What Are You Reading? |OT| One Thread to Rule Them All

smisk

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,265
I finished Tampa a day ago and I'm not sure how to feel about it. Nutting's prose is mesmerizing, and I actually read the book in one sitting, which rarely happens these days. The main character is despicable and the story is so incredibly tragic. I'll be thinking about this book for a while. It's brilliant, uncomfortable, and thoroughly disturbing.
Oof, that sounds like a tough read, but I'm also really curious about it. Sadly (maybe unsurprisingly given the subject matter) my library doesn't have it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,026
Trying to get through at least a dozen books this year. Not that ambitious I know, but my reading has really fallen off.
Currently re-reading Ben Lerner's 10:04. Not sure how to describe it, but it's contemporary fiction with a really unique voice. He can come off a little pretentious, but it's also hilarious. I absolutely love this book, and his previous novel Leaving the Atotcha Station.
Just want to say best of luck. i was where you are like two years ago and also went with a dozen books and have been trying to gradually increase my reading from there. The small, reasonable goal really helped me get back into reading. My current goal is fifteen (of which I've read 0 so far...)
 

woo

Member
Nov 11, 2017
1,126
I finished it. It was fantastic, easily one of my favourite Sci Fi novels!
Yay! There are two more books in the series if you were not aware although they are more companion works imo. The original stands on its own and doesn't need anymore but they're worth a read given how you reacted so favourably to it.
 

Tuorom

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,958
Just finished Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.

I have never been more repulsed and yet intrigued by the events that were described. And it was her first book! It is really good. It reminded me of something like the movie Seven by Fincher. Just dark and ugly, but somehow a story that grips you. I'll have to check out the Dark Places movie and HBO Sharp Objects series which I heard was good. It should be with Amy Adams. Not for the faint of heart, I tell you what.

I think I'd rank her books:
1 -Sharp Objects
2 -Gone Girl
3 -Dark Places

Gonna take a few days hiatus to recover lol but probably will move onto The Dragon Reborn, Wheel of Time #3.
 

Jonnykong

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,964
I'm really enjoying Everything I Never Told You.

I think Celeste NG is fast becoming one of my favourite new authors. I love her characterisation.
 
Oct 25, 2017
485
Oof, that sounds like a tough read, but I'm also really curious about it. Sadly (maybe unsurprisingly given the subject matter) my library doesn't have it.
As awful as it sounds, I couldn't put it down. It's really well-written. I would definitely recommend it as it's quite the experience, but I feel dirty even recommending it to other people, heh.
 

Torizo

Member
Apr 18, 2019
271
Yay! There are two more books in the series if you were not aware although they are more companion works imo. The original stands on its own and doesn't need anymore but they're worth a read given how you reacted so favourably to it.
Yeah I was looking into those, I’ll probably check them out sometime soon!
 

fulltimepanda

Member
Oct 28, 2017
444
Finished up my first book in awhile, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Picked it up after reading on Reddit about how devastating it was. I didn't find it so much so? It was slightly oppressive in tone throughout which was nice and the way McCarthy always turned it back onto the relationship between the father and son was good but the kicker I felt they dwelled on for way too long, took a lot of the value out of it for me. Still, some fantastically tense moments while they were scavenging and some great dialogue between the two.

Onto The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
 

Sparky2112

Member
Feb 20, 2018
487
What do you take issue with? The jingoism in that the main character admits, multiple times, that America is the source of its own drug problem yet the majority of his actions, mostly illegal, are to "fix" Mexico and South America through actions that destroy the lives of thousands. And how those actions, which would put him in federal prison in the real world, are ultimately rewarded by the DEA. As for the setting, it was a minor annoyance that he took so many liberties with the geography (I've lived in San Diego most of my life) but it was the last straw when combined with everything else such as the antagonist going down almost the exact same path that lead to his downfall in the first book and the protagonist becoming Rambo at the beginning of the secoind.
Jebus Christ, where to I start? First, Winslow is the world's largest hater when it comes to America's 'WAR ON DRUGS'. 'Jingoism'? America is not a hero here in any sense of the word. Secondly, Mexico, when you boil it down, really IS a shitshow. Unless you can point to another 'civilized' country where headless corpses are routinely hung from bridges... Also, who claimed you could see Antarctica from San Diego? I used to work for a company that did big business in SD, and 70% of the employees there commuted from Mexico, so I have no idea what you're talking about. Finally, Winslow is, rightly, treated as a giant in this space, and you're not.
 
Last edited:

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,985
Finally, Winslow is, rightly, treated as a giant in this space, and you're not.
There’s absolutely no reason to be this hostile over a book disagreement. I know gaming side tends to live up to its reputation somewhat often, but let’s at least try to keep our only book OT civil.
 

Agamon

Member
Aug 1, 2019
372
I haven't read The Cartel, but I did read Winslow's The Force last year, about a dirty cop in NYC, and I found it gave off a very "don't blame the player, blame the game" vibe, which I appreciate. Any book that reveals how f'd the system is in RL society is a plus for me.
 

smisk

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,265
Re: Winslow, I tried reading The Force a couple years ago but dropped it partway through. I know the main character isn't supposed to be likeable, and I'm fine with bleak stuff like The Wire - but all the whole macho attitude he has was too much for me and I just wasn't enjoying it. Maybe I should give it another shot one of these days.
 

DrForester

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,021
Been years, but I am finally rereading The Count Of Monte Cristo. Putting aside the time for such a lengthy book kept me from it, but I decided to just go with the audiobook.
 

Spence

Member
Oct 27, 2017
677
Sweden
Reading a lot these days when I commute, finished Diamond Age recently and currently reading Snow Crash, funnily enough the same week I started reading it I heard that Netflix are going to do a series based on the book.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,409
UK
I recently just went back and reread the book with no name by anonymous, I loved it as a 15 year old or however old I was when I first read it years ago, but boy reading it now some of the writing is so cringey.
 

Agamon

Member
Aug 1, 2019
372
Re: Winslow, I tried reading The Force a couple years ago but dropped it partway through. I know the main character isn't supposed to be likeable, and I'm fine with bleak stuff like The Wire - but all the whole macho attitude he has was too much for me and I just wasn't enjoying it. Maybe I should give it another shot one of these days.
Yeah, he's certainly not likable (at least, not to people who don't have flags/guns on/in their pickups), and it rubbed me the wrong way at first. But then I realized that it wasn't a story about an asshole that's supposed to be cool, but an asshole that doesn't like that he is, and here's why he's that way.
 

Mint

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,189
Canada
Currently reading Uncanny Valley. Probably nothing new for most people here who keep up with tech news but I still find the book oddly enjoyable.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,985
I've only read The Power of the Dog from Winslow, which was absolutely fantastically written - Don's ability to give characters and their chapters unique voices is up there with Joe Abercrombie as the best I've ever seen (read) - but it was unfortunately quite a bit too long for me and started getting repetitive like halfway through.

I should definitely read some more of his stuff at some point, though. I guess I could give the sequel to The Power of the Dog a try.
 

Blue Skies

Banned
Mar 27, 2019
7,325
I haven't read The Cartel, but I did read Winslow's The Force last year, about a dirty cop in NYC, and I found it gave off a very "don't blame the player, blame the game" vibe, which I appreciate. Any book that reveals how f'd the system is in RL society is a plus for me.
That’s being made into a movie with Matt Damon
 

TestMonkey

Member
Nov 3, 2017
384
Jebus Christ, where to I start? First, Winslow is the world's largest hater when it comes to America's 'WAR ON DRUGS'. 'Jingoism'? America is not a hero here in any sense of the word. Secondly, Mexico, when you boil it down, really IS a shitshow. Unless you can point to another 'civilized' country where headless corpses are routinely hung from bridges... Also, who claimed you could see Antarctica from San Diego? I used to work for a company that did big business in SD, and 70% of the employees there commuted from Mexico, so I have no idea what you're talking about. Finally, Winslow is, rightly, treated as a giant in this space, and you're not.
One more response and then I'm done with this.

The main character is a shit bag. Corrupt from the start, works almost entirely outside the law and is responsible for numerous deaths with little to no remorse. But Winslow writes him as a half-Mexican Rambo type hero who is ultimately rewarded for everything he does (I read the blurb for the third book). He does it because he has to. B.S. On the other hand every Mexican, with the exception of one priest and full Mexican Rambo, are corrupt and either work along side the cartels or or are victims. Mexico is defined by Winslow solely by its corruption. Add to that the unstoppable Irish-American killer with a heart of gold and I just can't. As for seeing Antarctica from San Diego, I live here and from downtown San Diego you cannot see Mexico from street level because buildings and hills. Winslow writes this in several scenes. In one of them I know the exact spot he describes. There were a bunch of inconsistencies about the places he writes about in San Diego and they added up for me to be a big negative. I'm not going to touch that last part.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
 

djinn

Member
Nov 16, 2017
4,227
The Goodreads reviews of Heart of Darkness got me nervous thinking I had made a mistake borrowing it, but I'm actually really enjoying it so far. It's a little uncomfortable at times, but that's a given, I feel. The writing is very dense, which surprised me. The narrative is only 85 pages but the prose forces you to slow down. It's not bad, though. I figured since I've read Moby Dick, I can read anything now.
 

fakefaker

Member
Oct 28, 2017
189
I've given up on Bleak house by Mr. Charles Dickens. In about a month, I've gotten around 155 pages done and have fallen out of love of reading. This is not to say that Bleak House is a terrible book; it is one of these "classics" that needs much time, love, patience and time. And time again. So I've given it up to get back into reading as my backlog has only grown in the waiting.

My next read, with joy, is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

 

Strings

Member
Oct 27, 2017
10,670
Finished The Master and Margarita:



Outside of the Sinners Ball at the beginning of part two (which unfortunately felt like a bit of a slog), it was an absolute riot. Found myself surprised by how fond of Satan's retinue I grew as I approached the ending (Koroviev and Behemoth in particular), and just how enjoyable the whole Pontius Pilate narrative turned out to be.

The opening three chapters (two intellectual atheists debate the existence of Jesus with an irritating passerby they're unaware is actually Satan -> Satan's insistence that Jesus obviously did exist because he was there when Pontius Pilate sentenced him to death -> their desperation to rationalise Satan as some kind of academic or invalid (as he hilariously addresses all their unvoiced internal monologuing)) were sublime. That most of the book lives up to that insanely entertaining intro is super impressive.

The whole 'written in Stalinist Russia and chucked in a drawer when finished (after being destroyed and given up on a couple of times), only to be published after the authors death' thing is also a pretty good story in and of itself.
 

DassoBrother

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132
Saskatchewan
The Master and Margarita has been on my list for awhile so I might need to just go ahead and read it. Sounds awesome.

I just got The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie so that'll be my current read. I'm excited since Best Served Cold ended up being way better than I would've thought for a sequel/spin-off of the original trilogy.
 

MilkBeard

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,342
I was watching a few episodes of an old Russian tv show based on Master and Margarita with Eng. subtitles and the concept was really interesting. I'll probably just read the book now, because I was told it's quite a bit better (and it's hard to find the show with English). We instead started watching A Young Doctor's Notebook based on short stories of the same author.

Anyway, I finished Lathe of Heaven, which was pretty good. I admit the concept of the book at times is a bit stronger than actualization, or perhaps it's because I'm really interested in this topic so my mind was running wild with possibilities. Still, it's a really cool book and I enjoyed it.

Next, Tim Rogers is starting a Neuromancer book club on twitter, and I'm joining it but I got impatient and started reading it before he has started. I've only read a few pages and I'm hooked in how dense and well-realized the world feels already.
 

Zabo

Member
Oct 30, 2017
941
Ender's Game... I don't know if I like it, but after first night I just finished Rats chapter. So very least it's captivating. Are the other books in the Ender's saga good/worth the read?
 

Ayeffen

Member
Jan 27, 2020
21
I'm reading A Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. #3 in the Wayfarer's series so far. Becky is a fantastic science fiction writer who creates amazing characters from all sorts of fictional species which are incredibly textured with their own languages, religions, cultural norms, gender and sexual identities.

#2 was amazing and I fell in love with those characters so much so I felt a real sense of grief when I'd finished the book. This one is great so far.

 

malus

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,027
Switzerland
Currently reading Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. After liking most of his work this is kind of a let down. I like the setting and all, but the writing feels almost amateurish at times. It really shows that this was one of his earlier novels. Maybe it's just that I read it quite some time ago, but I don't remember having that feeling while reading Mistborn.
 

Fireblend

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,275
Costa Rica
I'm reading A Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. #3 in the Wayfarer's series so far. Becky is a fantastic science fiction writer who creates amazing characters from all sorts of fictional species which are incredibly textured with their own languages, religions, cultural norms, gender and sexual identities.

#2 was amazing and I fell in love with those characters so much so I felt a real sense of grief when I'd finished the book. This one is great so far.

I'm reading this very soon. Book #2 was probably my favorite book last year, tied with The City in the Middle of the Night. My expectations for this one are mixed, I've heard some conflicting opinions, but I'm still looking forward to it.

---

I ended up reading 5 books this month, which, wow. Don't think I'm managing that again but maybe it's a sign I should increase my reading goal for the year.



Didn't like it as much as I thought I would, considering I adore the TV show. It's obvious the TV show had the benefit of coming after several books and knowing how to introduce plot points and characters before they actually made an appearance in the books, and that made it way more stronger. It's also way longer than I was expecting, and I felt it was dragging by the end. I think I'm gonna stick to the TV show for now.



I absolutely loved this book. Some of the characters are cliched, there's a very clear "evil" threat with few shades of grey, the pacing goes to hell in the last third of the book.... but it's so much FUN. Literally the definition of more than the sum of its parts. I was also convinced to read it by the promise of a single-volume fantasy epic, knowing I can leave the world behind after just the one book and be satisfied from a fantasy story is a rare occurrence, and it definitely delivered on that front. It has a really interesting world and likable characters and for whatever it's worth it kept reminding me of Fire Emblem: Three Houses in terms of story and characters. Really a treat.



A dystopian-magic realist book about a town where memories disappear and there's a police that enforces those disappearance. This book is beautifully written (and translated, the writing flows ridiculously well and due in part to the translation and its literary genre it has the ethereal, dream-like feeling of books like Haruki Murakami's without the uncalled for women body descriptions). It felt very allegorical, and it tackled some heavy themes. My soul was crushed by the end, don't go into this one expecting a fun ride, but what a ride.



This one may be cheating, but I did read it all. I'm trying to get into bread baking and this was recommended to me. Very good book, super thorough recipes and explanations, and structured in a very intelligent, guided way. I haven't made all of the recipes in the book obviously and I read it in like one sitting but I'm very much looking forward to using it more in the future.



After reading The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a book about an ambassador from a subjugated space station/colony being sent to the capital planet of the empire to investigate the death of their predecessor and try to save the colony from total annexation sounded like it was gonna trigger a ton of dejavu, but this managed to be its own thing even if many of the themes from Baru Cormorant regarding cultures dominating another and getting to choose what "normal" means are there, beyond just the change of setting from fantasy/alt-history to sci-fi. There's some neat stuff having to do with memories in the ambassador's culture and there's a lot of emphasis about how language is shaped by culture. Very quotable. That ending tho. Looking forward to book #2.
 

Strings

Member
Oct 27, 2017
10,670
Started Andre Agassi's biography Open for a change of pace (and because I've heard good things about it). Very promising so far.
 

weemadarthur

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,156
Ender's Game... I don't know if I like it, but after first night I just finished Rats chapter. So very least it's captivating. Are the other books in the Ender's saga good/worth the read?
Speaker for the Dead is amazing for having truly alien alien creatures, but doesn’t even feel like it has the same characters. If you consider it to be an unrelated story it works very well. The third book in line sucks, I’ve forgotten its title.

The other in-universe sagas, I’ve heard mixed reviews and have not read myself.
 

DassoBrother

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132
Saskatchewan


This one may be cheating, but I did read it all. I'm trying to get into bread baking and this was recommended to me. Very good book, super thorough recipes and explanations, and structured in a very intelligent, guided way. I haven't made all of the recipes in the book obviously and I read it in like one sitting but I'm very much looking forward to using it more in the future.
I've been thinking more recently that I want to try and make my own bread since fresh bread is so rare for me. Fresh baking is generally on another level so why do I settle so frequently for pre-packaged bread. I sometime splurge on sourdough from local bakeries so it'd be fun to try my hand at it.

Speaker for the Dead is amazing for having truly alien alien creatures, but doesn’t even feel like it has the same characters. If you consider it to be an unrelated story it works very well. The third book in line sucks, I’ve forgotten its title.

The other in-universe sagas, I’ve heard mixed reviews and have not read myself.
I read Ender's Game multiple times in high school but never dove into any sequels. I had a couple friends that swore by lots of the sequels though so I should at least give Speaker for the Dead a shot. Do you like the Shadow series at all, or consider them skippable?
 

Ayeffen

Member
Jan 27, 2020
21
I'm reading this very soon. Book #2 was probably my favorite book last year, tied with The City in the Middle of the Night. My expectations for this one are mixed, I've heard some conflicting opinions, but I'm still looking forward to it.
Ah! Wonderful. I am glad to come across another lover of the series but also that particular book! Sidra ❤

I'm about a third of the way in and it is following a few different individuals that don't seem to be connected at the moment but will see how it plays out.

I also just read Becky Chambers novella 'To Be Taught, If Fortunate' which was also very good. It's set a couple of hundred years prior to the events of Wayfarers following the early manned explorations outside of our own solar system.
 

smisk

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,265
Finished Ben Lerner's 10:04 for the second time and liked it much more the second time. He might be one of my favorite authors now? Someone else read this so I can discuss it with someone! It's really well received critically but I don't get the sense it ever got mainstream attention, probably for good reason - it can be a little difficult to read at times.



Anyway, right afterwards I started reading Cherry by Nico Walker, after seeing it recommended in an interview with Luke O'Neil, the guy who writes that Hell World newsletter. The author is currently in prison and it's the (seemingly autobiographical) story of a midwestern shitbag turned army medic turned heroin addict turned bank robber, and it's pretty incredible. The writing is definitely not literary in the traditional sense, but there's a kind of poetry to it. Most of the book so far is just shitty people in shitty situations being shitty, but there are some genuine moments of tenderness between the narrator and his girlfriend that are touching.

I'm in the Iraq War segment and it infuriates me all over again seeing how much we fucked that up and threw a bunch of poorly trained assholes into that country for no reason. It's a great book though, and as long as you can deal with the bleak subject matter I'd highly recommend it. Dude gets out of prison later this year, hopefully he has a bright future.

 

weemadarthur

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,156
I've been thinking more recently that I want to try and make my own bread since fresh bread is so rare for me. Fresh baking is generally on another level so why do I settle so frequently for pre-packaged bread. I sometime splurge on sourdough from local bakeries so it'd be fun to try my hand at it.


I read Ender's Game multiple times in high school but never dove into any sequels. I had a couple friends that swore by lots of the sequels though so I should at least give Speaker for the Dead a shot. Do you like the Shadow series at all, or consider them skippable?
My sister thought the Shadow series had good books and worthless ones, but I haven’t read them myself. I also can’t recall her list of recommendations.
 

woo

Member
Nov 11, 2017
1,126
Speaker for the Dead is amazing for having truly alien alien creatures, but doesn’t even feel like it has the same characters. If you consider it to be an unrelated story it works very well. The third book in line sucks, I’ve forgotten its title.

The other in-universe sagas, I’ve heard mixed reviews and have not read myself.
Yes, that was the best one that I read. I tried to read the next one in the series but bounced off it almost straight away. Speaker for the Dead is worth the effort though.
 

Pachimari

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,296
Finally bought The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in English (read a hundred or so pages in my local language before) as I found it in a local store. May read through it in-between Chapter House Dune and The Blade Itself.
 


Familiarizing myself with the only Brontë (ugh, stupid diaeresis) sister whose work I haven't previously read (in her case, she only published one novel, so it's fairly easy; Charlotte was the only one who published more than two books), but if you're going to be a literary one-hit wonder, Wuthering Heights is certainly the sort to have; its impact is almost immeasurable. Beyond the characters' names I wasn't particularly familiar with the story going in. It's easy to see why Victorian readers accustomed to often staid and moralistic literature were jolted by this; even within the sometimes lurid parameters of Gothic fiction, the characters in this are intense, and Heathcliff is legitimately one of the biggest villains you're ever likely to read about (often sanded down into merely a tormented lover in adaptations, particularly since most of them omit the novel's second half where he goes full supervillain). Brontë is refreshingly unconcerned with character likability, to the extent that of her major protagonists I don't think any are cast in an especially flattering light.
 

Peru

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,628


Familiarizing myself with the only Brontë (ugh, stupid diaeresis) sister whose work I haven't previously read (in her case, she only published one novel, so it's fairly easy; Charlotte was the only one who published more than two books), but if you're going to be a literary one-hit wonder, Wuthering Heights is certainly the sort to have; its impact is almost immeasurable. Beyond the characters' names I wasn't particularly familiar with the story going in. It's easy to see why Victorian readers accustomed to often staid and moralistic literature were jolted by this; even within the sometimes lurid parameters of Gothic fiction, the characters in this are intense, and Heathcliff is legitimately one of the biggest villains you're ever likely to read about (often sanded down into merely a tormented lover in adaptations, particularly since most of them omit the novel's second half where he goes full supervillain). Brontë is refreshingly unconcerned with character likability, to the extent that of her major protagonists I don't think any are cast in an especially flattering light.
Favourite Wuthering Heights exercise is opening up on a random page and seeing if it features characters swearing at each other.
 

Mifec

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,250




About to be done, if the other two books keep up it's something I'd recommend for sure.
 

DassoBrother

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132
Saskatchewan
I wasn't sure about The Heroes but I just reached Day 2 and it's starting to come together. I thought the writing was some of Abercrombie's strongest but the story wasn't grabbing me. That's starting to change, and the chapter covering the first major clash, with multiple perspective shifts, was great. That was the turning point where I felt totally bought in to whatever happens next. I must like terrible characters too because Gorst, the incel hero, is currently my favorite, with Calder being second.
I'm still hoping for a Logen Ninefingers cameo.
 

Sparky2112

Member
Feb 20, 2018
487


Anyone heard of her? I've heard scuttlebutt forever - 'masterpiece, blah, blah...' kind of around the same-ish time that Elena Farrante's 'My Brilliant Friend' books were casting a long shadow over all other things literary. This is actually the first in a trilogy.

I guess you could call Cusk a 'writer's writer'. If you need a plot stay away - she doesn't need one. Same if you need characters to have distinct voices - she doesn't need them. But then that's sort of the point. It's almost an impressionist painting. Think Proust, but a thousand times more accessible.

The 'plot', if you will: English writer goes to Greece for a week to teach a course, meets various people there and along the way, and they tell their stories to her. It all kind of blurs together to form an overall picture of marriage, accomplishment (or lack of it), etc. Like I said, impressionist.

A LOT of words have flowed under my bridge over the years, and I'm simply stunned by some of the writing here - perfect encapsulations of feelings, jealousies, life, death, relationships, guilt, pride...you name it. Totally vaults onto my list of favorite authors.