What books are you currently reading?


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I just finished reading Time and the Gods by Lord Dunsany.
Cosmologies, cosmogonies, and stories about the tide of Time which drowns Men and Gods alike.

It's impressive how the author manages to write like the antique authors, who narrated the legends of their culture. It was utterly enjoyable.


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Hitchens' Letters was a breezy read that unfortunately didn't tell me anything I didn't already know from having read his various articles and longer works.

Next up: back to fiction with Sterling Lanier's Manace Under Marswood. I loved his Hiero's Journey and The Unforsaken Hiero, which titles people may recognize from Gygax's Appendix N. Lanier is better known as the guy who finally managed to get Herbert's Dune published after a massive string of rejections.

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Just finished The Winter Over—fundamentally implausible (more below) but the mayhem in the constant darkness and –60°F of Antarctic winter and the tough, capable main female main character made it a fun read.

Spoiler:
The experimental design is appalling and the ultimate villain is Agatha Christie-esque. There's also climactic villain exposition. But there's also creepy ice caves, survival in an extreme and precarious environment, and Antarctic traditions, so still net positive.

The Taste of Honey and Lighthouse at the End of the World both came in from the library at the same time, so now I'm spoiled for choice on what to read next!


Tiananmen--1989--Seven Weeks That Shook the World, a pamphlet that I borrowed from Mr. Comrade who borrowed it from another comrade who is notorious for never returning books that he borrows, and never returned it.

Giving him some of his own medicine, I guess.

Liberty's Edge

Wait not only do we have a goblin who is seems to be communist. But one who is not afraid of the written road. Will wonders on this board never cease ;)

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Reincarnated gnome?

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SmiloDan wrote:

Reincarnated gnome?

That's one Fugly Gnome. Or one that dumped Charisma in favor of Intelligence. Which may explain why he not only likes books he can read them. Next he will be riding a horse for all we know.


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"William Tecumseh Sherman" by James Lee McDonough.


memorax wrote:
Wait not only do we have a goblin who is seems to be communist. But one who is not afraid of the written road. Will wonders on this board never cease ;)

Racist.

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Inspired by @Judy Bauer, I also checked out The Lighthouse at the End of the World from my local library. Unfortunately it has to wait until I finish a different lighthouse-themed book for my book club, but Im looking forward to it more than I'm enjoying reading the current book.

for those interested:
It is called The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman. Apparently it was made into a movie. It's okay, but the characters' choices annoy me and the middle part is quite slow. I hope it picks up again.

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Finished reading King Of Thorns (Broken Empire #2) ny Mark Lawrence, and decided to take a break from trilogies and long series with Touch by Claire North (who authored my favorite read last year, The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August, so... quite the high standard).

King Of Thorns thoughts:
"Prince of thorns" was , in my opinion, highly overrated. Not bad at all, and original or even groundbreaking in some ways I have never seen tried in any other book, but some serious flaws made it a merely good reading experience, and nothing exceptional. If nothing else it was fun to read and served as an impressive proof to just how inclined humans are to like a proactive protagonist - wanting Jorg to succeed at anything he does *should* be considered a psychological disturbance, and yet here I am with everyone else rooting for him and cheering him along.

"King of Thorns" is considerably better than its predecessor. It has a unique structure of tracking events across a single day in the "present" with constant flashbacks to previous events. Even when most of the book is about the flashbacks, the constant jumps back into the present day create a feeling of immediacy and flow that keep the tension high all book long. This structure turns a rather straightforward story from what might otherwise have been a humdrum repetition of fantasy tropes into something else, quite enjoyable.

Lawrence is clever with words, and his writing is entertaining, easy to follow yet far from flat.

The centerpiece of this series though, has been and remains Jorg himself. He is a completely over the top in a way that may not have worked at all if it didn't work so well. His utter ruthlessness and unending resolve make him often into quite a monster, and even now by the end of the second book I find myself shocked by him again and again and again. Yet there's another side to him, one that complements the monster rather than oppose it - Jorg is quite the scholar. Curious, bookish, his fiendish cleverness matched only by his deviousness, and equipped with a wry sense of humor, Jorg would have made for an incredible head of university in some other, better universe. As it is, he employs his mind as one of his most potent weapons, which is always fun for the reader.

I do have griped, however. Mostly they are with the ending, which is every bit as arbitrary and poorly executed as the ending of Prince Of Thorns was - I will avoid spoilers and just say it let down after the buildup from an entire book. In general it felt like Lawrence "cheated" several time during the book, making up magical solutions to save Jorg from trouble multiple times.

All in all, King Of Thorns trips over itself in a couple of crucial moments, which prevents it from being a classic or a masterpiece of fantasy, but it is a damned good book, enjoyable to read, intellectually engaging and an all around experience that does not pull back punches. I am certainly more excited to read Emperor Of Thorns than I have been for any book in a while now.

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Lord Snow, I like the 2nd trilogy (so far) even more. It's much more subversive. And the narrator is NOT scholarly or brave or driven. Good thing he has a well educated Viking barbarian buddy with a dry sense of humor and good family values.

Jorg reminds me of an evil version of my nephew. He's 14 and over 6 feet tall. He's really smart, really athletic, and people like him. Fortunately, he's the opposite of a psychopath.


It's been a time. Gave up on the lost cause book as just not interesting enough and popped over to Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. It's a textbook, but in this case it meant that the authors tried to write as though human beings might read them. The content was pretty good, but heavy on stuff I'd already picked up by implication.

Mostly took the thing up because of the interminable, tedious leftist argument that's been going on since you know when. I'm a tedious leftist and I ran out of patience for that s@+# back in October, doubly so when they started calling me a neoliberal and I realized that the term apparently means "person they disagree with." About the only thing I've gotten out of it is that they found a black academic (Adolph Reed, if you want to look him up and share the agony of his prose.) who believes white supremacy is either dead or never existed, and he has a bunch of ideas that look like complete crap. But I can't be asked to bother with his deliberately obscurantist, patronizing prose for the final confirmation. Probably minus one dear friend.

Also I have a visceral hatred of the cant-laden style of prose most often associated with postmodernism and basically take it as an admission that the author knows the contents are crap and is trying to slip them past.

All of which has me in a poor mood and not quite able to pick a book to take on next, but I think it's going to be Thomas Morris' Southern Slavery and the Law.

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Quote:
Also I have a visceral hatred of the cant-laden style of prose most often associated with postmodernism and basically take it as an admission that the author knows the contents are crap and is trying to slip them past.

You just won 5 points for that :D

Quote:

Lord Snow, I like the 2nd trilogy (so far) even more. It's much more subversive. And the narrator is NOT scholarly or brave or driven. Good thing he has a well educated Viking barbarian buddy with a dry sense of humor and good family values.

Jorg reminds me of an evil version of my nephew. He's 14 and over 6 feet tall. He's really smart, really athletic, and people like him. Fortunately, he's the opposite of a psychopath.

It seems Mark Lawrence is the type of author who gets better from book to book. His newest, Red Sister, is currently piling up some serious praise.


Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
Gender Failure
Scar Tissue
Chasing the Scream
More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory

Some required for school (Bonk and Scar Tissue). Some for school and because I am interested (Gender Failure and Chasing the Scream)... though I find Bonk pretty interesting too.. The last one just because.

Also.. some fiction.
Joe Abercrombie novels
Daughter of Fate (7th Sea)
The Poison Eater (Numenera)


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Next up: back to fiction with Sterling Lanier's Manace Under Marswood. I loved his Hiero's Journey and The Unforsaken Hiero, which titles people may recognize from Gygax's Appendix N.

On a lighter note, I'm halfway through Marswood and it's unfortunately in no way up to the standards of Lanier's other two.


Books-wise, I lost my bag on Thursday and was bereft of my reading material all weekend, so I started reading Charles A. Beard's An Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution. Didn't get very far before I realized I left it at the church where I attended the "What Is Sanctuary?" meeting to organize rapid response teams to ICE raids (sorry, more politics) and had to walk through a mass performed in Khmer to recover it, got halfway through A Play of Knaves and finally got to the murder mystery.

Enjoying it thus far.


I have nearly finished 'Imperial Adventurer: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico and his Empress' by Joan Haslip.

Recently, I have also read:

'Britain's Communists: The Unknown Story' by John Green
'Athyra' by Steven Brust
'The Dead God's Citadel' by Juanita Coulson
and most of Niccolo Giganti's first book, translated by Tom Leoni and published as 'Venetian Rapier'

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've been rereading Chris Bunch's Star Risk books. Fluffy mil-sf, though Bunch had a fine sense of pacing and realistic politics.


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Well now that my 8 year old is super interested in A Series of Unfortunate Events we are both reading the books myself again and him for the first time. I would like to thank both Netflix and Neil Patrick Harris for getting him interested in reading something larger than 50 pages.


Southlands Bestiary from Kobold Press. A Christmas present to myself.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Doodlebug, have you read Ian Tregillis's The Alchemy Wars series? It's about an alternative history where the Dutch invented and control an artificial labor and military force of alchemically powered clockwork servants. It's pretty good. It begins with The Mechanical, continues with The Rising, and concludes with The Liberation.

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Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Books-wise, I lost my bag on Thursday and was bereft of my reading material all weekend, so I started reading Charles A. Beard's An Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution. Didn't get very far before I realized I left it at the church where I attended the "What Is Sanctuary?" meeting to organize rapid response teams to ICE raids (sorry, more politics) and had to walk through a mass performed in Khmer to recover it, got halfway through A Play of Knaves and finally got to the murder mystery.

Enjoying it thus far.

Because you liked A Play of Knaves: You may also like...the Brother Cadfael mysteries. I started off watching the tv show and then was surprised by how much richer and atmospheric the novels are. A morbid taste for bones is the first novel by Ellis Peters but I read Brother Cadfael's Penance (the last in the series) first.

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I finished my bookclub book, The Light Between Oceans. I was unexpectedly moved by the final two chapters, even though Stedman calculates events to maximize the pathos.

Spoiler:
A child returns to the estranged family that raised her only a few weeks AFTER the mother has died of cancer. Yeah, it's that kind of story.

I thought I'd start on the Verne, but I'm kind of tired of lighthouses at this point so I'm reading Jepp, Who Defied the Stars instead. It's a YA historical-fiction novel from the perspective of the court dwarf who was imprisoned at Uraniborg by Tycho Brahe. So far so good, but knowing a little bit about the actual history, I think I can see where the plot is going to go and I'm only on Chapter 2.


Odd, I thought I was half-agreeing with all three of the participants, but whatevs.

Got out of work a couple hours before the showdown Solidarity Lowell Coordinating Committee meeting on the mission statement

Spoiler:
(which erupted, yet again, into the progressive Democrats red-baiting us and the crowd turning against them; am pleased to report that after the meeting, one of our allies--the co-director of the Center for Asian Studies at UML who was recently published in The LA Review of Books as part of a roundtable on class and racial justice--told Mr. Comrade and I that, in her mind, "SA" stood for "sex appeal")

and finished up the Tiananmen pamphlet. Last section was a speech by one Stephen Jolly who, as a 27-year-old Australian Trotskyist, was in Beijing went the shiznit down.

Thank you for the recommendations, Citizens Dan and Zeugma, I haven't read any of those titles and will make a note.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

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Taste of Honey was great! Highly recommended. I've put off Verne for a bit to read Dynasty of Rogues—the writing is perfectly cromulent rather than amazingly lyrical, but it's an exciting tale of intrigue and treachery with all female characters, which is a delightful reversal of most such books.


I just blew through Patrick Rothfuss' The Slow Regard of Silent Things (very different from his Kingkiller books, but a lot of fun nonetheless). Starting on a non-fic I've had on my stack for quite a while: Matthew Battles' Library: An Unquiet History.

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Cthulhusquatch wrote:

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Mary Roach is wonderful! If you like it I recommend Spook as well!


Readerbreeder wrote:
I just blew through Patrick Rothfuss' The Slow Regard of Silent Things (very different from his Kingkiller books, but a lot of fun nonetheless). Starting on a non-fic I've had on my stack for quite a while: Matthew Battles' Library: An Unquiet History.

My wife knows him personally through his work with Heifer International (where she works) and his work with World Builders. She says he's just about the nicest guy you could ever meet.

Community & Digital Content Director

Removed a series of off-topic posts.

Liberty's Edge

I just finished reading a Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson. If your a fan of Deep Space 9 and Garak. It's a novel on the character written by the actor who played the character.


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While putting up flyers in the UMass Lowell library the other day, I ran across a "Free Books!" shelf and found a passable copy of Baran and Sweezy's Monopoly Capitalism: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order.

Later, at branch, I introduced a new point on the agenda, "RIF." None of them knew what that meant, even the one's closest to me in age*, but it stands for, of course, "Reading Is Fun."

Me: "What do communists mostly do?"

Them: "Lead strikes? Fight capitalism? Champion the oppressed?"

Me: "No. Mostly, we try to sell newspapers to people who don't want to talk to us and we read books."

We then talked about what books we are reading and what books we should be reading. Turns out YGAC'SBF just finished Parable of the Sower and New Recruit started her copy of The Wretched of the Earth.

---
*It has fallen on me to be the disciplinarian in the group. "Stop smoking pot at the demonstrations!" "It's winter, where's your hat?!?" "Stop shoplifting! I'll buy you some f%$*ing M&M's!" Despite not being a very good disciplinarian, I have earned the contemptuous epithet, "Dad."


Correction: Apparently RIF means Reading Is Fundamental.

Huh.

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I finished The Liberation by Ian Tregillis, his final volume of the Alchemy Wars.

I started City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Now I need book suggestions!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

In the last six weeks:

Babylon's Ashes by James S.A. Corey
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
Death Without Company by Craig Johnson
We Are Legion, We are Bob by Dennis E. Taylor
Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson
The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell
Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen
Another Man's Moccasins by Craig Johnson
William Tecumseh Sherman by James Lee McDonough
The Plantagenets by Dan Jones (which I'm reading for the second time)


Latest Recruit picked up one of our pamphlets in Boston last weekend that is so new I can't even find mention of it on the internet.

Marxism and the Fight for Black Freedom: From the Civil War to Black Lives Matter--A Socialist Alternative Pamphlet.

Spoiler:
First article on Revolutionary Integrationism is a reprint from an internal bulletin a couple of years ago by this dude that used to be in La Principessa's Leftie Teachers Union Fraction; he, like me, used to be in the Sparts, which is where he got revolutionary integrationism from in the first place, and has now made it official American Taafeite policy apparently. Good for him. (On a sidenote, I have found articles printed in The Harvard Crimson back in the eighties when he was a Spart and they were cosigned by Dean Wareham from Galaxie 500 and Luna! The mind boggles!)

Second article was by some Britishiznoid woman on the Black Panther Party.

Next article is by a South African comrade on "The Rise of Capitalism and the Emergence of Racism" that I vaguely remember linking it in my Fun-Timey thread when it originally appeared on the internet.


Finished Marswood and moved on to Dunsany's The Sword of Welleran, which is infinitely superior. Paused after "The Highwaymen," which is a seriously cool story.

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Finished "Touch" (Claire North) and started on "Small Favor" (Dresden Files #10, Jim Butcher).

Touch thoughts:
The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August is one of my all time favorite books, brilliant in every step. Touch, by the same author, has a lot of what was good in that book, but never quite reaches the same heights.

The greatest issue, I believe, has to do with structure. In Fifteen Lives, it worked perfectly - the story meandered through flashbacks and digressions, following the kind of associative story telling that someone like Harry August would exhibit, having lived the same years over and over again so many times. The story fit too - a slow, complicated, global stretching struggle revolving around the effort of those who are born again and again to understand themselves. In short, it was a perfect match.

In "Touch", however, Claire North attempts a similar structure for a story that is more of a fast paced thriller than anything else. Endless tangential flashbacks and a general tendency to get sidetracked just don't work as well when people are shooting each other in the "present" of the story. The story is also generally more shallow and straightforward, which is good in a thriller but bad for reducing even further the justifications for all those slower moments of recalling.

The central concept of the book - of ghost like entities that exist by possessing others, hopping from body to body and stealing time from regular humans - is fantastic, and the central character and the themes of the book are very solidly built upon this foundation. The writing is a true pleasure, with a good mix of dry wit and artistic phrases. The action sequences are reasonably good, with some unique and fun uses of the body shifting powers to create unusual fighting styles and scenarios.

All in all "Touch" was good, but some baseline flaws and a lack of ambition stopped it from the divinity that was First Fifteen Lives. I have high hopes for The End Of The Day, which will be the next North book I'll read.

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Tarondor wrote:

In the last six weeks:

Babylon's Ashes by James S.A. Corey
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
Death Without Company by Craig Johnson
We Are Legion, We are Bob by Dennis E. Taylor
Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson
The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell
Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen
Another Man's Moccasins by Craig Johnson
William Tecumseh Sherman by James Lee McDonough
The Plantagenets by Dan Jones (which I'm reading for the second time)

The Plantagenets sounds interesting. Is it historical fiction or a history book?

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I finished Jepp, who defied the stars, by Katherine Marsh. I really enjoyed it - the ending was heartwarming. The level of historical detail was right for a YA audience with a teenaged protagonist, and there were some really intense themes as I expected, given the 16th century setting and characters. My one big disappointment is that Marsh changed some historical dates so that Jepp is presented at both the court of the Infanta of Spain and at Uraniborg to Tycho Brahe. I feel Marsh could have got around this problem by choosing a different court for Jepp - but that would likely have created other problems as both the queen's and astronomer's courts are crucial to the plot, and not merely a backdrop to the action.

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