What books are you currently reading?


Books

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Scarab Sages

Fumarole wrote:

I just started Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

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

I’ve had a really nice copy of that for a few years now. I’ve really go to get around to reading it.

Scarab Sages

Currently working through Volume 1 of Marvel’s Morbius Epic Collection.


Finally, finally finished with Middle English Syntax. My philological muscles were severely atrophied but I was pleased to find a little effort got them on the road to recovery and I understood most of not only the Old and Middle English without looking things up, but also understood the grammatical points the authors made. Maybe I'll finally read the entirety of my Riverside Chaucer in the near future.

I just finished Dead and Buried by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. It was apparently a novelization of some film I've never heard of, based off a story written by someone else. Perhaps this explains why it wasn't particularly good, film novelizations generally being of notoriously poor quality. Good thing I picked it up cheap at a flea market and have gotten over the need to keep every book I ever owned on my shelves, regardless of quality.


Ron Goulart's Upside Downside was a rather prosaic narrative of greed and conspiracy to amass power, but the portrayal of the distant future of 2033 was entertaining; I couldn't tell if the setting was meant to be satirical or merely a depressing prediction. Not quite as spot-on as Stand on Zanzibar, but there were a few elements that hit a little too close to home.

Now working on an omnibus of the first three of Clive Barker's Books of Blood. I'm rather impressed. He can be quite lyrical in his language if he chooses. The excesses of disgust are less to my taste but it works for the stories he writes.


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I am reading Waiting to Launch: The Untapped Global Potential of Gaelic Games by Eamonn Gormley. I knew a little about the sports of GAA before this, and am learning even more.


Since last update I've read Cart and cwidder, the first of Diana Wynne Jones' Dalemark Quartet, and just started on Drowned Ammet, the second book.

It's Wynne Jones so it's good. Slightly more adult than some of her work, with some young characters acting at times a bit blasé about important people dying, but still a good read.

In the 'not proper books' category, I've also read the fifth volume of the Fist of the North Star collection and "Yona of the Dawn" vol 36 and started on both the Warhammer 40k core book, Space Wolves codex and Castle Falkenstein crb.


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I read the first volume of the comic DIE not long after the collection was published, but that was a few years ago now. Then just last month, I discovered that the public library had four volumes of it, so I snagged 'em all. I just finished Vol. 3 over lunch today. It's a fascinating--if frequently brutal--story, with some amazing art. And for a RPG and literary geek like me, it's fun to see all of the references that have been worked in (both the heavily plot-relevant ones, and the glittery little background details).


It's one of my favorite comics in the last 5-10 years. Bar none.


'The Talmud: A Selection', trans. Norman Solomon, and 'The Knight of the Swords' by Michael Moorcock, the latter for around the the 20th time.


"Drowned Ammet" was good.
Now reading The Spellcoats, third of the Dalemark quartet.

It's shaping up to be good as well. Wynne Jones has yet to disappoint me.


The Spellcoats was one of Wynne Jones' better books, which means it was damn good by any other standards. Currently on The Crown of the Dalemark which suffers from trying to tie the previous three unconnected stories together and doing it in too little space while introducing even more new characters. Still an OK book, but easily the weakest of this quartet, at least so far; maybe it picks up towards the end


Crown of the Dalemark did pick up a little, but had some rather creepy bits right at the end. Bad creepy, not good creepy. This rather surprised me, though I suppose one can rationalize it away if one tries. All in all, CotD was the weakest of the series and felt a bit tacked-on, giving a resolution to a problem that didn't really exist. Some unfortunate degrading character development from protagonists of the previous books. Still, I was mostly entertained all the way through, even if it was a good step down from the author's usual level.

Now rereading The Wizards of Odd, a collection of comic fantasy and SF stories.


I recently finished reading "The Left Hand of Darkness."

A good book that does the build up to nationalism and isolation, both social and physical, really well.

My mind wasn't blown by the exploration of gender, but I figure this is due to my long involvement in scifi and fantasy and that I live in a Post Advent of Left Hand of Darkness World.


Rereading The War agains the Rull by A.E. van Vogt. The titular enemies barely show up in the first half of the book and most of it is concerned with humans vs ezwal. Some dated gender ideals grate a bit more than I remember, but I still enjoy van Vogt.


Just finished The Knights of Madness another collection of comic SF&F. To be honest, some of the stories do not strike me as comical at all, neither in intention or in practice. I know that humor is a subjective thing and all, but some of the choices here were very odd. Still a lot of good stuff, and I recommend it.

Just started rereading Nightside the Long Sun, the first in Gene Wolfe's The Book of the Long Sun tetrology. It's been a while since I read it last and it will be fun to see how much more I understand of it this time around.


Aberzombie wrote:
Fumarole wrote:

I just started Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

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

I’ve had a really nice copy of that for a few years now. I’ve really go to get around to reading it.

Although I don't check these boards nearly as often as I used to, it seems odd that I never noticed this post before. Yeah, I regard the original Foundation trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation) as my favorite science fiction prose series of all time. I read it 3 times. That series began the whole cliche of a Galactic Empire, imitated so many times thereafter. It was pretty awesome to get such a vivid picture of a whole galactic empire just from a few simple conversations. But best of all is its use of psychohistory; just you wait and see!


For a long time, I've been working on reading the 16 original Dragonlance modules from 1984-1988, on and off (mostly off).

Usually, when I read a D&D module, I would read the beginning premise, but then when I get to the details - the room-by-room descriptions, the monster combat tactics, and such - I get bored of it and skim through or utterly skip over large chunks of that stuff. I don't typically read every detail unless I plan - or at least hope - actually to RUN the adventure, which I usually don't.

What interests me in RPGs is the story. I loved the Dragonlance Chronicles novel trilogy, which I read 5 times, and the Dragonlance Legends novel trilogy, which I read 4 times. I got a lot of Dragonlance gaming material and read some parts of it with interest, simply to enhance my understanding of the novels, although I never expected to run anything in the setting.

In 2000, I got a new but affordable reprint of the complete 1st-edition Dragonlance modules - from DL1 though DL16. They were affordable because they were reprinted in miniaturized format. I didn't actually plan to strain my eyes reading those, but I flipped through them. Every now and then I'd feel curious about some detail or other and look that up. Here's an example of one such detail. Or for another example, this post made me curious to look up THAT detail.

But in early 2019, I finally got around to starting to READ the DL module series, thoroughly. And although I found the first module fascinating, after a while the series went the way of most adventures - location descriptions, monster tactics, and details like that. But now and then, I would read a little detail - which I had missed in my brief skim-throughs - that I would find fascinating. That motivated me to read carefully.

Well, okay, I don't claim to have read every word. I certainly didn't scrutinize every stat block. And I skipped some parts which related details I had covered in reading later Dragonlance material in full-size format, which was easier on the eyes. Still, I feel I covered that stuff pretty darn thoroughly.

And because of that attention to detail, I would soon get bored and put the module series down, sometimes for many months at a time. But I would eventually get back to it.

In fact, many of those details are pretty bad. If I ever were to run a "War of the Lance" campaign, I might start with DL1, but I would change the rest of the campaign tremendously. I could go on and on about how I might change it.

I guess I've mentioned this before. In 2020, on this thread, I related reading DL7: Dragons of Light. Here's a link to that post.

And last week, after THREE AND A HALF YEARS of this, I finally finished DL14: Dragons of Triumph from 1986, which brought the whole epic to a conclusion. To me it seems like quite an accomplishment.

Well, that was the REAL end to the series. But I mentioned above that I had the original sixteen modules. I guess that in 1988, in an effort to capitalize on the success of Dragonlance, TSR released DL15 and DL16, consisting mostly of adventures set in the Dragonlance universe. I just started DL15: Mists of Krynn.


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I tend to not read adventures unless I am sure I am going to run them, or at least reasonably sure I will. I guess I am always holding out hope that I will play in them. This means I have a whole lot of adventures for many different RPGs sitting unread in my bookcase, let alone all the ones I have in PDF format.


Fumarole wrote:
I tend to not read adventures unless I am sure I am going to run them, or at least reasonably sure I will. I guess I am always holding out hope that I will play in them.

Heh. Well I must say that if some GM told me "I'm running the DL series; do you want to play?" and I replied "Just as a disclaimer, I read all those modules," there's a good chance that GM would be fine with that. The authors of those modules were very conscious of the possibility that the players might have read the novels, so a lot of the secrets were multiple choice. I mean to say that as written, the modules often have the GM determine - randomly! - what the various secrets - of the gods and such - were. That the secrets were those revealed in the novels was only one of many possibilities.

If I were that GM I would never determine such things randomly but I would definitely make the secrets very different from anything a reader of those modules would expect. And I would stat out many of the monsters and NPCs differently too, for that matter.

I am, of course, only speaking of the original Dragonlance series. I'm not saying that this would apply to any other adventures.


Nightside the Long Sun was goo,d as expected, and I think I got more this time around than I did the first. For some reaosn, the opening sentence has stuck with me ever since I first read it.

Nearly done with The Knights of Madness (I erroneously said I had read it in my last post, but I should have written "The Flying Sorcerers") the third anthology of comic SF&F (++) edited by Peter Haining. More good stuff, though only Spike Milligan's contribution had me giggling out loud so far. Some more stories that don't strike me so much funny as tragic, which I guess gives credence to the idea that comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin.

Also reading the Mummy's Mask AP, getting ready for the last leg in one PC's quest for Immortality.


Currently reading my previous post and shuddering at the typos.

Also reading Gene Wolfe's Lake of the Long Sun, the second of the quartet.


'How To Behave Badly in Renaissance England', by Ruth Goodman. I really, really enjoyed that book.


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I'm reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss. I like that the intro advises the reader not to start with this book, as they will likely be confused if they haven't read The Kingkiller Chronicle books first. The illustrations are also a nice touch.

Scarab Sages

Just finished reading through the Morbius Epic Collection Volume 1. Now I’m working through volume 2. It’s….weird, but fun.

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