What books are you currently reading?


Books

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The end of Piranesi was not as good as the meat of the story. Still a good read, and recommended.

I'm nearly done with "Sword of the Lictor", the third of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. Just read The Kobold's Guide to Worldbuiding a collection of essays on world building by some venerable names in the industry. Some very useful stuff there for those who want to do that sort of thing. Very much written from a D&D perspective, but applicable to pretty much any setting you wish to create.


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About halfway through C.L. Moore's Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams, a collection of her stories featuring Jirel of Joiry and Northwest Smith. the former is something like a cross between King Conan and Red Sonja, set to late Medieval Europe. Lots of trips to the underworld and whatnot, a little too much of Jirel being kissed against her will by strong men, but otherwise enjoyable.

Northwest is basically the lone gunman in space facing off against weird creatures and situations. You'll recognize many cliches and tropes here. I like these stories more than Jirel's.

Scarab Sages

Technically it's not a book, but I recently picked up the Dungeon of the Mad Mage 5E D&D adventure. I've been a long time Undermountain fan, and was jonesing for some new RPG material.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Slogging my way through McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and Dune (both of which I’ve tried for years to get through) making headway on BM but damn Dune is…plodding/boring. I’ve been told to read it, just give it a chance, but it’s not great. Next up is Andy Weir’s project Hail Mary though pretty stoked for that one


Different strokes, I guess. I found Dune to be methodical but fascinating.


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Paulyhedron wrote:
[...] Dune is…plodding/boring. I’ve been told to read it, just give it a chance, but it’s not great.

I'm with you there. I never got the appeal of the book, though I found the movie kinda entertaining.

Scarab Sages

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Paulyhedron wrote:
……but damn Dune is…plodding/boring. I’ve been told to read it, just give it a chance, but it’s not great.

I can understand that. The first time I read it, 30-something years ago, it was hard to get through. Herbert’s writing isn’t for everyone.

Paulyhedron wrote:
Next up is Andy Weir’s project Hail Mary though pretty stoked for that one

I read this one awhile back. Fun book, but I was a bit disappointed at the ending.


Jack Williamsons' Darker than you think. I looked at it on my shelves thought I hadn't read it yet. A couple pages in and I realized I had read it not too long ago - a few years, maybe. I'll skim through it again and then get on to something else.

Otherwise I'm doubling down on the Serpent's Skull AP getting ready to run it.


Hope Mirrlees' Lud-in-the-Mist. Continuing my COVID-19 habit of rereading stuff I've already read instead of buying new books it's time for another one I bought when the Fantasy Masterworks series was releasing. I remember liking it and the first couple of chapters indicate I will like this one as much the second time around.

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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:


Otherwise I'm doubling down on the Serpent's Skull AP getting ready to run it.

Probably could've tossed in Second Darkness AP (converted to Second Edition) as I started 2 weeks ago finally (been prepping this thing on and off since April but schedules man, SCHEDULES can never line up, but they finally did) and session two is Sunday.


Howard and Joseph Toast The Day of Might

Talking about Charles Saunders' Imaro, Conan, and others. It's grand.


Paulyhedron wrote:
Dune is…plodding/boring. I’ve been told to read it, just give it a chance, but it’s not great.

I read Dune in middle school (nearly 40 years ago), because my school library had a pretty good science fiction section. It took quite a while to get through it, but I enjoyed it. I'm not sure if I've tried rereading it since then. I've never tried to read any of the sequels, because my dad (who had read them, or least had tried to) warned me they were largely inpenetrable, with much less of a payoff than the original.


I would argue that Dune Messiah (book 2) is a good place to stop. It develops the problems of prescience and genetic memory more, and is the end of Paul's story.


Now rereading Penelope Love's Castle of Eyes. I remember little of it, and about 1/3 of the way through it's OK. I do like the ancient, decaying, sprawling castle/city idea in general, and the book is upfront about its debt to the Ghormenghast books. The characters are serviceable but little more, and the happenings are functional.

Scarab Sages

I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to reread Whipping Star, one of Frank Herbert’s many non-Dune books. I’ve always loved the main character - Jorj X. McKie, Saboteur Extraordinary. The man with a face like a disgruntled toad.


That's a good one. I reread it in May. Just finished Cavan Scott's "Rising Storm" sequel to "The Light of the Jedi" set in the High Republic, i.e. some decades before TPM. A little better than the previous book, but I don't know if that's because Scott is a better writer than Soule or if it's down to the story developing.

Also started Ann Patchett's The Dutch House. 4 chapters in and it's her normal riveting style. Patchett writes stuff that is not SF&F which means I would normally have little interest in it, but she writes so well I like it all the same.


'The Planets', by Andrew Cohen and Brian Cox, and 'The Sword Of Rhiannon' by Leigh Brackett, both of which were superb, in different ways.

Now reading 'Origins of the Kaballah', by Gershom Scholem.

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There is a reason Blood Meridian has taken me years to get through, but it's a grind. I went digital (kindle) years ago and work has eaten up most of my time (not unusual) so I kept forgetting to charge it. Sitting at about 79% done though.

Other reading is studying to get a hazmat endorsement to perhaps open some door's for me after new year (don't need it per se, but helps to have)

Scarab Sages

I finally started working through Volume 5 of The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith. Once I'm done with that, it'll be the end of a quest that started over 15 years ago, when I first found a copy of Volume 2 during a random visit to a Louisiana Barnes & Noble.


Everyone interested in D&D should read CAS.

The Dutch House was good, as is everything I've read by Patchett.
Continuing on both my leaving the comfortable waters of SF&F behind and finally reading stuff t hat's been on my shelves for years, Mishima Yukio's Spring Snow, the first of his Sea of Fertility quartet. I've barely started so I don't know quite what to think of it other than that the translations of Japanese terms into English ones ever so slightly irritates me.


Reading through Nightwatch by Robin Wayne Bailey ATM, actually rather interesting, it is a murder mystery style novel set in Greyhawk.


Back to the subject of Clark Ashton Smith (who has contributed a few strands of DNA in the mess that is D&D), the Eldritch Dark has a complete collection of his works for free, approved by his family IIRC.


Just finished reading Steelheart, the first in Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series. I may never catch up on everything he has written (he tends to publish at a good clip), and that may not be entirely a bad thing...

Anyhow, finishing a book means I have also begun reading Ernest Cline's Ready Player Two. I'm ready for a comedown after how ridiculously good I found Ready Player One to be; as long as it's serviceable, I'm good.

I'm also listening to Max Hastings' Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 on audiobook on my commute to and from work. So far it's a pretty good general history of WWII, though trying to encompass everything, even in so large a volume, is a Herculean task.


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I am a few pages into Queen of Thorns by Dave Gross. It's not grabbing me so far, and I may have to switch to something else. I'm not particularly into the protagonists (like others around these forums seem to be), nor do elves or stories about them generally do anything for me. If I switch perhaps I'll came back to this when I am more in a Pathfinder Tales mood.


A.E. van Vogt's "Ptath", for the third time. I have a bunch of van Vogt and am slowly rereading him. After that, probably more Mishima.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Return of the Shadow by Christopher Tolkien.

A History of the Byzantine State and Society by Warren Treadgold.

A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman.


My journey of rediscovery of the books I have read but forgotten their content and the reading of unread books gathering dust on my shelves is temporarily put on hold after a trip to the used book store. John Sladek's Roderik is first up.


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Fumarole wrote:
Paulyhedron wrote:
[...] Dune is…plodding/boring. I’ve been told to read it, just give it a chance, but it’s not great.
I'm with you there. I never got the appeal of the book, though I found the movie kinda entertaining.

Complete opposite here. The movie was beautiful but boring and explained absolutely nothing about the Kwisatz Haderach. The book is the greatest science fiction novel ever published, bar none.


Roderick was a mixed bag. The satire was mostly fun but the book was kind of a mess with a lack of focus and a poor attempt at meta humor towards the end.

On to Bob Shaw's One Million Tomorrows. Drugs can stop aging (and disease, apparently, though this is not explicitly stated) at the cost of reproductive ability and libido in men. Some interesting ideas about what society would look like but nothing too amazing so far, and some distasteful opinions of gay people, like how the 'cools' (no libido immortals) are often assumed to be gay for some reason and this is bad.


'Origins of the Kabbalah' was not an easy read - very technical; 'I Contain Multitudes: The microbes within us and a grander view of live', as well as being excellent, is a lot easier to take in.

'Spell Of The Witch World', by Andre Norton, was also well worth it.


Sheri Tepper's A Plague of Angels, featuring the weird societies that spring up on Earth after most of humanity left for the stars. Tepper is a good writer, and anyone who likes LeGuin should give her a try.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Finished Blood Meridian. Damn good story. Read the Magpie Coffin (Wile E. Young) as it was a freebie on kindle (splatter western/deadlands type stuff), and picked up Blackwing by Ed McDonald that I am currently enjoying. Will get to the Weir book later.


Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War Paperback – May 24, 2016
by P. W. Singer (Author), August Cole (Author)
4.2 out of 5 stars 2,414 ratings


I finished the book about microbes, which was great, but I wish they'd told me at the beginning that live yoghurt was pretty much a waste of money before I went out and bought some.

Presently reading 'Everyman's Talmud' by Revd. Dr. A Cohen, with 'The Sword Man's Vade Mecum', by William Hope, waiting in the wings.


"A plague of angels" was rather on the nose with its preachiness, even by Tepper's standards. Still enjoyable.

Now on to Robin Hobb's Dragon Haven, second in her Rain Wild Chronicles series.


I finished Cline's Ready Player Two; not as good as Ready Player One, but well-done, nonetheless. He managed to make it feel like a natural continuation of the story rather than the "oh, crap, this was popular, now I suppose I have to write a sequel" thing that sometimes happens with an unexpectedly mega-selling title.

Currently reading another of Cline's, Armada.


Dragon Haven was probably a bit better than the first book in the series. Iæll be picking up the rest at some point in the new year.

Now reading Philip José Farmer's Dayworld. He does try to make the future look a bit different but it's obvious to tell it's mostly superficial, a new paint job overlaid on a solid basis of his time. I'm not far enough into it to say anything about the story yet.

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Finished Blackwing, its ok not sure if I want to read the rest. However did pick up my copy of Hogfather by Sir Terry Pratchett (rip) for it's yearly seasonal reading. We lost a treasure when he passed on.

Scarab Sages

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I finally finished volume 5 of The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith (thus completing all five volumes). Next up, I pulled Smoke Ghost & Other Apparitions by Fritz Leiber off the shelf.


Jordan Ifueko's Redemptor sequel to Raybearer. African flavored young adult fantasy. Decent, and with a little more experience the author has potential to become quite a good writer.

Scarab Sages

Currently reading The Book of the Vishanti, billed as “A Magical Exploration of the Marvel Universe”.

It’s pretty cool so far, giving information on various mystical beings, locations, and even spells and magic items from throughout the Marvel Universe. It presents itself as actual pages from the Book of the Vishanti, so the page numbers jump around.


Close to done with Lindsay Ellis' Axiom's End. It's OK. Easy to read, decent pacing, no characters that annoy me. As far as first contacts and making aliens seem alien go, it's all been done before and better.

Scarab Sages

A Republic, If You Can Keep It by Neil Gorsuch

I picked this up not long after it first came out. Finally getting around to reading it. Hopefully, that’s a sentence I’ll be repeating with greater frequency.


Aberzombie wrote:
Finally getting around to reading it. Hopefully, that’s a sentence I’ll be repeating with greater frequency.

I hear you.

I read the final volume of Otomo Katsuhiro's Akira yesterday. I'm still impressed how he managed to rewrite the story to work in a single movie.

Now reading Sheri Tepper's Shadows End. So far much of the world-building is reminiscent of Le Guin's Hainish stories, and the story itself is quite strong.


I've just started reading Cinema & Sorcery, a guide to the sword-and-sorcery film genre. It was a Christmas gift, and I've enjoyed the first couple of entries that I've read so far.


I finished the first volume of Fist of the North Star yesterday. So cheesy, so wonderful.


'The Secret Network of Nature', by Peter Wohlleben;

A biography of Frederick Barbarossa, by
Marcel Pacault;

'We', by Yevgeny Zamyatin;

And issue number six of 'Tales From The Magician's Skull, an excellent magazine full of contemporary Sword and Sorcery stories.


'Eminent Victorians' by Lytton Strachey. It's frickin hilarious.


Another year past, and the malaise that has sapped my pre-pandemic reading habits continues.

Books Read in 2021
1. Rage of Dragons (The Burning Book 1) by Evan Winter
2. Rhythm of War (Stormlight Archive Book 4) by Brandon Sanderson
3. The Night Without Stars (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers Book 2) by Peter F. Hamilton
4. Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross
5. The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth Trilogy, Book 2) by N. K. Jemison
6. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
7. Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg
8. The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth Trilogy, Book 3) by N. K. Jemison

My Top Three::

Rage of Dragons was definitely my favorite from this list, and screams for an adaptation as either an action film or a anime series. I'm sure later books in the series will probably slow down as the main character acquires some maturity, but for now, this is an adolescent power fantasy firing on all cylinders, set in a dark world with a great deal of potential for future stories.

N. K. Jemison's Broken Earth Trilogy is a literary work with complex characters, distinctive magic, solid science-fantasy worldbuilding, and unflinching real-world allegory. While I'm more of an escapist reader, I respect these books for what they bring to the genre and they deserve, collectively, the #2 spot on my list.

Spinning Silver is a superior sequel to Uprooted, a feminist remix of Eastern European faerie tales and mythology. While there are some aspects I wasn't extremely keen on, this was an enjoyable read that took some interesting turns.

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