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What'cha Reading?

Falselogic

Lapsed Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Also, finishing up The House in the Cerulean Sea which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Book about magic orphans and the homes they live-in. But it's really about how the majority in society will never change to accommodate the majority and structures itself in such a way to protect itself instead of the most vulnerable. And those in that minority slowly waking up to that reality. Also, solidarity.

Really recommend it to everyone here.
 
I have been hearing tons about this so very curious to hear what you think.

The new Kate Beaton book is out and I am first in the queue for the library copy so excited to start that!
it's very good, not as good as A.J. Fikry. I think it could've been maybe 50 pages shorter, and there were aspects of the two main characters that bugged me, but overall, definite recommend
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
it's very good, not as good as A.J. Fikry. I think it could've been maybe 50 pages shorter, and there were aspects of the two main characters that bugged me, but overall, definite recommend
Awesome, thanks! I think I'm 20-something on the hold list at the library so won't be reading it for a while but curious how my thoughts compare when I do.

Big library pickup day for me, I got Ducks by Kate Beaton which I've already noted, Koshersoul by Michael W. Twitty which should be a fascinating read on the intersection of black and Jewish culture with a focus on food and Toxic Positivity by Whitney Goodman which I've been excited to pick up since I hate positivity culture with a burning passion.

Since two of them are on hold by someone else already and the other is an ebook which is a very convoluted renewal process through the library going to try to get through all of 'em in the next three weeks, eek.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Let us know how that is, I just learned about it yesterday and am curious!

Super excited to get my hands on this one.

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.

It is, as expected, super good. It is very dark and traumatic but so honest and beautiful. It also chronicles her trying to justify and survive some very hard things, many of which should never be justified but the reality of life and money means they are. (Next are overarching theme notes and not specific things but since I discuss the impact of the final bit of the book figured I'd add the spoiler tags). The commentary on the reality of being a woman in an isolated, macho environment like that is needed, and she explores so many angles. The epilogue/final panels just show how deeply being treated like an object for so long can warp you. It's a powerful book.

The jacket summary and a lot of reviews are vague about the trauma in the book so if anyone is wondering what exactly that means in case there is certain content they don't want to see here's a few specifics. (obviously don't unspoil this if you're sensitive to certain content or plan on reading it and don't want to know details beforehand): rape, stalking, harassment, assault, etc are a huge part of this book. While no naked bodies, genitals or sex acts are shown the moments leading up to and after the act are. PTSD, the dismissal of concerns, victim blaming and the stories from other women are heartbreaking and infuriating. One potentially traumatizing thing I expected in the book but was essentially not present at all is animal cruelty/death. There's a crippled fox that she tries to scare off and the death of ducks is mentioned but minimal detail is shown. I was prepared for a lot more details of animals dying in the environment/oil based on the title.

If you want a general idea of what the book is like that doesn't have the traumatic sequences: You may remember this Christmas comic from Hark a Vagrant, it always stuck with me and is redrawn here, felt even more powerful. But several other parts seemed familiar and I realized she'd posted the sketches of a few scenes back in 2014. The art in the books is finalized instead of sketched, but those show what it's like even though not all of them make it.

Absolutely recommended.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Thanks, VV, that really sounds great. I've got a hold at my library and am looking forward to it coming in.
 
Continued through my She-Hulk runs this last weekend, this time Peter David's run. Not as good as the last one IMO. Now, reading He Who Fights With Monsters, Book One by Shirtaloon
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
Tasha Suri's The Jasmine Throne is on sale today for Kindle. It's a South Asian themed fantasy: the sister of a tyrant Emperor gets imprisoned by her brother in a desecrated temple in a conquered country; in there she finds out the maiden watching her in her captivity is secretly one of the nature priests who somehow survived a massacre several years ago - as such, she has magic powers that might help her escape. It's a good book dealing with themes of colonization, freedom fighting vs conqueror appeasement and misoginy. And minor spoiler the sapphic subtext between the princess and priestess protagonists becomes plain text before the book is over, and given their opposite stations is full of politic and personal drama. It's the first book of a trilogy, but the first book is mostly self-contained and I really liked it. The sequel just came out last month and it's even better, IMHO.
 
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Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
What am I reading?

NONA
THE
FUCKIN'
NIIIIIINTH

I'm taking another run at Bleak House, which is going much better this time than the last time I attempted it (I'm about 300 pages, which is usually past the point at which I would DNF a book). However, I also couldn't resist starting a reread of Gideon the Ninth to prepare me for Nona. I've also been listening to The Gathering Storm and Murder on the Orient Express, so I've got a lot of narratives banging around in my head. Having too many books going at once is a dangerous gambit: we'll see how this plays out.
 
I'm reading my usual mix of obscure backlist and (for professional reasons) books that haven't come out yet.

Current/recent reading:
  • On Java Road by Lawrence Osborne - Jaded, boozy journalist stumbles into murder case during Hong Kong democracy protests. If you like Graham Greene and wish he were still alive and writing, consider trying Osborne.
  • Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner - Beautiful and chilly stories of fairy "elfins," most of which originally appeared in The New Yorker. Wit, whimsy, a dash of horror.
  • Instructions for a Funeral by David Means - Short stories characterized by long sentences. I'm enjoying, but it's taking a long time to get through this collection.
  • Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones - The ex-girlfriend who recommended it was 100% right to believe I'd really like it.
  • The Very Last Interview by David Shields - A book in the form of interview questions directed at the author in a forty-year career. The reader is left to infer or imagine the answers. Is this narcissism or self-effacement or both? Hard to say, but I'd be more impressed if it predated Padget Powell's The Interrogative Mood.

I've just preordered a copy of Fight, Magic, Items by Aidan Moher, which is a history of Japanese RPGs in the U.S. I'm friendly with the author, so don't take this as an unbiased recommendation, but it strikes me as book liable to interest some of the people here.
 
Finally finished Careless Love. It was a slog to get through. Before diving into spooky season, I'm going to read The Godfather by Mario Puzo
 
The Troop by Nick Cutter. Let spooky season begin!
very good, although I thought the denouement wasn't really earned, and I thought Cutter got a little carried away with the animal cruelty. Any, going back to He Who Fights With Monsters. Want to finish that before heading into my next spooky read. I'm also planning on working through The New Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker and Leslie Klinger. It's been a while since I last read Dracula, so I thought I was due for a reread
 

Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
I'm taking another run at Bleak House, which is going much better this time than the last time I attempted it (I'm about 300 pages, which is usually past the point at which I would DNF a book). However, I also couldn't resist starting a reread of Gideon the Ninth to prepare me for Nona. I've also been listening to The Gathering Storm and Murder on the Orient Express, so I've got a lot of narratives banging around in my head. Having too many books going at once is a dangerous gambit: we'll see how this plays out.
Finished Bleak House, which was very good while still evincing Dickens' typical flaws (e.g., passive main characters, shallow and overly-saintly female characters, at times too melodramatic and sermonizing, etc.). But seriously could that dude write. And even on darker books (like Bleak House) I'm always amazed by how funny his stuff is; I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this one.

I also finished my audiobook of Murder on the Orient Express (quite the resolution there) and my reread of Gideon the Ninth (still great; I liked the reread even better because this time through I had an easier time tracking the various characters and their respective motives and motivations). Anyway, on to my reread of Harrow the Ninth!
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Koshersoul by Michael W. Twitty
I am really struggling with this one. It just doesn't seem like the various essays/chapters are connected that strongly? Surprised and kind of bummed.

This however I am absolutely loving. Possibly the most highlighted non-textbook book I've read? Since someone had it on hold I didn't finish it but have ordered my own copy and am excited to continue reading it.
 
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Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Rereading Dante's Inferno for my Classics book club. I don't think we intentionally put this in October when we picked the list, but I'm glad we did as it is vaguely Halloween-ish. Also I just love how vindictive he is, assigning people he doesn't like to various places in hell just because he can. Still one of my favorites.
 

Exposition Owl

Happy Owlidays!
(he/him/his)
Rereading Dante's Inferno for my Classics book club. I don't think we intentionally put this in October when we picked the list, but I'm glad we did as it is vaguely Halloween-ish. Also I just love how vindictive he is, assigning people he doesn't like to various places in hell just because he can. Still one of my favorites.

Who translated the edition you’re reading?
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Who translated the edition you’re reading?
I'm rereading Robin Kirkpatrick's as I already owned it, but most of the club is reading Mark Musa. I thought I had another translation around too but can't track it down.

Edit: Oh and I highly recommend World of Dante especially for a refresher on people and places. Seeing all the images is very cool too. Could just read the whole thing there, looks like the translator there is Mandelbaum which sounds familiar and might be the one I've read before.
 
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Violentvixen

(She/Her)
I'm rereading Robin Kirkpatrick's as I already owned it
Okay, so I owned this version but had definitely never read this translation before. I really don't like it! Lowlights are:
  • Translating the part in Canto 8 about the guy covered in mud as wanting "to see him dabbled him in the minestrone" rather than pushed back into the swamp/broth/slime/muck. Bizarre choice.
  • Instead of just calling the 8th circle of hell Malebolge which is really just its name and what you usually see, Canto 18 calls it Rottenpockets. No. Just no.
  • Just overall clunky and poor translation of anything Virgil says. Sometimes it seems like the translator is trying to make it grander, or maybe sound like Old English, but not quite? It's real bad!
  • In Canto 9 Heaven's Messenger clears out various demons and when leaving is described as looking as though he has more important to worry about than Dante's issues, something in that vein. This translation says "he had the look of someone gnawed and gathered up by care - though not the cares that here confronted him." It's so awkward!
So um yeah please avoid this translation.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I'm rereading Jesse Ball's rabbit hole of unending storytelling The Way Through Doors after loving it back when I first read it in...2009? Can that be right? Ugh. Anywayit's not quite as affecting as it was when I was in my 20s, but it's still good!
 
Finally finished HWFWM. It was great, will most likely be reading the next book in November (don't know how long these books will be available through Kindle Unlimited, so might as well take advantage. Anyway, reading a pretty much brand new book (came out on the 4th) called Curse of the Reaper by Brian McAuley
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
I'm sorry it didn't turn out well! For a recent anniversary my wife got me a copy of Dorothy L. Sayers's translation, and I found that one interesting. It might be worth a look.
I will check it out! This might be my fifth time reading it (which is probably what made me so sensitive to weird translation choices) and after the book club discussion I'm ready to move on from Dante but will revisit it and look for this.
 

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
Finished up Nona the Ninth and then also finished up Princess Floralinda and the Forty Flights, a novella? short novel? also by Muir.

Not sure what I'm going to read next but I have it narrowed down to a few, and right now Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead leads the pack with Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower up there too. Other candidates include The Three-Body Problem, Who Fears Death, and All the Birds in the Sky. Oh, or Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower.

Come to think of it I'm not sure whether I should get into something that's a series or just find a standalone right now. I'm limited to my Kindle library at the moment too, which narrows my options a bit.
 
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