What books are you currently reading?


Books

9,251 to 9,300 of 9,735 << first < prev | 181 | 182 | 183 | 184 | 185 | 186 | 187 | 188 | 189 | 190 | 191 | next > last >>
The Exchange

I'm reading The Not-Quite States of America, by Doug Mack. It's about the past, present and future of the Commonwealths and Territories of the USA. Very interested and can't wait to read the chapter on Puerto Rico in light of the recent "not-chapter-11" bankruptcy proceedings.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Managing Transitions, which has turned out to be both unexpectedly timely and extremely useful. :-(


'Return to Quag Keep' by Andre Norton and Jean Rabe.

Felt like it was written in a bit of a hurry, which is a shame, as I'm normally very keen on Andre.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So reading the "Cthulhu Mythos Megapack volume 2" right now. At 99 cents it's a great deal, especially since it reprints some stuff that just hasn't gotten reprinted a lot lately (Finally got to read some Henry Kuttner, and it also reprints some of Robert Bloch's early mythos fiction.

This volume, rather than reprinting some of H.P. Lovecraft's more well known stories (which volume 1 did, along with other related works), mostly reprints his collaborations. Skipped over some I had recently read elsewhere, including Challenge from Beyond, which I find hillarious because it's a round robin with H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Howard, C.L Moore and others. talk about tonal whiplash

Two other collaborations I hadn't read before were with Zealia bishop. The first is The Mound, which is actually pretty interesting if some of it doesn't exactly make sense, kind of has that weird structure you could really only find in early pulps (A good chunk of the story is the narrator relating the story on the scroll he found, which in turn is narrated by by a early conquistador. It's like an inception of narration.

Anyway I had wanted to read this because the story actually in part was an inspiration for Paizo's own version of a multi-layered Darklands.

The second one was a story I had never ever even heard of, and was the reason for me writing this post: Medusa's coil

Now I know Lovecraft was racist, even for his time. And its not like I hadn't encountered that before...I read "The Horror at Red Hook" when in High School, and even my naive mind was like "this is really bad", but Medusa's coil was by far the most racist bit of genre fiction I might have ever read.

Oh boy...:

We're given a Mythos take on the truth behind the legend of the Medusa, and like the typical mythos story it ends with a series of revelations that the narrator has. I don't want to get into the super specifics, but basically the narrator gets stranded at a run down manor and asks to stay the night with the old man who owns it. Said Old man tell him the backstory of why teh manor sucks, which basically is because his son fell in with mysterious woman in France who was associated with some cult, married her, and eventually got involved in some weird love triangle with a friend of his who was into the occult, who saw what she REALLY was (In this case some sort of ancient /priestess whose hair was an actual living organism) The whole thing ends with a bunch of shocking revelations, including the fact that the manor he was stayed at burned down 6 years ago, that the hair was still out there killing people, that hte priestess was of course evidence of some ancient evil existing out there, etc etc.

But no no no...none of those are the shocker, the ending note of the story, the last bit of horror the author ends the story with. No the true horror isn't that this rich white guy married a priestess affiliated with eldritch abominations, it was that the woman was of...wait for it....AFRICAN DESCENT.

Seriously...the secret horror that was revealed...the thing that led to the guy murdering said priestess and going mad...wasn't the sentient evil hair. No it was that he married someone who somewhere down the line had black ancestors. WTF


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just about to start GRRM's "The Dying of the Light"


I left Return to Quaq Keep on a bus somewhere. Then I forgot the name of the book. Now, I'm all better. I can find it on Amazon.


MMCJawa: Sounds like

Spoiler:
The old man would have preferred a daughter-in-law with tentacles to one of African descent...


I've finished The Snow Queen and Da Vinci for Dummies, so had to find something else to read when I don't want to lug around (or risk damaging) Blue Rose.

So I've decided to reread In the Cube, by David Alexander Smith. It's a SF detective novel set in a future where Boston became the site of Earth's first contact with alien races. It's part of the "Future Boston" shared world setting created by the Cambridge Science Fiction Writers Workshop. Smith also contributed to the Future Boston anthology, which contains stories covering the first hundred years or so after contact.

I first read In the Cube and FuBos in the mid-'90s, within a couple years of their publication and my own move to Boston. In the Cube in particular does a great job of mixing the city's familiar, famous landmarks with changes wrought by exposure to aliens and alien tech. Plus it's a pretty solid mystery/thriller in its own right.

At one point, I wanted to write a FuBos LARP, and even asked one of the CSFWW authors for permission to do so when I met her at a local con. But I'm much better at fantasy plots than SF games, so the idea never went anywhere.

ETA: This is the first time I've reread it since moving away from Boston almost 4 years ago. It's pushing some buttons because of that. It's also the first time that I've read it and had the setting's point of divergence (first contact was in 2014) be in the past, which makes me wonder about how real history since then would have changed as a result.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hitdice wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Wasted a free NYT article on this, so I might as well link it:

Ghosts, Warring Gods and the Apocalypse: The Best of New Science Fiction and Fantasy

"Unimaginatively named 'MegaCorps'?"

Given the long history of MegaCorps as a concept in science fiction, isn't that a lot like complaining about an author calling robots "Robots" at this point?

Like Davia D, I'm working on Convergence. Mospheira isn't really economically developed enough to sport any MegaCorps, but there are robots in the series, and Cherryh just calls them robots. I don't know, the other morning I was making myself an omelet and, after slicing a mushroom into 6 pieces, I cut one of the slices in half because 7 is kaibu and 6 is a very tricky number. Look, whatever, it's not like I'm over on the Shejidan forum posting about Atevi pizza. Those people are nerds; I just like to keep my numbers in good order.

Yea, like some times it's fine to use your own name for things, but there's no reason to not just use the default term.

Hm, I just realized the two lamps I placed in this room yesterday may not be kaibu, but the plants (three in number) probably balance them out...


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Just about to start GRRM's "The Dying of the Light"

From what I recall of that one it shouldn't take long. At least by GRRM standards.


TarSpartan wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Just about to start GRRM's "The Dying of the Light"
From what I recall of that one it shouldn't take long. At least by GRRM standards.

It's only about 350 pages. Fevre Dream was about the same, IIRC. Those are the only non ASoIaF GRRM I've read, however, so I can't compare.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just finished The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding, the second book in the Ketty Jay series (think Dieselpunk Firefly where the Reavers are undead and any robotics are (daemon-empowered?) golems). It was really good and they shook stuff up.

I'm about to start Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, the sequel to Six of Crows, which was described as a cross between Game of Thrones and Oceans 11 (by who, I forget), which is accurate. I'm looking forward to see if the sixth crew member gets any POV chapters! :-P


Finished Edge of Dark Water, which very neatly subverted the Huck Finn Raft trope

Spoiler:
They never make it past the next town, much less most of the way down the river.

Next up: The Thicket, also by Lansdale.


Finished The Freedom-of-Thought-Struggle in the Old South. It's...ok. I think he really lost some steam at the end with a bunch of midcentury historiography about how the rabble are really evil and politicians must be disinterested free agents. That crap wasn't credible when Burke was slinging it. Doubly annoying because he starts getting into the controversy over whether Senators should be bound by instructions from their states or not, a genuinely interesting subject with a lot of complexities, and basically comes down on the "no, never" side without real argument. I loathe the antebellum Democracy as much as the next guy so I'm inclined to reject anything it's for, but citing Burke uncritically and leaving it as though his authority is unimpeachable isn't good history.

The concluding chapter on profiles of courage during Secession Winter would be a lot more compelling if almost every one of his exemplars didn't promptly cave after making a futile stand and then go in whole hog for the Confederacy.

Now...damn it, I guess I have to finish Black Marxism. I think I have two chapters to go, which is two too many but a friend is curious what I make of it. So far: Cedric Robinson struggles heroically not to be read and I think most of his ideas have basically been taken on by the relevant field to the point where there doesn't seem to be much to say. I suspect a medievalist or early modernist would tear into his vast generalizations with tremendous enthusiasm, but they look at least in the ballpark of good-ish history for the early Eighties.

On a related front, listened to a couple of lovely podcast episodes about historiography that included nuanced discussions of Marxist theory and postmodernism, which seems too damned rare.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

SmiloDan wrote:

I just finished The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding, the second book in the Ketty Jay series (think Dieselpunk Firefly where the Reavers are undead and any robotics are (daemon-empowered?) golems). It was really good and they shook stuff up.

I'm about to start Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, the sequel to Six of Crows, which was described as a cross between Game of Thrones and Oceans 11 (by who, I forget), which is accurate. I'm looking forward to see if the sixth crew member gets any POV chapters! :-P

He did!

:-D


Finished Jhereg in the wee hours of the morning after some overtime. Have to admit, I was a bit wary of it at first; kinda felt like a mobbed-up gamer novel, like something TSR might have published. But I warmed up to it by the end and am looking forward to reading the next one in a bit.

Got a copy of The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution from the interlibrary loan system. It's the third edition, revised from the one on the internet, so I am starting over, although it's largely the same, just the author moves a little bit further rightward with each edition. Also, it has a map on the endpapers, which helps a lot.

Anyway, I had this to say in the 5th sentence of page 55 thread:

"I am reading a copy online; had a xeroxed copy a couple decades ago but it's long gone."

Which is why I chortled when I read the following in the Introduction to the Second Edition:

Spoiler:
First published in England in 1938, this book has led an eventful life of its own. The plates and surviving copies of the original edition were destroyed in the Nazi bombing of London in 1940. A pirated edition published in Shanghai had a much wider circulation, copies of it turning up in many different parts of the world in later years. In India in 1944 I came across a condensed version circulating in mimeographed form. It has remained in all this time the only detailed, documented account of the original Kuomintang-Communist alliance, and of the way in which Russian-directed policies drove the Chinese Communists and the great masses of Chinese who followed them into a tragic debacle. As such, it has been cited in numerous bibliographies and mentioned in many a footnote, while actual copies of the book became increasingly rare. As events again and again brought reminders of the pertinence of early Kuomintang-Communist relations, it became a much-sought-after work, pursued through advertisements in book journals and by direct inquiries, of which many have reached me through the years. It has not been possible for a long time to meet this demand and I am grateful to the Stanford University Press for making this revised edition available now."

Anyway, I'm also going to start the second Brigadier Gerard collection today.


Surprise early finish of Black Marxism. The academic skim kicked in really nicely. I have a whole mess of slavery books on order. Starting James Oakes' Slavery and Freedom: An Interpretation of the Old South before bed tonight. It's short and its his contribution to the largely fruitless argument over whether or not the Antebellum South was capitalist. I think his answer is "a bit of both", which already puts him a few steps ahead of the ones that argue "not at all!" or "not at all and that's why we love it!"

My problem with the whole debate remains that I don't think it tells us much of interest. The new capitalism histories revel in their ability to find it everywhere, at least from the Early Modern onward, and the old school looks to me hung up on minor technical points that may have seemed urgent during the Cold War. If we dropped the term entirely and used "business" there would be no debate and we would lose no nuance.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Finished Jhereg in the wee hours of the morning after some overtime. Have to admit, I was a bit wary of it at first; kinda felt like a mobbed-up gamer novel, like something TSR might have published. But I warmed up to it by the end and am looking forward to reading the next one in a bit.

I think Brust had a fascination with organized crime IRL for a while early in his career, but then a close friend of his was adversely affected by interacting with the mob, so in later books, the criminal bosses are greatly vilified.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't know about that, but I did just look at an AMA Reddit he did three years ago and he claims that the concept of the House Jhereg/mob organization came about because his Dungeon Master assigned him a "sword-and-sorcery mafia" to flesh out.

Hello, and well met. I am novelist Steven Brust - AMA

EDIT: Apparently, Loiosh came from the DM, too.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

His Wikipedia page suggests the mob killed a friend of his. :-(


:(

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Finished Jhereg in the wee hours of the morning after some overtime. Have to admit, I was a bit wary of it at first; kinda felt like a mobbed-up gamer novel, like something TSR might have published. But I warmed up to it by the end and am looking forward to reading the next one in a bit.

Yendi was another exercise in convolution, along with a bit more background into why and how Vlad is the way he is. You already mentioned looking forward to Teckla; I'd add that I think you might also particularly enjoy Orca.


John Woodford wrote:
I'd add that I think you might also particularly enjoy Orca.

My favorites in the series, in no particular order: Jhegaala, Orca, Athyra.


Tbh, at this point, the Brust novel I'm most interested in (after Teckla) is Brokedown Palace.

"In a bed, in a bed
By the waterside I will lay my head
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul."


The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is a far better literary work than Brokedown. Cowboy Feng's is a lot more fun, and Agyar is better at what it's trying to do. Then again, my opinions may be atypical; I thought To Reign in Hell was dreck.


[Takes notes on all things Brust-related while listening to American Beauty]


While I like the Vlad Taltos books a lot, the Khaavren romances are my favourites.


Limeylongears wrote:
While I like the Vlad Taltos books a lot, the Khaavren romances are my favourites.

I loved the first two. The later trilogy seemed hasty and slipshod to me, though.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kirth Gersen wrote:
The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is a far better literary work than Brokedown. Cowboy Feng's is a lot more fun, and Agyar is better at what it's trying to do. Then again, my opinions may be atypical; I thought To Reign in Hell was dreck.

TRiH was a conscious attempt to pastiche Zelazny, and although I thought it was well-written it was like watching a slow-motion train wreck that was happening for no good reason. I am unlikely to ever read it again.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

John Woodford wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is a far better literary work than Brokedown. Cowboy Feng's is a lot more fun, and Agyar is better at what it's trying to do. Then again, my opinions may be atypical; I thought To Reign in Hell was dreck.
TRiH was a conscious attempt to pastiche Zelazny, and although I thought it was well-written it was like watching a slow-motion train wreck that was happening for no good reason. I am unlikely to ever read it again.

But the golden retriever has a British accent!

;-)


Slavery and Freedom: An Interpretation of the Old South is two chapters in and humming along. I'm not sure Oakes is really saying much that's novel yet, but my academic skimming skills are kicking in nicely so it's going fast. None of it's bad, just quick. Consdiering I had a hard going book to finish before that, and I've got a fresh stack of horrors on the way, I'm in the mood for quick. Two days in a row I almost read more than scheduled, but got busy with other things.

Other things largely being that I've sort of drifted into planning a homebrew Against the Necromancers campaign where I'm going to pillage The Complete Book of Necromancers and the Zothique stuff that inspired it for all they're worth. Plus cannibalize a pile of other adventures with undeath and necromancy, which first led me to think of it as semi-homebrew. Then I realized that the whole point of that pre-AP stuff was to shove it into your homebrew game and do whatever.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Finished 'Capital in the 21st Century', and not once did I sing 'I LIKE THE WAY YOU WORK IT, TOM PICKETTY, YOU GOTTA BACK IT UP'. Not out loud, anyway.

Now it's 'Swords Against Darkness' V


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which so far is a nice take on a D&D party doing a Lords of the Rings style quest with added (involuntarily) man-shaped intelligent spiders.

Quote:

Dion made a sound. It was not quite a word, or anything fit to come from the throat of a priestess of Armes. The two warriors, Harathes and Cyrene, followed suit. Lief was the only one able to articulate their collective reaction.

"What the f+@#ing arses is that?"


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

After the last wander through the pulps I am back with something more recent, in this case the just published "Mammoth Book of Mummy Stories", obviously an attempt to cash in on the upcoming Universal movie. Good so far...mix of reprints and new fiction from a pretty wide selection of authors. Not just horror too, but some urban fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction as well.


Yesterday, while doing my laundry, I discovered I had, once again, misplaced both of the books I am readings, so I started Peter Pan. I will probably finish it now.


Slavery and Freedom: An Interpretation of the Old South is in the can. It was decent, but I don't feel like I learned a whole lot. So far as there is a strong argument, it's just that the South developed in the context of a liberal nineteenth century world. Maybe that was harder to establish in the late 90s, but not at all controversial now.

My used copy of Bertram Wyatt-Brown's Southern Honor: Ethics & Behavior in the Old South[/i] came in yesterday so I started that. Wyatt-Brown's is the seminal work in masculinity studies for the South, back before we had that name for them. It's also interesting in that he was born into a transplanted Southern family in Pennsylvania. He's got an autobiographical note at the beginning about how they had partially assimilated before the family moved to Tennessee. He was eight at the time and had some culture shock. Reading between the lines (but not very much) I think Lil' Bert spent time working really hard at becoming a good Southern boy and has a few doubts about how well he made it.

I'm only a chapter in, but it already has some of the defensiveness you see in a lot of southern historians about his generation and the one before. Wyatt-Brown is clearly not a huge admirer of what he's recounting, but has some kind of sympathy for it and doesn't want to come down too hard. Also his early-80s remarks on there being a present consensus in both parties that the American government should fix racial inequities is some mix of charmingly quaint, hopelessly naive, and utterly depressing.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"Night Lamp" by Jack Vance
Just barely started it but it is already filled with the Vancian cultures that are so fun to read.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

"Night Lamp" by Jack Vance

Just barely started it but it is already filled with the Vancian cultures that are so fun to read.

I read that one a number of years ago. As I remember, it was a fun read. Enjoy!

The Exchange

I finished The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA, by Doug Mack.

Review:
I think it works for what it is - part travelogue, part impassioned plea for unity and understanding of these very different regions with very similar status and colonial history. However, I almost wish it were longer because although Mack makes his point within roughly 300 pages I wanted more of the meat of the politics, history and trajectories of the territories. In other words, there were not enough footnotes/it wasn't long enough. However, there were some and I would probably be confused if he'd really gotten into the legal aspects of territorial law. The Jones Act plays a big part in the narrative and I want to understand it better than the gloss Mack gives it. The book hasn't enlightened me on what's going to happen to Puerto Rico, which is partly why I read it. But it's interesting and it would be nice if it spurred America to reconsider her colonies and do right by them, not leave them as nearly-forgotten footnotes to the Teddy Roosevelt era.


'Rovering To Success', by Robert Baden-Powell.

'He draws a distinction between true, health-giving sport and the other thing'


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
"Night Lamp" by Jack Vance

One of my favorites!


I've finished In the Cube, so have started rereading H.P. Lovecraft's Book of Horror. It's an anthology that contains Lovecraft's essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature," plus 21 of the (hundreds of) stories that he discusses in that piece.


In the trip to save scavenge Patrick Curtin's library that I have had occasion to mention before once or twice on these boards (particularly in the Future of the Democratic Party thread in a series of posts entitled "La Principessa and 'The Snow Women'"--the same 'Snow Women' that made Comrade Samnell give up on Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, btw [I also particularly like one of the subtitles of that series of posts, "The Weimar Republic of Lowell and the 2016 Democratic National Convention"]), I scored both Future Boston and In the Cube, but I haven't cracked either of them open yet.

I think they're in boxes in storage now, but I will make an effort to locate them due to the posting of Tim Emrick.

(Synergistic weirdiosity-wise, I was reminiscing about my neighborhood today, and how I was paying something like $200/month for rent when I first moved into Eastie in the mid-'90s and how 2 bedroom apartments go for something like two grand there now. F+!$ing gentrifiers.)


I just got done reading Tae Yun Kim's collection. Great if you like spiritual/self help books. Would definitely suggest checking them out!

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm reading Jack London's The Sea Wolf, which I'm enjoying so far even though I've already seen the film. I've just realized the title isn't the name of the ship, but of the story's main character, and I'm on chapter 10. : -/


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
the same 'Snow Women' that made Comrade Samnell give up on Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, btw [I also particularly like one of the subtitles of that series of posts, "The Weimar Republic of Lowell and the 2016 Democratic National Convention"]), I scored both Future Boston and In the Cube, but I haven't cracked either of them open yet.

I think the cute domesticity of it alienated me. Takes a lot of prior buy-in to make that kind of thing less than cloying to me. May be a bad person at heart.

Still in Wyatt-Brown. Not entirely sure if I'm missing things or if I already picked up most of what he's talking about by osmosis. Either way, honor is some crazy s$$$. Every now and then he goes back and reminds the reader that white Southerners had consciences...but didn't stress using them all that much.

Wyatt-Brown also seems to think that honor culture was waning in the South in the nineteenth century, but I'm not so sure about that. It's hard to track because he's strictly doing thematic analysis rather than trying a chronology. Maybe that's in one of the other two books he planned to write on the subject. Along with the slavery.

Liberty's Edge

Gark the Goblin wrote:
Reading some bioremediation texts, a sometimes annoying Swedish novel called Analfabeten som kunde räkna (the illiterate who could count), To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer, and She is the Darkness by Glen Cook. I'm almost done with the Pathfinder Tales novel Beyond the Pool of Stars by Howard Andrew Jones, which I like more than his other novel Stalking the Beast. I'm still a little disappointed by it because my Mirian/Jekka ship seems to be getting less and less likely.

Finished one of the bioremediation texts and To Your Scattered Bodies Go; trimming down the nightly reading in preparation for a move out of the country. Added Magician by Raymond Feist (but I just took it back to the library; will have to find it in Sweden) and almost done with Eclipse and Re-Emergence of the Communist Movement by Gilles Dauvé.


'Ylana of Callisto' by Lin Carter


Finished The Thicket a while ago, and loved every page of it.
Recently started John Scalzi's Old Man's War.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Just finished Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

Just started X by Sue Grafton.

9,251 to 9,300 of 9,735 << first < prev | 181 | 182 | 183 | 184 | 185 | 186 | 187 | 188 | 189 | 190 | 191 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Gamer Life / Entertainment / Books / What books are you currently reading? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.