Re: Whatcha reading?

1

I just read this post. Was okay. Not too long.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 5:55 PM
horizontal rule
2

I just read your comment.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 5:58 PM
horizontal rule
3

State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett. I'm only maybe a third of the way in, but it's really, really good (also if you haven't read Bel Canto, you should). I just read the Secret History a couple months ago, by coincidence, and I agree -- lots of fun.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
4

I'm reading The Promise, which is a sequel to Dragon Seed, both books by Pearl S. Buck, both about Chinese resistance fighters in WWII.

Liking them a lot.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
5

I just finished The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, which I loved and wish I could have read faster. I read her previous non-Booker-award-winning novel The Rehearsal, which was also captivating but much more experimental and has almost nothing in common with her second. I'm choosing not to be jealous about any of that or her young age and just enjoy.

Anyway, if you're only going to read one 700-page novel about conspiracies and coincidences in the New Zealand gold rush of the 1860s, I would totally make it The Luminaries.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
6

I loved State of Wonder and Bel Canto. Her shtick, of taking a very slow, serious look at ludicrous circumstances, is something I enjoy, but it was super contentious at book club. Other people did not like it at all.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:01 PM
horizontal rule
7

3: State of Wonder is my favorite of hers. I did not like The Secret History and it's one of those I reread every few years to make sure I still didn't like it (like A Separate Peace) but I would, wouldn't I? Everyone else in the world is a fan.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
8

I just started The Turn of the Screw in a collection of James "short novels" (as the cover describes them) that formerly belonged to my father. I'll let you know.

But I just *finished* a collection of Gilbert Sorrentino stories, The Moon in Its Flight, and the title story was great, and an excellent example of metafictional tomfoolery adding to a story's conventional virtues ("emotional", as the phrase has it, "heft", in particular).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
9

Finished Before the Storm a week or two ago.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:04 PM
horizontal rule
10

I just finished "Command and Control" by Eroc Schlosser, which is swell and also terrifying. Now I am nominally back to William James, but we all know how that goes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:04 PM
horizontal rule
11

The newest Ben Aaronovitch book about Peter Grant, Broken Homes, was in some ways my favorite since the first and the next may be much better. I get the feeling some people here may have dropped them.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:05 PM
horizontal rule
12

That should either be Eric or E-Roc
Schlosser, dunno which.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:06 PM
horizontal rule
13

Let's see. What else? I had quibbles with both The Jinni and the Golem and (especially) Alif the Unseen, which I read back-to-back, but both were plenty of fun and had interesting bits all over the place.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
14

The Golem and the Jinni, rather. Oops.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
15

I'm reading something else now, but I recently read The Rest Is Noise based on the rec of someone here and it was really great. It's exactly the kind of life-changing, middlebrow educational thing that's terrific in a good way, like an intro college art history course. Also some of those dudes were pretty hardcore.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:12 PM
horizontal rule
16

I also just finished The Luminaries. Thumbs up! Very Wilkie Collins-ish (though less so in its final portions). Before that it was Ancillary Justice, also a thumbs up. Probably I should have been getting more writing than reading done in there earlier because this LINGERING DEATH COLD sure is making me too stupid to do much intelligent work for work right now, though I guess it was also doing that all last week, which was how I managed to do all that reading.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:12 PM
horizontal rule
17

I just finished Dirt, by David Vann, which was pretty damn dark, but a good and quick read. And I just started Murakami's 1Q84.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:13 PM
horizontal rule
18

Oh, has anyone read Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah yet? It seems well-liked and that may be my next read.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
19

I'm currently reading Tewa Tales by Elsie Clews Parsons. It's pretty interesting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:21 PM
horizontal rule
20

Piketty on Capital
Gutting on Foucault
Fandom Unbound, Anime and otaku
Several language books, started Pimsleur again

I always have 4 or 5 going so I can alternate between heavy and light


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
21

I just read High Price by Carl Hart, which was fairly compelling and readable as a memoir, but somehow involved less science than something I read about it had led me to expect.

Hedy's Folly by Richard Rhodes was a good light entertaining read on a plane, but most of the important details were conveyed here years ago in comments by John Emerson.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl was a fun read with a well-constructed plot, although the writing was sometimes annoyingly precious and the repeated invoking of Nabokov seemed like an attempt to fool the reader into thinking of the book as high art rather than just an entertaining story.

David Keith's A Case for Climate Engineering was thought-provoking, but I think I already mentioned it here.

Apparently Firefox on my desktop decided to stop responding to 2-finger scrolling while I was out of town. That's annoying.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
22

Recently read You Disappear by Christian Jungerson, translated by a friend of mine. It's a quintessential neuronovel about a woman whose husband's tumor changes him beyond recognition; much of the novel is her recognizing that the calm before the storm, when he renewed his affections for her, was probably also a symptom of the tumor. I haven't decided just how skeptical the author is of the science, and I think he hasn't either; there's a really remarkable way in which he lets the narrator fall down the rabbit hole of the science of mind without making it either a heavy-handed satire or a full-throated endorsement. It's kind of a ruined-by-reading novel.

Trying to get my copy of the recent Bancroft winner back from my dad, who steals my history books. Looking forward to reading Zazen by Vanessa Veselka.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:38 PM
horizontal rule
23

Two books I've read in the last few weeks have impressed me with the strengths and the limitations of reading on the el, in 15 minute snatches at the most.

The first was George C. Marshall's Memoirs of My Service in The World War, written in the early 20s, of which the manuscript was found after his death. When he wrote it he had no reason to suppose he'd ever be involved with something so dramatic and desperate again, so he thought of WWI as likely the highlight of his life, whatever else happened to him. Never prepared or edited for publication, it benefits enormously from that, I say as a former and long-time editor. The voice and pace are perfectly clear and consistent. A great mind, the most important man in American government as FDR began to fade, and for the next decade: he dominated Truman, for better or worse.

The other is Adorno's Mahler, A Musical Physiognomy. a startling, difficult but rewarding book of criticism.

Both of these books read very well in small installments, for different reasons. But they also suffered because they'd benefit from reference to detailed maps in the one, and full musical scores in the other. There are things you're quite clear about from reading that you feel you'd know even better if you could confirm the reference.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:38 PM
horizontal rule
24

15 is definitely on the list of books that I am Currently Reading, in the broader sense.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:39 PM
horizontal rule
25

Currently reading "House of War" on Tweety's recommendation, and "The Box" (a history of the shipping container) on snarkout's. Plus "Gravity's Rainbow" after having finished "Bleeding Edge". And I just started "The Dead Hand", a history of the Soviet Union's doomsday device and germ-warfare programs.

Recently read: "Command and Control" which is exactly as Tweety describes; Daniel Ellsberg's memoir; Mark Mazzetti's "The Way of the Knife"; "The Skies Belong To Us"; and a bunch of other stuff. The Mazzetti didn't really tell me much I didn't know in outline, but was interesting in filling in more detail.

The major takeaway from most of my reading the past 6 months or so: Jesus Christ Nixon was an asshole.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
26

23.last: I had a similar experience reading The Rest is Noise on a plane and wishing I could listen to some of the music it described as I was reading. I meant to look some of the things up later, but never did.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:41 PM
horizontal rule
27

15 is really great and Ross is a much better music writer than that other dude he shares a magazine with.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
28

The Rest Is Noise has a great linked website where you can listen along as you read. Plus Spotify is fantastic for it, you can bring up a full recording of almost everything mentioned.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
29

If someone named their kid "Jesus Christ Nixon," they were kind of asking for that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
30

26: I've tried listening to "Rite of Spring" since reading that and it makes basically no impression on me.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
31

28: Yeah, I knew that and so probably should have decided not to read it during a flight. Oh well.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
32

26: At the time, I had an emusic account and I used it to compile an iTunes playlist. I imagine there oh why even finish that sentence, of course there's a Spotify playlist and look 28-pwned


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:44 PM
horizontal rule
33

I'm reading Tocqueville which is surprisingly fun and wonderfully written. I didn't realize just how reactionary Tocqueville was and the extent to which Democracy in America is really about two things: 1)a despairing reactionary seeking to find hope in the face of the inexorable advance of 'Democracy', by which he means formal legal class equality in the classical liberal sense, and 2) a commentary on France. It's also great as a book you can dip into for short bits every couple days.

Other than that in history: reading and disliking Freedom from Fear which is the Oxford History of America entry on the Depression and WWII. Also recently read Tony Judt's Postwar which was wonderful. A Social History of France 1780-1880 by John McPhee was much more fun than I expected.

On the SFF front I reread Niven's Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers. The first was as much fun as I remembered, the latter much worse. Also Pat Cadigan's Synners which is great. And I went through a few of Michelle Sagara's 'Cast in...' secondary world urban fantasy series which are good if you like urban fantasy junk food, and I do.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:45 PM
horizontal rule
34

I also originally read J.C.N. in 25.3 as a single name.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:45 PM
horizontal rule
35

In the year since Φ was born I have finished these 3 books plus the one in 22. I have started many more; I have become a great friend of the public library, fine-wise. (Highly recommend the middle link for the other parents of babies and former babies. The author had a column at Slate for awhile that you may have seen.)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
36

33: oh yeah I reread "Synners" a little while ago. It really does hold up better than the vast majority of SF.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
37

I apparently have given up reading books for Lent. But they're stiflingly linear and paternalistic and intrinsically rob the world of mystery and meaning.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
38

I'm reading Pygmalion for work and 5th wave for fun. The play is wonderful. I always lived the secret history--the noirish psychological hot house reminded me more of grad school than undergrad, though.


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
39

Loved for lived


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
40

I apparently have given up reading books for Lent. But they're stiflingly linear and paternalistic and intrinsically rob the world of mystery and meaning.

#slatepitch


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
41

Just wrapped up a (very good) space opera, Ancillary Justice; dipping in and out of Eula Biss's beautifully written and horribly depressing collection of essays about race in America, Notes from No Man's Land; about to start in on The Luminaries on rfts' recommendation.

Synners is great. (Mindplayers is great, too.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:39 PM
horizontal rule
42

I'm reading the mystery by Rowling that wasn't supposed to be known to be by Rowling and some books on cob building.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
43

I loved The Box.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
44

"The Box" (a history of the shipping container) on snarkout's

How are you liking it? I felt like it really made a case for the shipping container as the great unrecognized world-historical invention of the second half of the 20th century, the way maybe air conditioning was for the first. (Also, I thought it was just an interesting story in its own right.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
45

43: Dude, try saying something nice about her personality or something first.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
46

Sorry. Somebody had to do that. Because fruit and hanging low.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:46 PM
horizontal rule
47

45 - No, it's Cameron Diaz's biggest/most confused fan.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:47 PM
horizontal rule
48

I'm going to go look for standpipe.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
49

This is vaguely depressing. I feel like it's been a while since I've read a complete book. I still feel like "a reader" but it's mostly magazines and online articles.
I guess the most recent was How Soccer Explains The World which was pleasantly easy reading.

That said, for everyone who likes Synners I recommend Linda Nagata's Vast. I read it a couple years ago and it's one of the few SF novels that I go out of my way to recommend. Very good (and, though it's very different from Synners I think it would appeal to people who like Pat Cadigan).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
50

I just finished reading The Heart of Everything That Is, which is pretty awful in a lot of different ways, including being filled with OVERBLOWN CLAIMS OF ITS OWN IMPORTANCE. I'm looking forward to writing my review, because it's been a while since I've been able to take off the gloves (I only write really brutal reviews under particular circumstances).


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
51

I guess I should read that book "The Box" since I spent a brief period of time writing copy for a newsletter promoting the glories of multi-modal shipping. But I generally hate "this amazing technology changed the world" books.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
52

I generally hate "this amazing technology [subject matter about which I've written] changed the world" books.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
53

If everything changed the world, then nothing did.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
54

I've started reading Laurie King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. Good stuff so far.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
55

Also, The Lego Movie is pretty overrated, I'm sorry to say.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
56

I mean, speaking of criticism.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
57

The world was changed but still sort of sucks. Because it's just a fucking box.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
58

A couple of mysteries and some book about the presocratics.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
59

Now I want to start a series of airport novel crime thrillers:
The Box
The Snatch
The Gash...


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
60

55: Get your own thread, philistine!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
61

44: it's good! I hadn't realized just how much more difficult shipping was before the advent of the container.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
62

60: would it help if I said that I read the original screenplay? Or the Russian novel from which The Lego Movie was adapted?


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
63

52: I keep waiting for Mark Kurlansky to come out with "Bacalhau: The Dish That Changed the World".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
64

62: I don't actually know anything at all about The Lego Movie and am interested in more beyond whether there was too much world building and too little anything else because I have no clue what that even means in a Lego context. I assume it's spun off from all the Lego video games, which also don't make a whole lot of sense to me except that I know it's bloodless to knock a Lego body to pieces and visually pretty awesome. This probably belongs in the thread where I say that my kids are adhering pretty well to certain gender norms. (Mara's first birthday party invite was to a dress-as-your-favorite-prince-or-princess Frozen-themed party.)

In the interests of full disclosure, I started China Mieville's King Rat tonight, which I'd thought was officially YA but I guess sort of isn't.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
65

If everything is awesome, then nothing is.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:05 PM
horizontal rule
66

Isn't that precisely the point of the fucking movie?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:07 PM
horizontal rule
67

(I don't know if I really think it's awesome to watch Lego Star Wars bodies fall apart or whatever, probably boring the way it is that Wii Bowling replays what just happened. It was amusing to see once, I guess. I was just trying to be generous because I need to stop being such a buzzkill all the time.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:07 PM
horizontal rule
68

The Lego Movie, not The Fucking Movie.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
69

66: 65 was to 64, yes. And how did you find out that I watched a bootlegged copy? That's spooky, man.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
70

I've done such a poor job finishing books over the last decade that the next book I finish will probably be: "The Police: How an institution changed LA and changed the life of someone who's not in LA" by Robert Halford and gswift.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
71

Aggh. Fucking work. The only book worth reading is Set Everything on Fire and Fuck Everything: The Book.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
72

It would probably be best to fuck it before setting it on fire.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
73

Hope the author of that book didn't injure himself too badly in his or her experiments.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
74

Aargh


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
75

Some say the world will end in fire
I say fuck everything, then fire.


Posted by: Robert Frost, thower of flames | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
76

I'm reading Roberto Calasso's La Folie Baudelaire (which is translated to English from Italian so why is the title French? I don't know) but it's a wonderful book largely about Baudelaire's art criticism, Ingres, Delacroix, Degas and photography, and that's as far as I've got.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
77

Some say the world will end in fire
I say fuck everythingyou clown, then fire.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
78

argh


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:22 PM
horizontal rule
79

Some say the world will end in fire
I say fuck everything you clown, then fire.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:22 PM
horizontal rule
80

I'm not reading books. I'm watching movies. Saw The Great Beauty last night. Still thinking about what I think about it as a whole. Unfogged filmed from the point of view of Standpipe, maybe?

Anyone else see it?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
81

King Rat was the first Mieville I read. It read very much like a first novel to me, but I liked it enough that I went and bought Perdido Street Station as soon as I finished it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
82

Perdido Street Station is why Perdido Street Station is the only Mieville I've read.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
83

Reading the Sleepwalkers, Small Gods for bedtime reading, and Concrete Island on the subway. Lately I only seem to be able to read a handful of pages on the subway so it takes me forever to finish my subway reading.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
84

50: I hadn't heard of that previously, but now I see that it's the first time in history two white men have written about American Indians, and they've done so with rich and meticulous research, well-sketched out characterizations, and thrilling action.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
85

82: Yeah, I'm 80 pages into this and already expecting problematic gender stuff like Perdido Street Station but possibly worse. But again, that's because I've read the rest of his early stuff.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
86

I loved PSS in spite of all its flaws, it had that sensawunda thing going for it with its main character, i.e. Corbuzon.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:29 PM
horizontal rule
87

I actually have started two books this month, but it's clear now that I won't finish them before I have to return them and they're both academic books that I probably won't have access to again for a long time but would buy if I were an academic, which I'm not.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
88

83 The history book, the modernist novel, or the horror novel?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
89

Anyone else see it?

I did and it seemed as if I should see it again immediately after (however, I did not do so).

There was a point about 2/3, perhaps, through, when I thought for sure the movie was going to end. But it kept going! Not that it dragged on for the remainder (I thought), just that it could have ended there.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
90

84: it is the UNTOLD STORY OF RED CLOUD'S WAR, WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD BEFORE. The authors are FINALLY GIVING RED CLOUD, OF WHOM YOU'VE NEVER HEARD, BECAUSE HIS STORY HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD BEFORE NOW, HIS RIGHTFUL DUE. The Red Cloud estate is very grateful, I'm sure.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
91

What I'm currently not reading is Frozen Desire: the meaning of money by James Buchan (grandson of the other Buchan). Someone I follow recommended it highly, but I am a bit bogged down.
However, he had one very compelling passage in which he praises Rembrandt's "Repentant Judas Returning The Pieces Of Silver."

For in this flash of recognition. the miller's boy, the Dutchman, saw into the marrow of history; that the divine in man is dead beyond all resurrection; that there is nothing left to us but a few coins on a dusty floor and our bestial natures; and that in every monetary transaction, wholesale and retail, Christ is re-crucified.
That's where I stopped.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
92

88 The modernist horror novel? I'm not sure what the question is (but I'm really tired and maybe misreading and writing more sloppily than my usual).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
93

I've been not reading Frozen Desire since I started reading it as a library book, tried to buy it used online, never received it, and got my refund after I'd dropped out of grad school at which point I decided not to try to get it again. I've also been not reading his book on Edinburgh and the Enlightenment.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
94

91: I hope you stole that book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
95

A classic high modernist novel: The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch. A horror novel: The Sleepwalkers by Stephen King.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:47 PM
horizontal rule
96

Also, the proper answer to the post title used to be to grunt something like: "A book"; then look back down and continue to read, but briefly hold the book in such a way that the asker can read the cover and/or spine. No further communication is required.

Unfortunately, social media has destroyed this kind of behavior by encouraging us to hide behind screens instead of interacting with other human beings, as we used to do, in the days of deep reading.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:49 PM
horizontal rule
97

as we used to do, in the days of deep reading.

I read about those.

Once, a long time ago.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
98

95, ah, the history book.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
99

Mieville

Earlier this year before I stopped reading, I read The City and the City which I quite liked.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
100

Now I spend a few minute before bed each night flipping through GoT trying to predict what this season's episodes will be. Because lead and bottle-feeding.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
101

Come to think of it, you could say that a book on the origins of WWI is high modernist horror.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
102

101 True, I was also thinking of Concrete Island as modernist horror (which is what threw me).

I recently read Flann O'Brien's The Third Policemen which was wonderful.

I'm thinking of rereading some Ross Thomas, I read a boat load of his stuff about 20 years ago and have a hankering for something like that. I don't think I want to be reading Chinaman's Chance on the subway though. Reading Flashman on the subway gave me trepidation enough.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:06 PM
horizontal rule
103

99: That's my favorite.

I should probably more than half-read this book on making your toddler sleep better on her own, but now that I've dealt with Selah's first wakeup successfully, I can go to sleep myself. It's just disorienting to be woken an hour or so in, and this way I should get at least three before I'm up again. Good times!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
104

I've also been not reading his book on Edinburgh and the Enlightenment.

Let's have a thread where we all list all the books we're not reading!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
105

The Third Policeman is indeed wonderful! Maybe if I continue on too stupid to get caught up on work I should re-read that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
106

104 would break the server.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
107

And salaries we're not making!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
108

Yesterday I read about half of A Visit from the Goon Squad and I haven't figured out what I think of it yet.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
109

I read The Secret History a long time ago, and I remember thinking it was pretty silly, but a lot of fun. Coincidentally, I just finished Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch today. It was ridiculous in a lot of ways, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 9:35 PM
horizontal rule
110

Thank you heebie for coming through.

I recently read Scalzi's The Human Divison and it is the thing you like if you like this sort of thing which in my case it was. I also started the Flashman series. The protagonists antics both disgust and amuse me. I probably will begin a compilation of 1950's American crime novels (Thompson, Highsmith, Himes etc.) put out by Library of America next.

@33 You probably mean Peter McPhee. John McPhee is an enviromental historian.

@16&41 Yes Ancillary Justice was great. I've already preordered the sequel Ancillary Sword.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
111

You probably mean Peter McPhee. John McPhee is an enviromental historian.

I was wondering about that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
112

I just finished the latest Pratchett. I have a book on making campaign furniture (folding chairs, two-piece dressers) that I'm doling out in pieces as treats, and a book on winemaking I keep meaning to start.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-23-14 11:17 PM
horizontal rule
113

I stopped reading books around Christmas, in the middle of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (which I'd started because of AWB). Then decided last week that I should start again, partly because I now walk past the library once a week. Haven't resumed LLD, but have read a murder mystery and am in the middle of JK Rowling's "The Casual Vacancy" - saw her talk last month and she made it sound quite interesting and someone I know said she enjoyed it, so thought I would try it. It's full of quite horribly realistic unpleasant characters.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 2:09 AM
horizontal rule
114

Just finished some of the books mentioned in this thread - clearly the Hivemind is gradually drawing me in (Secret History and Dead Hand). Also, recently, James Fenton "All the Wrong Places" and Richard Hillary "The Last Enemy".
My quarterly Amazon box arrived today, so ho for The Sleepwalkers and The World That Never Was on the flight out to NY.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 2:33 AM
horizontal rule
115

I'm reading Glasgow crime novel, The necessary death of Lewis Winter which is very good.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jan/13/necessary-death-malcolm-mackay-review

And Adam Faulds' In the Wolf's Mouth which has some lovely writing but the usual 'literary' issues with plotting:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/15/wolfs-mouth-adam-foulds-review
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/16/wolfs-mouth-adam-foulds-review


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 2:43 AM
horizontal rule
116

I also started the new translations/reissues of the Maigret novels, which I'm enjoying very much. I've only read Hatter's Ghost before, which is very different, so interesting reading his more 'famous' works.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 2:46 AM
horizontal rule
117

Oh, and Ken Macleod's new one, Descent, which sadly I didn't like much at all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 2:53 AM
horizontal rule
118

My non-utilitarian reading has slowed down dramatically in the last year, mainly because I've discovered a bunch of new podcasts so I read a lot less during the day than before. And secondarily because my utilitarian reading of books on programming and data modelling and the like has skyrocketed. So, recreationally, I've been reading Jenny Lawson's book on-and-off for about the last three months, and my backlog of books is growing fast. Mieville's probably going to be my next fictional read. The City and the City has been sitting unread on my Kindle for a year.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 3:20 AM
horizontal rule
119

115.1 looks neat and I wouldn't have run across it otherwise. Thanks, ttaM.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 3:24 AM
horizontal rule
120

I just finished The Towers of Trebizond which was recommended in a previous reading thread, I think. I started Red Mars some time ago and then put it down for a while (though I'd been enjoying it), and now need to decide whether I should pick it up again or try something new. I'm definitely not reading as much as I used to.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 3:38 AM
horizontal rule
121

117: I have been wondering whether or not to get this: I am normally a MacLeod fan, and some of his recent stuff has been stellar (The Night Sessions is the best book he has ever written) but some of it has been dodgy (The Execution Channel, Intrusion) and I suspected that Descent might be more of the same. Oh well.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 3:41 AM
horizontal rule
122

Funnily enough, I liked The Execution Channel a lot. Night Sessions, also. The Descent just seems very unresolved, and the central character unappealing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 4:16 AM
horizontal rule
123

The Art of Fielding and A Working Theory of Love. Very different first novels. Also American Prometheus, about Oppenheimer.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 4:40 AM
horizontal rule
124

The Execution Channel would have been great had it spontaneously combusted in my hands when I was 20 pages from the end.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 4:45 AM
horizontal rule
125

I read The Sleepwalkers. I came away blaming France for the whole thing.

I'm currently reading Nixonland, but its bringing me down. Apparently, Republican politicians in the 1960s were terrible people.

Glad that someone is sharing my disdain for The Lego Movie. For what its worth, Lego Star Wars is also terrible. "Lets take two great things - Legos and Star Wars - and ruin both of them. If we throw in enough irreverent animation sequences, no one will notice the clumsy controls and shitty gameplay."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 4:53 AM
horizontal rule
126

I was just traveling for work and had a lot of internet-less time, so I got a lot read this weekend: Wolf Hall, which I'm sure a lot of folks have read; a re-read of Lark Rise To Candleford, which is a book I usually take with on trips as it's long, interesting and soothing; and the absolutely amazing and incredible novel The Century's Daughter, by Pat Barker. She has also written a number of more famous and lauded novels about men's experience in WWI; somewhere I read an interview with her saying that she started out writing about working class women and no one paid any attention so she switched over to writing about men. I've read several of her later novels and while I think they're much more palatable and slicker, I think The Century's Daughter is much more strongly and realistically characterized. It's amazing. I haven't read many novels like it.

I'm also working on Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston - I was finding it a bit slow going because it's set in the rural south and full of demoralizing incident of the "and I got drunk and slept with an awful woman and promised to marry her and my honor won't let me back out" variety, but I wanted to continue as it's made a big splash in fantasy/SF circles and people-who-read-women-writers-of-color circles. It does grow on you and I strongly recommend it.

I'd be interested in folks' opinions on Wolf Hall. Several things jumped out at me: the whole "this is a novel about modernity and Englishness" business for which I am a total sucker; the way in which Cromwell's character is virtually designed to flatter a bourgeois audience; and I notice that somehow it's almost a science fiction novel - it seems to use genre tropes that are conventional in SF. I haven't quite worked that out (and I don't mean that it's full of lasers and rocket ships or even the usual SF signalling about language and character - just that there are some structural things that SF uses and that reading it felt like reading a really good SF novel, sort of an Ancient Light purged of its minimal dross).


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:05 AM
horizontal rule
127

A recommendation elsewhere led me to Biggins' "A Sailor of Austria", which is really rather good.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:05 AM
horizontal rule
128

127 Richard J at B&T IIRC. It's still on my Amazon wish list. He suggested it was somewhat Flashman-like. Did you find it so?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:08 AM
horizontal rule
129

A couple of months ago I finished Moby Dick while on an airplane. For my next flight, I read Railsea, which is full of Moby Dick jokes. Apparently I need to find another Moby Dick-themed book for my next flight. Maybe the novelization of Wrath of Khan?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:14 AM
horizontal rule
130

128: the best description I can get is "Flashman, if Flashman was actually a nice guy and a brave soldier".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:16 AM
horizontal rule
131

I finished Chimamanda Adichie's "Americanah" last night. I recommend it. It's well written and the problems of wealthy Africans are underrepresented in our literature. It was more romantic than I was expecting. Also, our heroine starts a blog, makes a tidy living at it, sells it, starts a new blog and makes a tidy living at it, so I guess that makes it Sci Fi.


Posted by: Grant | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:37 AM
horizontal rule
132

Oh, I suppose my post isn't strictly true if you include comics, as I've discovered a bunch of good ones in the last year. Brian K Vaughan's current efforts, Private Eye and especially Saga, are outstanding - the latter has some of my all time favourite comics artwork, by Fiona Staples. Hickman's Manhattan Projects is amazing for different reasons Chew is a reliably entertaining source of silly. I also caught up with Locke & Key shortly before the end of its run - really good Lovecraftian horror.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:41 AM
horizontal rule
133

Oh and Atomic Robo, which has very Whedonesque (or I suppose in light of the other thread, Rob Thomas-y) dialogue as well as mad science alternate history plots.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:42 AM
horizontal rule
134

Re: 124

The absurd craziness of the deus ex machina in that amused and annoyed me in equal measure. The Descent, well imagine if you decided that rather than resolve loose threads via a vastly implausible bonkers sky-hook, you just didn't bother.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 5:53 AM
horizontal rule
135

it seems to use genre tropes that are conventional in SF. I haven't quite worked that out (and I don't mean that it's full of lasers and rocket ships or even the usual SF signalling about language and character - just that there are some structural things that SF uses and that reading it felt like reading a really good SF novel

Hmmm. I didn't notice that feeling when I was reading it, but I'll look out for it when I read it again as I'm planning to before reading the second one.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 6:24 AM
horizontal rule
136

I read a lot of Smurfs comics.

They are preferable to Sonic the Hedgehog comics, which got banned from the house following the occurrence of various Sonic-inspired behavior issues.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 6:34 AM
horizontal rule
137

They are preferable to Sonic the Hedgehog comics, which got banned from the house following the occurrence of various Sonic-inspired behavior issues.

Curling into a ball and rolling around the room at high speed?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 6:52 AM
horizontal rule
138

Or standing with an arrogant smirk and tapping your foot impatiently?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 6:53 AM
horizontal rule
139

129 Ahab's Wife


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 6:53 AM
horizontal rule
140

I'm reading The Warmth of Other Suns. Very compelling!

I also didn't like The Secret History, Thorn.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 6:55 AM
horizontal rule
141

Or standing with an arrogant smirk and tapping your foot impatiently?

THIS. My son picked up the affectation, along with the catch phrase "I'm waiting!" Not cute at all.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 6:55 AM
horizontal rule
142

Although, really, it was the Sonic TV show that was the biggest problem. That show had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:03 AM
horizontal rule
143

Special Topics in Calamity Physics was fun (finished it recently). I'm looking forward to when her new book comes out in paperback.

Recently discovered Louise Penny's French Canadian mystery novels, which are also fun.

Plastic Fantastic, a history of the Schon scandal, which was really fascinating.

A depressing history of the battle of Stalingrad (short version: everybody dies horribly).

Picked up a used copy of Gaddis' The Recognitions, which I've been enjoying, but I wonder how long it will take me to get through it. It occurs to me that I used to read "serious" fiction a lot more than I do now. These days I read mostly genre stuff and nonfiction.

More and Different an interesting collection of essays by physicist Philip Anderson.

I'm tempted to pick up the book Paying for the Party that they're talking about over at Crooked Timber right now.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:05 AM
horizontal rule
144

Just finished Barry Eisler's "Graveyard of Memories", which was pretty sad, for a pot-boiler assassin novel.

Have a way, waaaaay overdue book review that I will probably need to re-read before I can write it, if I do.

One Xmas present book that I started but need to dive into again.

Lots of PM Press books collecting dust.

Most excited for the new Lloyd Kahn/Shelter Pubs. book "Tiny Houses on The Move" which is printed and should be on sale pretty quick.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
145

25: The major takeaway from most of my reading the past 6 months or so: Jesus Christ Nixon was an asshole.

125: I'm currently reading Nixonland, but its bringing me down.

Pretty much why Nixonland sits half-read somewhere in my house. Plus I already know the ending. (Meaning the ensuing 40 years of enraging national politics.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:16 AM
horizontal rule
146

A depressing history of the battle of Stalingrad (short version: everybody dies horribly).

Which one? I highly recommend Michael K. Jones's Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed which I read last summer. Fantastic book.

(I saw the recent Russian movie Stalingrad a few weeks ago in IMAX 3D. I couldn't believe it was playing out on LI. The narration was embarrassingly absurd and made it almost unwatchable.)


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:16 AM
horizontal rule
147

129: Apparently I need to find another Moby Dick-themed book for my next flight.

Look no further than The Art of Fielding. Melville/Moby Dick are all over it in a light-hearted (more or less) way.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
148

I also think The Warmth of Other Suns is fantastic, peep!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:33 AM
horizontal rule
149

148: If I live a few more centuries, than maybe I'll have read all the books you've already read, and maybe I'll find out we agree about all of them!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
150

126.3 - The main thing I thought Mantel communicated that I wasn't expecting was how empty Cromwell was for most of the book; I wouldn't have thought, "Oh yes, here's a world-beater dealing with depression after most of his family dies and his meteoric rise in English politics is just a way of marking time," was credible but she managed to pull it off.

Has anyone on this thread (by which I suspect I mean Frowner) read Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death? I read it recently and quite enjoyed it (and her complete unwillingness to explain the science fictional elements) but feel that I didn't get as much out of it as I should have due to my almost complete lack of familiarity with African literature other than Achebe.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
151

||
NMM to Oderus Urungus.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
152

She has also written a number of more famous and lauded novels about men's experience in WWI; somewhere I read an interview with her saying that she started out writing about working class women and no one paid any attention so she switched over to writing about men

My pseud, now initialized, came out of the first of those, Regeneration. There are several plotlines, but the love between a damaged, fierce working-class officer and the munitions factory girl, whose skin has been turned yellow by the chemicals is vivid. There's a great deal about her and from her point of view--it's really about both of them.

The battle memoir of Stalingrad's commander, Vasilly Chuikov, was published in the early 60s. It's a frightening, frank book--a product of the Khrushchev era and the thaw. I'd be interested in the position it holds in current understandings of those events.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
153

The Outpost by Jake Tapper. I probably won't finish it because it is relentlessly depressing. Lots of well intentioned people getting killed in the service of jack shit. Also lots of pointless and counterproductive civilian deaths.

I'm listening to The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen, which is also depressing in it's own way. Just prior to that I listened to the audiobook of What Do Women Want by Daniel Bergner, which is full of veldty goodness about how women are all basically ravening sluts.

I think I'm going to just ditch the Jake Tapper book and dive into the next one on my list, which is The Lion and the Tiger, about the British in India.

Incidentally, I'll be puttering about the lab a lot in the coming months, so I need recommendations for good audiobooks to listen to while I do otherwise mindless tasks. Nonfiction, preferably.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
154

Oh, I also "read" Joe Sacco's "The Great War" which is pretty awesome, and seems like something I will want to go over again every 6 months or so. Definitely piqued my interest for more WWI stuff. I have, shamefully, never finished "The Guns of August", which I suppose I ought to do before this August. Nor "The Great War and Modern Memory". And Strachan's "The First World War" has been sitting on my shelf for about 8 or 9 years waiting to be finished. Sigh.

Also, Xmas present book I mentioned was "Alif the Unseen", which was starting out well, but slow. Hope I like it better than Thorn.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
155

150: Me! I have! But I suspect I am not the one you want to talk to. I rather liked it, as evidenced by my finishing it (which is a bigger compliment than it sounds -- I almost always hate fantasy-ish books and find them overwrought). I liked the first half, the laying-down-how-it-is part of the book much more than the kind of a hot mess everything and the kitchen sink quest/resolution part of the book (fire creatures, what?). But yes, definitely having read something other than Achebe would have been a help. We are in the same camp there.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
156

This just came to me yesterday, but has anyone ever noticed that the first names of the Mario Brothers, Mario and Luigi, match the first names of Buda and Galleani, the great propaganda-by-the-deed anarchists? Weird. I suspect some kind of deep conspiracy by a collective of radical Todai students who got cleaned up and went to work for Nintendo, seeking to subtly influence revolutionary politics through the medium of video game culture and its many spin-off products.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
157

Which one?

Stalingrad: the Fateful Siege by Antony Beevor.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
158

I feel like I'm the only person in the world who read but didn't like Wolf Hall (couldn't finish it). I still can't really explain why, it felt overworked and maybe overly writerly. Maybe 126 helps explain it, as I generally also dislike science fiction and I maybe part of what I found annoying in WH were OTT attempts at "world building."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
159

But maybe it's just that I found that strange use if the third person present "he" annoying rather than illuminating.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
160

156 - Mario and Luigi are also in The Wages of Fear.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
161

"Of."


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
162

150: Yes, and I'd say I'd do okay for a Midwestern white girl at having read African fiction, which is still not all that much in the scheme of things, and I didn't feel like that was a deep issue in following, but it's been a long time. For me it was the sense that she was still sort of in an awkward growing-into-her-body stage as a writer that made things not quite fit together right, but that's probably because I read a bunch of her books all at once.

Natilo, it's really not awful at all. It stays enjoyable as an adventure romp. It was just gender stuff again with me wanting it to be different from what it was.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
163

158: I'm pretty sure I'm rembering correctly that Kevin Drum couldn't finish Wolf Hall either.

It's on my endless list of books to read, but I didn't really like Beyond Black.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
164

158: I didn't finish it, but didn't get very far in it either. I read a lot and don't usually put books aside, but it still happens.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
165

150: I have not read Who Fears Death or any other Okorafor but it's on my list. Perhaps this will prompt me to move it higher on my list.

158: I really liked Wolf Hall but I also really didn't like it. It's very funny in places and I enjoyed that. At the same time, the whole Cromwell-as-sensitive-senior-manager-with-scruples-he-doesn't-act-on business was so seductive and yet so repellant to me. I certainly want to read the next book.

I'm trying to put my finger on what seems so SF&F about it - the characterization of Cromwell, maybe. He could easily be the right hand man of the galactic overlord; his vices can nearly all be read either as virtues or as sources of proto-bourgeois angst, just like such a character's would be. It was really useful to be reading The Century's Daughter at the same time - I kept thinking about how real the social worker character, Stephen, seems (like, I can imagine him being a real person outside the novel, I can picture him going to the grocery store or watching television, I get a sense of him as this flawed and incoherent real person) whereas Cromwell is all epic sweep, it's hard to picture him except in a swirl of Dark Brilliance. Even if I picture Cromwell, like, having the flu, I feel that there would be Epic Metaphors. Epic but not quite profound, though.

I guess Wolf Hall feels thin to me. If it were SF&F, there would be a lot of other stuff - underpainting, if you will - that would make it feel less thin because it would be situated in this dialogic genre with a particular set of traditions.

Part of this may be that I have a chronic distrust of the Booker Prize, though.

I liked it, I really did. It certainly hits a lot of "and how did modernity come into being" points for me, and I'm interested in the long pop culture debate over the Tudors.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
166

Thorn, peep, I'm on your camp regarding The Secret History (I just didn't want to say so because Heebie's always right so that just makes it the camp of Wrong. Safety in numbers, though).


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
167

160: I really need to see that.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
168

165 is interesting. "All epic sweep" is good. Maybe I can subcontract my consciousness of fiction reading out to Frowner.

I read The Secret History a long long time ago and remember thinking it was ridiculous but a lot of fun. There's a passage where the main character, from California, almost freezes to death somewhere in the northeast because it's so cold and stupid there, which I sometimes thought of when it was way too fucking cold outside. There's something very 1980s about that book though, young high peoples' fascination with old rich evil right wingers that led to bankers becoming cool.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
169

I loved Wolf Hall. I really value the pleasantness of the reading experience itself, and it was such a companionable book.

I also really appreciated how Mantel doesn't overexplain. There are depths to Cromwell that are hinted at, or which surface from time to time, but which are generally submerged, and to which you don't get ready access. I guess, contra Frowner, I didn't find the novel thin -- it felt really really deep to me, but Mantel only shows you the surface, and you get a hint of what's underneath only when something pokes up.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
170

I'd co-sign 169. Haven't read the next book yet, but will.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
171

I have a trashy one and a get-a-load-of-me one I probably already mentioned because get a load of me. The trashy that I just finished was the last Tales of the City book. The writing is generally terrible though this last one has flashes of non-terribility, but anyway they make me nostalgic for Austin, where I read the first few, and for my friend who recommended them who I barely ever talk to. They're weird to read in a way because they're about something totally vanished that the author and lots of other people clearly loved.

The get-a-load-of-me is Inferno in italiano with a lot of heavy crutching on the parallel text. But I got halfway in and then got a job and most of the time I'm not up to it.

I have The Secret History but have never started it. I think it's because everyone I ever met named Donna didn't seem like they would write an interesting novel.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
172

The thing is I was so psyched for Wolf Hall. Nobody hates Thomas More more than me. Protestantism fuck yeah, this time it's some contemporary lit chick running the offense! But then it disappointed.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
173

Beevor's book on Stalingrad is great (if yes, incredibly depressing). If you liked that, you'll love his book on the fall of Berlin!

"The Warmth of Other Suns" is also outstanding, although I came out of it hating my country. I had to keep taking breaks because the outrage and the shame just got to be too much.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
174

I have The Secret History but have never started it. I think it's because everyone I ever met named Donna didn't seem like they would write an interesting novel.

It took me ages to get round to reading it (liked it, for the record) because I couldn't get past someone being called Tart(t).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
175

I should read something else on Stalingrad. As a young teen I owned and read Plievier's Stalingrad several times. Basically as "war porn" which was a reading staple within the nerd contingent of my acquaintances (primarily WWII/Korea vintage). Getting a more grounded view would probably be in order.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
176

It took me ages to get round to reading it (liked it, for the record) because I couldn't get past someone being called Tart(t).

Do you have similar issues with Trollope, or does the added "e" remove the problem?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
177

I kind of enjoyed Wolf Hall while I was reading it, but it didn't stick at all. I couldn't really tell you a bit about it other than there was sort of an inexplicable period offscreen where Cromwell turns from an abused child into Batman.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
178

I read The Secret History because of course I did. Crazed Euripideans at a weirdo liberal arts college? Working-class kid palling around with preppies with ridiculous names? I haven't looked at it since I was 22, so it's hard to know what I think about it anymore, but I remember rolling my eyes a lot, even though I definitely liked it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
179

Let me second my plug for Michael K. Jones's Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed. One of the revelations of the book was how close of a thing it really was but that Stalin had it covered up since that would be to admit that the war could have been lost. Great discussion of Chuikov's leadership and hug the enemy tactics. The description of Rodimtsev's 13th Guards crossing the Volga under heavy bombardment in broad daylight to repel the Germans and engage them in hand to hand combat as they were about to overtake the ferry crossing was one of the most riveting bits of military history I've ever read.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
180

I've been reading The Giant, O'Brien very slowly (it's my got-a-sec-with-time-to-kill book on my phone right now); I like it but can't really figure out where it's going.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
181

I'm about halfway through Consider Phlebas. It is rare for me to be reading a non-academic book, or to be reading purely for pleasure. It's a really nice change for me. I feel oddly proud of myself for doing something that is simply for fun.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
182

@179

Maybe I'll check it out. I'm not much of a military history buff, but I've recently developed something of a morbid interest in the Eastern front in WWII. I think it's because I'm old enough to have grown up with the "Soviets? Um, yeah, they were involved somehow. Now let's get back to talking about D-day!" version of the war.

I suppose in most of the U.S. that still is the standard version.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
183

there was sort of an inexplicable period offscreen where Cromwell turns from an abused child into Batman.

Naturally. That's when he went to Nanda Parbat.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
184

@ 181 helpy-chalk

Do post what you think of the ending.

Speaking of Beevor, has anybody read his history of WWII?


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
185

Wolf Hall is a major player on the list of books I am Currently Reading.

The Recognitions is too; sucker's move to take it out of the library. After three renewals I still wasn't finished it, but I'd read enough to write a song inspired by it.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
186

179 makes it seem as if my query about the continuing authority of Chuikov's account is yes. I'm not surprised: it made a lot of sense to me. What a strange battlefield! A huge Sythian Mound in the center of the city, and Chuikov is trying to run the battle from a trench on the side of it; a huge factory shaped like a tractor!

The story of the sniper duel, the subject of the movie Enemy at the Gates, which I never saw, is right out of Chuikov. His analysis in the early chapters of his observation of a German attack, and how he formed the plan of how he would fight them, is very good military writing.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
187

181: Ever since I read that I've gone into Iain M. Banks books assuming that they'll be trainwrecks; I'm seven or eight books in and haven't been disappointed so far.

Let's see...in January I read The Luminaries, which was very good. The characters were great and having just been there on for our honeymoon I enjoyed the setting more than I should have. The formal structure behind the book is interesting (as an exercise) but not necessary for appreciating it.

I read Albion's Seed last month; I'm surprised that it took so long since it slots so neatly into my interests and preconceived notions.

Since somebody mentioned it a few weeks ago I picked up Europe, Europe. I enjoyed it at first but I started losing steam on it sometime around Poland; his commentary on Eastern Europe nations obviously isn't as timely, and there's something about his writing I find tiring. Probably going to put it aside, sadly.

In the past week I've been reading Chasm City because everybody needs some trashy sci-fi now and then.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
188

186 Jones did extensive interviews with veterans of the battle and especially with a member of Chuikov's staff who was a lieutenant at the time IIRC. He also delved deeply into a lot of newly available archival material that I don't even think Glantz had gone over (he wrote the foreword). I liked Beevor's book but Jones corrects a lot of mistakes that he made. I recall that the story of Pavlov's house in particular comes in for some very heavy revision.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
189

Don't feel bad about Europe, Europe; I think it is uneven. The parts that stick with me, which we talked about, were Sweden and Italy, especially Italy.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
190

Speaking of Beevor

VM thread is elsewhere.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
191

189: I liked those two a lot! Unfortunately they were the first two sections.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
192

I've kinda been feeling like I should read a bunch of the sort of books I don't read. The greatest hits of literary novels 1850-2000, basically. I mean, maybe they're all awesome, and I'm just mired in ignorance? Of course, I still have a bunch of political stuff I need to read. I've only just started accumulating Sacco & Vanzetti books, which is why the Mario & Luigi thing hadn't occurred to me before, since, even in anarchist histories, you rarely see Mario Buda's name mentioned more than in passing. And I need to fill out my collection of resistance-to-slavery works as well. Sigh.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
193

Generally, something dreadful has happened to my attention span. I blame work. I read stuff, occasionally, but I don't successfully pay enough attention to it to remember it well enough to have thoughts about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
194

156/192: Mario was the name of Nintendo of America's landlord, who supposedly had a mustache that made him look a little like "Jumpman." (Who incidentally had a mustache because otherwise he wouldn't really have a face) I'm going to assume they picked Luigi because GUISEPPE didn't fit.

(Embarrassingly, until the first meet-up I went to I thought your name was from some Italian or Italian-American anarchist I had never heard of.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
195

err, Giuseppe.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
196

193: Same. There are books I read in January and February that I have basically forgotten and would not recall without a prompt. I should at least keep a simple book diary with even just the title and one or two sentences and maybe a pithy quote or three. Although not sure to what end. Also requires an organized mind.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
197

181: Ever since I read that I've gone into Iain M. Banks books assuming that they'll be trainwrecks; I'm seven or eight books in and haven't been disappointed so far.

Disappointed in a good way or a bad way?

I'm going to assume they picked Luigi because GUISEPPE didn't fit.

Clearly the Year of Luigi was a failure>/a>


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
198

196: Goodreads does that well.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
199

198: Probably the real disincentive is that when I contemplate something like that I find myself wanting to fill in the past. Which would be daunting to say the least.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
200

197: Not disappointed, in a good way. I mean that in most of the Banks books I've read, you can see the climax coming from pretty far out--by a certain point usually fairly early in the book, there's nothing more that the characters can do to prevent a giant clusterfuck that has been set inexorably in motion. Hence, trainwreck. It turns out that I like that style of writing.

I support changing our epoch so that fiscal year 2014 is Anno Luigi 2.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
201

The original book "Enemy At The Gates", published in the 70s, is a really well written, really 'fun' (if you like descriptions of mass carnage) narrative history of Stalingrad. Has zero to do with the movie except the title. Full of all the stunning and surreal anecdotes you expect from Stalingrad.

I haven't been reading many fun non-work books lately, but in the heavy books department would definitely recommend The Making of Global Capitalism as one of the very best economic histories I've read in quite some time.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
202

@187 dalriata
In what way do you consider Iain M. Bank's books trainwrecks? I mean in a way the good guys always win.
187.5 Also Chasm City is NOT trashy. That's fighting words! Reynolds is one of my favorite living SF Authors and easily equal to Banks or other greats.

@190
That went over my head, heebie. Was that a Beevor - beaver pun? And what does VM mean?


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
203

202.1.(a): My precise choice of words is a bad joke, but 200 contains my reasoning.
202.1.(b): "Trashy" isn't the right word and I meant it more in a self-deprecating sense than anything else. It's fun and I'm not thinking very hard while I'm reading it. His foreshadowing is sometimes a little clunky. I guess I just don't need every story to be wrapped around an adventure (this isn't just about Reynolds but really most sci fi). The Revelation Space world is interesting on its own, why does it have to be full of all-competent mercenaries who do lots of shooting? The Sky Haussmann flashbacks are pretty great, though.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
204

I've owned The Making of Global Capitalism for a while, maybe I should actually read it!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
205

@190
That went over my head, heebie. Was that a Beevor - beaver pun? And what does VM mean?

Veronica Mars. One of the characters was called Beaver.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
206

I'm just finishing up The Compatibility Gene by Daniel Davis; working slowly on Oliver Pötzsch's The Hangman's Daughter (which is actually a lot of fun despite my slow progress -- early modern German executioners!), and am thinking about starting either Barbara Kingsolver's Lacuna or Geraldine Brooks' March. Or possibly another fun fantasy series that I can rip through -- just finished up Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy last week.

I've never been able to get into The Secret History. I read The Goldfinch earlier this year, and was left with....feelings. (Now I shall actually read the thread and find out if I should discuss those feelings.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
207

I see it being mentioned upthread, but I really, really loved Ancillary Justice. Highly recommended!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
208

I wish I read tons of nonfiction like you lot but my span of interest is set permanently on "New Yorker article."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
209

There's always the joy of discovering your nonfiction books were actually fiction.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
210

208: I'm trying to read one a month. I find that if I'm also keeping up with the New Yorker, this is much more difficult as I feel like I've already gotten my quotient of 'non-fiction.'


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 12:04 PM
horizontal rule
211

I'm not reading it this year, but I'd strongly lobby for A Frolic of His Own over The Recognitions. Frolic is a book written by an old man, more interesting than his much earlier book. The earlier book is also good, but IMO it shouldn't be the most famous one or the first choice.

I'm nearly finished with Fromkin's Peace to End All Peace, which is super interesting on about 2/3 of its pages. The Ottoman empire 1914-1924 or so, mostly through the eyes of squabbling British diplomats. Noteworthy for completely ignoring Turkish sources, still good.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
212

Hello, I enjoy italics and serifs.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
213

Fromkin's Peace to End All Peace

I read this in the late 90s, and when it's profile suddenly increased hugely after 9/11 I recall thinking "I was into that dude before he was popular."

Which I suppose makes guilty of historical hipsterism, or something.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
214

211 should be "The Ottoman Empire and also maybe some other Muslims in the same hemisphere." The sun doesn't set on the British Empire screwing over non-Westerners. Come for the Levant, stay for Afghanistan.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
215

when it's profile suddenly increased hugely after 9/11 I recall thinking "I was into that dude before he was popular."

Felt that way about Robert Byron's Road to Oxonia, a travel book from the 30s about the authors journey through Afghanistan in search of iconic Islamic architecture.

Which I was reading because of Paul Fussell's best book, better than GWMM, perhaps not as significant, or Wartime, which is almost as good as Abroad.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
216

198: I feel like Goodreads would be valuable, but the idea of giving books star-ratings drove me away. I developed a useful personal ranking system for my iTunes (3 stars = in the shuffle mix, 4 stars = emotional connection, 5 stars = personal favorite) but with books there's just nothing that makes sense. I used to give 5 stars to books I would recommend strongly and no stars anywhere else and then I just deleted my account because the thing depressed me.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
217

I read _The Secret History_ not long after reading Pamela Dean's _Tam Lin_, and the similarities made it farcical. (In _Tam Lin_ the rich evil kids are fairies and the problem is procreation, not class climbing. Otherwise very similar.)

I wanted to reread McKillip's _Stepping From the Shadows_, but I don't know where my copy is and it turns out it's really out of print and the battered paperbacks are $300.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
218

I've been using Goodreads lots lately. I find it really useful; although at first I did not like the star-ratings they're set to generic enough levels that it doesn't bother me. I've also been keeping a few notes about each book this year, which I like because it helps keep me more engaged during reading. I have also found a couple of book groups that I like -- the group reads are less pressure than actual-in-the-flesh book clubs (so many seem to choose HORRIBLE books and I'd hate trying to bite my tongue if it was someone's favourite) and I've been introduced to some excellent books through them. (Ancillary Justice, for instance.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
219

I tried to keep a sensible log of my reading in LibraryThing, but it was very poorly set up for linking between books, which is a great deal of what I want to do in a review. Maybe it's gotten better in the years since.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
220

Somewhere I do have about 10 pathetic entries in a notebook.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
221

I read a whole book today! 260 pages.

Ram Dass & Ralph Metzner: Birth of Psychedelic Culture, gossipy stuff mixed with attempts at profundity about Leary, Harvard, Millbrook in early 60s.
Old men can afford to be honest and they are but they also don't care very much anymore. Whatever, a couple hours of fun.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-24-14 6:29 PM
horizontal rule
222

So apparently there was some sort of class-action suit against the publishing industry, and as a result I now have $17 in Amazon book credit. I just finished Chasm City (it got better) and I'm in the mood for moar fiction; is the consensus that Wolf Hall is good? "This is a novel about modernity and Englishness" interests me.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 5:30 AM
horizontal rule
223

I'm about halfway through Consider Phlebas. It is rare for me to be reading a non-academic book, or to be reading purely for pleasure. It's a really nice change for me. I feel oddly proud of myself for doing something that is simply for fun.

Once you get done with the laugh riot of Consider Phlebas, move on to The Lathe Of Heaven!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 5:38 AM
horizontal rule
224

I've been reading mysteries set in England of the 40s through 60s, mysteries set in other places, and nonfiction books that aren't very long, same as ever. Jason Vuic's book on the Yugo is great.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 5:41 AM
horizontal rule
225

222: Jerk. I only have 10.22. I am opposed to your frivolous lawsuit!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 5:56 AM
horizontal rule
226

225: You must buy from more ethical publishers than I do. I might have been opposed to it if I had knew about it before I benefited from it. But, hey, that's like two free books. So what if some law firm made seven (eight?) figures off of it? Two free books!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 6:00 AM
horizontal rule
227

Everybody reveal your Amazon settlement and then we'll know how much you read on your kindle!

I think I got $11-something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 6:12 AM
horizontal rule
228

Is this is another thing I miss out on by having a Nook instead of a Kindle?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 6:14 AM
horizontal rule
229

Everybody reveal your Amazon settlement and then we'll know how much you read on your kindle!

Or whether you are American or not?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 6:22 AM
horizontal rule
230

Oh, I guess I do get one for the Nook, I just never read the email from B&N. I don't know if I already spent it or not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 6:25 AM
horizontal rule
231

So what if some law firm made seven (eight?) figures off of it?

Yeah, eight ($11.2 million).

Since this is the book thread, any recommendations for books to get a 12-year-old? I'm trying to remember what I read at that age and am not coming up with much.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 6:30 AM
horizontal rule
232

Except for textbooks my reading has been exclusively on Kindle the past few years, and usually on my phone. My eyes are going to be horrible in a few years.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 6:31 AM
horizontal rule
233

What sorts of things does your 12-year-old like, potchkeh? 12 is a hard age because something like Princess Academy might be too young, but full-fledged YA is sometimes too adult. I'd recommend my friend's book Seraphina as something with interesting language and story but no mature romance. Both of those presuppose a willingness to read about girls as protagonists, though apparently a lot of boys enjoy Princess Academy once they get dragged into it during classroom reads.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 6:49 AM
horizontal rule
234

He reads pretty much anything he gets his hands on. Trying to make sure he doesn't miss out on any essentials. Seraphina looks interesting and he could certainly stand to read something with a girl protagonist, maybe I'll try that. Thanks!


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:10 AM
horizontal rule
235

I ran across the books "Lirael" and "Sabriel" by Garth Nix and was surprised to enjoy them. They have female protagonists and should be good for 12 year olds.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:16 AM
horizontal rule
236

I loved Seraphina. Nix's Abhorsen series is excellent as well. Also recommend Tamora Pierce!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:19 AM
horizontal rule
237

231 possibilities: Simon Winchester's book about Krakatoa. Artemis Fowl books. Philip Pullman.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:24 AM
horizontal rule
238

I read the Belgariad around that age and enjoyed it, but it probably has horrible gender politics (maybe not; wasn't David Eddings's wife an uncredited co-author on all his works?) and the world is set up as a Cold War allegory that will be entirely meaningless to a twelve-year-old now.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
239

I'm dismayed that my memory of books I read as a 12-year-old is so poor. I have a hard time coming up with book recommendations for my kids, who are almost that age, and I waver between kid lit and grown-up stuff (this Proust is kind of a slog for the first 100 pages, but I swear, you're really going to like it). I recently came across a story one of them was writing that suggested that their tastes are darker and more adult than I would have guessed (first sentence: "I saw the meteor two days before it hit.")


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
240

Citizen Tom Paine by Howard Fast.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
241

239.last: If that's their taste, they might enjoy The Age of Miracles; an account of what might happen if the earth stopped rotating on its axis, as told through the eyes of a sixth-grader. (Caveats: I'm not exactly sure if it would have appealed to me at that age - oh boy, does the author hit on the extremely awkward aspects of growing up. There are also some seriously grown-up themes revolving around her family's secrets and girlhood/puberty; nothing is explicit but they're there.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
242

239.last is perfect!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
243

Thanks, Paren, I'll check that out.

The intro in toto: "I saw the meteor two days before it hit. I warned my family, but they didn't seem to care. So that's why I'm on my own, in this barren land, with only bricks lying in heaps for protection, that used to be those fine mansions that were guarding the owners from everything, except what they didn't believe would happen to them."

I'm impressed; it just gets better.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
244

239: That's the age when I read pretty much everything by Stephen King (protip: the cocaine-fueled stuff, not the newer stuff). My parents insisted I read a "real book" for every book of trash, so I also read stuff like Austen. I think I might have liked things like Dracula, too, but didn't come across them until later.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
245

243: No probs. Love her story.

244: Yes, that was the age that I read all of the James Bond novels. Not really recommended, though, if you want them to grow up relatively normal.

238: I read the Belgariad at that age too, and loved it. Not the most progressive series out there, but probably better for me than Ian Fleming!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
246

244: I vaguely remember that, too, so there's an idea. I was thinking about maybe giving them Earthsea.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
247

Newt just blew through those Napoleonic war dragon books -- His Majesty's Dragon et seq. He's twelve.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
248

Thanks, all; great suggestions. Maybe it is time to put some engaging non-fiction (like Krakatoa) into the queue, hadn't thought of that.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
249

My parents insisted I read a "real book" for every book of trash, so I also read stuff like Austen.

Your parents were harsh, for me it was only one 'real' book for every two 'trash' books.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
250

I had to do one non-fiction for every fiction, I think, though I mostly cheated and read biographies. Once I was reading two books a night generally by sixth grade or so, they let up because it was too hard policing it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
251

TV watching was strictly monitored. Reading, on the other hand, was a free-for-all, and I'm thankful for that.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
252

Unlike movies and music, my book choices weren't limited at all. (Not entirely true, I realize; for a while my mom wouldn't let me check out any more books on psychology because they thought I was making myself mentally ill, but they never stopped me from reading queer stuff, at least.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
253

I think I've mentioned that I was an unusually compliant child. No policing needed. I also was a voracious reader and liked classics just as well as trash, so it wasn't like I was reading fewer books that I enjoyed. My parents were really, really strict about movies - no PG-13 until I was 13 (!!) and no R until 17. We only had one TV, so it was Murder She Wrote/Matlock or nothing, and those are pretty wholesome except for the whole murder thing.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
254

253: Oh yes, I'm pretty sure I held myself to something like your parents' standard -- I was also unusually compliant. I was glad to be able to have my books to myself, though; with more parental intervention I suspect they wouldn't have felt as much like my escape.

(Thinking back, I suppose on summer vacation I had to accept parental limits, as I wasn't allowed to bring more than 20 books with us on our road trips. Not enough space, so they said! Pfft!)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
255

254: I was allowed to buy and bring two new books per trip day. Kid heaven.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
256

I get carsick, or I'd have read a lot more on trips when I was a kid. My parents would stop me from reading to keep me from getting sick. We've done the same with my daughter.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
257

I got $74 back from Barnes and Noble. No wonder I don't comment here as much these days.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 2:00 PM
horizontal rule
258

In high school I had to do one fiction book for every non-fiction! (Well, really it was I picked every other and my mom picked every other, but she picked fiction to balance out my choices.) But I figured that was only fair since everything I read counted as school.

Certainly by 14 I think kids should be able to read whatever books without content restrictions. 12 is a bit trickier though.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
259

255: My tween/teen self is so jealous right now.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
260

248. The authorless DK books (Mummies, Ancient Greece...) are actually pretty good. Not text-heavy, expensive, but perfect library books for kids that age and younger.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
261

I loved Seraphina.

Yay! (Author/friend of Thorn=my high school best friend. There are actually only twelve people in Kentucky at any given time.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
262

^
me.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
263

261: This is going to sound ridiculous, but as I bought it before I knew about the connection, every time I see her show up at the other place I get a little thrill! Author person (of a book I really enjoyed)! Interacting in the same text box as me!

My mom read it while she was visiting me, and also loved it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-14 3:04 PM
horizontal rule