What books are you currently reading?


Books

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I'm beginning to dig into dig into a couple of Christmas gifts recently, while on a road trip to drop my oldest daughter off at school. First up is Brandon Sanderson's Firefight, the second of the Reckoners trilogy. After that is Orson Scott Card's The Last Shadow, the final book in both his Ender and Bean series, which have been (sort of) running along parallel paths.


Shadow's End was quite good for most of the book, but had a rather odd and somewhat disappointing climax.

Now reading the Goodman Games edition of The Isle of Dread. I'm impressed so far.


About half way through Xiran Jay Zhao's Iron Widow. I like it so far. It's sort of like Handmaid's Tale meets Pacific Rim/The Great Wall.
And you have to like an author whose picture in the book is of them in a cow onesie.


Just started Philip Jose Farmer's To your scattered bodies go, first book in his Riverworld saga. 1/6 of the way through and it's passable so far.

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Robert Ranting wrote:

8. The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth Trilogy, Book 3) by N. K. Jemison

Spoiler:
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.

I decided to read the Broken Earth trilogy after getting into NK Jemison because of her excellent comic book series about the Green Lantern Sojourner 'Jo' Mullein, and wow, it was an *intense* book about a really interesting protagonist. (Hard to call her a 'hero,' she's way more three-dimensional than that, and can be her own worst enemy, at times.)

The world-building was insanely interesting, given that it was so heavily slanted towards heavy characterization, and I think she balanced it really well, not going too far in one direction or the other.


N.K Jemison is a great writer. Her series was and is/remains groundbreaking for the fact it's not your typical fantasy.


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I've been reading LOTR to my girlfriend for a few weeks now. It honestly holds up. What an achingly ornate, beautiful series. The movies are wonderful, but I have honestly come full-circle on them vs. the books: the books have much more beautiful themes and characterization, even if the movies present it all a lot more clearly and easily.

Also, Tom Bombadil and the whole Old Forest sequence mostly sucks, but the Barrows more than make up for it. Absolutely terrifying.


Kobold Catgirl wrote:

I've been reading LOTR to my girlfriend for a few weeks now. It honestly holds up. What an achingly ornate, beautiful series. The movies are wonderful, but I have honestly come full-circle on them vs. the books: the books have much more beautiful themes and characterization, even if the movies present it all a lot more clearly and easily.

Also, Tom Bombadil and the whole Old Forest sequence mostly sucks, but the Barrows more than make up for it. Absolutely terrifying.

Yeah. I don't really mind Bombadil personally, but I can't even imagine how to do him on film, but the price of that is losing the barrow sequence, which was a real loss.


Bombadil gets better, but his introduction is just... so much. I love it, but it also sucks.


To your Scattered Bodies Go picked up a bit but I'm not sure I will go out of my way to find the rest of the series.

Just started on Roger Zelazny's Isle of the Dead. It had a strong opening, though some of the set up was slightly marred by how things centuries in the future will still be basically the same as mid 20th century USA, like cuisine and the use of checks to transfer money.

Scarab Sages

For absolutely no reason whatsoever, I started rereading the Dragonlance Chronicles.

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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Just started on Roger Zelazny's Isle of the Dead. It had a strong opening, though some of the set up was slightly marred by how things centuries in the future will still be basically the same as mid 20th century USA, like cuisine and the use of checks to transfer money.

Isle of the Dead is a neat one, particularly it's light brush on concepts like alien religion, but Lord of Light and Creatures of Light and Darkness are two of my faves!

Zelazny sure did like his immortal protagonists, 'tho. :)


A biography of Chairman Mao by Jonathan Spence, which was interesting, if a little too short. Now reading another book on Kabbalah by Gershon Scholem.


I don't remember much of Lord of Light but for some reason I think of it similar to van Vogt's Ptath. Maybe I'm just grossly misremembering. I'll have to reread LoL soon - once I'm done rereading all the other stuff on my list.
Now on to Sheri Tepper's The Awakeners, which had a strong start, as most her books do. The basic set-up of the world is surprisingly similar to Riverworld, the first book of which I read last week. Civilization set on a large river which appears to move in a circle. Some neat ideas to steal for a game (you'll find this in all her books).


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I'm currently reading Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven. It's about what you'd expect from a such a book. It's quite small, and I expect to be done with it pretty quickly after having received it for Christmas.


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I am now reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Somehow this one has eluded me over the years, but now I have a chance to read this classic of American literature.


Finished The Last Shadow; the only frustrating part is that it didn't seem to have a real ending, as in tying up all of the plot threads and giving a tidy conclusion. It did, however, give a satisfactory dispensation of the extant characters and openings for other stories, though I imagine if that happens, Card himself doesn't expect to be the one to write them.

I'm now reading Brothers of the Wind, a prequel-ish story by Tad Williams set in Osten Ard. I'm curious as to how it will relate to the upcoming conclusion to his current epic, though it is a sufficient story in itself and gives good background to the setting.


Just finished Gravbøygen våkner ("The Gravebent wakes"), Norwegian children's fantasy. It was ....OK, I guess. Maybe I'm just spoiled by having read little other than very good authors recently.

On to Gene Wolfe's The Urth of the New Sun, continuing my rereading of my collection.


Years ago, I watched a certain TV show, one episode of which took place during the Prohibition. The two main characters (who, incidentally, were falling in love with each other) were just trying to make their way in the world but got caught in the midst of a gang war. That episode definitely could have used some revision - the beginning was boring and the show pulled the plug too soon, just when the story was at its most interesting - but I thought the story had tremendous potential.

After that, I started seeking out novels set in that era. I tried several but so far I thought only one was good enough to make me finish it. (That was Come Hell or Highball which I described on this thread 3 years ago. Here's a link to that post.)

But now I'm reading another such novel that I expect to finish this week. It's called Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown. The two main characters (who, incidentally, were falling in love with each other) were just trying to make their way in the world but got caught in the midst of a gang war. Only this time, the beginning was NOT boring! This book started with a bang. Literally. Just read the first chapter and you'll see what I mean.

The book is far from perfect. One subplot in particular seemed dull and extraneous and I thought it should have been pruned out. But maybe I'm wrong; maybe its significance will become clearer later in the book. But except when slogging through that subplot, I've been greatly enjoying the book. And I have faith that this story will come to a satisfying conclusion.


Just finished Brian Aldiss' Cryptozoic. It's not his best. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the premise, which is weird considering it isn't worse than any other time travel issues.

Now on to Jack Vance's The Dying Earth. The first couple of pages are all that are needed to remind me why this book is a classic and where so much of D&D comes from.


The Dying Earth was as enjoyable as I remembered. Since I have a compilation book of the Cugel stories as well as The Dying Earth, I'm now on Eyes of the Overworld. I recall liking TDE better than the Cugel stories, however entertaining they were, so we'll see if that holds true this time around as well.


Just finished Cugel's saga and Rhialto the Marvellous. Cugel is an unpleasant sort and while he is constantly being taken advantage of he royally deserves it. There are few truly sympathetic characters at the end of the world, but it is a fascinating trip nonetheless. Rhialto is a tad more likable but less fun to read about but you get a lot more magic in these stories.
All in all, enjoyable for everyone who wants to see where some of D&D came from and anyone looking to expand their vocabulary and obfuscation skills.

Now reading Charlie Stross' Invisible Sun, the last story of his Merchant Princes/Family Trade series. I've only barely started and it is already rather intense, with Stross' usual easy to read and exciting style.


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I've started The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme by John Keegan. It's seems appropriate, given the state of the world.

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Fumarole wrote:
I've started The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme by John Keegan. It's seems appropriate, given the state of the world.

Pretty much anything by Keegan is worth reading


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pauljathome wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
I've started The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme by John Keegan. It seems appropriate, given the state of the world.
Pretty much anything by Keegan is worth reading

I'll keep that in mind. This is the first work of his that I've read.


I am rereading Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days.


Invisible Sun felt a tad rushed in places but on the whole was a worthy finale to the series.

Currently reading the Mwangi Expanse, having finally gotten hold of a copy. Half way through and on the whole it appears to be quite a nice book, even if it is painfully 'woke', with precious little by the way of interesting flaws in the otherwise fun cultures presented. The section on geography and adventure hooks is damn near perfect.


'The Accursed Share' by Georges Bataille, which is hard work, but worth it, and the 'Vaults of Vaarn' zine by Leo Hunt, a science fantasy RPG - kind of like a cross between Dune and Gamma World. I like it.

Also listening to the Elric of Melnibone audiobook. Not a bad job.


Goodman Games' edition of "The Lost City", which is shaping up to be as good as their Isle of Dread adaptation. The introductory commentaries and interviews with authors (if possible) or others closely involved in the creation of the modules is fascinating.

When I visit my favorite used book store I make it a point to pick up something by an SF&F author I haven't tried before. This time it's Colin Kapp, with The Patterns of Chaos. I've only barely started but it's off to a good start, with an interesting set up and glimpses of strange cultures.


Technically I've also been reading the Wrath & Glory core book, The Forsaken System Player's Guide and Blessings Unheralded for game night but for some reason I don't tend to count RPGs I'm actually using as reading.


When last I visited the used book store I picked up Asimov's Robots and Empire, forgetting that I already had it. This is increasingly the case when buying books. I suspect I've read it not only once before but twice: I've just barely started reading it and I'm remembering a surprising amount. I'll just have to donate it to a colleague once I've finished rereading it. There are some budding nerds at work and I do whatever I can to encourage them.


Green Ronin's Kickstarter for Cthulhu Awakens has prompted me to pull out and start rereading HPL's The Dunwich Horror and Others.


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I think I've read one book in the last twenty years (not game books but "regular" books...lol). It's an anxiety/depression thing that keeps me from focusing and retaining what I read so I always give up after ten pages or so. BUT...I just downloaded The Lazarus Taxa by Lindsey Kinsella. It's a time travel, sci-fi thriller which follows the first scientific expedition through time to the Late Cretaceous. I haven't started it yet, but I'm really looking forward to starting it this week.


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I'm sorry to hear that. And here I thought 6 months without recreational reading (and 8 years of decreased capacity once I started again) was bad. :(

I hope you make it through and to the point where you can enjoy reading again.

Nearly finished with The Pirate Planet by Douglas Adams and James Goss. Full of Adams' humor, D4 whimsy and nice and short so that it only takes a couple hours (if that) to finish. I also picked up the novelization of Shada and will get to that soon, but first I will read Susan Cooper's Mandrake.


Mandrake was pretty good for the most part. Good idea and progression, great for stealing for an RPG, stumbling at the climax. Sadly there were few unfortunate bits like someone being described as 'obviously, aggressively lesbian and giving off rape-y vibes and not in a good way' (not an exact quote but the content is the same). Eesh.

Now on to a collection of Doc Smith's short stories.


Doc Smith's stories were fun, even if the old 'vibrant but useless women end up as trophies for the men' trope grated.

Now reading Charlie Stross' Quantum of Nightmares, the second novel in his New Management series, the sequel series to his Laundry Files. The first book in the series was heavily flavored with "Peter and Wendy", more commonly known as "Peter Pan", and those who know Stross will not be surprised to learn that he leans far more into the darker sides of the original than the tidied-up Disney version. QoN does the same with Mary Poppins and so far it is quite good.

Also reading Litanies for the Lost, a collection of adventures for Wrath And Glory (commonly contracted to WanG, which tickles my juvenile sense of humor), for game nights.


'Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities' by Bettany Hughes.


Quantum of Nightmares is probably Stross' most graphic and disturbing book yet, easily equalling the Golden Promise Ministries stuff in "The Apocalyse Codex" and probably exceeding them (depending a little on what triggers you most). All in all, an excellent story.

On to Shada, the novelization of a lost Doctor Who episode (if you've seen the Five Doctors, the little bit with D4 is from Shada), written by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts. Some bits were recycled into Dirk Gently, and only 3 chapters in I'm having a good time of it.


Shada was very good. Save the universe size with fun characters, lots of Adamsian jokes, and not feeling quite so pretentious as much of nuWho.

Now on to Stephen Baxter's Ring, a novel of his Xeelee Sequence stories, and the first I've read. A couple chapters in and it's interesting. We'll see how it plays out.


Ring was interesting, but I feel like I was missing much of the background story. Maybe I'll have to look into getting the rest of the books in the sequence.

Now reading "A science fiction omnibus", edited by Brian Aldiss. Excellent, as one can expect. I've read several of the stories before, some of them quite recently, but they are all (so far) definitely worth reading and rereading.


The one question I have about "A science fiction omnibus" is why Asmiov was given two stories but Clarke none. Some bias might be involved in that question.

Now on to A Middle English Syntax, part 1 by Tauno F Mustanoja. It'ss from 1960 so it's probably a bit lacking, though hopefully not actually wrong.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
The one question I have about "A science fiction omnibus" is why Asmiov was given two stories but Clarke none. Some bias might be involved in that question. ...

If you are talking about the 2007 book, then by this time Clarke's pedophilia had been well established and it could be he is being cancelled by book makers. dunno.


Bleh, I'd managed to forget those allegations. I thought the accusations turned out to bunk, though. I haven't thought about that for years and never dug into the situation to any great degree so there may be stuff I'm unaware of.
You might be right about the reason for Clarke's omission, but then Asimov should probably have been left out for being a creepy groper.


ME grammar is put on hold after 300 pages while I dive in to a belated Christmas present that recently arrived from my sister and her husband (who are both in academia and have two small kids so delays are to be expected): Ben Aaronovich's "The Rivers of London". So far seems like it could have been written by a less black humored Charlie Stross.


Rivers of London felt like Aaronovich wanted to write a Laundry Files fanfic but changed just enough to avoid plagiarism. Magic was less 'Platonic math accessing other universes and puts you in danger of summoning a GOO' and more 'Lukyanenko's Night Watch with a dash of Ars Magica". Entertaining, and I may even read the other books at some point.

Back to ME grammar. Now on to numbers.

Scarab Sages

I’m currently working my way through Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 2.

After that, I might switch over to something from Neil Gaiman. I’ve got the bug for his writing again, since attending An Evening with Neil Gaiman Sunday night (my wife is awesome).


'Black and British', by David Olusuga, and 'Seven Heroes and Five Gallants', an old Chinese tale of derring-do.


The Best of H.P. Lovecraft - Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre

I found this at a flea market a couple weeks back and bought it. Unlike the other times I've bought used books I already have on my shelf, this time it was intentional, since I'm going to pass it on to some budding nerds at work. Since he's on vacation now, I decided to re-read this one. Last time was the better part of 30 years ago. It's interesting to see how my perception of the stories has changed. I still like them but I am less entranced when I read them. Jaded with age, I guess.


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I just started Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

Also, this thread is almost at 10k posts. We seem to be voracious readers.

Scarab Sages

I’m almost through Book 5 of Saga of the Swamp Thing. After that, I’ll work through Book 6. Then I’ll go through a Gaiman book or three.

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