What'cha reading?


Ottessa Moshfegh was brought up in the Favorite 2018 books thread and I was intrigued. Eileen was the only one of her books in the library stacks at the time so I decided to give it a try.

My main impression is a woman’s life laid out with such brutal honesty that it’s only bearable because it’s told by her future self. Chapters peppered with “This would be the last time that I…” from the very beginning and the general implication that things got better for her later in life.


For the past several years in January, I’ve re-read Lucifer’s Hammer


It’s about a comet that (not really a spoiler) hits the earth and the resulting ecological disaster and collapse of civilization. It’s odd because I wouldn’t consider it one of my favorite books, but there’s something about winter and the winter caused by the comet strike that brings me back to it each year. It’s a work of its time, and it’s an interesting one to revisit regularly; there’s so much about it that seems progressive for 1977, and so much that seems so backward to modern eyes.


The book is so good!! I hope you enjoy it.


Wheel of Time reread. Just started a week ago almost done with book 1 already!


A Man Of Shadows by Jeff Noon
I read a decent amount of Jeff Noon in the early to mid 1990s. I really loved his psychedelic science fiction in books like Vurt, Pollen and Nymphomation. They were creative, dreamlike and his writing almost lyrical (in fact, IIRC, one of his books was formatted like lyrics from an album lining and had an amazing rhythm to read).

I don’t know why, but I never thought about or sought out anything else from him after the late 90’s.

I found this new-ish book from him recently and had a great time. It’s still creative and dreamlike in many ways. It’s a private detective story set in a strange city which lives under a sky of lights, to the extent that it has eradicated night.

The story starts in like a regular enough detective murder thriller, but the stuff I liked most is about what does time mean in a place where there is no night. If there’s no midnight, or noon for that matter, does it matter how many hours are in a day? Or what an hour is?

People and corporations (of course) start creating and living on their own timelines, to the extent that there are so many, people are adjusting their watches to the building/company/neighborhood timeline multiple times a day. The effect on people’s minds and health was the stuff I found really interesting.


So, uh… WOW, The Stand has aged very poorly…

I didn’t expect the amount of racism in both character writing and from the writer himself.


Finished Eileen, some great writing there, painful to read at times because of the brutal honesty I mentioned before.
Brief description: a young woman lives with her alcoholic father and works as a secretary in a juvenile detention center. She’s trapped in her situation and feels completely isolated. The story is her finally escaping because of a cathartic event.
Started Autonomous by Annalee Newitz and almost finished it already, its an enjoyable and relatively short read. Haven’t read a cyberpunk story as fun as this for a while: a pharma pirate distributes a productivity drug stolen from a corporation and it starts killing people, and she has to go on the run and figure out what went wrong. Told from the perspective of the pirate (Jack) and the robot who is pursuing her (Paladin).


Same, I loved Jeff Noon in the 90’s but he dropped off my radar. I think…Automated Alice was the last thing I read of his? Have to check out that new book sometime.


My mother-in-law got me this for Christmas and it’s amazing. It’s a murder story about a group of obsessively dedicated Shakespearean actors that accidentally do a Julius Caesar in real life.


I’m onto the fifth book of the Malazan reread. And it’s still fantastic. The only books that I’ve gotten as much from the reread as the initial read.


The Ghost: A Cultural History by Susan Owens. It’s kind of what it sounds like, although it’s pretty anglocentric so far - after I read it I’m going to want to seek out books on the history of ghosts elsewhere.

It’s published by Tate Publishing so it’s a really beautiful book & has some great images included.


Slowly continuing my way through Mortal Engines. I’m enjoying it so far, on multiple levels thanks to having seen the terrible movie first. It’s just a pretty decent book in its own right but being able to compare it in my head and go “oh I can completely see why they fucked this up in an adaptation to film” is interesting too.


No, wait. Nevermind. That’s possibly the worst fake language name I’ve ever read.


Currently reading Vandermeer’s Area X trilogy. Working my way through Anniahlation and loving it. The things Vandermeer does abfuscating details and events from the reader is masterclass in narrative structure. Everything is unreliable.


Oh, and it’s in this lovely collector’s edition I snagged for my dad a few years ago.


I just finished Annihilation a couple of days ago! What a fantastic but absolutely chilling book. I had to put it down a couple of times because it really got to me.


Can you tell me a lil bit about this series? The cover caught my attention and I have done some very cursory online research but would love to know more.


Finished The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch. Enjoyed it quite a bit, the main character in particular is very well written. It’s a story about time travel to alternate futures with a murder investigation at its center.
This story gets very dark very quickly, eventually spiralling into almost a classic cosmic horror scenario of a crew of a ship discovering the unknown and being annhilated body and soul so possible warning on content.

@schubooty That Area X collection looks cool. Does it have the illustrations from the original books? Always liked those.


I finished this a couple of weeks ago and agree — thought it was evocative and disorienting. I was particularly intrigued at the idea of what happens when the traveler leaves the alternate timelines and what that means to their inhabitants.

I admit I’m not exactly sure how the final series of events played out or how Moss could come to understand what was happening, though!

Edit: this was a reply to @sputnik on The Gone World. I always sometimes hit the wrong reply button.


Yes! It’s an interesting way to look a time travel, more of a journey into theoretical space than actual traveling. An extension of the traveller. Then you realize the whole book took place in one of those conceptual spaces.

My understanding of the end was that with the Libra destroyed, the future they were all living in ceased to exist, and the story epilogues in 1985, terra firma. I caught that the younger Moss had a vague inkling of her experiences, just from undertones, maybe I missed something.


i needed a break from rational thought due to, you know, everything, so i’m reading So I’m a Spider, So What? by Okina Baba, a Japanese light novel series about a girl who dies and is reborn as a monster spider in an rpg world. It’s bad, but in an entertaining way that’s exactly what i need right now.