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What'cha Reading?


can stop, will stop
I gotta say, it feels refreshingly not dated for a 30-year-old book! Definitely worth a read if you're interested.


Sudden chomper
I'm intrigued by the second book, which apparently changes settings to follow the adventures of Pham some 50,000 years earlier.

I will also say that, as a big fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky's science fiction writing, reading A Fire Upon the Deep made it pretty clear that he didn't come up with all those ideas whole cloth. I should probably make a Tchaikovsky effort post at some point, but I recently finished his Shards of the Earth trilogy and I thought it was pretty dang good from soup to nuts. His best work that I've read is Children of Time/Children of Ruin, but here there be spiders, so YMMV.


Dostoevsky is immortal!
Magician by Raymond E. Feist (reading the whole thing in one volume, not split up)
Curious how this holds up. I read the first four(?) books in college, and found them to be mostly enjoyable - if extremely generic - fantasy romps. I think I would have loved them as a kid, when all I did was read and reread Brooks, Eddings, Jordan, and Weis and Hickman, but coming to them as an adult robbed them of nostalgic heft and magnified their flaws.


commander damage
I feel like I should be recording all these books I read to my kid at bedtime. They still count as me reading, right?


can stop, will stop
I've been reading Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep at the recommendation of our own @MCBanjoMike and I'm really enjoying it, but the edition the library gave me is A) a very large book with B) very small print, so it's going much more slowly than books normally do for me. I'm about halfway through now, maybe I'll finish it by the end of the week.

I'm intrigued by the second book, which apparently changes settings to follow the adventures of Pham some 50,000 years earlier.
Finally finished this last night, pretty enjoyable all the way through. So many cool ideas. I have to admit that the bit spoilered above kinda makes me less interested in the second book, as that was one of my least favorite characters. The third book (from 2011!), though, is a direct sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, and I'll probably read that one at some point. For right now I'm gonna take it a little easier with Sloane Crosley's Cult Classic. I always really liked her essays and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does as a novelist.


(He, Him)
I started reading wind and the willows to my kid recently. Already farther in than I ever made it as a wee one.

I love that Mole just gets sick of cleaning and moves in with a neighbor he’s never spoken to before. Brother has confidence.
Finished Magician. Thought it was great stuff, will continue with the series. Oh, and needless to say, Hitchhiker's Guide is still one of my favorites of all time. Taking a bit of a break from the SFF and reading The Fires of Spring by James A. Michener


I'm going through She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. It's a great concept - the author is a fan of televised Southeast Asian historical dramas and decided to write an English novel in the same vein because she didn't find books to read in that genre. It reads a little like a soap opera - there are a lot of big feelings, forbidden love, politics, and familial conflicts mixed in with historical beats. The book also deals with queer themes and gender issues in a period-appropriate way. No sex scenes yet; I'm about two-thirds of the way through.


Staff member
Only got through four books in August. :\

La Fontaine's Fables - Translated by Walter Thornbury 1668 - 1694

Finally finished all 240 fables, each one a delight. I'll be returning to them often.



A Certain hungry Fox, of Gascon breed
(Or Norman—but the difference is small),
Discovered, looking very ripe indeed,
Some Grapes that hung upon an orchard-wall.
Striving to clamber up and seize the prey,
He found the fruit was not within his power;
"Well, well," he muttered, as he walked away,
"It's my conviction that those Grapes are sour."

The Fox did wisely to accept his lot;
'Twas better than complaining, was it not?

Mistress Masham's Repose by T. H. White 1946

Read aloud to the kid. White's children's book about a tribe of Lilliputian descendants stranded in rural England and discovered by a young girl in the wake of World War 2. Very satirical, but in a specific British mid-century vogue that feels foreign in this day and age. Though he enjoyed it a lot of the humor and references went over Alex's head. A fun book but not nearly as affecting or impactful as The Once and Future King or even just The Sword in the Stone.

“I am a failure in the world. I do not rule people, nor deceive them for the sake of power, nor try to swindle their livelihood into my own possession. I say to them: Please go freely on your way, and I will do my best to follow mine. Well then, Maria, although this is not a fashionable way of going on, nor even a successful one, it is a thing which I believe in—that people must not tyrannize, nor try to be great because they are little.”

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown 2010

A disappointment. I had high expectations because I've heard so many good things about Brown but this was mostly summary and broad identification of traits shared by emotionally resilient people. While there were a couple insightful passages and some vaguely helpful advice there wasn't much that was practically useful or even covered in depth. Maybe I picked the wrong book of hers, but I was looking for something on toxic perfectionism and this wasn't it. I mean, when a book breathlessly suggests Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist for next steps you get the impression it's not a work of substance.

Araminta Station by Jack Vance 1987

Long late era Vance and the first in a trilogy about the planet Cadwal which was established as a nature preserve by the Naturalist Society of Earth upon its discovery. Only six governing bureaus with a staff of 20 men and 20 women are allowed permanent residence and over the centuries this establishment has transformed into a highly stratified society where one's place is literally numerically determined. This was an odd one, because Vance takes hundreds of pages to set up the details of this society and how it articulates before getting to the adventure stuff. But all that setup is well worth it because 1. Cadwal is a fascinating setting and Vance teases it out with little pops of intense action and strangeness, 2. the plot is actually a string of minor mysteries that are contextualized and revealed to have greater importance as the book proceeds, and 3. Vance is simply a fantastic writer. Strong stuff with lots of social commentary but requires a tolerance for a leisurely pace and obscured structure.

Order, logic, symmetry: these are fine words but any pretense that we have crammed our material into molds so strict would be an obvious sham. Each settled world is sue generis, presenting to the inquiring cosmologist a unique quantum of information. All these quanta are mutually immiscible, so that efforts to generalize become a muddle. We are yielded a single certainty: no event has occurred twice; every case is unique.

In our journeys from one end of the Gaean Reach to the other and, on occasion, Beyond, we discover nothing to indicate that the human race is everywhere and inevitably becoming more generous, tolerant, kindly, and enlightened. Nothing whatever.

On the other hand, and this is the good news, it doesn't seem to be getting any worse.


can stop, will stop
Read the trade collection of recent comic Do a Powerbomb! a few days ago and it ruled. Do you want a graphic novel about interdimensional pro wrestlers fighting each other in a tournament organized by a necromancer? Read this book.
The Fires of Spring: was very strong until the last part. Could've been much shorter, and I really enjoy Michener's long stuff. Chalk it up I guess to this being his first book

White Sand by Brandon Sanderson: I'm tentatively holding off on reading Cytonic for right now, so instead I decided to read the first two volumes of this graphic novel. It's very unique with the magic and the world. Will probably read the last volume this coming weekend

After having reread Hitchhiker's Guide, I decided this past weekend to also reread Restaurant and LUE. Very good stuff, but I don't think I'll be rereading So Long

As to what I'm currently reading: Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal by Terje Simonsen
Silver Nitrate was decent. Getting back to space opera with You Sexy Thing by Kat Rambo
YST was quite excellent. Now, indulging in some classic Arthurian fantasy with The Once and Future King by T.H. White, and the Paranormal book didn't work for me, so I'm also reading The Fifties by David Halberstam
Update time: I read The Exorcist Legacy by Nat Segaloff. Highly recommend if you're a fan of the book/franchise. Finished OFK. It was alright, but glad to have that one under my belt. Still working on The Fifties and currently reading Mister Magic by Kiersten White. Hoping it's at least as good as Hide


Son of The Answer Man
I'm going to pimp the preorder for Dreadful by Caitlin Rozakis, partially because I think it will appeal to the audience here (Man wakes up with no memory--or eyebrows--in the evil wizard's workshop and subsequently discovers that he is the evil wizard; hilarity ensues), but also because it's Beowife's debut novel. So please support my wife's writing!
How exciting, will definitely put it on my Want to Read shelf.

Mister Magic was alright, but Hide was better. Because it's on Kindle Unlimited, I'm now reading Stephen King: A Complete Exploration of His Work, Life, and Influences by Bev Vincent


I'm reading John le Carré's Legacy of Spies. It's a kind of a finale of a series, and I haven't read every preceding book, but it's still as good and intensive as ever. Le Carré isn't the best writer when it comes to human relationships, but his understanding of psychology in times of crisis and doubt is really formidable. The spy game, as described by him, feels real in a way few others have managed.
Finishing off White Sand by Brandon Sanderson with vol. 3, and then keeping with non-fiction by finally reading If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell

Exposition Owl

Always Be Swooping
I’m finally getting around to The Lies of Locke Lamora, which was first recommended to me more years ago than I strictly want to think about. If you ever wanted to read about a con man operating in a fantasy world, have I got the book for you! One question, though—did all these characters have to be dudes?


can stop, will stop
Recently read The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart on my girlfriend's recommendation. I don't usually go for fantasy novels, but this one was pretty well-written! I feel like it had maybe one or two characters too many, but the author does a pretty good job of tying everyone into the overarching story. There are two more books that follow, we're gonna read those too.
Finished this trilogy up last night. Unfortunately I liked each successive book less than the previous, but I finished them to get to the end of the story. To me, the writing and editing just didn't hold up over three novels. The overall experience felt a bit rushed to me (which I think the second and third books were -- there's an old music industry saying about how you have your entire life to make your first album, and a year to make your second). The story was fine, I just wish all three books could've had the same amount of care put into them as the first one.


Getting near to the end of reading through all of Discworld, I just reached I Shall Wear Midnight. It's kinda crazy how grim this book starts. Is this the darkest Discworld book?

Unseen Academicals, which I had never read before, didn't work that well for me. It is Discworld, so it's still a good read, but it shows that Pratchett wasn't at the top of his game anymore (not a fault of him, of course). It was nice to see Rincewind again, for once as part of the regular wizards, and spending time with Ridcully, in particular, is always fun. It was nice seeing Vimes in a more annoying light, than as a hero, and Vetinari is another all-time great one. Again, there is a lot to love about this one, too. But even here, it felt like Pratchett focused on the grimmer aspects of soccer, and how sports can play a part in breaking rulers, even some as powerful as absolute tyrants.

When I'm done, I'll read The Color of Magic again, to see the full contrast of beginning and end of Discworld. And also to get a silly, fun ride through the chaos of the very beginnings. What a great series.