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What'cha Reading?

After last weekend, I decided to reread The Sandman series. I have the two huge omnibus editions. I'm only reading the first one for right now, because I read the first four volumes back in 2012, but I didn't read the rest until 2019, so I don't really have an inclination to read the second half of the series. Made it through Doll's House today, so I'll probably end up finishing it by next Sunday
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I just finished the second Tleixcalaan book, "A Desolation Called Peace" - and I liked it more than the first? The plot is less political intrigue and less exploration of language, a lot less high concept, more about 'what is a person?' and the characters' traumas from the first book - and so it feels more, dunno... human? intimate? I can see how people would like the first better, tho. Both are great books, read them!

(I want to hug everyone in this book - but Three Seagrass in particular is that one good friend you want to hug and whack in the head at the same time)
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Edit: Huh, apparently my library has the ebook version and a 1961 edition book? Definitely going to check out the 1961 edition, hoping for some wacky cover art or something here...
Finally getting around to reading Anthem since it came up in another thread that I've never read Ayn Rand but wanted read something by her to be more informed when she comes up in conversations. Sadly the edition from the library is actually 1995 and has no interesting art, oh well.
 

Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
Finally getting around to reading Anthem since it came up in another thread that I've never read Ayn Rand but wanted read something by her to be more informed when she comes up in conversations. Sadly the edition from the library is actually 1995 and has no interesting art, oh well.

Anthem's best feature is that it's short. Otherwise, it's very much paint-by-numbers sci fi, touching on concepts that are much better explored in other, semi-contemporary works (e.g., 1984 and We). Of the Ayn Rand I've read, The Fountainhead is the best, in that it has some actual characters (as opposed to author-insert exposition machines, although it's got plenty of those) (it's also got plenty of rape-fetishization and, you know, Objectivism, so caveat lector). Atlas Shrugged should be avoided at all costs.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
I thought 1961 might be the first publication date, but it's actually 1938?!
From reading the intro it looks like 1961 is the first time is was published as a book in the US, but the first version in England was in 1938. One thing that's interesting about the edition I have is that it includes photos/copies of all the edits she made for the US edition. It looks like a lot was changed although I'm not going to look at that part closely until I've finished the story.

Anthem's best feature is that it's short. Otherwise, it's very much paint-by-numbers sci fi, touching on concepts that are much better explored in other, semi-contemporary works (e.g., 1984 and We). Of the Ayn Rand I've read, The Fountainhead is the best, in that it has some actual characters (as opposed to author-insert exposition machines, although it's got plenty of those) (it's also got plenty of rape-fetishization and, you know, Objectivism, so caveat lector). Atlas Shrugged should be avoided at all costs.
Yeah, wasn't up for 700+ pages. I am not ashamed to say this is just to be able to say I've read something by her so a book with minimal time investment was perfect.
 
I'm finished with The Wheel of Time! Going to take a wee bit of a break from fiction and working on The Story of Marvel Studios by Tara Bennett & Paul Terry
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Anthem's best feature is that it's short. Otherwise, it's very much paint-by-numbers sci fi, touching on concepts that are much better explored in other, semi-contemporary works (e.g., 1984 and We). Of the Ayn Rand I've read, The Fountainhead is the best, in that it has some actual characters (as opposed to author-insert exposition machines, although it's got plenty of those) (it's also got plenty of rape-fetishization and, you know, Objectivism, so caveat lector). Atlas Shrugged should be avoided at all costs.
It's not like any of her novels is actually worth reading, there is infinitely more interesting stuff out there that is less disgusting. Even her best work (We the Living, I think) is mainly interesting as a look into her worldview, but still has dumb, vile stuff.

But yeah, Atlas Shrugged is her worst piece, containing all her worst ideas in excessive amount.

From reading the intro it looks like 1961 is the first time is was published as a book in the US, but the first version in England was in 1938. One thing that's interesting about the edition I have is that it includes photos/copies of all the edits she made for the US edition. It looks like a lot was changed although I'm not going to look at that part closely until I've finished the story.

If you take a look at these edits, I would be interested in hearing about them, if you are motivated to write about them a bit. Only if you want, of course.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I read Fair Warning my Michael Connolly. Connolly knows how to structure a crime/thriller, but this is a weird book. There really aren't any twists to the mystery, the only thing that comes close is that the killer is (spoiler about the culprit of the crime)no one. There is no identity for the serial killer they catch.. It weaves through incels and tech malfeasance and police misconduct, but ends with a sad little whimper.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Anthem's best feature is that it's short. Otherwise, it's very much paint-by-numbers sci fi, touching on concepts that are much better explored in other, semi-contemporary works (e.g., 1984 and We).
Yeah, finished it and until the final few chapters it was a perfectly mediocre science fiction story, but even before seeing your post I was thinking about how I'd prefer to be reading 1984. Then it just becomes a wacky diatribe. Still, glad to have finally read something of hers and feel much better informed now.

If you take a look at these edits, I would be interested in hearing about them, if you are motivated to write about them a bit. Only if you want, of course.
Started looking at this part, unfortunately it's shrunken down, her handwriting is tough to read in most spots and it's just not a very clear copy. It seems like most of the edits are very minor but large sections are blacked out and for most of it I can't discern the text underneath. This Twitter post I found has a few images to give you an idea:


One change I thought was interesting is that the main character talks about being interested in the "Science of Things" in the final story I've read but looks like in the 1938 edition it was "Science of the Earth"? Also the intro said 1961 was the first US edition, but apparently it first came out in 1948 as a pamphlet and that's what these edits are from.

Near the end after he discovers the word "I" there's a lot of crossed out sections discussing Truth and what the root of it is but none of it seems particularly interesting.

It does look like a lot of the monologue about the worship of the word "we" was added in for this edition, but again it's unfortunately hard to follow a poor and handwritten copy that's been compressed to fit in paperback.

Finally, the afterword notes that one of her most admired authors was Victor Hugo. I can't even process that as Les Miserables is so much about downtrodden people and the need to stand up for others. Wild.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
That's the one I haven't read. But I'm certainly not going to do so now!
As you shouldn't. I do find it weird, that her worst work is the one best known, and the one most loved by her fans, as it seems.

But yeah, I'm definitely grading on a curve here, when I call one better than the others.

Yeah, finished it and until the final few chapters it was a perfectly mediocre science fiction story, but even before seeing your post I was thinking about how I'd prefer to be reading 1984. Then it just becomes a wacky diatribe. Still, glad to have finally read something of hers and feel much better informed now.
It's years since I read both, but if my memory is correct, Anthem could be seen as an extremely condensed version of Atlas Shrugged - I remember the themes being similar, and the latter just goes way more in depth. Which might explain why I consider Atlas Shrugged as a very (very) poor mans version of 1984, too.

Started looking at this part, unfortunately it's shrunken down, her handwriting is tough to read in most spots and it's just not a very clear copy. It seems like most of the edits are very minor but large sections are blacked out and for most of it I can't discern the text underneath. This Twitter post I found has a few images to give you an idea:


One change I thought was interesting is that the main character talks about being interested in the "Science of Things" in the final story I've read but looks like in the 1938 edition it was "Science of the Earth"? Also the intro said 1961 was the first US edition, but apparently it first came out in 1948 as a pamphlet and that's what these edits are from.

Near the end after he discovers the word "I" there's a lot of crossed out sections discussing Truth and what the root of it is but none of it seems particularly interesting.

It does look like a lot of the monologue about the worship of the word "we" was added in for this edition, but again it's unfortunately hard to follow a poor and handwritten copy that's been compressed to fit in paperback.
Thanks, there are a few interesting things her (well, at least the change from "Science of the Earth" to "Science of Things". Her thought processes do interest me, for whatever reason. I might look further into this.

Finally, the afterword notes that one of her most admired authors was Victor Hugo. I can't even process that as Les Miserables is so much about downtrodden people and the need to stand up for others. Wild.
Uh, ok, well this seems to be a thing, that she admired him, I guess. Which is, like, mind is boggling right now. I found this here, about the topic:

In Ayn Rand's introduction to Victor Hugo's novel Ninety-Three (Rand 1962), she writes as follows about the author: His attitude toward the intellect was highly ambiguous. It is as if Hugo the artist has overwhelmed Hugo the thinker.... Toward the close of Ninety-Three, Hugo the artist sets up two superlatively dramatic opportunities for his characters to express their ideas, to declare the intellectual grounds of their stand.... Hugo the thinker was unable to do it: the characters' speeches are not expressions of ideas, but only rhetoric, metaphors and generalities. His fire, his eloquence, his emotional power seemed to desert him when he had to deal with theoretical subjects.

So, I guess she didn't really care about his ideas, and more about how he brings characters to life, that are so full OF life, and to express his ideas with such an intensity and strength. Which I can see, I guess.

When we are at the topic of authors being influenced by Victor Hugo, you would have never thought about in that way: Eichiro Oda, the author of the manga One Piece, is clearly inspired by Les Miserables. Sorry for mentioning it here, but I don't know anyone, Internet or not, who loves both. So telling someone who likes Les Mis that this manga author, who creates stories were people punch each other a lot (that's not all, the manga is actually really humanistic, and works with ideas not unfamiliar to readers of Hugo), seems like the only way of sharing my surprise and delight.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
When we are at the topic of authors being influenced by Victor Hugo, you would have never thought about in that way: Eichiro Oda, the author of the manga One Piece, is clearly inspired by Les Miserables. Sorry for mentioning it here, but I don't know anyone, Internet or not, who loves both. So telling someone who likes Les Mis that this manga author, who creates stories were people punch each other a lot (that's not all, the manga is actually really humanistic, and works with ideas not unfamiliar to readers of Hugo), seems like the only way of sharing my surprise and delight.
I've never read One Piece but I love that Les Miserables is one of the inspirations for it, I'm glad you shared that!
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
My classics book club is reading Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, I'm liking it so far. It's also going a lot faster than I expected! Maybe I will get through this 800 page beast in a reasonable amount of time...
Finished and loved it, although I struggled a lot with the political sections since it's so unfamiliar to me. But some of the passages about Levin in the fields and his thoughts on the land and the peasants are the most beautiful in the book.

My book club had a lot of conversation about Vronsky and whether or not he's a tragic character. I feel if this was adapted to modern times he starts the novel as a bro living off his family's money, then he tries to grow up and be better but is still not fully an adult or a parent. The painting hobby and how shallow and terrible his paintings were was a darkly funny touch. He just wasn't capable of supporting and comforting Anna it's clear he's trying but he seems to get frustrated and gives up quickly.

Definitely one I'll be thinking about for a while and very glad to have read.
 
Going to take a wee bit of a break from fiction and working on The Story of Marvel Studios by Tara Bennett & Paul Terry
This was awesome. Absolutely beautiful book to have too by the way. I also ended up finishing The Sandman Omnibus Vol. 1. I doubt I'm going to read the second volume, but you never know. Here's how I'd rank the 5 volumes
5. Dream Country
4. Seasons of Mists
3. A Game of You
2. A Doll's House
1. Preludes & Nocturnes

Next up, after seeing the Elvis movie not that long ago, I wanted to read a bio on the man, so I'm reading The Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick. Also, I'm giving myself one last ambitious project before going back to work on the 6th: The Wandering Inn: Book 1 by Pirateaba
 

ThornGhost

lofi posts to relax/study to
(he/him)
Currently reading Christian Cameron's Chivalry series. This is my first real foray into historical fiction and I actually super like it. Cameron does a great job of stringing actual events into a kind of narrative guided tour of Europe and the Near East of the late 1300s. Being a frequent historical reenactor his strengths and passion for gear, martial arts and military science help make battles seem tense and understandable in a way that most fantasy writers I've read fail to do.

Lest you be worried about reading a book written by a white guy about some of the Crusades, it does nothing to glorify the west's motivations or vilify their enemies. I've read other work by Cameron and he is definitely a progressive guy.

Anyway, very entertaining series. Not done yet but closing in.
 

shivam

commander damage
(he/hiim)
finished my reread of the entire Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, and all of the books in the new follow up series, Last King of Osten Ard, and man, i love Tad Williams so much. But now i need to find something new to read and i'm at a loss as to what to start
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
I've been reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Wonderful collection of essays about combining the theories of botany (she has a PhD) and Indigenous teachings (she's a member of Potawatomi Nation) in everything from academia to raising children. I've loved it all but there were two standout essays to me, one about tapping for syrup and another about removing a serious overgrowth of algae from a pond that was threatening waterfowl.

I'm only about halfway though and can't renew it since a bunch of people have it on hold but might buy a copy since I'm enjoying it so much.
 

Exposition Owl

Happy Owlidays!
(he/him/his)
finished my reread of the entire Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, and all of the books in the new follow up series, Last King of Osten Ard, and man, i love Tad Williams so much. But now i need to find something new to read and i'm at a loss as to what to start

The MST trilogy was kind of an important one for me. I had an internship outside Paris in the summer of 2002, and I brought those books with me from the U.S. I quickly learned that I didn’t speak French as well as I thought I did, and I felt really anxious and self-conscious about my hesitancy with the language. So, every night after I got home from work, Simon and Miriamele and Binabik and the rest were sort of my English-speaking friends that I could hang out with for a while. On the whole, that summer was a great experience, but Memory, Sorrow and Thorn did a lot to get me through the parts of it that were hard.

I’ve been reading through the sequel trilogy, too, and I’ve also been really enjoying it. It’s been great to see what kind of grown-ups the young characters from the first trilogy make, and to delve deeper into the weirdness of the Norns.
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
Finished off Anno Dracula: Daikaiju, which, without getting spoiler-y is effectively Die Hard and Resident Evil combined, if the Nakatomi Building were also Mecha Godzilla.

Needless to say, I loved it.

The rest of the Anno Dracula novels were most simply described as “Historical Events if they also happened to involve Vampires”, this one instead makes Anime Real; and since most of those are still under copyright none of the references can be that overt, so you’ve practically got to make a checklist to get them all.

I definitely noticed Bubblegum Crisis, Macross Plus, Evangelion, and New Dominion Tank Police get referenced.
 
Ending up reading Dan Slott's run on She-Hulk. It was great. Will be checking out Peter David's run next weekend.

Moving on to Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Something a little different, a kids book! I kept hearing about the book Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte & Ann Xu, which is recommended for 3rd-5th graders. Seriously everywhere, and decided I had to give it a read. Had to wait a long ass time on the hold list at the library, but it was great. Great discussion of believing in yourself/your culture, a willingness to learn and I bet parents could use this to teach about not teasing other kids for eating "different" food.

The art isn't super detailed, but it clearly depicts what's going on and is pretty cute.

9780062973863.jpg


Anyway, I'd definitely recommend it for anyone whose kid is above 3rd grade (maybe younger depending on reading skills), and it was a cute little story even as an adult. I probably got more out of it as an adult who knows more about Taiwan than kids would too.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Read The Stepford Wives, I book I was curious about, since I learned about the premise from the remake of the movie in the 00s, I think. Which is supposedly pretty bad.

Anyway, it was a fine, quick read, but I also feel like there was a lot of missed opportunity there. It did the creepy pretty well, I thought, especially at the end. But just replacing wives with robots, who just love to be housemaids who also love their work is kind of boring. Was just a letdown, with how the book was set up. I would have been more interested in Stepford, the place and the husbands, breaking the spirit of the women slowly, without any violence, just them getting into the spirits of being basically their husbands slaves. And seeing how the women slowly start to actually think, that the most important thing is to help their husbands, and only being interested in their work, generally how this would develop over time. Would have been way more disturbing.

Funnily enough, I feel like the idea came from the author being creeped out by seeing human-like machines in Disney Land - the guy who started the whole thing was one who worked there, and created robots like that (the fictional guy, that is). I feel like the idea was more being weirded out by scary puppets/robots, and the idea to replace women with them came later. But that's just my guess.

The husband of the main character is the worst. He seems perfectly decent at the start, like he is into womens rights activities, protests and that stuff. And like he and his wife live a marriage where they are equal. Except that he, in the end, always does the things he wants, including entering the Mens Club (forgot the name of it) at the very start, despite his wife, the main character, being against groups like this. He acts like she should be happy too, but when she wants to move, he doesn't want, and makes her go to psychiatrist first. Stuff like this. And he says nothing, when a guy, who is invited to their house, just draws the main character (like he does with all women), in front of everyone.
 
Fairy Tale by Stephen King
finally finished last night. It was alright, but one of his weaker recent efforts. was nice to see him return to some fantastical stuff though. Now, moving on to something different with Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
 

Falselogic

Lapsed Threadcromancer
(they/them)
I was thinking of picking up the new Kate Beaton book now to include in my Festivus package this year. Pretty sure she's universally beloved around here. So, it seemed like a great thing to include.
 
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