly against, of course) to a kind of weather that Lincoln experiences. Could have been better.

Set out to pick up the next Culture book, but nothing at all about Inversions sounds appealing to me. I like the Culture as space opera far more than I like watching Special Circumstances faff around on some mud ball. Can't seem to get excited about the next one in the sequence either.

Really not sure what I care for next as fiction, which is putting a crimp in my plan to rotate history and fiction. Looks like I'm back to the list from last time:

The Dred Scott Case by Don Fehrenbacher
Slavery's Constitution by David Waldstreicher
The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History by Gary Gallagher and Alan Nolan
The Political Economy of Slavery by Eugene Genovese
Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic by Matthew Mason
Empire of Liberty by Gordon Wood

Don't feel like I want to deal with Wood and I just read Fehrenbacher. So something from the middle. Leaning toward the Lost Cause book or Mason's.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A biography of Stalin, by Isaac Deutscher. Given that Deutscher was a Trotskyite, it'll be interesting to see how he approaches the whole thing.


"A man of parts" by David Lodge, after the first few chapters seems to be a semi-fictionalized biographic snapshot of the last days of H.G. Wells and his nearest and dearest.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Currently reading "Torchship" by Karl Gallagher (either self-pubbed or close enough to not make much difference). It seems to be a Firefly-esque space adventure, in a universe where the threat of AIs makes computers of any kind heavily regulated, so navigators have to use slide rules to calculate their routes. Pretty good so far, but I'm not much past where the free Kindle sample stopped.

The Exchange

RainyDayNinja wrote:
Currently reading "Torchship" by Karl Gallagher (either self-pubbed or close enough to not make much difference). It seems to be a Firefly-esque space adventure, in a universe where the threat of AIs makes computers of any kind heavily regulated, so navigators have to use slide rules to calculate their routes. Pretty good so far, but I'm not much past where the free Kindle sample stopped.

Firefly meets dune? Huh. Would not have made that pairing myself, if only because the two stories are so different in style and scope that it would have never occurred to me.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Lord Snow wrote:
RainyDayNinja wrote:
Currently reading "Torchship" by Karl Gallagher (either self-pubbed or close enough to not make much difference). It seems to be a Firefly-esque space adventure, in a universe where the threat of AIs makes computers of any kind heavily regulated, so navigators have to use slide rules to calculate their routes. Pretty good so far, but I'm not much past where the free Kindle sample stopped.
Firefly meets dune? Huh. Would not have made that pairing myself, if only because the two stories are so different in style and scope that it would have never occurred to me.

I can see that combo. Firefly didn't seem to have that complex of computer technology. Heck, I think they used a wooden stick to keep their spaceship "locked." I mean, everyone was able to just stroll on in!

I really like Firefly, but I don't like Dune. I think it is way over rated. But I can definitely see them being linked. There is no FTL in the Firefly 'verse, and I'm pretty sure the Dune universe didn't have FTL until they got to Arrakis the old fashioned way and discovered the spice.

So Firefly could be pre-pre-pre-Butlerian Jihad Dune!!!

:-O


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just this morning I was thinking about how brilliant it was for Herbert to introduce the Butlerian Jihad into Dune. Of all the tech that's hard to predict that far into the future, computers have got to be #1. Hell, computers today actually do way more than what a lot of SciFi authors in the '80s anticipated them doing centuries from now! The Jihad wipes out that concern in one stroke, and seamlessly fits into the quasi-religious cultures he's presenting. Bloody genius.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Just this morning I was thinking about how brilliant it was for Herbert to introduce the Butlerian Jihad into Dune. Of all the tech that's hard to predict that far into the future, computers have got to be #1. Hell, computers today actually do way more than what a lot of SciFi authors in the '80s anticipated them doing centuries from now! The Jihad wipes out that concern in one stroke, and seamlessly fits into the quasi-religious cultures he's presenting. Bloody genius.

The conscious decision to make so much of the tech in Dune either internally focused (Bene Gesserit Prana-Bindu) or outright weird (A wing-flapping aircraft is the default go-to?) is what lets the series endure. Also note how little time the first four books actually spend anywhere other than Arrakis- for a galaxy-spanning empire, Dune also keeps its focus local.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Lord Snow wrote:
RainyDayNinja wrote:
Currently reading "Torchship" by Karl Gallagher (either self-pubbed or close enough to not make much difference). It seems to be a Firefly-esque space adventure, in a universe where the threat of AIs makes computers of any kind heavily regulated, so navigators have to use slide rules to calculate their routes. Pretty good so far, but I'm not much past where the free Kindle sample stopped.
Firefly meets dune? Huh. Would not have made that pairing myself, if only because the two stories are so different in style and scope that it would have never occurred to me.

I'm not terribly familiar with Dune, but I think the restrictions on computers is the only resemblance. It has much more of the grimy, blue-collar spaceship crew milieu to it.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Just this morning I was thinking about how brilliant it was for Herbert to introduce the Butlerian Jihad into Dune. Of all the tech that's hard to predict that far into the future, computers have got to be #1. Hell, computers today actually do way more than what a lot of SciFi authors in the '80s anticipated them doing centuries from now! The Jihad wipes out that concern in one stroke, and seamlessly fits into the quasi-religious cultures he's presenting. Bloody genius.

I have to admit I've got a soft spot for all the old 40s/50s sf where the hardbitten engineer space heroes whip out there slide rules to plot courses through the galaxy.


Did the sensible thing and chose none of the options. Went with Edmund Morgan's American Slavery, American Freedom. The opening stuff where we have lines from prominent Virginians about how Virginia will never be a land inhabited by slaves, whether the French or the British want to put them there. It's still a powerful opening today, but I imagine back when the thing came out in '75 people coughed up bits they'd meant to keep a few feet further south.

Then it's back to Francis Drake for the deep cuts about how it looks, circumstantially at least, like the Roanoke settlement was planned in conjunction with his adventures. Unsurprising revelations: a group of mostly soldiers literally picked up off the street make for poor settlers and poorer neighbors, and the nice version of English plans for the Indians (make them adopt European culture) was still current in the 1850s. The awareness of them as potential partners, if very much junior partners, had largely gone by then.

The Exchange

I finished book two in the Darwath trilogy. Man, was it a slog! It felt like a big book with a skinny book inside it waiting to get out... and it was only about 300 pages! But I'm still probably going to read the last book, "The Armies of Daylight" because I do want to find out what happens to the protagonists. This trilogy isn't really a recommend from me, but YMMV. Be prepared for cardboard villains if you do read it.

I'm now reading A is for Arsenic: the poisons of Agatha Christie by chemist Kathryn Harkup. I'm already at H in the alphabet-titled chapters: H is for Hemlock. If you are a Christie fan and/or a chemistry fan, pick this book up! It goes into all the details about the drugs Christie uses in her novels, the real-life cases that inspired her (and that she inspired!) and how the drugs function to disrupt the body's systems.

In the wings: The Devil's Rooming House: the true story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer. I picked this one up at the library and just KNOW I'm going to enjoy it! This is the true case that inspired the classic play/movie Arsenic and Old Lace.

The Exchange

Finished reading The Iron Jackal (Ketty Jay #3) a few days ago, and have since started reading The Long Way To The Small Angry Planet, but after a few tens of pages I stopped to allow my girlfriend to catch up to where I'm at so that we could continue together. Meanwhile, read a couple of short stories from the collection Fearsome Journeys (KJ Parker and Kate Elliot, decent reads). Currently blasting my way through Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett.

The Iron Jackal thoughts:
Impressively, this book is an improvement over the second in the series, which already was an improvement over the first. The pacing is near perfect, as the rag tag crew stumbles from one incredibly cool adventure to the next. The book included some of the best set pieces in the series so far, with a Mad-Max like train robbery scene and a grand finale that included gargantuan ancient laser shooting cyborgs, among other things.
The action is well written, the banter is genuinely funny and the plot is good. World building continues to serve it's purpose well - it's certainly there, but most of the main characters either don't care or have very narrow views on things, so most of what we learn comes in short bursts of somewhat bewildering infodumps as people talk about rand matters such as ancient history or politics, while our heroes stand by and wear a mildly confused expression.

Character development was not bad, but maybe a bit of a step down. No moment even approached the emotional scene in the previous book where Crake buries his past, and even as the characters were at their lowest I never felt any powerful tag at my heart.

All in all I greatly enjoyed the book and already am looking forward to the next one - which I'll probably open next year with as well. There's only one volume left, and I want to make the series last a bit.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Just finished "Torchship." Pretty good, but I'm fairly sure it was originally three novellas, because there was very little plot holding the three sections together.

The Exchange

Lord Snow wrote:

Finished reading The Iron Jackal (Ketty Jay #3) a few days ago, and have since started reading The Long Way To The Small Angry Planet, but after a few tens of pages I stopped to allow my girlfriend to catch up to where I'm at so that we could continue together. Meanwhile, read a couple of short stories from the collection Fearsome Journeys (KJ Parker and Kate Elliot, decent reads). Currently blasting my way through Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett.

** spoiler omitted **

Forgot to credit authors here. The Iron Jackal is by Chris Wooding and The Long Way To The Small Angry Planet is by Becky Chambers and, it would seem, the first of a series called the Wayfarers.

Silver Crusade

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I haven't been on this thread in a while. Mostly because I suspended reading anything for pleasure while I was studying for a god-forsaken exam in December. Since then, though, I have read:

The Fishermen by Chigoze Obioma - fascinating read, almost like a folk tale, if folk tales were set in 1990s Nigeria.

Shadows Return, book four of the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling. Really digging this fantasy series.

Now I am embarking upon Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. It is without a doubt the most insane, obscene, mind-f*%% of a book I have ever laid eyes upon. Brilliant, but man...

The Exchange

Celestial Healer wrote:

Burroughs, along with the other Beats, is one of my dad's obsessions.

I've finished A is for Arsenic, and I've started the last book in the Darwath trilogy. So far it's not so bad, but there's more of a Shaver-like bent to the story once the protagonists start confronting the monstrous "Dark" (a collective monster kind of like a cloaker with ESP and magic).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Lord Snow wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

Finished reading The Iron Jackal (Ketty Jay #3) a few days ago, and have since started reading The Long Way To The Small Angry Planet, but after a few tens of pages I stopped to allow my girlfriend to catch up to where I'm at so that we could continue together. Meanwhile, read a couple of short stories from the collection Fearsome Journeys (KJ Parker and Kate Elliot, decent reads). Currently blasting my way through Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett.

** spoiler omitted **

Forgot to credit authors here. The Iron Jackal is by Chris Wooding and The Long Way To The Small Angry Planet is by Becky Chambers and, it would seem, the first of a series called the Wayfarers.

Chris Wooding's Redemption Falls is next on my list, right after The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence.

The Exchange

@SmiloDan:

How did you like The Girl with Ghost Eyes?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zeugma wrote:

@SmiloDan:

How did you like The Girl with Ghost Eyes?

It was really good! Very strong characterization, lots of fun action, and really interesting magic systems.

I really liked all the different kinds of morality and ethics involved.

It was also a really interesting setting.


Celestial Healer wrote:
Now I am embarking upon Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. It is without a doubt the most insane, obscene, mind-f*&% of a book I have ever laid eyes upon. Brilliant, but man...

The movie is pretty good, too. Gotta love Peter Weller.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Zeugma wrote:
It felt like a big book with a skinny book inside it waiting to get out...

I know there are those who will disagree with me, but that's how I felt reading every entry in the Wheel of Time series after #4...


The Eternal Champion
Novel by Michael Moorcock (wiki)


False start on Some Summer Lands as I realized I should probably read some of the books I got for Christmas. Mr. Comrade and the Nigerian Princess got me a book by Octavia Butler that was the second in a series, so I am waiting for the library to spit out the first one, which left me reading short stories in the Norton Critical edition of The Scarlet Letter which La Principessa got me, even though she knew (forgot?) that I had just read it this past year.

What else? Have our last meeting on The State and Revolution tonight. What else else? After 250 rather dense pages about life in Burgundy and Flanders in the 14th and 15th century, J. Huizinga's The Waning of the Middle Ages has gotten even denser discussing the art of Burgundy and Flanders in the 14th and 15th centuries. Hope to finish it soon.

The Exchange

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
False start on Some Summer Lands as I realized I should probably read some of the books I got for Christmas. Mr. Comrade and the Nigerian Princess got me a book by Octavia Butler

Thanks for the heads up about the Clockshop and Huntington celebrations. I remember reading something about it on the Huntington's website but I'd forgotten about it.

When I went to school in Santa Monica my sister would point out this house she said Octavia Butler used to stay at. One of those small Santa Monica stucco bungalows they've probably torn down by now.

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