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What'cha Reading?

I'm going to throw in another vote for A Swim In a Pond in the Rain. Beautifully done.

Anyway, starting up Broken by Jenny Lawson and First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
Jack Vance's Lyonesse trilogy is something that's been in my to-read pile for a long time and I regret that I'm only now paying it attention. I've just finished the first book, Suldrun's Garden, and I've been absolutely smitten with it. It seems to me to be a masterwork of fantasy and reminds me of why I'm interested in the genre in the first place. I've avoided it until now because it's always described as "Arthurian Fantasy" and I envisioned a lot of pageantry and tedious lineage. It has some of that because it is in conversation with those stories, but it's only a piece of the whole. The book has as much King's Quest as it does King Arthur. I've also seen it described as "Better Game of Thrones," but again that only captures of part it. These analogies miss the book's breadth and richness, the way it lightly touches upon a variety of fantasy modes, its humor, charm, grotesqueness, and constant strange invention.

Reading it, it almost felt like a really excellent Dragon Quest. Think of the ones with really good stories like III, V, or 11, and the way they build an poignant overarching narrative through a long string of small fantasy stories, but here done to high artistic effect. Yes, what I'm saying is that Vance wrote a supremely good JRPG.

I could go on and on about the construction of its plot, the way it plays with conventions of the genre, the way its positioned as real world history, and on and on, but the thing that most astonished me was its use of language. Vance is a master of knowing what to state and what to leave implied. The specificity of his prose, and the way it lets him gesture to things unstated, is a marvel and makes for consistently delightful reading.




or



I feel really lucky this book was just the first of a series and I have two more long volumes waiting for me. I can't wait to jump back in.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
There's a reason why all of the early D&D settings borrowed rather liberally from his works, yeah.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Yeah, it’s a great trilogy, though I remember some kind of gross misogyny buried in there somewhere. It’s too bad, because everything else about it is great. I especially liked the relationships between small kingdoms, and I’ve tried to emulate that in my D&D campaigns.
 
Spent the weekend reading a handful of graphic novels (probably going to do this from now on, unless I'm reading something really good):
-First off, Marvels by Kurt Busiek, although this was more a reread. Read it originally in 2012, but this time around I read the remastered edition which came out a few years back. Still, an awesome book
-Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb, the sequel to The Long Halloween. I think this was just as good as its predecessor. Liked how it worked in the origin of Robin.
-The Mask Omnibus, Volume 1 by John Arcudi. So different from the movie, I couldn't believe it
-Captain America: Winter Soldier by Ed Brubaker. Ever since the movie, I had wanted to check this out. Sharon Carter got the shaft big time in the movies
-Finally Harleen by Stjepan Sejic. This was the undisputed winner. A great interpretation on how the Joker was able to manipulate and transform Harley

Anyway, back to books, with an epic fantasy: Battle Mage by Peter A. Flannery
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
Re-reading V for Vendetta again for the first time in, I don't know, a decade or so? It's reinforced my opinion that Alan Moore never wrote a better story than this one, especially in terms of the persistent relevance of its overarching anti-fascist themes.
 
Anyway, starting up Broken by Jenny Lawson and First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami.

I finished the Murakami and it is lovely. Independent essays, some with magical realism, some mundane but so well done.

I am halfway through Broken and have lost it with laughter multiple times (trolling the vampire email phishers is amazing) but also had me nodding my head in sad solidarity with the essays on mental illness and insurance fights.
 
Finally getting back into The Expanse with Abaddon's Gate by James S.A. Corey

Also, with season one of Invincible done, thought it'd be a good time as any to start reading the comics, so I'm going to be going through Invincible, Compendium One by Robert Kitkman
 
Just gave up on Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of The Founding Mothers of NPR By Lisa Napoli. I'm really bummed about it, I was really excited to read about their story and NPR's but I couldn't keep everything straight. The four separate stories at the start didn't last that long but I kept getting lost as to whose story I was following. It's also just really information dense, almost more like a history textbook. I think if I had been taking notes on the book the whole time I could have followed it, but it was just a slog to read. I flipped ahead to when the stories had merged but even then huge sections were just about government budget arguements and ugh no thanks.

I've tried reading multiple "interweaving story" type books over the last few years and always struggle with them. I thought non-fiction might help but I think I may just have to accept I don't do well with that type of structure.
 

clarice

bebadosamba
I'm reading A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, in which George Saunders walks the the reader through analyses of seven short stories by four Russian masters (Tolstoy, Chekhov, Turgenev, and Gogol). You ever get the feeling a book was written specifically for you?

Just finished this! Thanks for the recommendation, Behemoth! I'll start reading a short story collection by Tchekhov next. I had forgotten how much i like his stories.
 

shivam

commander damage
(he/hiim)
nearly done with my full reread of every Steven Brust novel, and man, these books are just so freaking good.
 

Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
Just finished this! Thanks for the recommendation, Behemoth! I'll start reading a short story collection by Tchekhov next. I had forgotten how much i like his stories.
You're welcome! It makes me happy that this has gotten so much love. I actually got a copy for my mom for Mother's Day, and she called me this morning to say that she thought his interpretation of the first story was wrong (and it very well may be, but I think my mom's interpretation is more wrong).
 

Lady

something something robble
When I did my big le Guin read last year, I didn't revisit Earthsea. I'm re-reading A Wizard of etc. right now, and it's amazing again how good it is. I think I found it a little confusing previously having a character who was so flawed and so human-- Ged has hubris and it backfires on him and then he muddles through it and grows as a result. He makes some good decisions and some less good decisions and has to accept the consequences of both, and god it's so refreshing.

something that isn't always immediately obvious when you read any single one of her books by itself but becomes apparent when doing a binge is how intentional le guin is about normalizing brownness and populating her worlds with a variety of peoples. I appreciate it.
 
Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Okay, this was really good. A bit slow at times, but I highly recommend it. I also finished up reading the last volume of the Invincible comics, so I'm definitely excited to see how Kirkman adapts the rest of the run, and to how many seasons it will last (realistically, I think no more than six. I don't think fans are going to let him get away with making it another ten season show, but we'll see)

Moving on now to Saint Mick: My Journey from Hardcore Legend to Santa's Jolly Elf by Mick Foley
 
Starting Hidden Valley Road, a non-fiction book about a family where six of the 12 children were schizophrenic, and apparently the family has been the source of most genetic research on the disease. I don't know more than that but am really intrigued. I'm hoping for something as good as The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks but that's a high bar (read that if you haven't, seriously, it's not even that science dense if that scares you).
 
When I did my big le Guin read last year, I didn't revisit Earthsea. I'm re-reading A Wizard of etc. right now, and it's amazing again how good it is. I think I found it a little confusing previously having a character who was so flawed and so human-- Ged has hubris and it backfires on him and then he muddles through it and grows as a result. He makes some good decisions and some less good decisions and has to accept the consequences of both, and god it's so refreshing.

something that isn't always immediately obvious when you read any single one of her books by itself but becomes apparent when doing a binge is how intentional le guin is about normalizing brownness and populating her worlds with a variety of peoples. I appreciate it.
Oh man, just wait until you get to the later books. Tombs of Atuan and Tehanu are especially good.

I probably post this every time someone reads Earthsea, but I absolutely love how the original trilogy and the later trilogy of Tehanu, Tales from Earthsea, and The Other Wind are both the perfectly written beloved 60s/70s fantasy classic for young readers and the feminist deconstruction of the values of that classic, but both by the same author, just separated by 2 or 3 decades of her thinking through these issues.
 

Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
I should reread the Earthsea books (or rather, reread the original trilogy and read the latter trilogy, which I've never done). I read the original trilogy when I was quite young, and I think a lot of the thematic richness went right over my head.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
I just found Le Guin's The Dispossessed and Malafrena in a Little Free Library and am excited to put them on my list.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I've been trying to get into Jeff VanderMeer's new one, Hummingbird Salamander, but I'm about 200 pages in and almost nothing has happened. Kinda disappointed. To be fair, I wasn't expecting him to go mostly realistic, but also to be fair, who would?
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
I've been trying to get into Jeff VanderMeer's new one, Hummingbird Salamander, but I'm about 200 pages in and almost nothing has happened. Kinda disappointed. To be fair, I wasn't expecting him to go mostly realistic, but also to be fair, who would?
Heck, I forgot this was out. Sad to hear it's not that great. I had trouble pushing through Dead Astronauts at times too, although possibly for an opposite reason, in that it was so...dense? Does that sound right? That might be right.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Heck, I forgot this was out. Sad to hear it's not that great. I had trouble pushing through Dead Astronauts at times too, although possibly for an opposite reason, in that it was so...dense? Does that sound right? That might be right.
I would absolutely describe that book as "dense", yeah.

YMMV with Hummingbird Salamander, though I'm another 100 pages in and still kinda bored. To be fair to him, I started reading with absolutely no info about the book, assuming it would be Weird. Turns out it's Not Weird! To be fair to me, the glacial pace and very matter-of-fact writing style mean I'm probably about to give up on this one.
 
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