What'cha reading?


Love Strange and Norrell!
The BBC TV adaptation was surprisingly good as well. So much of the book is in the form of strange stories that appear in footnotes, must have been difficult to adapt.

Finished Strange Weather by Joe Hill.
Collection of four short stories: Snapshot, Loaded, Aloft and Rain. I think I enjoyed Snapshot the most, plus the tie with my favorite work of his, the comic Locke and Key, was unexpected and great. .


On the last book of the Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, and then I will either start reading the Dreamblood Duology or the novella that she wrote which accompanies the Trilgy.


How are you finding The Kingdom of Gods?
I really loved The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, was really disappointed by The Broken Kingdoms and ended up not reading The Kingdom of Gods. I love what I’ve read of Jemisin’s other work though, so is it worth going back to?


I like it so far, but I think a lot of it is because I just enjoy her writing.

If you didn’t like The Broken Kingdoms, I’m not sure that it is worth going back to unless you are interested in a book following Sieh. But I do think that it gives more pathos to the character and has made him significantly more 3-dimensional than he was in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.


Sea of Rust, C. Robert Cargill.
Again, post-apocalyptic fatigue. Of course, the rejoinder is, why do you keep picking this kind of media to consume? In this case, it’s a book about robots, and that’s one of my weak spots. As it turns out, a really good book about robots. The revolution is over and the last human died about 30 years ago.
The story follows the journey of a part scavenger named Brittle, but for the most part is all about painting a picture of a world only populated by robots and how that came to be. Has a lot of action scenes but also dips way into the philosophical well. Anyway, unexpectedly good book.


The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher.

I’ve enjoyed all of Fisher’s books, especially her autobiographies Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic. Compared to those two, Diarist may be the most lucid. Because rather than a collection of stories told in a stream-of-consciousness style, this is a more conventionally written narrative of her Star Wars: A New Hope years, reflecting on who she was and her relationships back then. It’s as intimate, engaging, funny, and honest as her other memoirs. The primary focus is on her relationship with Ford, but I don’t want to comment on the details as that would spoil the book. Reading it, near the anniversary of her passing last year, is kind of a melancholic experience. To say the least.

Also, I highly recommend the audiobook versions of any of Fisher’s books. She narrated all of them herself.


Death’s End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #3) by Liu Cixin


I’ve been reading the 5th book in Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Mobilization.


Sleeping Beauties, Stephen and Owen King.
All the women of the world are going to sleep and not waking up again, their bodies covered in chrysalides. I had to look up the plural of chrysalis, what a strange word.
Like a lot of Stephen King’s books, this focuses on a small community of people and what happens when things get weird.

I’m toying with the idea of making a best books you’ve read in 2017 thread, let me know if there’s any interest.


I just finished Northanger Abbey which I hadn’t realized was Jane Austen’s satire of Gothic literature. I have only read it and Wuthering Heights in the Gothic vein but from what I can pull together Gothic Fiction is all about the very relatable anxiety of going over to a friends house.


The Underground Railway by Colson Whitehead

from the sales blurb:

"Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.

In Whitehead’s razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history."

I’m currently at the point where the main character has escaped the plantation and reached South Carolina, and we’re seeing the first signs that everything is not quite right.


Just finished The Ruin of Angels, the latest novel of the Craft sequences (which, ironically, broke the sequence of number puns). It was really really good, the best so far by a country mile. I can’t think of anything insightful to say that would do it justice.


I’ve been reading Barchester Towers, by Anthony Trollope. It’s the first Trollope I’ve read, and so far I can say that he’s as perceptive a writer as everyone says he is. Every ten pages or so, I’ll be bowled over with just how accurately and succinctly he sums up some familiar interpersonal dynamic, or explains some common foible–and while being a fun, light read!
I will say, though, that about every ~50 pages there’ll be a weirdly antisemitic description of some character or action, and I can never tell if it’s extremely wry commentary on 19th century British society or if Trollope was just kinda bad on that front.

@sputnik – That sounds like a great idea!


I’m back on the reading train after a bit of a dry spell.

I flew through Feersum Endjinn, and loved it, great piece of Banksian scifi, and clearly something he went back to for some of his Culture novels, stuff like neural laces, and Surface Detail clearly had a plot that grew out of the same seed.

I think that it might also be the work of his that was most mined by Destiny writers before the original slate all took off after Taken King was done.

Anyways, after that I flew through Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I’d backed the book back when I was employed so a signed copy in the mail was a pleasant surprise. It depicts a future Mexico City where things have gone predictably wrong oppressive but not dystopian, and populated by characters who are immensely relatable for any 20 something finding their footing in this labor market and world of digital relationships. I highly recommend it!

Now, I’m working through a few books at once.

I’ve got to finish Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance before the Annihilation movie drops, or my sister finishes the Area X omnibus I got her.

I’m also reading The Accusation, a collection of short stories by a North Korean author known only as “Bandi,” which have been fascinating and well executed but also seem kind of on the edge of my cultural understanding a lot of the time.

Ludmila Ulitskaya’s The Big Green Tent might be my main book squeeze for the time being though. I love Russian novels, and this seems to take some of that magic from a lot of the Pre-Revolution work and apply it to a group of creators in the Soviet era. That checks off a lot of boxes for me when I’m after a good book.

Oh, and I’ve also got The Evenings by Gerard Reeve on the back burner. A bit like Prime Meridian I felt some kinship with the protagonist but it’s a very slow burn. I’m about half way through and I think the plot’s just started? It’s very well written but it’s mainly about a guy trying to find meaning in a bleak series of days that seem kind of devoid of significance. Relatable, but I have to admit I use it as a bit of a sleep aid, since it’s fun to keep reading but I never feel like I need to read juuuuuust a page further like I do with a thriller or what have you.

All in all, I’m actually pretty excited by all the reading I’m doing. I write more when I read more, and there also seems to be correlation with my being less depressed.


I have just started it but I’m reading NW by Zadie Smith. I’ve owned it for a long time but never gotten to it until now. It’s always fun when you start a new book just after finishing another and you’re presented with such a different style of writing. Trying to decipher this new language of painting pictures and describing things and eventually getting familiar with it is always fun.


I had a very similar experience with NW. I started it on a plane but never read much past that, then owned it for a long time before eventually giving i a proper chance. And wouldn’t you know, it turns out it was a really good book all along.

I’m currently reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and boy is it not doing it for me. It’s very well written, full of small, poignant formulations and the setting is very interesting (India in 1969 (nice) and 1991). But it is just so damn sad! And not the kind of existential sadness that I read and wallow in on a daily basis. I’m talking about actual human tragedy and it might be a little too much for me. I try to never give up on books but I might put this one on the bench for a while. I’ve bought/been given like eight books this holiday and a lot of them seem more like my speed.


im trying for the third time to read china mieville’s 'october: the story of the russian revolution’
i’m coming to this as someone who doesnt know a whole lot about 1917 so i cant make an educated criticism of it from that angle but it is at least refreshing to read a history about it from the left even if i’m finding the style a little difficult to get along with


I just finished Downtown Owl by Chuck Klostermann, and… man… I don’t know if anyone else has read that, but he chooses such a disappointing ending for what was an atypical story and structure. I thought he could’ve done something more creative than he did.


Hello, 2018.
Finally finished re-reading Murakami’s 1Q84, and it’s still my favorite of his novels. There are passages in this book that I could just read over and over again,Tengo’s experience re-writing Air Chrysalis, for example.


This is so good, I’ve never read someone with such good grasp on the cultural aspect of music. These essays cover such a wide variety, pop music (there’s a great CRJ essay, for example) emo, hip-hop, there’s a Fall Out Boy essay that hits so hard and grasps everything about how intensely music can tie to people and long-gone eras. He touches on heavy topics, a lot of suicide references so y’know be warned. But I’m really enjoying this.