What books are you currently reading?


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I can finally resolve an argument that's been sitting for two years on this thread by presenting a piece of conclusive evidence that I found.

Back in 2014, I mentioned in this thread that I was reading the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy by Weis and Hickman (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning) for the fourth time. There are few novel series' I read that many times, so you can see I loved that trilogy a lot. I mentioned that in my third and fourth reading of that trilogy, I inserted Dragons of the Dwarven Depths into the proper chronological point (between Autumn Twilight and Winter Night). I thought that book was a fun addition which was fairly true to the original Chronicles.

In 2016, I mentioned Dragonlance again, prompting SmiloDan to say...

SmiloDan wrote:

No matter what you do, DO NOT read Dragons of the Dwarven Depths.

It will ruin Dragonlance for you.

Raistlin actually says "You can bet your biscuits!" :-O

In 2017, SmiloDan trashed the book again, saying...

SmiloDan wrote:

The Dwarven Depths kind of ruined DL for me. :-( It has A LOT of whiny bickering--and it's kind of obvious it's being used as filler. I'm pretty sure I'm never reading another Dragonlance novel because of it. And I'll probably never re-read the first 2 trilogies, either. :-(

Also, RAISTLIN said "You bet your biscuits!!!!"

Of course, I did my best to promote the book, but I had to admit that I didn't remember any line like "you bet your biscuits." I would confess that would be a terrible line for Raistlin, not right for his character at all.

Well, now I'm reading the Dragonlance Chronicles a FIFTH time, which places it among my favorite series' of all time (if the number of times reading one is an indication, as I feel it is). Once again, I'm inserting Dwarven Depths into the right chronological point. In fact, I'm nearly finished, having only the one-page Afterword (just a note from the authors, not a part of the story in which Raistlin would speak any word of dialog) left to read. (Again, the fact that I will have read the book THREE times places the book - in my estimation - above those second-tier Dragonlance novels such as Weasel's Luck, Flint the King, and The Kinslayer Wars.) During this third reading, I kept a sharp, wary eye open for "You bet your biscuits."

And I can tell you now with certainty that NO ONE EVER SAID "YOU BET YOUR BISCUITS" THROUGHOUT THE NOVEL!!!

Undoubtedly, SmiloDan was thinking of a line in Book 1, Chapter 13 (on page 136 of the hardcover edition). Raistlin says the following: "Of all the stupid stunts you have pulled, this takes the biscuit."

Raistlin was speaking - unjustly - to Caramon, accusing him of doing something he hadn't truly done. I say THAT'S PERFECTLY IN CHARACTER FOR RAISTLIN!

(And if you regard the conflicts between the PCs as "filler" then the original trilogy has the same kind of "filler" as well. But that intra-party conflict has always been part of what made Dragonlance so fascinating. Or at least, that's the way I perceive it.)

So I continue to champion and recommend Dragons of the Dwarven Depths.

The Exchange

Aaron Bitman, I salute you

The Exchange

Finished reading The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers and started on By The Sword (Repairman Jack #12 by Paul Wilson).

The Drawing of the Dark thoughts:

I read this book due to an upcoming trip to Vienna. I honestly do not have all that much to say about it - it was an entertaining, solid little piece, with touches of humor, action and weirdness. Never too emotionally impactful, rather predictable and not terribly original, it was still energetic and fun. I'd not exactly shove this one in people's faces and yell at them that they must read it, but I had a good enough time.

I must ask - has anybody read the more well known Tim Powers books? are they similar to this one in tone and style?


Lord Snow wrote:

Finished reading The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers and started on By The Sword (Repairman Jack #12 by Paul Wilson).

** spoiler omitted **

I must ask - has anybody read the more well known Tim Powers books? are they similar to this one in tone and style?

I'm very fond of Tim Powers, but Drawing of the Dark was an early work and wasn't as good as his later stuff in my opinion. (Though I'm still fond of the basic concept of the Dark beer itself.)

He gets less predictable and more original. Emotionally impactful is more a matter of opinion, but I think so.

Anubis Gates and Last Call are probably my favorites. Time travel and British poets in the first and magic poker in Vegas for the second.


'A Mencken Chrestomathy', or H.L.'s Greatest Hits. I find him very entertaining to read, despite some rather insurmountable philosophical differences, but he's not much of a historian.

Also, 'The Moonbeam Roads', by Michael Moorcock, which was OK, but I can't say it was a favourite.


Man! I no longer check these boards regularly, but I happened to come in time for this.

Lord Snow wrote:
I must ask - has anybody read the more well known Tim Powers books?

Well, you frequent this thread, so I expect you heard that I number The Anubis Gates among my 4 favorite novels of all time. I mentioned it on these boards time and time again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again.

I never read The Drawing of the Dark but I'll tell you this much: The Anubis Gates was certainly NOT predictable.

I never read Last Call. Maybe I should give that one a try.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:

Finished reading The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers and started on By The Sword (Repairman Jack #12 by Paul Wilson).

** spoiler omitted **

I must ask - has anybody read the more well known Tim Powers books? are they similar to this one in tone and style?

As others have said, they are not. His more recent work (e.g., Last Call, Expiration Date, and Earthquake Weather) have been...I suppose the best way to put it is to say that Powers excels at building settings in which apparently-insane people are actually well-adjusted to the truth of the world. Declare was something of a departure from that, but it's an excellent bit of supernatural spy fiction.


The last book I read was Particularly Cats by Doris Lessing which was a lot sadder than I expected, but had its light-hearted moments.

Lots and lots of dead cats. :(

Now reading Brust's Teckla but not reading very quickly for a variety of reasons.

The Exchange

Alright, thank you to all those who answered about Tim Powers. I suspected that such a well known and respected author must have something more going for him than what I saw in Drawing of the Dark. I added Anubis Gates to my TBR :)

Finished By The Sword (Repairman Jack #12, by F. Paul Wilson) and am tumbling with some bewilderness through The Ninefox Gambit (Machineries of Empire #1, by Yoon Ha Lee).

By The Sword thoughts:
This is the first Repairman Jack story that feels completely and entirely as part of a series to me - while there is certainly a continous main thread to the story up to this point, now for the first time the story of this book won't make sense at all to a newcomer. Happy to see that the stage is being set in earnest for a big ending.

This one revolves around a pair of mcgufins that four seperate factions are trying to collect, both of which holding some great cosmic power. Most of the people chasing it don't even know what that power is, just that they need to have it. This is a very tired trope in this modern age of superheroes chasing Ininifty Stones, yet Wilson works his usual magic here and creates a story that I couldn't help but munch on like a can of Pringles. The prose slides by, the pacing is perfect, Jack as likable as ever. Some actions, some trickery, some supernatural horror, some new well conceived characters - the usual deal.

The Exchange

Turned over the last page of The Ninefox Gambit (Machineries of Empire #1 by Yoon Ha Lee) and, taking a gulping breath, dived back into Malazan with House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen #4 by Steven Erikson). Life is kinda hectic with an exciting new job that comes attached to a boss basically frothing at the mouth on delivery times, so this billion page beast of a book might take a while to finish!

Ninefox Gambit thoughts:
. As time goes on and I begin to stockpile years of lived experience, I cultivate a greater appreciation for the totally unfamiliar. I seek this sensation of facing something so strange and different that I have to recalibrate my imagination to accommodate it.
I didn't like The Ninefox Gambit, but I am thankful to it for letting me experience this adult sense of childish wonder.
The premise can actually be written succinctly and clearly - a far future in which hyper advanced mathematics allow boundless technology that only works if society is shaped a certain way. Each stable version of a society is based on a "calendar". Holidays, traditions and social structures enable the use of "exotics" - a technology leaps and bounds ahead of anything else. This naturally results in extremely strict and brutal societies in which any deviation from the norm is punished with barbaric severity. Imagine our world if all electrical devices stop working if somebody somewhere does not celebrate Christmas in the correct way.
The setting is new and interesting, and the plot is, on paper, not at all bad. Prose is serviceable and characters are clearly defined. On most technical levels I give this novel a good grade.
However, it just felt... cold... to me. I was never emotionally invested. Maybe the culture was too weird for me, maybe the sparse and unconventional style (that has very little emphasis on story structure considerations such as build up and payoff) just wasn't for me. I'm not sure what exactly went wrong, but something did.

I'm not sure if I'll continue with this. Maybe in a couple of years, but I have very low motivation to find out what happens next, and the book does stand reasonably well on its own. I'd only recommend it to serious weirdness junkies.


I recently watched the new The Name of the Rose TV miniseries, which has prompted me to start rereading the novel. Eco's prose style can be challenging at times, as he very much enjoys showing off his erudition, but it's the sort of esoteric nerddom that I really enjoy.

I don't enjoy all Eco equally. I reread this one and Foucault's Pendulum every few years. (The latter makes me jones to run a weird conspiracy game--but also humbles me at seeing how much of that material Eco can juggle and still tell a coherent story.) I also greatly enjoyed Baudolino when I read it for the first time a couple years ago. But I found The Island of the Day Before to be both impenetrable and agonizingly slow, and couldn't finish it.


Tim Emrick wrote:
Eco's prose style can be challenging at times, as he very much enjoys showing off his erudition, but it's the sort of esoteric nerddom that I really enjoy.

Have you ever read Stephen Donaldson? If you enjoy running off to your dictionary every once in a while as you read, Donaldson (particularly his Thomas Covenant series) will definitely scratch that itch.


'Monkey' by Wu Ch'en-en, trans. Arthur Waley. I thought it was ace.


Readerbreeder wrote:
Have you ever read Stephen Donaldson? If you enjoy running off to your dictionary every once in a while as you read, Donaldson (particularly his Thomas Covenant series) will definitely scratch that itch.

I've read the first Thomas Covenant book and loathed the protagonist so much that I'll never touch that series again. (I don't recall disliking his Mordant's Need duology, but that was so long ago that I don't really recall *anything* about those books.)

For me, Eco's appeal is the way he deep dives into obscure history and ideas--medieval science and theology in Name of the Rose, the Prester John myth in Baudolino, and just about everything remotely tied to the occult in Foucault's Pendulum.

I also own one volume of Eco's prose essays (Serendipities) that showcases his fascination with (and intensive knowledge of) the history of ideas (which is pretty much the common thread in his fiction, too). I'd highly recommend it to anyone who wants a more bite-sized sample of his work--though his essays are not exactly light reading, either.


Tim Emrick wrote:
Readerbreeder wrote:
Have you ever read Stephen Donaldson? If you enjoy running off to your dictionary every once in a while as you read, Donaldson (particularly his Thomas Covenant series) will definitely scratch that itch.

I've read the first Thomas Covenant book and loathed the protagonist so much that I'll never touch that series again. (I don't recall disliking his Mordant's Need duology, but that was so long ago that I don't really recall *anything* about those books.)

For me, Eco's appeal is the way he deep dives into obscure history and ideas--medieval science and theology in Name of the Rose, the Prester John myth in Baudolino, and just about everything remotely tied to the occult in Foucault's Pendulum.

I also own one volume of Eco's prose essays (Serendipities) that showcases his fascination with (and intensive knowledge of) the history of ideas (which is pretty much the common thread in his fiction, too). I'd highly recommend it to anyone who wants a more bite-sized sample of his work--though his essays are not exactly light reading, either.

I will give you, the character of Thomas Covenant is not for everybody. For some reason, I can tolerate him, but when I went to read Donaldson's SF "Gap Cycle" the protagonist is treated so brutally I could not continue with the series.

I'll have to look up the Eco essay that you're talking about; it sound like a good read. Thanks for the lead!

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I read the first chronicles while in high school.
Yes, Covenant is an @$$ who thinks everything is in his mind and actions have no consequence, but the story is engaging and he does come through in the end.
The second chronicles expanded the world and and showed Covenant trying to correct what was wrong, but it is like he is an emotionless automaton.
I have tried three times to read the final chronicles, but I have never been able to get past the first few chapters. While I do like Linden Avery, I just can't stand his son and it puts me off my reading every time. I just can't bring myself to read about him.


Arch o Triumph... good enough for me


Grace of Nation I suppose. I had to read this book as additional for my hobbie - I used to write novels on my free time but it wasn't good enough so I asked some help to do my assignment as soon as possible and I was really pleased with it. I got really nice paperwork and also improved some skills of mine. This book expands your mind's borders and it doesn't matter what are you reading for: improving skills, interest or homework - you will be overjoyed. Source: Assignment EssayShark.


'Piers Plowman' by William Langland.


Hey! Currently i am reading two amazing books and one book for the coursework (not happy about that)

First i am reading this new book called the body myth which is really wonderful because of the deep characterisation that has been done for the minimal characters who make the story. The themes that the novel deal with are mental health, the able and the sick bodies, chronic pain and trauma and coping. I am very interested in all of these. For coursework in my econ class i am reading Principles of Macroeconomics and the notion of macroeconomics is blowing my mind coz we did microeconomics last sema and i thought that it was all there was to it. Now i understand capitalism so much better. I am also reading Bleach again!!!! Bleach FTW


Yesterday I finished the first book of the Twilight saga, Stephanie Meyer, and began the second, New Moon. I can only say that the second book is written a hundred times better and no longer feels that the main character is so stupid. In general, I read only the first chapter of the second book and do not want to make hasty conclusions. I also ordered two books from the Divergent cycle, Veronika Roth. Prior to that, read Daniel Keyes, the Mysterious story of Billy Milligan. I read a little more than half. The book is amazing, telling about the history of the most mysterious case in the history of psychiatry - a guy with 25 personalities. Origins and results. I recommend, who have not read. Then I have plans to read the cycle of novels by Cassandra Claire, City of Bones, and of course to finish reading all the books that I already have. I know that the suffering of reading the book of Nicholas Sparks, the Blame for the stars - the inevitable.

The Exchange

Finished House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen #4 by Steven Erikson) and started on The Liar's Key (Red Queen's War #2 by Mark Lawrence).

House of Chains thoughts:
I still don't get it. Is he Karsa, or long?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Now that I've finished rereading The Name of the Rose, and read a couple of new gaming acquisitions, I can finally get back to rereading Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi. I first read it in college for a paper in an Asian Lit in English Translation class, and have read it once or twice since then. I acquired a nice hardcover copy cheaply at a book sale last year, to replace the battered paperbacks I used to have. It's a huge book--2" thick in hardback, or 5 volumes in paperback--but definitely worth the read to anyone interested in feudal Japan. And if you've ever read Musashi's The Book of Five Rings, Yoshikawa's novel is a must-read for historical context.


Also on an East Asian theme, I'm re-reading 'The Water Margin'

The Exchange

Finished listening to Children of Time (Adrian Tchaikovsky) and started on The Selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins).

Children of Time thoughts:
This is a really cool and unique book. The story follows two threads. In one, an ark ship carrying the last and increasingly desperate remnants of mankind, wondering the infinite space and looking for a new home to start over. This thread is done reasonably well, but is pretty standard SF fair.
Where the book shines through is with the second thread - the story of the rise of a civilization of hyper intelligent spiders, engineered by a long forgotten human civilization and watched over by a single ancinet setallite orbiting their planet. Tchaikovsky does an incredible job of showing how alien the spiders are to us while making you care about their woes. The story follows the spider across millenia, and they have a very different path to technological and societal advancement than us humans. Fascinating stuff.
The only thing keeping this book back from being a classic is, to me, the somewhat detached writing style. I never quite felt 100% invested in the book because the narration (both the prose and the voice acting) was somewhat... cold. Distant.

There are other issues - in the human side of the story, I can't figure out why the PoV character was chosen, as he is very passive and not very impressive, and his inner world isn't distinctly more interesting than that of anyone else around him. I kep expecting him to have some sort of impact on the story, but this never happened.

Anyway, if you like big idea SF, do yourself a favor and read this book, it's a treasure trove :)


Lord Snow wrote:

Finished listening to Children of Time (Adrian Tchaikovsky) and started on The Selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins).

** spoiler omitted **

Have you read Tchaikovsky's SHADOWS OF THE APT series? Very unique and interesting fantasy series (and long at ten books, but completed) mixing standard epic fantasy, steampunk and kind-of bugpunk. Very good and underrated.


Have you ever read The Famous Five? I am currently on The Famous Five, it's actually an amazing book to read. It for children but one can also go for it if looking for the adventure. This book is basically written by Enid Blyton.

The Exchange

Werthead wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

Finished listening to Children of Time (Adrian Tchaikovsky) and started on The Selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins).

** spoiler omitted **

Have you read Tchaikovsky's SHADOWS OF THE APT series? Very unique and interesting fantasy series (and long at ten books, but completed) mixing standard epic fantasy, steampunk and kind-of bugpunk. Very good and underrated.

I've heard good things of it - however, being four books into Malazan Book of the Fallen, I'm not exactly aching for new ten book series at this very moment :)

The Exchange

Finished reading Liar's Key (Red Queen's War #2, by Mark Lawrence), and next up is Broken Angels (Kovacs #2 by Richard K Morgan).

Liar's Key thoughts:
This one was among the weaker of the author's books - which leaves it merely as a witty, imaginative and exciting adventure.

To a pretty great degree I think this is Middle Book Syndrom - almost everything that took place was incidental to the overall plot, and only in the very last few pages did the book get to the next plot point. Some imoprtant information is uncovered, but in the form of flashbacks to the past of the ancestors of the characters. While interesting, these don't really count as advancing the plot much...

Second there's Jalan. Very few characters can hold a candle to Jorg of Ancarath, and Jalan isn't one of them to me. I applaud Lawrence for going the full distance with him - the guy way and remains a cowardly lout who stumbles into heroism, and I've never seen the concept carried quite so far. Nothing seems to be able to reform him or toughen him up. However, this just isn't as fun to read about for me.

Anyway, I liked Liar's Key. It had a ton of good stuff - The Wheel of Osheim, The Lady Blue, young Alica and Garius, and even some unnecessary yet fun cameos from The Broken Empire. Not much of Snorri breaking faces this time around, but some rather crazy set pieces offset that handsomly.

Looking forward to the Wheel of Osheim and to telling this world godbye (to make room for more Mark Lawrence books, of course!)


'To Demons Bound', by Robert E. Vardeman and Geo. W. Proctor.

A novel featuring a bargain-basement version of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, where all the female characters were one-dimensional angry busty sexpots and the torture never stopped. Also featured the phrase 'Wet and asquish came death', so unlikely to be reissued as part of the Fantasy Masterworks series.

Liberty's Edge

I just started The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.

Scarab Sages

The other day I finished up the Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith Volume 1. The collection is ronically titled "The End of the Story".

Now I'm working my way through Volume 2, The Door to Saturn.


'The History of Magic', by Eliphas Levi.

It's rubbish.

Silver Crusade

I finished reading Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. My friend who wrote his doctoral thesis on this has been asking me to read this for many years.

This was a strange one..Without giving too much away, this is a WW2 meets Ludlum on acid novel. It begins with a man who has an unusual reaction to V2 rockets: they give him erections...But ,he has his erections days before the rockets fall at trysts that later become bombsites. Forces in intel are aware of our man's sensitivity and keep him under surveillance.

It gets weird after this, however once you decide to accept the premise, it does not disappoint


In recent years, I've dabbled a bit with fiction about the Old West. Last year, on this thread, I described Little Big Man by Thomas Berger. Here's a link to the post.

Now I'm reading the sequel, The Return of Little Big Man, which Berger wrote over 3 decades later. It starts off entertaining enough, with the same sense of humor that kept me reading the first book. There's the same cliche of Jack Crabb (the main character) meeting the famous historical figures of the time and getting involved with some of the most famous events of the time, from the murder of Wild Bill Hickok to the gunfight at the OK Corral (and yes, the book explains the apparent contradiction of the first book's assertion that Crabb never met Hickok again).

But then... <yawn> I mentioned that the last 20% of Little Big Man was boring. In the case of the second book, it's the last 50%. When Jack joins Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, the novel goes on and on about his job. Very little of that last half has any plot. Furthermore, when the show travels to the East Coast, it's not a story about the Old West anymore. And obviously, when the Jack travels with the show to Europe, it's even further away. Jack describes his tours of Europe at great length. <snore>

Well, that last half isn't ALL bad. It has a few moments that made me laugh. The first time Crabb works with Sitting Bull has some such humorous moments. The second time he gets together with Sitting Bull, we get a rare moment of plot in an otherwise uneventful narrative. A few other brief passages amused me, such as one that conveys Crabb's impression of New York and New Yorkers.

I wouldn't have thought that just a few moments would be enough to carry the novel, and yet... and yet...

I have yet to find a Western novel that impresses me all that much, as some other historical novels have done, or as MANY fantasy novels have done. But the first Little Big Man novel - and also Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry - despite those books droning on and on, screaming to get edited down - somehow kept me reading to the end. They had enough to keep me hooked, despite my short attention span these days. Now that I'm less than 20 pages away from finishing The Return of Little Big Man, my newfound determination to finish the book welcomes that novel into the ranks of the other two I mentioned.


I'm reading Fools Crow by James Welch for a class (amongst many other books), but I am enjoying it a lot. Set just after the American Civil War in Montana, it follows a young man named White Man's Dog as he comes of age. I'm only about 1/3 the way through, and I'm sure it ends tragically. The writing is crisp and to the point, and it is overall a character study set in a specific time and place.

It's a lot more fun to read than A Short Account by Bartolome de Las Casas.


Relevant to my last post here, from my blog: TBT: Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa.

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