Hey, Whatcha Readin’?

So, I’m spending most of the day away from the Internets again, and today’s excuse is that I’m caught up in a book, in this case Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, one because I’m interviewing him this week, and two because it’s just plain great. So while I’m off reading today, let me ask: What are you reading right now? And why? And how is it?

274 Comments on “Hey, Whatcha Readin’?”

  1. I’m reading AMERICAN ELSEWHERE by Robert Jackson Bennett. I’ve collected his previous novels but, I’m ashamed to say, never got around to reading them. But when American Elsewhere was announced, I was immediately intrigued by the concept and the stunning cover, so as soon as it arrived I dived straight in.

    And I’m so glad I did, because it is exquisite. Bennett is a superb writer, and this hefty tome is full of mystery and intrigue, and rock-solid characterisation, almost in a King-like way.

    Highly recommended!

  2. Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, because it’s one I’ve never read, but always meant to.

    So far it’s bloody good! (But I expected that)

  3. Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong. It’s the first in a detective series set in modern Shanghai. Like the best sci-fi (which this ain’t), the book immerses you in a culture unfamiliar to you. The icing on the cake is that the writer calls St. Louis his home.

  4. “Cocktail Time,” by P.G. Wodehouse (1958). A comic novel about the goings-on and misunderstandings and impostures caused by the publication of a scandalous novel, “Cocktail Time.” A funny book, by the master of funny writing. The reason I’m reading it: Because reading Wodehouse is always better than not reading Wodehouse.

  5. I’m rereading the DARK TOWER series right now, and I’m currently on WOLVES OF THE CALLA. I started rereading the books with a group of people who’ve never read them before, and I’m really enjoying it. This is my all-time favorite series.

    While rereading this series, I realized that there are so many King books I haven’t read, and since the DT series ties a big majority of them together, I decided to start reading all of King’s books in order of publication. The next one I’ll be reading is ROADWORK (a Bachman book).

    I’m also reading REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier for a book club. I’m not very far into it, but the writing is fantastic.

  6. Just finished ‘River of Stars’ by Guy Gavriel Kay. I thought the second half of the book was much better than the first half. I read it it because GGK is one of my favorite authors.

  7. Several books by P. G. Wodehouse are available on gutenberg.org. I’m reading “The Girl on the Boat.” What a way with words that man had!

  8. I’m half-way through Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. I had to stop reading it last night because it was scaring the jeebies out of me and I needed to get a good night’s sleep. So yes, it’s wonderfully entertaining.

  9. @Michael Walsh: You have excellent taste. Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are the best.

  10. (Fantastic is a little vague.) Mitford was one of the notorious Mitford sisters of aristocratic 1930s England–she became a Communist and muckracking journalist while her sisters were, respectively, a novelist, farmer, Blackshirt, Fascist who tried to kill herself for love of Hitler, and the Duchess of Devonshire. Mitford ended up running away first to the civil war in Spain and then to America. I’m currently at the part of the book where she’s making trenchant observations about New Yorkers that are still accurate today.

  11. I just finished Tash Aw’s third novel FIVE STAR BILLIONAIRE. I liked it quite a bit, especially the human face on the manic pace of life and work in Shanghai, as well as the examination of identity and deception, but was disappointed by the ending, which didn’t quite fulfill the promise of the previous 400 pages.

  12. Finishing off Snuff by Terry Pratchett, then picking back up the rest of the Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross. And then Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells just arrived, so she’s next. Looks like a good day in the hammock here in North Carolina!

  13. Carrie Vaughn’s “Kitty Rocks the House”. Excellent. Really ratcheting up the tension in the arc of the series, in a good way…
    Also finishing “Who I Am” by Pete Townshend. Very good, in an appalling way. He doesn’t cover up his misdeeds or his awful personality..

  14. I picked up “Confederacy Of Dunces” because it is one of those books that everyone raves about but nobody seems to have ever read. Got it Friday, but my old friend decided to visit and that never allows me to read because I might enjoy reading/

  15. I’m rereading Lev Grossman’s ‘The Magicians,’ because it’s just plain fantastic. Though the second one, ‘The Magician King,’ while good, is not quite as far up there as the first one, I’m very interested to see how the third one turns out in 2014.

  16. I started reading the current B-Team episode on Friday night…didn’t get far yet, because this weekend I always picked it up after coming home, which usually was some time between Midnight and 4AM ;-) And I’m rereading A Song of Ice and fire again, until I stumble upon something that tickles my fancy. Might have to browse through the last big ideas again, I found some treasure there, so thanks :D

  17. Hi, I’m reading Chris Allen’s “Hunter (Intrepid, #2)”. It’s one I agreed to review. I have to reserve any comments about it for now. Oddly, if I wasn’t reading a book for review, I’d probably be reading two or three! I guess I’m concentrating harder :)

  18. I’m reading the anthology Armored, from Baen, edited by John Joseph Adams. So far I haven’t found a bad story in it yet and have enjoyed almost all of them. If you like mecha/power suits, this is a good anthology for you.

  19. Oh, a short book called Redshirts. You probably haven’t heard of it. ;-)

    Seriously, I realized I’ve read and owned four of the five Hugo Nominees for Best Novel, so I figured I didn’t need to wait for the voter’s packet to show up (at least for novels, and for some of the short work as well). I’m reading in reverse alphabetical order by author, because the one I don’t own is Saladin Ahmed’s book (it’s on my wishlist), so by the time I finish the other four, I can have it shipped from Amazon.

    So, after I get through the codas, I’m picking up 2312 again.

  20. I just finished Dan Brown’s “Deception Point” last night. It was a departure from the kind of stuff I normally read. I enjoyed it, but I’m not going to rush out and buy the rest of his books. I’m just about to start Cassandra Claire’s “Mortal Instruments” series on my wife’s recommendation, another departure, but I have high hopes. On the audiobook, listen-on-my-commute front, I’m working my way through the librivox.org recordings of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I’ve finished “A Study in Scarlet” and “The Sign of the Four,” and I’m down to the last few stories in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” Librivox recordings are always a crap shoot. Some of the readers ate excellent and some aren’t.

  21. The Complete Far Side because its fun and educational! Also Nate Silver’s (witch!) The Signal and the Noise which is great information on calibrating the quantity and quality of our knowledge.

  22. Simultaneously working through Gene Wolfe’s “Citadel of the Autarch” and 2000 A.D.’s first omnibus edition of “Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files,” which feels kind of like jumping back and forth between a really cold swimming pool and a really crowded hot tub.

  23. The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, by David Simon and Edward Burns – the incredibly journalistically detailed basis for the 2000 HBO miniseries The Corner, which I haven’t seen.

  24. I’m finally reading Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom series, because everything he writes is awesome. So far, so good – I can see it’s not nearly as dark as his Old Kingdom series, at least not as yet. As usual his characters are interesting and there is so much depth hinted at that I just want to devour all seven books.

  25. I finished the Geektastic anthology just last night. Sadly, most of the stories were appallingly bad, and most of the non-appalling ones also had an eyebrow-worthy bit here or there. Kelly Link’s fully embraced the eyebrow-worthiness of its subject, as one would expect, so it gets a pass.

  26. I’m reading /editing the second novel of a friend of mine. it’s slow going, but interesting. He ‘s got some interesting ideas, but his writing needs help

  27. I’m reading Shattered Pillars, the sequel to Range of Ghosts. It is epic and awesome, and has a truly horrifying plague and a great roof-top chase scene and the most fascinating use of fire magic via applied science that I’ve seen yet.

    And I would’ve finished a week ago–it is damn good and fast and thrilling–except for being so very, very busy.

  28. PS Really enjoying the whole series, and so far, The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads is no exception!

  29. You ask at a strange point — I don’t have a current fiction book, having yesterday finished several (Larry Correta, Hard Magic, adventure in a world where some have magic, a grim tale that feels like a 1930’s gangster movie; and Heinlein, starting with Time Enough For Love through To Sail Beyond The Sunset in publication order, scary when you look at current USAian politics.) Looking at the pile, next will be Steven Pressfield, Last of the Amazons, and Sarah Hoyt, Ill Met By Moonlight, both chosen because I’ve liked some of the authors’ other works.

  30. I’m in between books right now. I just finished “The Truth of Valor” by Tanya Huff, and her whole Confederation series is so amazing that I ask myself why I didn’t discover her years ago. Excellent Military SF.

    Next up on my stack of books to read is “Homeland” by Cory Doctorow. Since I liked “Little Brother” a lot, I’m having high hopes for this one as well.

  31. Les Miserables, because I feel I should. Its a good book, but its a hard read so I had a break to read the first (chronologically) Buffy comic book yesterday and am also re-reading Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce along with Mark Reads. The Buffy was a nice light read and I love all of Tamora Pierce’s work so would definitely recommend that (although I recommend starting at the beginning, not on book four of quartet 2).

  32. Arc of Justice – an account of the KKK’s rise in Detroit in the 1920s, race relations in the country in the first quarter of the 20th century, and how it all came together when a black doctor tried to move into a white neighborhood. The Klan organized a mob, which stoned and stormed the house, someone fired from inside the house, and a white man died. The resulting trial became a national sensation, with Clarence Darrow becoming lead defense counsel on behalf of the fledgling NAACP.

    Fascinating reading, especially since my family was living in the same part of Detroit at the time.

  33. I’m reading Jon Katz’s Virtuous Reality (1997), because I’m always interested in someone else’s take on how society relates to new media and popular culture. It’s interesting as a snapshot of the media universe when the O. J. Simpson trial was recent, the web was new, and AOL was still relevant . . . but less so as a vehicle for Katz’s central argument. I agree with his argument — that the widespread moral panic over the social effects of new media and popular culture (ginned up by politicians, traditional media, and self-appointed guardians of decency) is foolish, misguided, and detrimental to society — and I’m finding it depressingly relevant, even 16 years on, but I don’t think he does a good job building a sustained case for it.

    I’m also reading Sleepwalking Through History (1991), Haynes Johnson’s first-draft-of-history take on the United States during the Reagan and early George H. W. Bush administrations, because I turned 18 the year Reagan took office and this was the backdrop to my young-adulthood. It’s excellent as long-form journalism — clear-eyed, impeccably sourced, thoughtful — and fails as history only to the extent that it doesn’t have the benefit of the long view on the repercussions of the events it describes.

  34. For fun I’m currently reading The Secrets of the FBI by Ronald Kessler and the e-book I spent this morning with, John Dies at the End by David Wong (AKA Jason Pargin). When I finish those two, next up will be Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber and The Unincorporated Woman by the Kollin brothers.

    For research I’m slowly chipping away (because school and the dojo come first) at:

    Virtual History: Alternatives And Counterfactuals by Niall Ferguson
    Japan’s Cultural Code Words by Boye Lafayette De Mente
    Fatherland by Robert Harris
    Hitler’s Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe by Mark Mazower
    Rising Sun Victorious: An Alternate History of the Pacific War and Third Reich Victorious: Alternate Decisions of World War II both by Peter Tsouras.

    Alas, it turns out that writing alternate history correctly entails a lot more research than future or even future-present SF. One guess what the alt history deals with.

    Later today, after I’m finished training, I’ll be sitting down to do some post-production on the sonata allegro, Rondo Reveille, I composed for my latest novella, so I will doubtless be breaking out my well-worn copy of Gibson’s The Art of Mixing because this is the first part of a relatively compact symphony that, while by no means my longest work to date, is a good order of magnitude more ambitious than my prior compositions. I freely admit that I tend to fill out my music with solos because when you have to score, arrange, perform and mix every frickin’ part of the orchestra, you tend to trim the fat.

    Theoretically I should spend an hour or two cleaning at some point today, but I’m an experimentalist, not a theoretician :-)

  35. “The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordon, for the first time.
    There are some series that I want to wait to read until they’re complete. Game of Thrones is one. The Dresden Chronicles isn’t. I’m not really sure what distinguishes the two.
    I started reading The Wheel of Time when it first came out and realized it would be one I wanted to wait for before I was a third of the way through. So I’ve waited.

  36. I am re-reading “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett because I will be giving it away on World Book Night, April 23.

    I’m not very far in and I realize that though I know the book is hilarious I have fogotten then level of humor these two wonderful gentleman took the story.

  37. I’m reading Threshhold by Ryk E. Spoor & Eric Flint. A modern take for my childhood reading of E.E “Doc” Smith. It’s more rigorous, full of even neater science, and with deeper characters, but still has the same rollicking pace of increasing capabilities. A delightful read. These guys know how to tell tales.

  38. First – thank you for asking this question – I’m using the comments to choose the next books for my reading list.

    Second – I generally have a bunch of books going at once, that’s why my list has more than one book in it. I usually read a few pages of several of the books each evening, and then many pages of the book that most grabs me that evening. I read *every* evening – don’t own a TV. NF = non-fiction, F obviously = fiction

    Not in any particular order, the books I’m now reading are:
    * Mastery, by Robert Greene (so far it’s really irritating me so I might not finish it) NF
    * The Soul Consortium, by Simon West-Bulford (I sorta like it sometimes, like it quite a bit the rest of the time) F
    * First Lord’s Fury, Book six of the Codex Alera (this series doesn’t grab me as much as the Dresden Files does) F
    * This is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, by Daniel J Levitin (fascinating stuff, though some info is a wee bit dated as book was published in 2006) NF
    * The Book of Killowen, by Erin Hart (halfway through and liking it because what’s not to like about solving the mystery of the murder of a hundreds of years old bog man found in the trunk of a car buried in that bog?) F
    * Marathon Man, by William Goldman (saw the movie back in the day, it really freaked me out – decided it was time to see if that freak-out was because of the story or my youth) F
    * The World Is Sound – Nada Brahma: Music and the Landscape of Consciousness, by Joachim-Ernest Berendt (fascinating reading, thought provoking) NF
    * Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue, by Marc Spitz (I’m not a Stones fan – so shoot me – but since my current writing projects are about music, I’ve been reading musician bios) NF

  39. I’m reading A GRAVE IN GAZA. It’s #2 in the Omar Yussef mystery series, written by Matt Benyon rees, longtime British journalist in Jerusalem. Omar Yussef is a Palestinian teacher who works at a UN-run school on the West Bank, and the mysteries unsentimentally explore the mess that is life in contemporary Palestine.

  40. I’m always reading two books at the same time. Right now I’m reading Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow. It’s a little slow in the beginning, but I trust Cory to whack me in the head at some point. The other is Vagina by Naomi Wolf. The book is incredible. There is so much in it that neither I nor my friends (men and women both) know. Why is this information so buried? Oh, right.

  41. Got immediately sucked in to The Fault in Our Stars. Way outside my normal range, but the praise I kept seeing for it made me pick it up. I think the comment that tipped the scales for me was when i saw it listed on the Hugo noms post.

  42. Oops – you all know that First Lord’s Fury, Book six of the Codex Alera, is by Jim Butcher, but just in case…

  43. Last night I finished “The Global Minotaur” by Yanis Varoufakis. It’s a deep dive into why the economy has worked the way it’s worked since the Great Depression, and it’s proof of Wm. Gibson’s belief that reality has caught up to science fiction. You get to see the underpinnings of the modern world, in tatters.

    After that, cleaning up Silver’s “The Signal And The Noise,” which I’ve savored in chapter sized bites for a few months and Anne Applebaum’s “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956,” which is alternate history for the non-fiction crowd.

    Scott A.

  44. Two novels going: C.J. Cherryh’s drop-everything latest, “Protector” and Barbara Friend Ish’s very interesting epic fantasy “The Shadow Of The Sun”. And awaiting the final installment of “The Human Division” on Tuesday, natch. : )

  45. I have never read Joe Hill before.

    I am reading Mikhail Shishkin’s Maidenhair.
    I love Russian writings.
    It is deeply engrossing.

  46. Nearly finished with Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker, which is glorious and contains: a gender-bending spy, a tommy-gun, a WWII submarine, an evil warlord, a serial killer, zombies, robots, more fantastically ludicrous escapes than all the Bond movies combined, clock-work truth-telling bees, and the potential end of the universe.

    I’m also 1/2 way through the final book of The Wheel of Time, which isn’t nearly — not even close to — as bad as people seem to like to intimate that it is. Yes, it’s got unambiguous lines between good and evil and relies on magic as a deus ex machina quite a bit. But it also has some of the most clearly drawn characters in all of fantasy literature: characters with real arcs across 14 novels, whose motivations are always plausible. And it’s got a fantastic, entertaining world-spanning story.

  47. Most of my reading is for school, but in my scant few moments, I’m reading Ariana Franklin’s A Murderous Procession, which is the last of her medieval-era mysteries featuring Adelia Aguilar — a female coroner/doctor of the dead. They’re great — lovely plots, awesome characterizations (both male and female); and Franklin was careful in working with history, and choosing when to alter it. A pity she died before writing anymore.

    I’m also, very slowly, rereading Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies.

  48. Typhoon by Charles Cumming. Spy thriller set in Hong Kong in the late 90’s. I’ve just discovered this writer, and I really like his style.

    I’ll cheat a bit and also tell you the last one I read: the draft of my pal Alexandra Sokoloff’s next book, Blood Moon. Holy shit, is it ever good. It’s the followup to her first Huntress book, called Huntress Moon, which you should go to Amazon and get right now, so you’ll be ready for the second one when it comes out.
    And no, Alex hasn’t paid me for this or even asked me to do it. I just think it’s going to be a really good book.

  49. I just finished A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, which was a fantastic story, wonderfully written, and the sort of thing I will be recommending for a long time. I’m listening to Doomsday Book by Connie Willis in the car, having just finished Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman. I’m fixin’ to start reading The Magicians for the first time, and have The Book of Jhereg at my bedside for sleepy reading.

    p.s. If anyone needs to bust their book budget further, I recommend The Book Smugglers blog very highly.

  50. I finished “The Mongoliad” about a week ago. Normally with multi-volume works, I read something else between volumes, but this one was a real page-turner, so I read it all in one go. So I’m going for different genres for a while. (It was fun to have some of the papal election stuff explained — the Vatican spokesman’s explanation of why living quarters are assigned to the cardinals by lottery was completely lame compared to the scorpions in the Mongoliad.)

    Yesterday I finished “The Compass of Pleasure”, which is a must-read if you want to know the current state of the art in neurobiology. The things they can do to rats are pretty scary.

    The thing I started after that wasn’t interacting well with the mild insomnia I have in allergy season, so I went for a reread of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House in the Big Woods”. It’s on Gutenberg Canada, if that’s accessible for you.

  51. I just started Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. I’ve read several of his books and they’ve never let me down. So far, this one is excellent.

  52. The Battle of the Wilderness: May 5-6 1864, Gordon C. Rhea. An outstanding account of the first major battle in Grant’s Overland Campaign of 1864, in which forces led by Grant met Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia for the first time. Grant and Lee would be locked in a fight to the finish from this point forward. Rhea writes well and did a lot of solid original research, which is why this 20 year old account stands out to this day.

  53. Sorry about the DP…

    Almost forgot “Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned The Tide In The Second World War” by Paul Kennedy, which I’m about two thirds of the way through. I bought it thinking it would be a book about the neat hacks that won the war; what I got was a book about how difficult it is to get anything right, how we never really get it all the way correct no matter how hard we try and about how contingent even our greatest victories are. This is a great book about the world as it is.

    Scott A.

  54. I’m in the middle of Michael R. Hicks’ In Her Name: Redemption trilogy (which I bought as the omnibus rather than three volumes, so it seems like one book to me). I am liking it quite a bit, although I do find some word choices and editing foibles that pull me out of it a bit.

    I’m also reading your own The Human Division – just waiting for the ultimate chapter on Tuesday, after which I will more than likely reread it from end to end to get the full effect.

  55. Just finished The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne and I rated it 5 stars on Goodreads, its the best .memoir I’ve read in a while. Also starting Interworld by Gaiman & Reaves.

  56. @Neil Shurley:

    I picked up The Fault in Our Stars for the same reason, and it is absolutely fabulous. I loved every line of that entire novel. I bawled my stupid head off through the last 1/3 and loved every moment of it.

    I just finished Stranger Here: How Weight-Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed with My Head by Jen Larsen. I saw it on a Big Idea here and it looked interesting. It was incredibly compelling and deeply sad and wonderful. I think every woman should read it. We get so wrapped up in the way we look that we tend to think that fixing that one thing can fix everything. “If I were 20 pounds thinner, I would…” is a pretty common thought process. Fixing your big ass doesn’t fix your big-ass problems. It was sobering to see such an extreme example of that.

  57. I’ll tell you what I’m not reading … nos4a2 … it’s not released yet you big tease! :-)

    What I have been reading lately is Helen MacInnes spy novels. She has a way, a bit old-fashioned, but a nice way, with words.

  58. It’s Hugo nominee reading time. I’m reading Robinson’s “2312” at the moment. I’ve also started Norman Spinrad’s “Bug Jack Barron” for a June book club.

  59. I’m reading The Sound of Building Coffins by Louis Maistros because Billy Martin (formerly Poppy Brite) mentioned it. It’s a very masterfully written book about dead men, folk magic, and New Orleans, but this description does it no justice. I’m hoping to finish it today; I can’t put it down.

  60. Europe,The faltering project by Jurgen Habermas, Firepower, The British Army weapons and theories of war 1904-1945 by Shelford Bidewell and Dominick Graham and Blood and Bone by Ian C Esslemont.
    I have a stack of Habermas philosophy books to start as well as finishing The Ecology of Freedom by Murray Bookchin(Well you did ask!)

  61. Aside from The Human Division, I’m reading the Reagan Diaries. I never agreed with the man’s politics, but now with a glimpse into his presidency, I’m finding that he was a real family man with an undying love for his wife. It’s also interesting see his ´behind the scenes´ opinions of his decisions and the decisions of others.

  62. Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann, because it’s a murder mystery with sheep playing the role of detective.

  63. I’m reading The Skybound Sea by Sam Sykes. I could say I’m reading it because of your blurb on the backcover: “I do not wish Sam Skyes dead.” -John Scalzi. But I enjoyed the first two in the trilogy.

  64. I’m into the last quarter of Joyce Carol Oates’ recently published The Accursed, which I picked up because it was something very different to what I’d been reading (epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, sf, etc.). It is an indulgent, dry literary historical fiction set in 1905 Princeton New Jersey, with (university) president Woodrow Wilson, recently retired Grover Cleveland, some other high society families such as the descendents of Aaron Burr, and even a young Upton Sinclair as The Jungle is just being published. And into this there are some fictional people, and… a supernatural curse, as demons tempt and torment their way through one of the families. It’s written as if it is the definitive account of the curse by a mid 20th century Princeton scholar, with author’s notes, footnotes, and several chapters consisting entirely of (purported) series of journal entries, etc. if you’re looking for rapidly advancing plot, not so much. But it’s really quite been an interesting reading experience, with many trips to Wikipedia. Still not sure entirely what I think other than well, I wanted something different and I certainly got it.

  65. Lucifer’s Hammer by Niven and Pournelle. So far it’s not doing it for me, but I’m hopeful it will improve.

  66. I’m reading Hanging Out with the Dream King: Conversations with Neil Gaiman and his collaborators. So far it offers great insight, especially if you want to write professionally someday (like I do, ha!).

  67. Last night I finished Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. It’s narrative nonfiction about the slums in Mumbai. I loved it. My favorite nonfiction in ages.

    Today I start Broken Harbor by Tana French. I really enjoyed her other three books.

  68. Embassytown by China Mieville. My favorite author. Because he has such a wonderful command of the written language and his stories are always unique and he tells a great story.

  69. I’m listening to The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell.during my commutes and while at the office. Good story, and the most realistic space battles I’ve ever read/heard. The author’s military experience as a naval officer really shines through, and it enriches the story and sci-fi mechanics.

    When I’m able to actually sit down and read a book I’m working my way through Fall of Hyperion after reading Hyperion for a book club and becoming completely and utterly hooked.

  70. @egl: I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone else who’d read that book!

    I’ve just started, as my non-fiction book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs Rosa Parks, by Jeanne Theoharis. Reading it because, although I already knew that there was very much more to Rosa Parks than the “quiet, humble” seamstress too tired to stand up on a bus, I’ve never read a full biography of her and was interested in the sections about her in Danielle McGuire’s At the Dark End of the Street (also a good book).

    For fiction. one of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall novels, which I’ve managed to reach my advanced age without reading any of them before.

    Speaking of advanced age, last week I read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. I’d read it as a teenager and could make very little of it. Re-reading it now, my god it’s good.

  71. The Hydrogen Sonata, by Iain Banks. I’m taking my time over it, because I want to savor the last Culture novel. I’m still a little raw about last week’s news, and reading this book is turning into a remarkably bittersweet experience.

    Oh, and THD of course.

  72. I’m reading Hanging Out with the Dream King: Conversations with Neil Gaiman and his collaborators. So far it offers great insight, especially if you want to be a professional writer someday who work with a lot of mediums (like I do, ha!).

  73. “Song of Susannah” by Stephen King. It’s on my list for the Catch Up Reading Challenge & has been on my TBR shelf for years. I can’t wait for NOS4A2 to come out. I really enjoyed Horns.

  74. Slowly re-reading Agent of Change (Liaden book, Lee&Miller) on my phone (Kindle app for this one) because 1: I kinda forgot a lot of it, 2: I have a hard time reading new universes while writing (my characters don’t want to share with other worlds, the ******s), and 3: it was free. >_> (And 4: I like my space opera like that.)

  75. “Fox Forever”, the third book in the “Fox Chronicles” by Mary E. Pearson. Easily one of the best series I’ve read in many years..

  76. I’m reading “Love & Sleep,” book two of John Crowley’s Ægypt cycle. Not a quick read, but beautifully written, and rewarding for the patient reader. Also, for a history buff, the series is a trove of archaic miscellany from some of the more forgotten parts of the premodern era. Book one is now titled “The Solitudes” (formerly just “Ægypt”). Highly recommended if you haven’t read it.

  77. I usually have several going at once as well-different times of day seem to call for different books. I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” because most of what she writes interests me and she has a matchless prose style; also just finished Patricia Briggs’ “Frost Burned”– and Jo Nesbo’s “The Redeemer”–. Starting Mark Chadbourn’s “The Devil’s Looking Glass”- third in a series and I want to see how it comes out. Cheers to all who read P.G. Wodehouse. He never disappoints.

  78. Let’s see. Tokyo Pizza by me, as I just finished its final edit, published it and am now curious as to what horrors I missed; Re-reading the New Sun series by Gene Wolfe and bathing in the wonderful language; Revisiting ERB’s At the Earth’s Core and loving the nostalgia, and looking frantically for something new. I should wade through the dozen or so free ebooks I’ve recently pulled from Amazon and see if any are keepers.

  79. “Great North Road” by Peter Hamilton. Trying to keep up with new SF/F instead of reading the classics for a bit. It’s a densely detailed world (or two, actually), and the mysteries keep me reading to find out the answers: Who really is Angela Tramelo? Is there really a monster? Is the Zanth coming back? And who killed the 2North?

  80. I’m about a third of the way through Fatal Revenant: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and am starting to suspect that the Thomas Covenant who has shown up is actually a Raver in disguise.

    I’, reading it because I really liked the first two trilogies (even if I didn’t enjoy them). Donaldson has a knack for showing how we have to live with our bad choices and how even someone as detestable as Thomas Covenant can do good things.

  81. River of Stars by Kay; the Golem and the Jinni by Wecker; the Fifth Wave by Yancey. The last is a YA post-apocalyptic alien-invasion which — so far — seeks to answer two questions: whom do you trust? and how do you know who the enemies are? The obvious answer to the latter is “the ones who are shooting at you,” but the form that shooting takes is a finer distinction. Wecker’s book is a bit of magical realism about alone-ness and a different kind of alien: Jewish and Levantine immigrants in early 20th century New York. And the Kay book? It’s Guy Gavriel Kay.

  82. Two of my current books are Saladin Ahmed’s “Throne of the Crescent Moon” and “The Ghost Brigades” (yeah, I’m a little behind the curve). I have a stack I am working through but work keeps interfering. Not to mention the pitbull on my lap

  83. At the moment, I’m about 80 pages away from the end of “The Last Colony”. I’m not sure I like it as much as I did “The Ghost Brigades” but I’m really enjoying it.

  84. I just finished reading Richard Wagamese’s terrific memoir, One Native Life. I think it will be one of my favourite books for 2013. Yesterday I started The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas, one of those books that combines a historical narrative with present day. As you might expect it is set in India.

  85. “Merge” and “Disciple”, two novellas by Walter Mosley published in a back-to-back hardcover by Tor. I’m reading them for review. In each, a socially isolated individual becomes the contact point for entities from the wider universe. The storytelling technique is minimalist, the effect powerful. Mosley is brilliant.

  86. There are a couple of things I’m reading at the moment: THE AVENGERS AND ME, by Patrick Macnee, and LIBERTY AND TYRANNY, by Mark Levin. And a few days ago, I read WE ARE ALL CHILDREN SEARCHING FOR LOVE by Leonard Nimoy.

  87. I’m reading Leviathan wakes by, Pen name: James S. A. Corey, and in reality by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Its a really good page turner. it has excellent writing and the universe building has a nice balance of realism to implausible Sci-Fi leaps.

  88. I just finished Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, which I enjoyed even more than Cinder and am now eagerly awaiting next year’s Cress. I started Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza this morning. It’s a little slow to start, but the storyline sounds promising. And because I always have nonfiction running in the background, I’m also in the middle of Rocket Men by Craig Nelson.

  89. @Kym R Lyndsey: I’m completely jealous that you’re reading Yancey’s 5th Wave already. I only received an excerpt and my students and I are dying to read the rest when it comes out next month. Glad to hear it’s livingup to the hype.

  90. The non-fiction book, 1816- Year Without a Summer since MRK mentioned it as part of her research for her latest. Just finished NK Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy.

  91. Pyramids because I’m rereading Terry Pratchett Discworld books in order (even though this one isn’t one of the strongest). And Death Makes the Cut by Janice Hamrick because my mom left me the first in the series over Christmas and it fit exactly the brain popcorn need I have right now, so I’m hoping the second does as well.

  92. I’m actually reading a couple volumes of the ‘Horus Heresy’ series. (Yes I know the whole brouhaha over the suit regarding the term ‘Space Marines’…I still love WH40K) I am also reading Michio Kaku’s ‘Hyperspace’. I am reading these because: 1) I am working on several short stories for consideration for the Black Library and 2) I love reading theoretical science, mainly because it’s fascinating as hell. On a side note: loved the ‘Old Man’s War’ series! Looking forward to reading ‘Redshirts’ when I get the chance.

  93. Finally read Oryx and Crake by Atwood. Liked it enough that I’ll read Year of the Flood next.

  94. I’m finishing the last of the Three Witches of Karres, The Sorceress of Karres. Waiting for Tuesday for the next installment of The Human Division!

  95. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, by Michael Chabon which is full of surprises. And Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky because its full of surprises too.

  96. existence by david brin a kingdom besieged by feist bloodline by james clemens

  97. I’m reading a couple of books: Paul Cornell’s London Falling, which is pretty great. I’m listening / reading to The Human Division, which is fun, and Clash of Kings, which is interesting.

    Enjoy NOS4A2 – it’s a fantastic novel.

  98. In the midst of annual reread of The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

  99. I just finished “Butcher Bird: A Novel of the Dominion” and “Devil Said Bang” by Richard Kadrey. Both of which I thought were awesome. I got introduced to his writing via The Big Idea. I’ve love the Sandman Slim series although I have no idea how to explain it to friends other than calling it a violently occult noir type of novel. But that doesn’t really do it justice. Next up is “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. I never read it before and I’ve been tearing through the eBooks section of my library.

  100. I’m splitting my time between 1634: The Bavarian Crisis (good, if a bit more concentrated on down-time politics than I like) and the Book of Judges (more of a slog, but I’ve got a personal goal of making it through the whole bible in the next year-ish, for cultural literacy reasons).

  101. Actually, the right question would be, “what are you (re)reading?” The answer would be “Farewell, My Lovely” by Raymond Chandler, because.. ya know.. Philip Marlowe. To quote The New Yorker (Chandler) wrote as if pain hurt, and life mattered.

    Also.. because despite what people think… Marlowe would whipped Spade’s ass and made him ‘fess up to being the flaming dick that he was… because: ya know fuckin’ your partners wife isn’t the only reason to get involved in a case.

    Also: love Chandler’s descriptions of LA, though the closes I’ve ever been was Ft. Irwin… lol.

  102. Gosh, these comments have been worth reading! For my book club, I have just started reading ‘Skallagrigg’ by William Horwood (who also wrote Duncton Wood). I’ve read only the first chapter so don’t yet know if I’ll like it.

    I’ve just finished reading the OMW books by Our Host; then it’ll be onto the Great North Road by Peter Hamilton, concerning whose books I give profound thanks for my Kindle as they are so big I’m not sure I’d read them otherwise!

    I’m also collecting all of the Granta magazines; will get the last few this week, so will be starting a marathon read of modern short fiction :). (I’m reckoning it’ll take me about 2 years to read all the 123 of them, and new ones come out once a quarter…)

  103. I also generally read several books at once. I’m currently reading:

    On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard, one of the Hugo-nominated novellas.
    Cast in Shadow, by Michelle Sagara, which is a re-read.
    Blackout, by Mira Grant, which I am re-reading with Mark Reads.
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz.
    Warchild, by Karen Lowachee
    Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson, a 952-page history of the American Civil War. I actually finished it yesterday, but I’m still counting it.
    The Human Division, by John Scalzi, which I am reading in weekly increments as they appear. :)

  104. All I’ve been reading of late has been The Human Division. It’s been nice having a fixed amount to read on a fixed day each week. :-)

    There are a few things in my Nook to start after Tuesday. I’m about a third through “vN” by Madeline Ashby. I should read the last two “Wicked” books by Gregory Maguire. And I’ve got a wishlist full of titles from io9’s “Best of the year” lists from the last few years.

  105. It’s this book called “The Last Colony.” Never heard of the author – some upstart unknown – but the kid’s got potential. ;-)

  106. The Human Division Episode 12 and Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake because a friend gave me the trilogy several years ago and it finally hit the top of my To Read pile.

  107. At the risk of sounding like I’m kissing ass… Redshirts and Human Division! I want to read both before your LA appearance.

    Also, I’m doing my fourth or fifth read of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

  108. While waiting for Tuesday’s final chapter of The Human Division, I’m slogging through Les Miserables, because I liked the movie much more than I thought I would. And I thought Dickens took a long time to get the plot moving! It’s finally starting to move along now, at the start of Book Four. Rich in detail & incident, which has kept me going through the digressions.

    I’m also re-reading John Rateliff’s History of the Hobbit, which does for that book what Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s work.

    Up next is Will Murray’s Doc Savage/King King crossover & Jasper Fforde’s most recent Thursday Next book.

  109. If we’re talking those things with pages and covers, then it’s mainly alternating depending on energy levels between “A Game Of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin and “River Of Gods” by Ian Mc Donald.

  110. About to reread (for the umpteenth time) The Man Without Qualities, by Robert Musil. I hope to figure out someday where he was going with it when he died with the novel unfinished. Musil was, apparently, a fine mathematician, so I love his books for the ways he uses math as metaphor…also really like that middle-European irony.

    Otherwise, just finished rereading Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine and Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion. Hmmm. I seem to be on a rather depressing decline-of-empire/civilization reading kick. Guess I’ll have to look for some humor, so thanks to all who recommended funny books.

  111. Buried in IT work since 7am here. Only had time to take a look at whatever now.

    What am I reading? From Eternity to Here by Sean Carroll. I like to stay ‘up’ on science and technology for various reasons (including downright interest). This is one on the concept of time. What is time and why does it only go in one direction? How does that directional bias affect our universe and what does it say about its nature? Sean Carroll does an great job of meeting the reader halfway, though the concepts involved do take a bit of thought. Bottom line: fascinating material.

  112. Brent Weeks’ first Night Angel book, The Way of Shadows. There’s been lots of chatter in writer circles about epic, grimdark, boy-book/girl-book, and related topics, and so I decided I needed to expand my reading in this area so I could participate sensibly. Or pontificate sensibly. Something like that. Anyway, this series sounded most like what would appeal to me.

    Yes, I’m having to do a lot of head-ducking and blind-eye-turning at the gender relations, but so far that isn’t getting in the way of the story for me.

    I can see why the guy’s a bestseller. I am highly entertained so far. I don’t know how much further Weeks goes with the grim, but right now it’s no darker than many other fantasy novels I’ve read since the 1980s (about comparable to the Thieves’ World books, from which I learned the word vivisectionist; thank you Andrew Offutt). And yes, I am particularly enjoying the straightforward narrative style. It goes down smooth.

  113. I am listening to Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, and reading (when I get a chance) Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. I guess I was just in the mood for authors whose names start with “Z”‘s.

  114. I just finished reading American Elsewhere (and I am on record as thinking it’s the best book I’ve read so far this year). Now I’m reading the much lighter in tone (thank god) Midnight Blue-Light Special, which has made me laugh in public several times.

    After that, I think I will try Alif the Unseen.

  115. I just finished Julie Czerneda’s Hidden in Sight. I was reading the series because Julie was GOH at Minicon 48 last weekend. It was pretty interesting, but I always wondered why there were so few of the Web beings, and I never got around to asking Julie when I had the chance.

  116. Currently reading ‘A Turn Of Light’, Julie Czerneda’s first official fantasy book. Mostly enjoying it, but the protagonist is getting on my nerves, so I had to take a break. Reading it because I love her scifi, so why not?
    Just finished this week: Garment of Shadows by Laurie King, because I love her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mystery series. This latest one was very good. It is foreshadowing a sea change, though; Holmes is finally showing his age and Mary’s coming to the peak of her talents. King’s Holmes (an altogether lovelier, more human person than Conan Doyle’s) will likely cede the stage gracefully, but I can’t help thinking it will put a serious strain on their relationship.
    Darkborn Trilogy; Darkborn, Lightborn, and Shadowborn, by Alison Sinclair, because I got the first for a dime at a library sale and thought it was a very clever, unique fantasy. The trilogy did not disappoint. :)
    Free preview of “Off to Be the Wizard” by Scott Meyer, of Basic Instructions webcomic fame; because I love his comic and hey, free preview. I did enjoy it, but not sure I will buy the full book.

    I do not typically read multiple books at a time; it only takes me an hour or two to read a standard sized paperback, plus I am generally an immersive reader: as someone once said, I fall into the book and pull the cover over my head, and only emerge blinking when it’s over. But then I don’t read a lot of non-fiction either; I can see where that would need breaks to digest, or inspire research tangents.

  117. Brightness Reef – Brin and Difference Engine – Gibson

    Good to learn about “The Sorceress of Karres.”

  118. Wide Open by Deborah Coates–the sequel was a “Big Idea” here awhile back, but I somehow missed the fact that there was an earlier one until the sequel arrived. So, this one first. I’m probably a hundred or so pages in–it hasn’t really grabbed hold of me yet, but it’s interesting enough to keep going. So we’ll see.

    Second, Ambassadors From Earth by Jay Gallentine, a history of unmanned space probes–up through the Voyager missions, anyway. There’s a sequel coming out in a year or so. This one’s a reread–really enjoyed it the first time around, equally so this time.

    Also making my way back through Jack McDevitt’s Alex Benedict series. Up to Echo at this point.

    Finally, I’m somewhere in the middle of “Starlight Nights,” the autobiography of the late amateur astronomer Leslie Peltier. This has been an at-least-every-other-year reread for me for 30 years or so. In addition to the man’s love for the sky, it’s really cool to get a sense of growing up in rural Ohio in the early 1900s.

  119. Just finished “The Coldest War” by Ian Tregillis and about to start “Great North Road” by Peter Hamilton. Coldest War had a few more things ‘wrong’ about British life (Royal Mail has never required return addresses on envelopes was the biggie this time) than Bitter Seeds did, but it’s a roll on number three…
    http://www.readshelf.com/browse.php is my last 20 read.

  120. Audio books: just finished Stephen King’s Duma Key and have started Sons by Pearl S. Buck (sequel to The Good Earth).

    On my Kindle, just finished The Bastard by John Jakes and have started First Shift by Hugh Howey.

  121. I keep books everywhere in the house. Right now I’m deep into Whitley Streiber’s Hybrids, Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes, and an non-fic about the evolution of copulatory sex organs called Dawn of the Deed by John A. Long. All are interesting in their own ways but the most interesting is the sex book (of course) even though is is about claspers and placoderms.

  122. Re-reading the Shadow Grail series by Rosemary Edghill & Mercedes Lackey: Legacies, Conspiracies, Sacrificies.
    On audio, I’m listening to Roy Dotrice read A Game of Thrones (by GRRM), and taking time out on Tuesdays to listen to the new episodes of The Human Division as they come out.

  123. Recently finished Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and now I am rereading Self Comes to Mind, Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio. Very interesting stuff that I would recomend. I’ll use these posts to find something lighter, I could use something lighter.

  124. Today I’m reading David Levithan’s Every Day, which is so good that it felt really weird to check the spelling of the author’s name to post here, because it feels strange to think of it as having an author other than the narrator. Why? Because I found out about it here. I don’t remember whether it wound up on my wish list based on a Big Idea post or something in a recommendation thread, but I’m glad it did.

  125. Just finished River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay’s sequel to Under Heaven. (It was a Big Idea here last week.) As always, GGK’s writing is lyrical and evocative, and while I don’t think it’s quite as good as Under Heaven (that’s a really high bar), it’s a very good novel, and has inspired me to buy several more books on Song Dynasty China.

  126. Remedies Cases and Commentary (Canadian Law) – Berrymn et al
    I’m studying for my exams in my last semester of law school!

    Fictional (or for fun book) – Gatsby (cause I have never read it)

  127. 11/22/63 by Stephen King which is, as you’d expect, engrossing and entertaining and makes me want to get back to my own writing (a plus).

    Also re-reading “Making Money” by Terry Pratchett. Not quite as good (to my mind) as “Going Postal”, but still mighty fun.

  128. Like @Prmspen I’m savouring Iain M. Banks “The Hydrogen Sonata.” I only discovered him in the last five or six years but I’ve managed to read most of his SF.

    On the non-fiction side I’m working through Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.” It’s a welcome antidote the pervasive pessimism in our world about how things are going.

    Every Tuesday I read the latest “Human Division” and will miss it when it’s done.

    Then I have some graphic novels. I’m rereading Sandman as every birthday my girlfriend buys a new volume of “Absolute Sandman” as well as the first two volumes of “Fables” and the collected edition of “ZOT!”

  129. I just finished “Tears of the Sun” by S. M. Stirling, part of his Emberverse series. The series is kinda dragging at this point – this part of the series started as a trilogy and is now up to 7 books – but I keep reading because I want to know how the whole saga ends. I just wish he’d get to that ending a little faster.

  130. The Open Door 100 Poems 100 Years of Poetry Magazine edited by Don Share and Christian Wiman. Too soon to judge the quality of the volume, but if true to the magazine’s history, the final result will be unimpressive. You can read a whole year of the magazine (12 issues), over 300 pages or so of actual poetry, and only find a handful of poems that truly delight you. I chalk it up to the taste of the editors leaning toward poetry that hides meaning instead of revealing meaning. Last book read through was the first book in the series Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Watched the first season DVDs over the weekend while my wife was a work. Characterization was strong but novel plotting was only average. Seems like a fantasy world refighting the century long Wars of the Roses of the English with different names and places. After reading the plots of all the rest of the novels in the series (I love spoilers), it appears that Martin’s plotting only goes downhill from here. I may not read the rest of the series. But then the Wall and the critters north of the Wall might keep me reading, but maybe not as those critters are not really making an impact on the plotting until late in the series it appears. Also read Jane Eyre a couple of weeks back, as I required my students to read it, and thought their teacher likely should read it as well.

  131. Just finished Great North Road – Peter F Hamilton. I love his world building, but good God he really needs to work on his endings – he has a seriously bad habit of either going Deus Ex Machina or just dumping character development and pulling a 180 with motivation to finish his books. GNR did the latter, it promised a lot more than it delivered. Not sure if he was getting threatened by the publisher to finish the book already but the last 40 pages are a total cop out. seems almost like he ran out of time and had to get something finished.

    Reading the 5th volume of Justina Robson’s quantum gravity series – it’s enjoyable but (mild spoiler) depositing the main characters 50 years later doesn’t really seem to make any material difference to the plot – it was a device in book 4 and is kind of discarded in book 5. I preferred the first couple of volumes.

    Finally, Qualia by Marie Browne – I think this is great, UK based urban fantasy (sort-of, as it does go off in a different direction). Available for a free borrow on Amazon Prime lending, if anyone will admit supporting the monopolistic beast :)

  132. @Amaryllis
    *waves* I’m enjoying it so far.
    I borrowed it from the library after, *checks*, old aggie mentioned it on the open promotion post last month.

  133. I’m re-reading, for the fourth or fifth time, Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children. The first twenty percent of the book is info dump, delivered in a variety of ways. But what is dumped is so fascinating that I’m caught up in it.

  134. I finally finished A Dance With Dragons a few weeks ago, and I was able to read a few other books that had been on my stack, so now I’m re-reading the entire Discworld series. I’m almost done with The Light Fantastic and looking forward to the rest of the books after too long away from them.

  135. Reading three things:
    1. The Rise of Endymion, book 4 in that series, I think I have about 50 pages to go.
    2. The Human Division – I usually get through each weeks chapter within 2hrs of it’s availability.
    3. Chemical Cowboys. Interesting story about the DEA but not particularly captivating.

  136. Just finished The Ghost Brigades (at 3:30 this morning; I do wish I wouldn’t do that…) and will probably pick up The Algebraist next. Damn cancer.

  137. I finished reading the other comments after posting my own, and I found that @nicoleandmaggie is also re-reading Discworld!

    I wonder how many people are re-reading all of Discworld at any given point in time.

  138. Just finished rereading “Unseen Academicals” by Terry Pratchett. Currently rereading “Four to Score” by Janet Evanovich. I like to laugh. :)

  139. I’m between books at the moment. Finished “Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance” several weeks ago and then Spring sprung, so gardening and yard work have taken up a lot of free time. Looking forward to “Antiagon Fire” and “House of Steel” coming out next month.

  140. The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett, mainly because I was finished with The Warded Man and didn’t want to be.

  141. David Brin’s Existence. Which I’d been promising myself as a reward for finishing a couple big projects (not writing projects, statistical and data analysis) that I recently finished. It’s good enough to make me slightly envious, because I wish I’d had some of those ideas and written them myself and I have a nagging fear I wouldn’t have done it half as well. Lots and lots of the things I read science fiction for and hardly any of the reasons I don’t read as much as I used to. Very highly recommended.

  142. Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century. There’s a long story how I ended up reading this book which involves gossip blogs tracking the Lifetime movie, some interesting bit of bad ass-ness I heard about E and the fact I love E in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Place in the Sun. So there.

  143. Just got into “The Letter of Marque”, seventh book in Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey-Maturin series; looking forward to rereading Guy Gavriel Kay’s “Tigana”. Thanks for featuring Kay in the Big Ideas section!

  144. I am reading What is good? By AC Grayling interspersed with the works of O Henry because Grayling scared me.
    Project Gutenberg have good free books of O Henry. I’m always amazed by how few people in Europe have had the pleasure of Henry’s company

  145. Annie, if you’re enjoying Hons and Rebels, be sure to pick up the next volume in the Mitford’s bio, A Fine Old Conflict. I think I might have liked it even better. And if you don’t have to put the book down to laugh about the truckload of chickens, undressed, when you get to it, you are a lot tougher than I am.

  146. Currently reading “Extinction Point” by Paul Jones. I was curious about it because the heroine is described as escaping a post-apocalyptic New York on her bicycle. Turns out she heads out on the same model bike that I have, though she’s apparently able to carry MUCH MUCH more on it than I can (4 1-gallon jugs of water? On top of spare parts, spare food, etc. Whoa.)

    The writing seems to be pretty competent, for the most part. I’m going to withhold judgement on it till I finish, though.

  147. Just finished J. D. Robb’s Calculated in Death. I enjoy her humor. I’m probably going to start a book called Public Enemies next – I forget the author.

  148. @egl & Amaryllis
    I also read Three Bags Full a few years ago. You are not alone.

    My on-going reading stations have Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford, an excellent biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Contents Under Pressure by Edna Buchanan, my mystery book club book pick. It’s always interesting to reread something you read back in the 20th century; the technology is a hoot. Other than that, the story is holding up pretty well.

    Just finished the most recent Charles Todd and also Kerry Greenwood’s most recent Phrynne Fisher novel, both satisfying mysteries set in the post WWI era but having little else in common. My main toting around read right now is Rachel Aaron’s Spirit War. I bought the omnibus volume of the first 3 stories in this series because it was on sale and the plot sounded entertaining, and I am really loving it. I have the last two books from the library, but I think I’m going to have to get it for my keeper shelf in either digital or paper.

  149. Just finished The End, by Ian Kershaw, non-fiction about how Germany managed to keep fighting beyond all expectations at the end of WWII, from the failed assassination attempt on Hitler to the final surrender. My take is that if you wanted to end WWII early and couldn’t get a shot at Hitler, you should try to take out Albert Speer. That guy worked near-miracles in juggling dwindling resources and manpower to keep the conflict going.

    Currently trying to catch up on the SF magazines (ASIMOV’S, ANALOG, F&SF) that have been piling up for a while. After (and probably simultaneous with) that, probably the fourth volume in Nesfa Press’ 6-volume collection of Roger Zelazny’s collected short fiction and poetry.

    In graphic works, also re-reading Gaiman’s Sandman.

  150. _The Martian_, by Andy Weir.

    And it is *AWESOME*. If you like either technical space travel stories, or McGyver, this one’s for you… It’s got botany, engineering, orbital mechanics, and 70’s TV criticism. What more can you want? :)

  151. I just picked up the Kindle version of “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace. I think a 1000+ page book feels less intimidating in ebook form.

    Actually, I have two 1000+ page books on my Kindle at the moment. the other being “Imagica” by Clive Barker. I read it when I was a teenager but remember next to nothing about it, except that I LOVED it at the time.

  152. I’m reading Fifty Shades Darker, for my snark-through of the 50 shades series. It’s…not…good. In the first pages Ana gets a delivery and I was already hoping it contained a bomb from angry, jilted Christian Grey. Or anthrax. Anthrax is good too.

  153. Julie @ 4:02PM, 11/22/63 is an outstanding read. King has had something of a renaissance since he finished The Dark Tower series and that’s one of the best. It even has a satisfying ending, unlike Under The Dome. (And don’t misunderstand, I loved Under The Dome. But it just sort of stopped, which is a frequent problem with much of King’s recent work.)

  154. _The Private Life of Helen of Troy_ by John Erskine

    A gift to my girlfriend by her great aunt, left lying on the coffee table when I was trying to kill five minutes yesterday. I killed a lot more than five minutes without meaning to, because I couldn’t stop reading. I keep checking the copyright information to be sure my brain isn’t lying to me. Yup, it really was published in the 1920s. So far (not done yet), it feels very very current. Plus, it’s making me laugh.

  155. To commemorate a great author who will soon be leaving us, I read The Business by Iain Bank this weekend. Not his usual stuff – more lighthearted than The Song of Stone or Complicity. I am so sad we’ll not be getting any more of the awesome Culture novels. That’s a future I would love to live in, just for the AI ship names alone.

  156. Whatever archives. No joke.

    (I have to be careful about picking my times to read — I get so into books that I can’t stop reading until they’re finished, to the detriment of the rest of my life and the dismay of my spouse, who finds my total lack of interruptability deeply disturbing. Now is not a good time to lose several hours, so something in smaller pieces is better. That said, I’ll probably reread The Rook next.)

  157. Just to add to that, the ebooks I have on my droid reader & I would strongly recommends to others:

    – Wool, by Hugh Howey (awesomeness!)
    – A Dance With Dragons, A Song of Ice & Fire, Martin – goes without saying :)
    – Anything Peter Hamilton (the recent finale to the Commonwealth Void saga was great)
    – Ian Irvine (Aussie author – great quartets, View From The Mirror, Well Of Echoes, now Song of the Tears) – very unique hybrid worlds of sci-fi/fantasy
    – Robert Charles Wilson – Axis (Spin part 2)
    – Dan Simmons, Song of Kali – anything from him really, though I’m not a horror fan per se (his Carrion Comfort was one of the most unnerving books I have ever read, with Kali being pretty close)
    – Christopher Pike – The Last Vampire series was a light read guilty pleasure recently, though much more mature than the teenie audience it’s aimed at oddly enough – started the 1st one on a whim after a redriect & recommendations from fans on amazon
    – wife & I are big fans of Robin Hobb also
    – was catching up on classic fantasy/sci-fi with audio books while commuting recently (Shannara/Word & Void by Brooks, Greg Mandel series by Hamilton & many others)

    My library has more books in it than I will ever read in a dozen life times. I can only hope that either reincarnation as a faster reader, or the eternal infinite are forthcoming :).

  158. On audio, I’m reading Quiet by Susan Cain, about introversion in an extroverted world. I like it so far.

    On paper, I’m reading A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies by Ellen Cooney, about a woman in 1900 who recovers from a long illness to find her husband kissing another woman. So she goes to Boston, to a hotel where the male porters service the female clientele, like a reverse brothel. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but so far, I like the main character, and I’m intrigued to see where it’s going.

    I’ve liked everything else of Ellen Cooney’s I’ve read. I had the good fortune to have her as a writing teacher for a semester in college. She asked me to come read a piece I’d written to her class at MIT, but that was the spring break I needed an emergency operation.

  159. Small Favor, by Jim Butcher. Because I dig the Dresden files. It’s delightful, but I liked Proven Guilty better… :-)

  160. I’m halfway through The Garden of Iden, by Kage Baker.

    I’d have finished all those other articles I”m working on if it wasn’t for that book demanding all of my time. But it’s so wonderful, it can demand anything it wants of me.

  161. I’m reading a biography/study of George Bernard Shaw, by G.K. Chesterton. Very interesting. I think GK hits some key spots in Shaw’s personality better than a lot of other biographers (it helps that they knew each other) — but he also has some huge personal blind spots. The writing is just pure music.

  162. Complicity by Iain Banks.

    It’s one of just a couple of his books that I haven’t yet read, and I want to be able to thank him for them while he’s still with us.

  163. I just finished Aliette de Bodard’s On a Red Station, Drifting and it was great. Also the sci fi verse novel The Sunlit Zone, by Australian author Lisa Jacobson, which is mind blowingly good. I’ve been using prize lists as a reading prompt lately and it’s working out well for me; I’ve had a lot of great prompts from these lists.

    Next up is another Australian novel that is dividing opinions quite savagely, called The Light Between Oceans.

  164. Well, today, a chainsaw overhaul manual.

    A friend and I are reading “The Human Division” to each other on our commute to work. I started Adam Christopher’s “The Age Atomic” but I don’t know if I’ll finish it.


  165. @Frank in KC–I was hoping to see someone mention Patrick O’Brian. LOVE.

    -Just finished: At Last (Edward St. Aubyn).
    -Just started: The Antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking (Oliver Burkeman).
    -Also working on: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (Jon Meacham) and The Adventures of Augie March (Saul Bellow).

  166. Thanks everyone! Like my critical reading list wasn’t already long enough! ;)

    I’m reading Marc Bloch’s unfinished meditation on history, “The Historian’s Craft” for a history class. Unfinished because he was executed for his work in the French Resistance in WW2.

  167. Just got started on Stryker: The Siege of Sadr City by Sergeant Konrad R.K. Ludwig (Ret). Haven’t read much literature coming from veterans of the Iraqi and Afganistan conflicts yet and I would like to get some of their perspectives and experiences. This was a Kickstarter project and the first book I decided to fund via that method.

  168. “Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway” by Johnathan Parshall. Superb account of the iconic WWII naval battle from a Japanese POV using Japanese sources to provide a significantly different take than the common knowledge form Western accounts. Great book with a lot of lessons.

  169. A Storm of Swords by GRRM so I can keep up with the show and the story is so good besides. Then, I’m onto The Witch’s Eye by Steven Montano because the series (Blood Skies) is really good and this is book 5.

  170. Legacy of Kings, Book 3 of the Magister Trilogy, written by C.S. Friedman. Probably my favorite Fantasy novel, and the only pure fantasy I’ve read in years; I prefer Science Fiction. Hard her once say that she writes her fantasy like Science Fiction, which results in her getting a bunch of readers like me but fewer fantasy readers. Non-traditional fantasy by any stretch, even if it does have some standard tropes.

  171. River of Stars. Next three: Hambly’s Good Man Friday, Cherryh’s Protector, and McGuire’s Midnight Blue-Light Special. (My county library system is beyond compare. I am so lucky.)

  172. Now, what I wish I were reading is not Incarnate, nor Asunder but book three of
    by Meadows.
    Has awesome cover art that is relevant to the story and reminds me that I’ve forgotten
    to buy a non English Scalszi* book just for the cover.
    (Jacket photo copyright 2013 by Gustavo Marx on the Jodi books.)

    http://www.vinylrecords.ch/C/CU/Cure/Standing/cure-standing-31.jpg for a pic that
    I think is worth looking at.

    *Scaliness. I love spell check with such a sock full of half bricks.

  173. Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny – just finished the first, Nine Princes in Amber, and about to start the second, The Guns of Avalon. Felt bizarrely validated to see that several other people are reading/listening to Zelazny’s work at the same time :-) I’m not usually a fantasy reader but I liked the synopsis.

    Before that was the latest Ian Rankin novel, Another Man’s Grave. Mum mainlines crime fiction but although I love the genre on the telly I never read it, so I figured I ought to give Rebus a go. I haven’t decided what to read next. I have a ridiculous number of unread books to the point where the choice is slightly paralysing. I am terribly indecisive!

  174. What I’m Reading: Completely coincidentally, the Subterranean Scalzi Super Bundle.

    And Why: Because the only other writing of yours that I’ve read is Old Man’s War and Whatever, and while both are fabulous reads, it’s a damn shame they’re my only Scalzi reads thus far.

    And How Is It: Rocking. 57% done. Favorites are The Sagan Diary, The God Engines (although I confess I wished for a different ending), and How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story (brilliant).

  175. I am reading Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves. After reading the Robots, Empire and Foundation series I simply forgot about this novel. I think the Hugo and Nebula awards are thoroughly justified.

  176. I spent much of the weekend devouring Spellcast and Spellcrossed by Barbara Ashford — two absolutely charming fantasy novels from DAW involving an obscure musical theater company in New England, its eccentric director (who’s cursed) and the unusual group of individuals drawn to take up low-paying summer stock roles in the company’s productions. Both the theatrical setting and the urban fantasy (well, New England Countryside fantasy) elements are superbly executed, and the character arcs are emotionally compelling without wallowing in unnecessary angst. I have no idea how I missed seeing these sooner (they date from 2011 and 2012 respectively), but I’m extremely glad to have run across them and recommend them highly.

    I also re-read Diane Duane’s Doctor’s Orders (classic Star Trek) in the wake of the recent Tor.com essay on the book, and enjoyed it as much as I always have (Duane being among my favorite SF/F novelists). Next on my agenda, and in a very different vein, is Tom Kratman’s The Amazon Legion, that being the next pick for my local book group’s discussion.

  177. A writing prompt about pirates got me reading Treasure Island to my boss as well as to myself. Good old fashioned Quality Time.

  178. Wow, some great reads going on! A lot I’ve either already read, plan to read (as in have them), or really want to read (want them). Quite an eclectic bunch here; I love it!

    anyway, I just finished the Bel Dame Apocrypha by Kameron Hurley (God’s War, Infidel and Rapture) yesterday morning, and started on Stephen Leather’s Nightingale trilogy, finishing Nightfall yesterday in the early afternoon and starting Midnight before I ended up crashing. I am scheduled to do some editing this week, but I’ll work on Midnight for the next couple days I imagine before moving on. Not sure to what, probably the rest of the Mercury series by Robert Kroese. I have a lot of Amazon Vine books to read in the next month or so…

  179. I am re-reading Chesney’s “The Anti-Society: An Account of the Victorian Underworld”, because the things that happened then were bat-shit crazy and horrifying. It’s been about 4 or so years since I last read it, and I find that it gives me ideas for stories and games.

  180. Finishing up Steel Blues, the second book of the Order of the Air series by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham. Set during an air race in the 1930s, Gilchrist Aviation needs to win to save their business. If only it were that straightforward…The three pilots, Alma, Mitch, and Lewis, and their friend and passenger, Jerry, have to also deal with a supposed Russian countess, a cursed necklace, and perhaps most worrying, the nosy press.

  181. Rereading Consider Phlebas. Not the best of the Culture novels, but it was the first I read, and was good enough to hook me for all of them. I wish there could be more.

  182. Thief Taker’s Apprentice- mixed feelings, but interesting enough to pick up the second book.

  183. I just finished a reread of The Billion Dollar Boy (I really like the Jupiter YA novels), and am waiting for my copy of Protector by CJ Cherryh to arrive. If you have a favorite author, like Our Host, see if you can buy directly from them or their preferred source. Often they make their e-novels DRM free, and you know that there is no middleman messing with the price.

  184. Reading 3 books right now – Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy, Umberto Eco’s Baudolino and just started reading the Twilight saga for the first time. So far, Russell is even awsomer than I expected, Eco is – as usual – very very good and… well… Meyer is actually much better than I feared.
    I’ll never be a dyed-in-the-wool Twilight fan, but I can totally see myself finishing the books.

  185. Finished “The Sangamo Frontier” by Robert Mazrim over the weekend, an archaeological examination of the patterms of human settlement in Central Illinois; call it professional reading. I’m also about halfway through Justina Robson’s “Chasing the Dragon” and will be starting Gene Allen Smith’s “The Slaves’ Gamble.”

  186. Re-reading “The Unknown Ajax” by Georgette Heyer, because it’s light, fluffy bubblegum, and I don’t have to have my brain functioning or anything like that in order to read it. Given we’re currently in all kinds of crazy situations right now (see my Dreamwidth page for details if you’re interested) with regards to accommodation – effectively we’re skipping from place to place for a bit because we’re finding it hard to source rental accommodation due to temporary financial difficulties – and I’m in the middle of trying to cope with all of that, I’m in need of at least one thing in my life at present which is simple, fairly straightforward, and does precisely as predicted. Georgette Heyer re-reads are such a thing.

    I’m also re-reading a lot of (Marvel) Avengers fanfic I downloaded from AO3. Again, fairly simple, fairly straightforward, and I know what happens at the end.

    (Just to horrify everyone: in the next two days, I have to try to pick a maximum of fifty books from my collection – basically, enough to fit over the base of a 140L storage container – to become my travelling library which can go from place to place with us. Wish me luck.)

  187. Just finished Twelfth Night (W. Shakespeare) and started Semper Mars (I. Douglas)

  188. Reading Silence of Centerville by Buzz Malone (Iowa writer), not SF/F but very good. A little more than half way, at the can’t-put-it-down stage.
    Finished Hal Spacejock, humor SF space opera. Pretty good. Some flaws but well worth the read.

  189. I’m reading “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. Being an introvert myself, it is a fascinating look at the place and role of introverts through recent history (recent being the 1800’s onwards), and into current thoughts in education, in the workplace and in places of leadership. I’m only 1/2 of the way through the book, and it has already been an interesting read – causing me to think about my environment more, and why I do things the way that I do.

  190. A Nameless Witch, by A. Lee Martinez. I’m not normally a fantasy reader, but his stuff is humorous fantasy, and I’ve read all his books multiple times.

  191. Today I am reading, ‘The Generals, American Military Command From World War II to Today’ by Thomas E. Ricks, because, you know, I’d really like to understand why we fire incompetent Generals and Admirals but ONLY when their political masters experience the modern equivalent of a hinder binder.

  192. I’m reading “The Wise Man’s Fear” by Patrick Rothfuss, because I picked up “The Name of the Wind” on a lark and then read the whole book in one day. I love the characters and the rich world and lore Rothfuss has built.

  193. The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has declined by Steven Pinker. Not easy to read the history of our violence–made me squirm. Perplexing how the good news (That a human’s chance of dying or being hurt intentionally at the hands of another is the lowest now than ever. EVER) is a secret. Who would ever suspect that we’re in such a love fest awesome time to be alive. And there’s room for improvement.

  194. I’m reading Julie Czerneda’s A Turn of Light. I love Julie’s SF. Her writing and world building is fantastic. This is her first foray into fantasy and (about 80% thru) it was well worth it.

  195. Almost done with Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb, read the three previous yesterday and this morning

  196. @Frank in KC – oh, you have a treat in store if you have not read The Letter of Marque before. I am rereading The Mauritius Command as a light-rail commute book just now. TLOM is my favorite in a series I love dearly.

  197. “Dragonsbane” by Barbara Hambly.

    I picked it up at a used book store a few weeks ago and somehow it made it to the top of the list.

    From the cover, the book is about a dragon slayer who is asked to slay another dragon. Yet it turns into a mission to save the dragon.

    I first became acquainted with Ms. Hambly’s work via “Those Who Hunt The Night”. I’ve read a few more books from her as well.

    I remain impressed with the depth she puts into her characters. As with any SF/F piece of work, it can be a little anachronistic to talk about characters being “real”….’cause let’s face it, witches, wizards, hobgoblins, etc. ain’t real… but her characters have real foibles and internal conflicts.

    I’m halfway through and have trouble putting the book down.

    At least I’m glad this question came for this book instead of the last book I read….*shudder*.

  198. Rule 34 by Charles Stross. I’m reading it because I started in on my honeymoon after I finished Redshirts. Plus, it’s in the same vein as HaltinG State, which I thought was marvelous.

  199. The Shield-Maiden: A Foreworld SideQuest by Michael Tinker Pearce. Part of the Mongoliad series but I have been putting off reading it as it is the last thing I have until I can get the last book in the series.

  200. Just picked up, and am reading, A Jefferson Bible for the Twenty-first Century which also includes “best and worsts” from other religious tracts. So sue me… Yes, as my handle indicates, I’m an atheist… but I have a fine collection of religious tracts, and it’s great to find a copy of the Jefferson Bible that also asks: are these selections of good and bad–from sources such as Al’Quran and The Book of Mormon–ones that TJ would have made himself? Can’t wait to see how the drama ends… oh wait………………..

  201. Nothing! Which is to say that I finished both True Grit (great, quick read; very similar feel to the Coen bros. adaptation) and The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet (if you read the Goodreads reviews, you’ll see a lot of people saying “Fantastic book for the first two thirds or so, and then, um, what?” Those people are all correct) over the weekend.

    On the Road and Mr. Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts are in at the library, and I think I’m going to grab something long, and foreign, and possibly involving prisons, as well.

  202. I blasted through all the current books in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series this weekend. I have always been very skeptical of urban fantasy, but I really liked her Feed series (written as Mira Grant but I’m sure most of you know that) :) and decided to give it a try. Now I have yet another series to add to the “waiting for the next book” list. I think my next book will be Stephen King’s Under the Dome because I saw they were making a tv series out of it and I’m curious.

  203. I am reading the very awesome TERMS OF ENLISTMENT by Marko Kloos. Fans of Scalzi will dig it as will fans of military sci-fi. It can be found here on Amazon. FULL DISCLAIMER: I have shared thoughts, rooms, pens, beer and curious glances with Marko but that does not stop my ability to say this book is awesome from being true.

  204. Reading the comic book Invincible by Robert Kirkman (creator of the Walking Dead). This “hidden gem” is amazing as there is 100+ issue already. I would call it superman for adults and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets picked up for a major movie deal in the next couple years. Or if the current production company (paramount I think) decides to materilize something… Pretty sure they have the license right now.

  205. Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer. Why? Because I read about it here and thought it would be a good way to acquaint myself with Wolfe’s work. And the scenes in the Botanic Garden are some of the most bizarre in a good way that I’ve read. Plus, who doesn’t like having a torturer as a protagonist?

  206. Dann, 4/8 @ 11:14 –
    I believe “Dragonsbane” is the book that Brandon Sanderson cites as his entry point into SFF and the book that taught him that reading can be enjoyable.

  207. I try hard not to be a dick, with mixed results, and try to learn from genuinely and justly famous authors, directors, producers, Nobel laureates, and statesmen. I worry about handling my fanmail if I ever do become, in Film terms “Almost Famous.”

    Just having 4,400 publications, presentations, and broadcasts gets me a lot of fan mail (and spam, and crackpots and trolls who seem to be outbreeding netizens with any decency or common sense) and I expect it to get worse before it gets better.

    I fought my way down from 30,000 archived emails, by carefully sorting them into “folders” in Yahoo, before that company, without permission or notice to me, who had a deluxe paid-for account, deleted all 30,000 many of which had no back-ups, including whole story manuscripts, book chapters, tax, and legal data of great value. May the bastards go bankrupt. Then I’ve cut down from 120,000 emails on gmail, a far superior service. When I’m famous, I can hire people to answer my email, and write the tweet “I’m now in my tuxedo, about to step on stage and accept my award…”

    Because Scalzi looked SO GOOD emceeing the Hugos, and he’s only on an early step up the double helix of fame…

  208. I just finished reading Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks (yes, before I heard the news), and I also just finished Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, and just started Speaker for the Dead, again by Card. Guess I’m a little late to the game on those two series, I was in a bit of a mystery/suspense rut for a few years (blew through the Reacher series and a few others), but I’m back to my first love, sci/fi.

  209. What? Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell.
    Why? Because I love all the variations on Tarzan/wild people/feral people/raised by _____/etc. Also, related genres, like the alone-in-the-wilderness YA books Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain.
    How is it? It’s actually quite good. It’s Tarzan from Jane’s perspective, with a healthy dose of historical fiction thrown in. There’s a lot of meat on them there literary bones.

  210. Memory of Light… hard book to read in the 10 minute increments my kids give me.

  211. I’m reading “Coming Through Slaughter” by Michael Ondaatje. I highly recommend this book.

    Also re-reading some classics that I didn’t like when I was forced to read them as a high school kid. Thomas Hardy is still boring as fuck.

  212. I just finished “Out of the Black Land” by Kerry Greenwood. Contrary to the book cover, it is absolutely not a mystery, but it is decent historical fiction set in Egypt’s Amarna period. I’m about to start “The Last Debutante” by Julia London because I’m in the mood for something light next, and she has written some delightfully amusing books in the past.

  213. Last night I re-read RA Lafferty’s “Thieving Bear Planet,” and tonight I’m planning to re-read “Smoe and the Implicit Clay,” and maybe annotate my index to indicate the John Chancel stories like I’ve been meaning to do forever.

    I’ve been thinking about colonialism and frontiers and ghosts lately, is why.

  214. I just finished “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. I picked it up in Greenwood, MS while waiting for a train, because I’d accidentally left behind Cory Doctorow’s “Homeland” that I’d gotten a few chapters into. It is literally laugh out loud funny. The guy manning the register at TurnRow Book Company suggested “Ready Player One” after he said that they were all out of Cory’s stuff (would have more the next week, should have some now, actually). By the end of the first few pages I was hooked and bought it, even though I had 2 more unread books in my bag – I was in the mood for more high-tech videogamey dystopic future-stuff, and this book delivers. I would characterize “Ready Player One” as somewhere between Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother” and “Homeland” on one end and Tad Williams’ “Otherland” series on the other, but more dystopic than either in certain areas. Haven’t read “The Hunger Games” so I can’t calibrate off that, sorry. Anyone who’s into SciFi and grew up in the 80’s or who has quite a bit of experience with 80’s culture – especially videogames and movies – will find “Ready Player One” chock-a-block with references. John Scalzi is even namechecked in the story! (As well as Doctorow and several others, great stuff!).

    BTW, TurnRow Books Company is a really nice little 2-story shop in a renovated section of downtown Greenwood, MS. It is also the *only* bookstore in Greenwood, MS. The next nearest bookstore that is not explicitly Christian is in Grenada, MS, over 20 miles away. The nearest Barnes & Noble is 46 miles away in Cleveland, MS. At least there are two libraries in town. I didn’t check them out, though, because I’d be leaving on a train with no good way to return a book – and they were not within comfortable walking distance from the train station (had to return the rental car over an hour and a half before the train left…)

  215. I just finished Matt Ruff’s “The Mirage”, which I’d been waiting for the paperback version of (I know, I know, dangling participle), and found it quite enjoyable, both in its easy-reading narrative flow and in the incredible detail Ruff put into making the “mirage” Islam world a mirror-image of the Western society we (or most of us) actually live in. Two examples of the latter point stick in my mind … bookstores all over the United Arab States carry how-to books entitled “[subject] For the Uneducated”, and Senator Bin Laden is a hero of the Gulf War (in this case referring to the Gulf of Mexico), and (if I’m not confusing him with another character) before entering politics was a popular action-movie hero.

    I found the ending deliberately ambiguous about which world was actually the mirage and which was reality, but that’s good motivation to go back and read it again at least once more.

    Next on the agenda, your own “Redshirts” (again, I was waiting for the paperback), and totally unrelated, Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country For Old Men”. And for dessert, so to speak, I’m expecting from Amazon in the next day or two Farmer’s entire “Riverworld” set, which they currently have in limited stock for under $50 total including tax, new. That’s really incredible since the entire set seems to be considered collectors’ items which typically run for around $100 USED per volume. Haven’t read it in literally decades (I’m in my late 60’s now), and can’t remember if I ever finished the whole series, so it should be quite a treat.

  216. Just finished Merry Meet Again by Deborah Lipp, who’s an aquaintaince of mine. Deb has written several other books, but this is the first one I’ve sat down with. Her memoir is interesting for me because while I’m familiar with some of the people and incidents she writes about, the book helps fill in a number of gaps for me. I did a lot of “Oh, that’s what happened!” She’s a good writer & I’m glad I bought this one.

    I’m also about halway through Snuff b Terry Pratchett. The Discworld books featuring Sam Vines are among my favorites, so I’m really enjoying this one.

  217. That’s funny, I just finished Horns by Joe Hill. I really enjoyed it. I think I’ll read more by him.

  218. Just started reading Jasper Fforde’s first Thursday Next novel “The Eyre Affair” – and my thoughts so far have been “This has been out for 12 years….WHY didn’t anybody tell me about it before!?!?”

  219. I am reading–or rather, would prefer to be reading but have reluctantly put on hold for the moment while graduate classes eat my life–The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams. Two good candidates for an Odd Couple reboot, I admit, and I suspect that Dirk would be far better mentally equipped to deal with Udolpho than Emily St. Aubert in a reverse situation. I’m also of the opinion that Jane Austen was far too kind in her assessment of TMoU when she wrote Northanger Abbey.

  220. Right now I’m reading A Dark Matter by Peter Straub. Expect to finish it tonight. It’s a book club selection, but based on this I’d read more of Straub. (I read Ghost Story and Julia years ago, and have also perused some long short stories.) I like the way there are little doorways to other stories, potential epics in themselves, scattered all over the novel.

  221. I am currently reading (or, rather, re-reading) Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eli Yudkowski, because I was reminded of it when flipping through channels the other day and catching the tail-end of the last Potter movie (Fuck Yeah, Neville!). And it’s still one of the best things I’ve read in recent years. It’s actually improved on the re-read because EY is constantly doing revisions and tweaking things.

    Highly recommended.

  222. I’m currently reading The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. I had read Consider Phelbas a while ago and enjoyed it, but wasn’t mad crazy enough for the Culture series to ingest all 10 books at once. Unfortunately, as so often happens, news of his declining health jolted my memory and made me download the book over the weekend. I’m sorry that it took me so long to get acquainted with this writer (and so near the end), but I’m glad I got to him eventually. Enjoying the book so far.

  223. Another “Hydrogen Sonata” reader here. I’m enjoying it quite a lot so far. I’m sad that this will be the last Culture novel and particularly sad for the reason. Next up is probably “Wolf Hall”, by Hilary Mantel, a fictional biography of Thomas Cromwell (although I have a large ePile of books, so there are other options).

  224. The Year’s Best Science Fiction, #26. I found it cheap (books are pricey in Australia) and I liked the last one of these I read. Thinking of collecting them, actually. So far my favourite story in it is Michael Swanwick’s ‘From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled’.
    Also Philosophy and Social Hope, by Richard Rorty, because I loved his Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity so much. I’m noticing it’s much less confident than Contingency, which is interesting. I get the feeling Rorty was upset by that book’s reception. It’s a pity, since it seems to have made his writing a little less clear in this book. On the other hand, it did motivate him to start the book with an autobiographical essay explaining how he came to the views he argued in Contingency and in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, and I enjoyed that narrative very much.

  225. Skwid, does it affect your appreciation of “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality” by Eli Yudkowski to know that the lunatic autodidact Eli Yudkowski said again and again on his blog that I, Jonathan Vos Post, do not actually exist, but am a hoax perpetuated by John Sokol (BSD Unix leader, 1st person to send video through the Web) and professor Philip V. Fellman, despite abundant proof that I do actually exist (John Scalzi agrees with my actuality)? When professor Philip V. Fellman directed Eli Yudkowski to public records of my academic credentials, Eli Yudkowski denied their veracity and would not phone Caltech or University of Massachusetts to ask if I did have the degrees that I claim, nor call the colleges and universities where I’ve been Adjunct Professor. When John Sokol argued with Eli Yudkowski, the latter “cried like a little girl.” When I’ve spoken with acolytes of Eli Yudkowski at, for example, the Humanity Plus conference at Caltech, and shown them my photographic California drivers license, and asked them to tell their boss that I exist, he won’t accept their testimony. That’s Rationality? I’ve been reading studies of people who suffer Narcissistic Personality Disorder (characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity, either in fantasy or actual behavior, an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others), and the The Dunning–Kruger effect (a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes).
    Oh, and for science fiction, I’ve just finished reading two brilliant novels: “Radiance: A Novel” (2002) by Carter Scholz (né Robert Carter Scholz, born 1953) which has a prescient plot thread about North Korea’s Long Dong rocket orbiting a star-wars payload; and the reality-is-not-what-it-seems postsingularity-noir “Century Rain” (2004) by Alastair Reynolds. Just started The Other Bolyn Girl (2001) by Philippa Gregory, a Tudor-fest of fun.

  226. The Saga of Seven Suns, book 7, The Ashes of Worlds, by Kevin J. Anderson… And it’s decent, a nice space opera and an entertaining read, but I’m not sure it’s something I would read again…a little slow paced. And why I’m reading it?… I have a hard time not finishing a series I start.

  227. JVP – If we weren’t allowed to enjoy books written by lunatics, goofballs, and the just plain socially maladroit, then we’d have hardly anything left to enjoy.

  228. AlanM — you’re right. I have an occasional column for my 5,000 Facebook friends called “Crackpots on Parade” and my audience enjoys my deconstructing each lunatic’s Cosmology and goofball Physics. The socially maladroit have been known to write exquisite poetry and fascination novels. And who am I to berate anyone for grandiosity or crackpot ideas? I’ve merely learned to sneak my outside-the-box notions past referees to get peer reviewed publications. I’ve been re-reading the 1914 printing of the Harvard Classics translation of essays by Pascal.

  229. Jonathan Vos Post says:
    >I try hard not to be a dick,

    vis what I snipped is an article I just read:
    Doctors being over contacted leads to patient deaths.

    Are 4 kinds of things.
    1) stuff that matters RIGHT NOW!
    2) Stuff that kind of does matter, best dealt with when D. gets to sit down.
    3) Stuff that the the D. should become aware of IFF D. is suffering from
    horrible boredom.
    4) Stuff that should just be set on fire until totally gone.
    5) Spam.
    Dude, just go all ctrl f for names you recall and after ten minutes of that just
    delete everything.
    Really. People who matter to you have at least one of your phone numbers.

  230. I read Confederacy of Dunces until it fell apart…it was as funny to me as Catch-22, but without being self-aware. Now I’m reading Awakening by SJ Bolton.

  231. Now reading A Peace to End All Peace, by David Fromkin. Probably the best explanation of why the Middle East is such a clusterfuck, and what an amazing bunch of dumbasses were in charge of British Imperial policy in the first quarter of the 20th century. I sure wish the boneheads who decided how to begin and operate the war in Iraq had read this first…

  232. Fantasy series by Tom Lloyd. Elitist Book reviews recommended him highly. His writing style is similiar to Stephen Erickson. Sort of throws stuff at you. On book 3 out of 5. Getting more interesting as I go.

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