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What'cha Reading?

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
Man, Children of Dune very suddenly goes to some Places in the last 100 pages, huh? Now I'm interested in reading the next book again.
Dune Messiah is widely considered not particularly great, mainly existing as the bridge between Dune and Children. Children is indeed generally well-liked. And next you've got God Emperor, which I haven't read, but which I understand is where things start getting weird.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Dune Messiah is widely considered not particularly great, mainly existing as the bridge between Dune and Children. Children is indeed generally well-liked. And next you've got God Emperor, which I haven't read, but which I understand is where things start getting weird.
Oh okay cool, so it's not just me who thinks Dune Messiah was bad. Yeah, I'll read God Emperor when I finish my current library stack, because I liked how it got weird at the end of Children and I'm looking forward to more of that.

Right now I'm reading Stephen King's Carrie, because 1) I never have, 2) it turns 50 (!) this year, and 3) someone at work recommended it to me a while back. I'm liking it a lot! Knowing nothing aside from the basic outline of the plot, I've been pleasantly surprised by the interesting stuff it does in terms of form (breaking up narration by interjecting a character's thoughts, interspersing bits of epistolary media from after the events of the plot itself to provide context, etc). I've got about 60-80 pages left and am looking forward to wrapping this one up.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Huh, this has reminded me that I don't think I've ever read a Stephen King book.

I started Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson this weekend. I needed a Debut Author book for the library's winter reading challenge and a coworker recommended it to me. It sounds interesting but as of page 39 the book has been narrated from I think five character's perspectives already? I struggle with books that have multiple narrators so am not hopeful I'll finish this one but want to keep trying.
 

Baudshaw

Unfortunate doesn't begin to describe...
(he/him)
Scott Pilgrim (books 1-7) were a fun time. Keep in mind I watched the 2023 show before reading the books, so I use that as a comparison.

It's strange going from a media in the 2020s to the exact same media in the 2000s. It feels like it's de-matured, with many of the jokes feeling childish. However, there are a lot of hitters. Overall, the graphic novel is a lot more slow-paced and more slice of life focused than the show, which has a relatively structured plot and premise. That being said, I still prefer the show, especially in regards to the visual design.

Done better in the books: Scott, Kim, Wallace

Done better in the show: All evil exes, Ramona, Julie, Knives
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
Scott Pilgrim (books 1-7) were a fun time. Keep in mind I watched the 2023 show before reading the books, so I use that as a comparison.

It's strange going from a media in the 2020s to the exact same media in the 2000s. It feels like it's de-matured, with many of the jokes feeling childish. However, there are a lot of hitters. Overall, the graphic novel is a lot more slow-paced and more slice of life focused than the show, which has a relatively structured plot and premise. That being said, I still prefer the show, especially in regards to the visual design.

Done better in the books: Scott, Kim, Wallace

Done better in the show: All evil exes, Ramona, Julie, Knives
I would argue that the show is a sequel to the books, especially given what we learn about future-Scott.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Read Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah over the past few days, I could not put this book down. I don't even know what to say about it. Just an incredible work.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I just finished Rites of Peace by Adam Zamoyski. A very readable write-up of the Congress of Vienna. I loved how messy and petty everyone trying to get what they could out of the fall of Napoleon was.
 

Exposition Owl

more posts about buildings and food
(he/him/his)
I just finished Rites of Peace by Adam Zamoyski. A very readable write-up of the Congress of Vienna. I loved how messy and petty everyone trying to get what they could out of the fall of Napoleon was.

My wife did her Ph.D. dissertation on turn-of-the-19th-century diplomatic history, and I always loved hearing her stories about the messy pettiness of diplomats and consuls. For example:
--Thomas Jefferson, who would consistently have won Olympic gold in the 100-meter petty-off, kept a burn book of all the things he hated about European and other U.S. diplomats. When he died, Jefferson specifically ordered that all of his papers be burned so that his abundant messiness wouldn't be on public display, but his executors somehow missed that one, so it has survived for historians to enjoy.

--John Adams (who did not order his papers burned upon his death, and so has an unfair reputation for being especially messy just because all of his many complaints about other people survive for us to read) basically ended his diplomatic career because Benjamin Franklin refused to back him up in an argument.

--U.S. diplomats Silas Deane and Arthur Lee made a killing on the British stock exchange by exploiting inside information about what the U.S. Continental Army was going to do in the war. When they got caught, Lee claimed that the whole thing had been Deane's idea, and so got off scot free.

--The U.S. diplomat Gouverneur Morris was a notorious lech, and he carried on an affair with Talleyrand's wife when he was the U.S.'s man in Paris during part of the French Revolution.

--This one is about generals rather than diplomats, but still. The main reason that Benedict Arnold switched sides during the Revolutionary War was that he was mad that Washington promoted Nathanael Greene, one of his subordinates, before him.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
--The U.S. diplomat Gouverneur Morris was a notorious lech, and he carried on an affair with Talleyrand's wife when he was the U.S.'s man in Paris during part of the French Revolution.

My response to this, especially reading about what Talleyrand was getting up to during the time frame of the book I just read, is 'good for her.'
 
I recently read Sven Holm's Termush, and reviewed it for The Washington Post. Given how many books I've bought on recommendation from Post critics, I was thrilled to write for them.

I also wrote about the new K. J. Parker series for Reactor, formerly Tor dot com.

Aside from that, I've been reading Ruth Scurr's John Aubrey, My Own Life, which is a biography of the seventeenth-century antiquarian written as a diary. It's one of those books that will fascinate and enthrall a few readers and mystify everyone else. Recommended if you like Sir Thomas Browne, experimental biography, or amiable amateur archaeologists.

Also read Christopher Hitchens's A Hitch in Time, a series of left-wing pieces from the London Review of Books which makes his eventual rightward swing seem even stranger than it already did. In these pages, he's so good at identifying bad faith and imperial hypocrisy; how did he descend into it himself? Will admit that some essays suffer from their timeliness: As an American reading forty years on, some of the minor British political figures of the 1980s who are mentioned but not introduced left me confused.

Oh, and loved Duff Cooper's Operation Heartbreak. If you know your WWII intelligence history, you'll very likely guess the sting in the tail before you begin the novel, but somehow that doesn't dilute the effect of this short book from 1950.
 
That's so cool, congrats!

Thanks very much!

Hey I'm reading this now! I'm about 250 pages in, and it is slow, but I'm finding it extremely charming so I don't mind.

I get the impression Making It So is a lot like Alec Guinness's memoirs: Maybe not always discussing the roles you're most interested in, but so pleasant to be in the author's company. Guinness, of course, was significantly less enthusiastic about his famous science fiction role.

Does Making It So talk about Stewart's small but vital role opposite Guinness in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People? Stewart doesn't get a single line, but his malevolent silence conveys so much.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Does Making It So talk about Stewart's small but vital role opposite Guinness in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People? Stewart doesn't get a single line, but his malevolent silence conveys so much.
I am sorry to report it does not.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
I get the impression Making It So is a lot like Alec Guinness's memoirs: Maybe not always discussing the roles you're most interested in, but so pleasant to be in the author's company.
This is very accurate!

I just finished What you are looking for is in the library by Michiko Aoyama and I so highly recommend it. A series of connected short stories about people who find what they need at a small community library. Just pleasant and cozy and rewarding.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Well, I was reading God Emperor of Dune, but at exactly 100 pages it suddenly becomes disgustingly homophobic out of nowhere, so guess I'm done with Dune now.
 

Baudshaw

Unfortunate doesn't begin to describe...
(he/him)
I read 6 books, but 5 of them are graphic novels. I gotta read more text.

Anyways:

Star Wars: Darth Vader (Kieron Gillen). I read Book 1 (Vader), Book 2 (Strife and Shadow), and Book 3 (Shu-Torun War). I never expected it to reference the prequels, but I found it cool. Book 1 is 7/10, Book 2 is 8/10, and Book 3 is 7/10.

Red Harvest. It's a great graphic novel. I love the art style, and the description of the Holodomor is great. I have nothing to complain about this book. 10/10

The American Dream? (Shing Yin Khor) The book goes through a lot of detail, but it's so short that I barely feel much about it. It's framed as this grand journey through Route 66, but it just feels like a small road trip. 6/10.

Letters from a Slave Girl. It's quite a downer book, since the main character is basically suffering throughout, but I like the little minor victories. 8/10
 
Rereading The Shining for my monthly King project. Also, finally giving The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky a try. It's been a hot minute since I read a full length book by him
 
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