MetaReading 📚📖🔖 May 16, 2019 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Nearing the end of another week, let's talk about something else that is not related to politics. Let's talk about books. What are you currently reading? Share some good book recommendations (any genre) with the rest of us. As always, be kind to yourself and to others. Happy reading.
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 9:28 AM (131 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

The webcomic On a Sunbeam was recently released in book form. I finished reading it yesterday and honest to God hugged the book because it was so good and she stuck the landing so well.

The Dreamers is my other favorite book of 2019 so far, and was also good enough to hug.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:34 AM on May 16 [5 favorites]


I'm currently reading the first in a series: "A Princess of Mars" from The Collected John Carter of Mars by Edgard Rice Burroughs. It is holding up surprisingly well and it's the perfect thing to read on the go because of it's very "pulp" nature. I can sort of dip in and out very easily.
posted by Fizz at 9:37 AM on May 16 [5 favorites]


I'm currently reading (explained here) Candide and it's pretty good, albeit short.

I'm in a bit of a drought book-wise, which is when I tend to go re-read stuff. Recently re-read The Peripheral by William Gibson, Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, and Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.

Oh, and I've also been enjoying Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:47 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


@lazaruslong, you should consider reading American Candide by Mahendra Singh next, it might be fun to compare the two.
posted by Fizz at 9:49 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'm reading Golden State by Ben H. Winters right now. Most of the goodreads reviewers seem to think the first half is good and then it goes precipitously off the rails. I'm just about halfway through now and interested to see if I notice the turn. I loved his Last Policeman trilogy and am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
posted by something something at 9:52 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I just started reading Monk! Thelonious, Pannonica, and the Friendship Behind A Musical Revolution, and it's great so far. I'm most of the way through How to Hide An Empire: A History of the Greater United States, a very modern and readable history. After I finish these, my next heavy book will be either Survival Math: Notes on An All-American Family or Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and A Mother's Will to Survive, while my next light book will be Feel Free (yeah, late to the party on that one).
posted by box at 9:59 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Just finished Jenny Odell's fantastic How To Do Nothing; I can enthusiastically recommend it.

Am now on Takeo Kono's Toddler Hunting. It is intense, more so than I was prepared for. She is a very talented writer, I am sucked in, but none of these stories are a romp.
posted by salt grass at 10:15 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I just finished The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and I think I liked it better than Cloud Atlas because it had what I was disappointed not to find in Cloud Atlas - an explanation for why - well, I don't want to spoil it for people who haven't read it, but if you've read it, you know what I mean. The underlying explanation for the whole premise of the book. I think maybe The Bone Clocks is actually meant to be the explanation for Cloud Atlas. I saw a review somewhere that talked about how all Mitchell's books connect to each other.
posted by Redstart at 10:15 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I liked Susan Choi's Trust Exercise more than I expected.
posted by chavenet at 10:20 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I just read The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. It's a succinct, beautifully written dystopian fiction story. I can't wait to read more of her work. Bonus: She teaches at the University of Oregon. I live nearby and might be able to go hear her speak at some point.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:27 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


The webcomic On a Sunbeam was recently released in book form. I finished reading it yesterday and honest to God hugged the book because it was so good and she stuck the landing so well.

I read a bit of this and really liked it - it completely lived up to billing. A good reminder to get the book.

I am reading Neglected or Misunderstood: Introducing Theodore Adorno. (Part, apparently, of a Zero Books series called Neglected or Misunderstood, also coincidentally soon to be the title of my memoir.)

My hope is that once I've read this, I'll be able to finish The Dialectic of Enlightenment, which has defeated me through a combination of being kind of boring and being kind of confusing so far. The thing is, I like Adorno a lot but chiefly in small doses, and I tend to think that if I have a big-picture view I'll be able to read more sustainedly.

I've been on a bit of a Zero Books kick lately because they're [small and cute] written to be read by non-academics but often about "academic" subjects. I doubt I could tackle most books about Adorno at day's end when I'm all tired and everything.

I also finished Ninefox Gambit, which I didn't like as much as everyone seems to. However, I was lucky enough to sit in on an event with the author, Yoon-ha Lee, who is a lovely guy, and that sort of recolored the book for me somehow to the point where I'm seriously thinking of reading the other two.
posted by Frowner at 10:35 AM on May 16 [6 favorites]


I just finished Ted Chiang's new book Exhalation (FPP). It'll take me some time to digest and I expect that I'll be going back to re-read some of the stories over the next week. It's a lot of fun and, like most of Chiang's work, makes you think.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:40 AM on May 16 [5 favorites]


I just finished Die Mathematik der Nina Gluckstein, a German novella by Esther Vilar. I came across it because it inspired the title of an album (Die Mathematik der Anna Depenbusch) by one of my favorite singer-songwriters. It was pretty good. Maybe a little slow to come to the point, but that fit the structure of the story, which is presented as a kind of disjointed, rambling memoir.

Right now I'm about a third of the way into Allmen und die Libellen, a sort-of crime novel. It's light, enjoyable, and a fairly easy read for a non-native speaker.

For another lightweight German sort-of-crime novel (albeit one with a very different conceit), I recommend Glennkill, which was translated into English as Three Bags Full. It's the story of a flock of Irish sheep trying to solve the murder of their shepherd. I wouldn't recommend it for children, though. Despite the conceit it's still a murder mystery.
posted by jedicus at 10:43 AM on May 16 [4 favorites]


I just finished Peter Sagal's book The Incomplete Guide To Running which I enjoyed, though I'm still procrastinating on getting started running. It wasn't just about running, but about how it affected his life during what sounded like a brutal divorce (which I would love to know the details of but accept that it's not my business) and between the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and when he ran it again in 2014.

Now I'm reading "Metafilter's Own" Adam Savage's book Every Tool's a Hammer. I hate the title (use a hammer if you need a hammer...) but I'm enjoying the book. Mr. Savage is someone I've long admired for his process and shop philosophy so it's nice to get a deep dive into all that.

I've got a couple other books in the queue. One on The Sopranos by Alan Sepinwall and Michael Pollen's book on psychedelics. I hadn't been reading much at all lately so I'm really glad to be back at it.

I just pre-ordered Neal Stephenson's latest book but there's about a 60% chance I will get 10% of the way through it and get bored, given my history with his books. My kid has read everything he's ever written though so I'm sure they'll gobble it up.

I recently finished Ninety percent of Everything, by Rose George, based on as AskMe recommendation. Fascinating stuff.
posted by bondcliff at 10:51 AM on May 16


I just wrapped up [the audiobook of] "Valley Forge" by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin and I enjoyed it very much. It's a retelling of about a year, early in the Revolutionary War, and while it's very narrative, it's done with a modern voice & sensibility, and with the benefit of modern scholarship.

The narrator, Jeremy Bobb, has a great voice and good delivery, too.

I really feel like part of my grade school education just got an upgrade. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:52 AM on May 16


I am pretty sure participants in this thread are self-selecting for impressive seeming reading habits, so I'm just going to go ahead and say that I am currently reading through my library's ebook collection of Jennifer Crusie novels. They are short, funny and easy to read and I am learning nothing.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:57 AM on May 16 [20 favorites]


95% of my reading these days is for my book club, which I shall plug because it is awesome - a club devoted expressly to post-apocalyptic fiction, operating out of a used bookstore that also collects books for inmates in prisons. Browsing that "past meetings" list on the first link will pretty much give you my recent reading list.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:18 AM on May 16 [8 favorites]


Finishing up Ali Smith's Winter just in time for the release of Spring!
posted by BibiRose at 11:23 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'm reading....The Mueller Report. Because I'm kind of a masochist. Also slowly moving through about a dozen other books concurrently, but actively now: Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World's Fastest Cyclists. Also Put Your Best Face Forward, by Dr. Sandra "Pimple Popper" Lee, and a privately circulated journal of encounters with a 20th century sufi teacher who was based in Damascus.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on May 16


Ooh, I read Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and A Mother's Will to Survive just last month, and I found it a very compelling read! I read it non-stop (or really just during any free time I had) over two days.

I go back and forth between reading standard published books and fanfiction. I'm planning next to read something somewhat in between, a fan translation of a Chinese webnovel that's available for free online called Mo Dao Zu Shi (I've seen it translated as "The Grandmaster of Demon Cultivation" or "The Founder of Diabolism"). There are donghua (Chinese anime) & manhua adaptations that I've already read/watched, but they haven't reached anywhere close to the ending yet. In the meantime I've spoiled myself to a ridiculous extent by reading fanfiction...!
posted by devrim at 11:27 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I finished reading The Men Who Would Be King, an account of how Dreamworks SKG was founded, floundered, and wound up. I got a bit tired of reading about men doing business, and the book mentioned Sherry Lansing and how her style of executive working was different than most, so I'm in the middle of Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker. which is maddening in all the crap Lansing put up with to get where she did.
posted by xingcat at 11:36 AM on May 16


I am reading a giant baroque book on Sri Lankan cricket on my boyfriend's request. I am about halfway through and I would really like to be done with it - it's fun, but about twice as long as my attention span can handle baroque South Asian cricket references I don't quite understand, so it does feel like a bit of a slog.

Once I finish that, I've picked up The Map of Salt and Stars and I'm excited to get into it!
posted by ChuraChura at 11:48 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


I just finished The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and I think I liked it better than Cloud Atlas

Agree, Redstart. Bone Clocks was better all around for me.

I just finished Malice of Crows, third book in a series by Lila Bowen (aka, Delilah Dawson). Its set in a fictional 1800s Texas, kinda, and heavily features gender non-conforming and queer characters, and is very readable. It's also kinda dark and violent, but I don't find it overwhelmingly so.
posted by that's candlepin at 12:15 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I just finished a new middle grade novel called To Night Owl From Dogfish which is written completely in email format and was such a feel good, great read. Highly recommended for the middle schooler in your life!

Now I’m reading Dopesick which is about the opioid crisis and is about as far away from that previous book as you can get. It’s interesting and upsetting and important.

Not sure what I’ll read next. A huge amount of library holds all came in at once. What a great problem to have!
posted by bookmammal at 12:18 PM on May 16


I'm reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf right now. When I started the book it didn't really grip me and I'd read a couple of pages, put it down, come back later and read some more, and put it down. But last night I realized that I have to return it in a week and read some more and it was much more engrossing.

The last book I read before this was Echopraxia and I want to sign it out again because I read it the one time and had to return it and it is still stuck in my head although I should probably sign out Blindsight as well.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:21 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Tommy Tomlinson's The Elephant in the Room. So interesting to read weight loss memoir written by a man. He's also a sportswriter, so you may be familiar with his writing.
posted by TravellingCari at 12:22 PM on May 16


I've read very little fiction since my child was born; not enough time to sink into a story. However, I'm trying to resurrect a "short story book club" that I used to co-convene a few years back. (We were going to meet this week, but there were a couple illnesses and life circumstances, so I'm rescheduling.)

Anyway, our first story is Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™ by Rebecca Roanhorse, which was posted on the Blue about a year ago.
posted by duffell at 12:25 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'm reading River by Esther Kinsky. I like it a lot; I really had to 'switch gears' - slow down - to get it into my head, but it's there now, and I am worried that I'll finish it soon, which is always a good sign. I found it by looking for "more like W.G. Sebald" which yields some pretty interesting things.

I also just finished that Rachel Cusk novel, Outline, which is still rolling around in my head, a good thing.
posted by gyusan at 12:29 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I just read Robert Caro's new book, Working. Yay for Robert Caro!

On a Sunbeam is great! I borrowed it from the library, then liked it so much I bought copies for me and my sister.
posted by ferret branca at 12:29 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


ferret branca—I also read Working by Caro and really liked it. My only negative thought was “Why are you spending time writing this book when you should be finishing your last LBJ book????” (He’s in his eighties—I REALLY hope he completes it!)
posted by bookmammal at 12:36 PM on May 16



I am pretty sure participants in this thread are self-selecting for impressive seeming reading habits, so I'm just going to go ahead and say that I am currently reading through my library's ebook collection of Jennifer Crusie novels. They are short, funny and easy to read and I am learning nothing.


See, I'd say that I do read a lot of snooty books...the key question to ask is "what is the totality of your reading", because that would capture all the time I spend on fanfiction, fashion blogs and websites that think they're producing humorous content about food but actually it's just kind of stupid. Also blogs about shoes.
posted by Frowner at 12:46 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Yesterday, I finished K.J. Charles's The Henchmen of Zenda, a queer retelling of the Anthony Hope's swashbuckling classic, The Prisoner of Zenda. It. Was. GLORIOUS. Each twist and subversion of the original narrative was fantastic fun, and Charles's version makes a whole lot more sense (and is a whole fuckload better about women, naturally) to this modern reader.

I'm reading Sally Rooney's Normal People right now and am admiring all the ambivalent emotional details she writes with.

I have Jackie Lau's upcoming Ice Cream Lover on deck for this weekend. I've been so happily blazing through her entire library of romantic comedies this year. I was thinking of her books this week in particular, because a couple of them feature normalizing portrayals of abortion, which is...not always the case in romance novels. (Most recently, it was The Ultimate Pi Day Party, where the protagonist's girlfriend in high school had an abortion and grew up to be a doctor and sex ed advocate. Not Another Family Wedding features a climatologist protagonist who had an abortion and is very firmly childfree.)
posted by mixedmetaphors at 12:48 PM on May 16 [3 favorites]


bookmammal, I think (hope?) Caro did not have to do a lot to put together the pieces in Working since a bunch were previously published. I thought the Paris Review interviewer was pretty brave to admit to annoying Caro by keeping him waiting, though! That was 15 minutes he could've been working on LBJ!
posted by ferret branca at 12:49 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I’m on my way to the library to pick up my holds. These are almost all recommended by Metafilter.
  • Grandma Gatewoods walk
  • Fifty things that aren’t my fault
  • the big nine how the tech titans and their thinking machines could warp humanity
  • Unfinished business men women work family
  • How to read literature like a professor
  • Twenty five books that shaped America
  • Hexagogo
  • Adventures in paper piecing
I’m hoping to avoid a quilting hobby but I also want to be soothed by pretty quilts, hence the last two.

I’ll be mining the responses here to add to my requests at the library.
posted by bilabial at 1:03 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Do you want to read a Dutch book? Of course you do! Especially if it's as good as this one. So get your mitts on a copy of Joe Speedboat, a coming-of-age story that thunders forward with the force of a speeding freight train.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:05 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Just finished Tales for the Camp Fire, a horror anthology proceeds of the sales of which benefit survivors of the Camp Fire in Northern CA. They reprinted an old Clark Ashton Smith story that was set in the general area. Also a fun spoof of Hollywood and the zombie apocalypse called "You'll Never Be Lunch in This Town Again."
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 1:11 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'm in between books because I just finished The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells. Holy shit, it was absolutely terrifying. I was legit afraid to walk from the subway to my house at night after reading this one. And I'm a horror movie head!
posted by holborne at 1:31 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I just finished Violette Leduc's The Lady and the Little Fox Fur, who I hadn't read before. Unlike the other books she's known for, this isn't highly literary lesbian pornography. The main character is a really poor sixty year old woman in Paris who wanders around the city and counts coffee beans in her apartment while being interrupted by the roar of the metro. I really liked it.

Right now I'm reading Sjón's Codex 1962. It's made up of three books, and I've been reading them one per year since the last one came out in Icelandic. I got asked to come on the Two Month Review podcast to discuss the book, or rather a few chapters from the first book. It's a phenomental book, though gets pretty dark.
posted by Kattullus at 1:32 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I currently have The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume D, Between the Wars, 1914-1945, on my nightstand. It came in handy last week, when the power went out in the morning and it was cold and rainy. I grabbed it and curled up on the couch, snuggled under my faux shearling/velour blanket. It has poetry, stories, novel excerpts, and plays. There's a mini biography of each author as the beginning of the sections.

If I want something lighter, I read a woman's magazine, the type that has a different fad diet on the cover of each issue, along with fattening dessert pictures below. "Janet lost 95 pounds, with delicious juicing! Make these chocolate cream cheese cupcakes your family will love!" But they sometimes have good beauty tips, as well as cheerful recommendations to "drink this tea to make your skin glow!" and sometimes that's all my brain can handle at bedtime.

Right now, I am re-educating myself on soap making, because I bought some potatoes, intending on making a Spanish omelet, which requires a lot of olive oil. Was hunting around for olive oil in bulk, remembered I can buy it from a restaurant supply place that also sells food-grade oil to soap makers on the side. Then, of course, I thought, whelp, I can make a batch of soap, which requires a few other oils, and of course it needs to be scented with essential oils, and then I'd need some sort of paper bag or something to give some away, and what about a cute label or a stamp? Or maybe make some of those beeswax soaked cloths used for food wrapping and wrap them in that, to hold in the essential oils scent. I make it in my crockpot, called hot process soap, and it's ready to use right away, within a couple of hours from start to finish. I spoon a hot glob onto a plate, cool it off with cold water, and test it out (wearing gloves, of course). Bubbles! Magical bubbles that smell good!

Come to think of it, I learned soap making from a book, because it was before there were a lot of tutorials online.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:40 PM on May 16 [5 favorites]


I am close to the end of Janet Frame's novel Owls Do Cry: the first book of hers I've read; the first of several, I hope. And I've started on a volume of short stories by Elizabeth Bowen.

From a charity shop a few months ago I bought a stack of dowdy old hardback volumes by an author called Rhys Davies who I'd only vaguely heard of beforehand. I've since been delighting in his short stories, many of which are excellent. A contemporary apparently praised him as 'the Welsh Chekhov': a claim I may soon be in a position to judge, having bought a volume of translations of the Russian Chekhov's stories now too.
posted by misteraitch at 1:42 PM on May 16


Island People by Joshua Jelly-Shapiro, a cultural history of the Caribbean for non-academics. Enjoyable.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:44 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I've most recently read through the indie tabletop RPG adventure Silent Titans, which is lovely if perhaps going to prove hard to actually run, not least because I can't stand just how rules-lite the Into the Odd game system it's written for is, so I need to figure out what to run it in (by which I mean hack together a ruleset that might actually make me happy out of the dozens of rules-lite but less-rules-lite than Into the Odd systems floating around the web), and then I need to see if anyone I know is actually interested in playing it.

I'm currently trying to read through the newly released game Deep Morphean Transmissions and trying to figure out whether I like the Heartbeat mechanic or not. I usually have Opinions about RPG mechanics but this one's weirder than normal, and my sleep's been utter garbage lately so simply thinking is difficult.
posted by Caduceus at 1:46 PM on May 16


Currently just over halfway through Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl by Piers Paul Read.
There are a few books about the disaster but I remember reading Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors as a teenager and the story has stuck with me so choosing the same author seemed the right thing to do.
posted by markx2 at 1:58 PM on May 16


Anything and everything by Peter Watts.
posted by Splunge at 1:59 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I just finished The Westing Game for the fourth time in my life. My book club is reading it at my suggestion. It does get a bit sappy at the end, but I still love it. I've never seen the movie, so I might try that.

The next book the club selected is White Noise and I am going back and forth between hating and liking it. The prose is a bit poetic at times, but everything is over analyzed and such a downer. It reminds me of the fiction we read in my Modernism class. I liked all the other media, but I could not stand the fiction or much of the poetry.
posted by soelo at 2:18 PM on May 16


I'm currently reading The Kingdom of Copper, second entry in the Daevabad trilogy, by S. A. Chakraborty. It's pretty much Middle Eastern fantasy, with djinns and ifrits and magical cities hidden in lakes and it's pretty absorbing, so far!
posted by Lynsey at 2:37 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'm currently reading Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif. He makes a number of decent points, and seems to be of the same socio-economic/generational range as I am, so I've thought a lot about the same things and have a lot of the same feelings (although not explored as thoroughly), but at times he does come off as Holden Caulfield setting fire to a bunch of strawman "phonies".

Next up is The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy, since the last book I finished was All the Pretty Horses, and they're part of a trilogy. I have Cities of the Plain on my shelf, but I don't know if I'll continue straight on with that or read something else in between like I did this time.
posted by LionIndex at 3:03 PM on May 16


Reading and loving the Cormoran Strike series.
posted by greermahoney at 3:05 PM on May 16


I'm currently about 60% of the way through A Conspiracy of Truths, about a storyteller who is thrown in prison and has to attempt to talk his way out of charges of witchcraft and espionage. It's got the worldbuilding depth of an epic fantasy, which is super impressive for a book that takes place pretty much entirely inside a prison cell.
posted by quaking fajita at 3:23 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I am not up to reading much that is intellectually challenging these days, but I want to keep a habit of reading going. So I'm currently halfway through Stephen King's The Outsider. It's longform King...weird, wandering, 200 pages longer than it probably needs to be, and compulsively readable fodder for my brain right now.
posted by nubs at 3:48 PM on May 16


I just started Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School, but right before that I finally got to read People's Republic of Walmart (as seen previously on the blue), which was fantastic and fun and breezy, which is not a set of adjectives I would've expected to use for a book about socialist economic planning.

In fiction, I just read the Patrick Melrose novels, some of the most beautiful, if soul-wrenching and existence-destroying (but good!) prose I've read in ages. The kind of book where you feel like you should probably take a break and let your scarred psyche recover a bit but then you pick it back up and plow on further, wincing through the pain but utterly in love with it at the same time.
posted by mittens at 3:52 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Just finished Joe R. Lansdale's Lost Echoes and am about 3 chapters in to Laura Lippman's I'd Know You Anywhere.

(Also, see my most recent MetaTalkTail comment.)
posted by soundguy99 at 4:05 PM on May 16


Thank you, Fizz, just when I was wanting to talk about books!
lazaruslong, try out Leonard Bernstein's musical/opera version of Candide if you can find a recording; it's kind of over the top but a lot of the music is fantastic.
soelo, I love The Westing Game SO MUCH. Literally and figuratively, there's so much going on in such a small space, and it's so beautifully done and there's an emotional payoff as well as a puzzle-solving one.

My reading in English is mostly rereads right now; in Japanese I'm reading a book about the author's summer trip through Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in 1975, when he was fifteen. Granted it's long and I'm only about a quarter of the way through, but I'm getting frustrated at how tightly the perspective sticks to his experiences and thoughts at the time. For instance, the late Russian-Japanese interpreter Mari Yonehara wrote a book in which she reminisces about her childhood at the Soviet school in Prague, and also investigates what has happened to her classmates--a Russian boy, a Greek girl, a Romanian girl, and so on--since then; it brings the actual experiences to life and also adds the broader historical and social context, at the time and thereafter, that she didn't have at the time. The author I'm reading now is not doing that, and I feel it really leaves the book lacking.
posted by huimangm at 4:14 PM on May 16


Needing some "comfort read" stuff and having kindle credits, I just zoomed through the 4 books of Kris Austen Radcliffe's urban fantasy Northern Creatures series. It has the oddest of premises, but somehow she manages to pull it off. This review is a good summary.

Due to the HBO series, I've also been reading at Chernobyl by Serhii Plokhy, which Mr. gudrun happened to have on his "to read" shelf.
posted by gudrun at 4:49 PM on May 16


I just finished reading Willie James Jennings' The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race and Colin Kidd's The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000. I'm also now possibly the only person on this planet who has read Coelebs in Search of a Mistress, a moderately salacious attack on Hannah More's evangelical bestseller Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1809). I hasten to note that I do not recommend it, or More's Coelebs, or indeed any of the other unauthorized sequels and parodies of Coelebs that I've read over the past couple of years.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:58 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I recently finished Bo at Ballard Creek and Bo at Iditarod Creek (it's my job to read middle grade fiction, don't judge me) and they're both amazing! If you're looking for a Little House read-alike that doesn't have crappy attitudes towards the Native Americans and doesn't have any blackface, you're in the right place!

Plus the protagonist has two dads!
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:46 PM on May 16 [3 favorites]


I'm reading Emotional Agility after seeing wellred's first comment in this thread!
posted by valrus at 6:31 PM on May 16


I'm reading Underground Railroad. It's harrowing but very, very good.

I'm alternating the Expanse books with more toothsome fare. I was pretty meh on Babylon's Ashes, but my husband says things pick up again with Persepolis Rising.
posted by BrashTech at 7:11 PM on May 16


Reading with an 8-year old: My wife & daughter & I just finished several months' worth of reading Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci books aloud before bedtime, which has been an utter treat for all of us. The surface of her writing is just so polished and delightful, & the stories are so weird and snarky and full of strange family betrayals. (Great comment by verstegan about the darkness of these books in the DWJ obituary thread, which I've been skimming, here. Spoilers.) We finished the Harry Potter books last summer and my wife (who loves HP but otherwise has zero interest in SF/F) didn't think she'd be interested in other English magic books but she ended up smitten with them too--so it's been a lovely bit of overlap for us. We're now all taking a break from DWJ to read a few things not from a series, but I think we're all missing her already and maybe we'll do the Dalemark books next.

Reading with a 1-year-old: Did you know that there are bell hooks board books? Published by a Disney imprint? I did not until pretty recently. Be Boy Buzz, Happy to Be Nappy (link to little cartoon version read by Mary J. Blige!), & Homemade Love are all terrific & are in heavy rotation around here. She wrote a number of other kid books too but those are our favorites.

Reading without kids in the mix (I have a commute): Murderbot Diaries (favorite aspect: insurance bonding paperwork seems to be the most powerful force in civilization), Mira Jacob’s Good Talk (which is hilarious and gutpunchingly rough), catching up with other DWJ I hadn’t read before.
posted by miles per flower at 7:36 PM on May 16 [9 favorites]


The Shorter Norton, Eleventh Edition, the new Viv Albertine, New Poets of Native Nations, Delaney's Nova
posted by PinkMoose at 7:55 PM on May 16


I'm currently reading the first in a series: "A Princess of Mars"

A little before the movie came out in 2012, I read / re-read the whole John Carter series plus the relatively recent short story anthology Under the Moons of Mars, which I thought was pretty neglected. It has some real gems in it by authors like Catherynne Valente, L.E. Modesitt Jr., and Theodora Goss--my full review is here--and if you like A Princess of Mars, I wouldn't wait to try it, because that's all the background you need to enjoy 99% of it (the remaining bit mainly being the pleasure of seeing which authors did their homework--TBH you may enjoy a couple of stories more not knowing which ones didn't).
posted by cpound at 8:40 PM on May 16


I'm finally getting around to reading Spinning Silver and it is just as good as everyone said it was.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:44 PM on May 16 [10 favorites]


Oh and jacquilynne, I have read everything Jenny Crusie has ever written at least once and most twice or three times and I suspect I am not done with my rereading yet! I love her so much.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:47 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


As you might have guessed from my fanfare posts- I read a lot of books. My new commute is fairly long and all by bus- so I've been bringing along a book to read, so I'm really starting to make a dent in my backlog. My latest read, which will go up on fanfare when I'm done, is Death in the Air a chilling (so far) true tale of true crime and environmental disaster. It links together the famous great fog of '52 London, which killed many due to the terrible coal practices of the era- and a lesser known serial killer who stalked the streets at the same time, using the fog as a cover to murder. It's absolutely gripping!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:52 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos, you are in the book club of my dreams!! Can a person on the other side of the country join the group just for the reading suggestions? I USED to live in NYC, does that count?

Anyway, I just finished Good Guys With Guns, which I strongly recommend for a sociology take on a subset of “gun culture.” I’m almost done with Code Girls, and am simultaneously re-reading Our Tragic Universe because it’s good brain candy and trying to catch up on back issues of Harper’s. I’ve also been reading my more-bilingual-than-me child bedtime stories in Spanish, which I can pronounce fluently while only understanding about 50% of what it means.
posted by centrifugal at 9:31 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I'm in the second section of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism and skeptical about whether I'll make it through before the library reclaims the ebook. It is big, and dense, and really could have used a less indulgent editor, and having had a front seat for a lot of the history covered in it and a whole ton of ambivalence about a lot of it, it's a read that really sucks up a lot of my energy. Whenever I open it I'm like, "Uuuuugh." But I do feel it's a perspective I should understand and take to heart, and emotionally I agree with most of it. It's just hard to read from 2019, remembering my starry-eyed idealism about what the internet was going to mean to people when I was heading off to college in 2003. But the short version is, I think more people should read it. So I'm being the change.

That said, I also have Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy waiting for me when I'm done with it and part of me reallllly wants to chuck Surveillance Capitalism and read me some Star Wars canon novel.
posted by potrzebie at 10:04 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I foolishly installed Freedom on my phone and laptop and now have entire blocks of time where I can do nothing but be productive. I have read ten books this week as a result.

I'm enjoying Katherine Arden's Moscow fairytale series - I'm on the second, The Girl in the Tower. These are set around 14th c. Russia and are a bit tricky to read as someone actually Orthodox because they deal with Orthodoxy and Russian folk magic outright, complete with evil priests, but they have so far walked the tightrope well. The central character is a wonderful brave young woman - if you like The Blue Sword, you'll very much like these.

I picked up Vivian Shaw's series too, Dr Greta Helsing, not realising she's actually a fandom writer I absolutely adore, and they are delightful gothic cozy mysteries.

Another from the pile I can highly recommend is Samantha Schweblin's short story collection Mouthful of Birds. It's uneven but there are several that are pitch perfect and painfully sharp.

And I can report that My Family and Other Animals, started for my smallest to keep her company during a hospital visit and finished over breakfast this morning, is as sunny a pleasure as ever. Some phrases need to be elided for modernisation, but on the whole the book is an undiminished childhood joy to revisit.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:30 PM on May 16 [9 favorites]


Marx‘ Capital Vol II. An old tough-going David Harvey book on Postmodernity. A book about Sixties Rock music that I found at my coffee spot today. Black Culture And Black Consciousness, a classic by Lawrence Levine, a sidewalk find. Charles Mingus‘ very NSFW autobiography Beneath The Underdog. Somewhat weird combination right now, but it works.
posted by The Toad at 10:36 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I walked my bike halfway home from work today so that I could continue reading Deadline by Mira Grant on my phone (as a library ebook due back tomorrow).

I also stayed up foolishly late last night getting most of the way through some Harry Potter fanfic, Grow Young With Me, which I probably found on r/hpfanfiction.

And I'm so glad to see someone else who liked Too Like The Lightning!
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:42 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'm... 41 per cent through Ben Aaronovitch's Midnight Riot (U.S.A. title), the first in the Rivers of London series. Which reminds me to get the Kindle unplugged.
Once I'm through this ebook I'll be back to the library. The others in the series are in dead tree form, which still seems to be my preference. Or I may check out some new Seanan McGuire / Mira Grant, now that I know her other name.

On the non-fiction side, I have a large collection of borrowed Route 66 books. Every now and then I dive in, but I have some other projects going so it's more of an idea than a pursuit.

Meanwhile, I can say with certainty that if you lock your keys in your car with the motor running (and the car in park), AAA will show up in record time. Thanks to Honorable Youngest Daughter for coming by and letting me into the house and staying while we waited.
And Honorable Oldest Daughter dropped by a few times this week to check on me, given that I stumbled out of bed the other night and wound up coughing up hairballs in the bathroom. It's either a cold or allergies -- blech -- so I'm getting reacquainted with Robitussin and lemon drops and lots of pudding.
Meanwhile, Dearest Husband is either working on a building project at the lake or working cattle at his parent's property with his brother, which is why he's in-and-out while I get over this galloping crud.
posted by TrishaU at 11:41 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'm reading Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, and it's fantastic so far. It's broader in scope than I expected - not just a book about cephalopods; it dives deeper into the evolution and the nature of consciousness.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:00 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


I've recently started taking baclofen to treat alcohol addiction. In doing so I've learned that almost all of the rehab centers in the US use 12-step programs to treat their patients.

Twelve-step programs don't help me at all so I've been investigating medical treatments for addiction. This book The End Of My Addiction is very well-written and a fascinating take on baclofen - a medicinal resource that cuts out AA.

Baclofen has been helpful to me. I'm drinking less but more importantly, I have less of the internal pressure that compels me to drink to oblivion.

I've also been reading Frog and Toad are Friends.
posted by bendy at 2:02 AM on May 17 [14 favorites]


(I'm mostly reading serials these days)

A chapter of Yamashita Tomoko's Different Country got scanlated, so I'm reading that.

Right now it's four chapters into the story of a teen who moves in with her reclusive but kind aunt, after her parents dies.

I nearly picked up A Memory Called Empire based on the cover art and blurb by Ann Leckie, but I've got too much of a backlog right now.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:38 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I also recently read and/or skimmed all 458 pages of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission report on the February 14, 2018 shooting there.
posted by bendy at 2:47 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


And I binge-read longform.org. Unemployment is boring and the days are long; longform helps.
posted by bendy at 2:54 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I have three books on my current-reading list so far:

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Moneyland by Oliver Burrough
Mission to Mars by Buzz Aldrin
posted by Roger Pittman at 3:43 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I just finished Malice of Crows, third book in a series by Lila Bowen (aka, Delilah Dawson).

Nice coincidence, as I've just started the first book in that series, A Wake of Vultures.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:05 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


I'm reading Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. I'm only a few pages in. I borrowed it from the library, but have been so busy with work that I've had little time to read. It became overdue, then very overdue. The library sent me emails, then a letter or two. I couldn't even find the book any more. Then I got a threatening letter from a collection agency. I finally went in to the library to declare the book lost and to pay my $20 dollar fine – never unhappy to give the library money. And it turned out an old friend was the librarian working the front desk. "So you're sure you returned this book?" she prompted. I gave a confused look. So then louder, for the benefit of everyone within earshot, "YOU SAY YOU'RE VERY SURE YOU RETURNED THIS?" An uncomfortable mumble and a nod from me, and a line got deleted from my account. So now I'm the proud owner of a Herman Hesse paperback, I just don't know where it is. But it is, still, what I'm currently reading.
posted by Kabanos at 5:57 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


I finished The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton, which I liked a lot. Then I speed-read three books from when I was like eight years old. I'm finishing up Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism, loaned to me by a friend, which is uneven in the way that short essays by many people often are but generally a helpful read.

Yesterday I picked up White kids: growing up with privilege in a racially divided America by Margaret A. Hagerman from the library, on the recommendation of a friend. She said it was both fascinating and infuriating, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I don't normally read quite so much non-fiction, at least not in book form, so it's nice to mix it up!
posted by lazuli at 6:07 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I'm reading Steve Erickson's 2017 novel Shadowbahn, a surreal, trippy story where the twin towers suddenly reappear without explanation in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota. The story alternates between various characters who make a pilgrimage out there, and one man who wakes up trapped inside them. I don't know what to make of it. Great writing, but I got about 3/4 of the way through and then life got really busy and I haven't picked it up in a couple of weeks, which is intimidating because even reading every day it was a pretty tought nut to crack. Hopefully I can finish it.

Also, it would pair nicely with a book I read back in February: Osama, by Lavie Tidhar. Another alternate history / parallel reality novel. 9/11 never happened, and 'Osama Bin Laden' exists only as a sort-of vigilante hero in a series of pulpy paranoid airport thriller novels. The story follows a private eye in SouthEast Asia who is hired to track down the reclusive writer behind them.
posted by mannequito at 6:28 AM on May 17


I just finished the first book in the Poldark series. It is Problematique but I must know more. I'm checking out the second one from the library.

I have Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian checked out and renewed. I was absolutely blown away when I started reading it -- a brilliant, scholarly vampire story where the vampires are not sexy but are monsters and are coming to murder you! Yet for some reason I don't seem able to finish it. The narrative has bunched up like a carpet.

I really enjoyed Midnight Riot (Rivers of London) and now I need to find Moon Over Soho. This is thanks to Fanfare!

I listened to an audiobook of A Tale of Two Murders by Laura Thompson (in the UK, Rex v. Edith Thompson) and I was spellbound. I had only had a vague idea of this case, and I certainly supposed the woman had done what she was convicted of and put to death for, but the author makes a strong case that she was innocent of the murder of her husband. The narrator, Jilly Bond, is a fine actress who does an excellent job with Edith's prolific and colorful letters.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:34 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I've been slowly making my way through Eichmann In Jerusalem. On my to-read list are all of my McSweeney's Quarterly Concern back issues.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:35 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Currently reading:

The first of the Murderbot Diaries, which is delightful commentary on corporations, cutting corners, and what it means to not be human. Also really feeling the social awkwardness.

Claire North's The Sudden Appearance of Hope, which features Hope, a young woman who is extremely forgettable, to the point of it being a superpower / superflaw, and her struggle to become memorable again. It's a great takeoff on HG Wells' The Invisible Man, which I read last week and also recommend - it's a fast read, and while it has its issues I think it's worthwhile both on its own and because it gets ripped off and reinterpreted so much. This was a gift from the fabulous genjiandproust, who has lovely tastes.

I picked up several books on collage art during my last library excursion. So far they're mostly full of great pictures, but I've gotten a few new techniques I want to try out too and am in the process of getting the needed supplies.

Out today and on order is Justin Robinson's The Matchless, which I am very excited about both because I love the Dollmaker universe and because this book is wall to wall AFAB queer characters, mostly lesbians but also a great trans man and some awesome bi women. Note for mods: I do know the author, but am genuinely excited for this because dark urban fantasy full of lesbians!

Also waiting for the Umbrella Academy comics at my local library. Book two has been marked as "in transit" for a full week now.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:39 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Oh man, Normal People was fantastic.
posted by thivaia at 7:12 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I just finished Ted Chiang's new book Exhalation (FPP).

What? I ordered this after hearing about it and apparently I am not going to be getting a copy till July 11th! Bloody US privilege.

Just finished reading Victoria Coren's poker memoir, 'For Richer, For Poorer', I was quite surprised by how candid it was, telling her story from hopeless beginner to European champion. Well written and funny and relatable, even for a non-gambler. I'm still battling through my second go at Graham Harman's introduction to Object Oriented Ontology, its interesting and I really want to understand it, but I don't think its something I will ever fully grasp. I got a sweet deal of a publisher sending me 3 books in exchange for a book concept review so got Harman's 'Speculative Realism' and also the one I am about to start: Alex Goody's 'technology, literature and culture', which may be more directly up my street. We'll see.
posted by biffa at 7:16 AM on May 17


The first of the Murderbot Diaries, which is delightful commentary on corporations, cutting corners, and what it means to not be human. Also really feeling the social awkwardness.

I loved those books so much, I was sorry to finish them. Just wrapping up The Expanse series which I am also liking and already despairing of finding a progressive-ish space opera series to replace it. Maybe I'll just read some non-genre fiction for a while. Finally finished Hey Kiddo, a graphic novel about having a parent with addiction which had been on my table for a very long time because I felt like I needed to be in the right headspace to read it. So good, so poignant. I had a parent with a different kind of problem, a long time ago it seems, and a whole bunch of that came flooding back to me in a not-entirely-bad way. Feeling seen, etc.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:46 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Just finished Terry Pratchett's book Nation.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:19 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


I love Nation (well, I love everything Pratchett), but among the reasons I love Nation specifically is its inclusion of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.
posted by namewithoutwords at 8:34 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I'm currently reading the first in a series: "A Princess of Mars" from The Collected John Carter of Mars by Edgard Rice Burroughs.

Once when I was in 10th grade I exaggerated two days of flu-ishness into four just so I could lie around and read the Martian novels. The last lines of The Swords Of Mars remain one of my touchstones of pulp genius.

At the moment I'm reading through Carson McCullers with some friends. So far we've done The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Member of the Wedding; next is Reflections in a Golden Eye, probably. (Maybe I'll read Virginia Spencer Carr's biography this summer, IDK) This week I've read (the Eisner Award-winning) Eternity Girl, by Magdalene Visaggio & Sonny Liew, Joshua M Ferguson's Me, Myself, They, and Spencer Doran's new compliation/small book for Light In The Attic, Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990. I have a copy of Joanna Russ's Alyx stories & Andrea Lawlor's Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl has just arrived in time for the weekend.

In bed I've been listening to either Samantha Allen's Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States, Caroline Weber's Proust’s Duchess : How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siecle Paris, or the West Coast Fog Radio podcast, ("a weekly audio tour of the counter-cultural West, visiting obscure moments in musical history along the way. History lessons and readings, New Age visionaries, mid-'60s folk rock, psychedelic meanderings, poetry and sound collages, art/synth and post punk, ethno-honky jamz.")
posted by octobersurprise at 8:41 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


On the escapist SF side, I read Peter Watts' The Freeze-Frame Revolution a few months ago and absolutely loved it. So, I downloaded a few more of his books. I didn't quit Blindsight a quarter of the way in, but I definitely should have. I've been hesitating to read his other works ever since.

Then again, Victor Hugo wrote Hans of Iceland and that stinking pile of garbage has somehow been in print for nearly 200 years. It isn't fair to dismiss an author for one bad book.
posted by eotvos at 8:42 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


My 2019 resolution was to read less Harry Potter fanfic and more “real books,” and I am failing hard. It feels like a rut I am stuck in, but the last couple novels I tried reading were dissatisfying in various ways, and here I am.
posted by Maarika at 8:47 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I just downloaded a sample of the first book of the Murderbot Diaries and it's great! Thanks!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:09 AM on May 17


I just finished reading Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak. The basic conceit is your standard dysfunctional family thrown together for seven days due to a quarantine. Secrets abound.

Prior to that I read Provence, 1970 written by MFK Fisher's great-nephew, Luke Barr. Quite an enjoyable description of a certain time and place, with many of the greats of American culinary history roaming around, including Julia Child, James Beard and Richard Olney. I did prefer My Life in France, but that's perhaps not surprising. This was more historical reporting, as opposed to a narrative. Lots of mouthwatering menus described though, if that's your sort of thing.
posted by peacheater at 9:32 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Patti Smith mentioned on her instagram feed that 2666 was her favorite Roberto Bolano novel, which finally enticed me to pick it up. I've been reading about Bolano on Metafilter for years, and have always meant to start 2666, but it's always been on a back burner. I'm still in the first section, so I imagine that means I'm only, like, 2% of of the way through?

This book comes on the heels of a run of only reading music criticism and biography - Hanif Abduraqib's Go Ahead In the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest was as stunning as his work in They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us. Keith Richard's Life was surprisingly charming and Dickensian. I enjoyed Steve Hyden's Twlight of the Gods less than I thought I would - I just kinda got the sense that he & I would define "Classic Rock" differently and it didn't focus on the racist and misogynistic elements of excluding women and people of color from radio play and MTV enough for me. John Simon's Truth, Lies, & Hearsay was delightful - I really enjoyed him exploring his relationship with The Band as their producer.
posted by elmer benson at 10:02 AM on May 17


Just finished Alan Moore’s Providence, which was Lovecraftian and crazy and perverse and trippy. Now reading the Lake of Dead Languages, which is kinda a boarding school mystery.
posted by triage_lazarus at 10:09 AM on May 17


All the Brautigan. Again. It's still wonderful.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:44 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Working my way through the Library of America edition of Elmore Leonard's westerns.

Good times.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:35 AM on May 17


Thank you for asking! Like others in this thread, my current reading was prompted by this very website--namely an Ask that led to a fantastic 2015 post by Wobbuffet on essential anthropological texts. I picked up Veiled Sentiments as a result and am entranced. Having done very little in-depth, book-length anthropological reading in my time despite my obsession with human culture, it's been an exhilarating read. Very impressed with the range and variousness of the scholarship and will certainly revisit Wobbuffet's post for more ethnographic reading once I'm done.

elmer benson: I also just finished my first Bolano! Polished off The Savage Detectives this very week and dear god they weren't kidding about that frikken book. I loved it, I loved it. One of those texts that feels canonical while you're reading it. I think I'll devour some of his short stories before hitting up 2666, but I'm excited to delve deeper into his work in any way. Also my partner keeps trying to get me to read some Hanif essays--any personal favorites?
posted by youarenothere at 12:11 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


I recently read Morvern Callar by Alan Warner for the first time and was blown away by the voice. I remember being so-so on the Lynne Ramsey film that I saw a million years ago in college. I'm excited and a little nervous to read the sequel.

The Natashas by Yelena Moskovitch was exquisitely frustrating.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan was one of those oddities where everyone else rhapsodized over it and I thought it was awful, so, *shrug*?
posted by Beardman at 1:08 PM on May 17


I’ve inadvertently evolved into a completist so am now on Bound, book 8 of Benedict Jacka’s Alex Verus series. Same with Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series (including novellas but not graphic novels) — almost done with Lies Sleeping. Waiting in the wings: Circe by Madeleine Miller and Tiamet’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey. Am considering attempting Neal Stephenson again but the Baroque Trilogy super annoyed me.

Lastly, I’m slowly reading and working/cooking my way thru The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-alt. it is most enjoyable.
posted by lemon_icing at 1:10 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


I am currently home sick and despite my headache, in the last 24 hours I have managed to start and/or finish the following:
A Coming of Gender Story, Jacob Tobia
Kid Gloves, Lucy Knisley
Charmed Life, Diana Wynne Jones
posted by janepanic at 2:48 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Just started the audiobook of McPhee's "Uncommon Carriers" about people and transportation (18-wheeler drivers, ship captain's school in the Alps, etc.) and loving it!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:06 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Also recently finished all the MurderBot Diaries, also reading The Expanse series (just finished Calliban's War, will only read one more before the show returns). I'm one book into The Broken Earth series, but I loaned the second and third books to my daughter-in-law, so may have a bit of a wait to continue. Also really enjoying The Chronicles of St Mary's series, which I'm two books into, but switched it up to start Ancillary Justice, which I'm enjoying very much so far.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:58 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I'm reading Seanan McGuire, based on a recent FPP. Still having difficulty sustaining focus for reading post-head-trauma, but getting better. I'm knee-deep into Discount Armageddon.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 7:48 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Like some others, I can't bring myself to read anything that requires too much thought or concentration lately. After my concussion earlier this year, the several dense non-fiction books I have on Kindle (on Chinese war plans for Taiwan and some cyber-related books) have been gathering fictional dust. Instead I've been reading crime thrillers (The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton) and old books from my childhood that I discovered in a box when I moved (including Åh Farao, sa Fjompan, a story about a Swedish teenager discovering Egypt).

Right now, I'm working my way through the Tad Williams "Bobby Dollar" series - almost finished with the third book - Sleeping Late On Judgement Day. Next up is the newest Ruth Galloway series book by Elly Griffiths. I tend to discover a series/universe and cant' stop until I've finished reading all the book in the series. It keeps me entertained! And just because they are sort of trashy doesn't make it not reading!
posted by gemmy at 10:30 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


At the moment I'm without electricity so for the last few months I've been raiding the tubs of paperbacks in my basement, rereading my childhood "trash" for entertainment.

Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series. Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion trilogy. Eve Forward's Villains by Necessity. Gary Gygax's Greyhawk books (both TSR & non.) Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman's Dragonlance, Darksword and Death Gate books. A bunch of Forgotten Realms, Shadowrun and Battletech books. Jack McKinney's Robotech series. Frederik Schodt's translation of Yoshiyuki Tomino's original Gundam trilogy. Barbara Hambly's Windrose books. Alan Dean Foster's Humanx books. Andre Norton's Forerunner, Janus and Dipple books. Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama series. A C Crispin's V novelisations.

Yesterday I finished Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Binge-reading that series is not the best. By around the third book it feels like about a quarter of each book is spent re-explaining how things work in the WoT universe. Now I'm reading Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I'll probably follow that up with the Illuminatus & Schrödinger's Cat trilogies. There's still piles of book I've yet to touch. At some point I'll get to Stephen King and I've been saving Terry Pratchett's Discworld mainly because I haven't decided on a reading order.

At night I've been using an LED headlamp to read. Which really reminds me of reading these books late at night by flashlight to avoid getting in trouble.
posted by Tenuki at 11:31 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


I've had a poor couple months of reading, thanks to work obligations and the unwise (but immensely entertaining) choice to install Skyrim and see what all the fuss is/was about.

I've been two chapters in on Six of Crows for two months. It's off to a good start, and it seems likely to prove a clever fantasy, but right now I'm having more fun wandering around hunting vampires and necromancers in Skyrim.

I'm 1/3 the way through The Opposite of Always. It's also good.

I'm about 1/4 the way through Grand Theft Horse, which I have to read for the library's Battle of the Books. It's entertaining enough, but I think I prefer something with more narrative drive to it.

I recently finished Alien: Echo by Mira Grant. That was good, though the ending was a bit abrupt. Still, I was happy that it dodged/subverted some of the tropes of the Alien universe. Also, hurray for LGBT romance in a scifi/horror media franchise. I'm looking forward to Seanan McGuire's run on Spider-Gwen which, if I remember right, publishes next month.

And, because it was challenged at my library, I'm reading an extremely conservative title railing against Islam. It's terrible: full of sloppy logic and broad generalizations, and the patron may be right that it constitutes hate speech. Even just the first page of the book is deeply tiresome, and I imagine that by the end of it I'll feel like someone is shitting directly into my brain. But, with few exceptions, offensive/hateful/morally repugnant speech is protected under the First Amendment, and I don't think this one runs afoul of Brandenburg v. Ohio, so I may well be writing a letter which both empathizes and explains why we're not removing the book.
posted by johnofjack at 6:18 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Just finished Lee Child's "Make Me." SO thinks I'm Jack Reacher. (heh.)

Now reading Reza Aslan's "God." So far it's not as compelling as "Zealot," but the writing is good, and I'll be patient with him.
posted by mule98J at 9:07 AM on May 18


Inspired by the podcast Fuckbois of Literature, I got an audiobook of The Great Gatsby, which is such a beautiful read/listen, and the Buchanan’s mostly malice-free careless destruction of people around them made me think a lot about intentions vs impact. I’m now listening to The Talented Mr. Ripley, which is gripping and a sobering look at how easy it is to sympathize with a fairly awful person just because they are the point of view. Recently finished the second of Rebecca Roanhorse’s Navajo near-future fantasy novels. They aren’t great, exactly, but fun adventures with indigenous characters and settings and women-driven plots and well worth the time it took to listen to them.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:49 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


So I was given a book a couple of days ago that I absolutely love. It's called Harold Newton: The Original Highwayman. I can't stop looking at it. The colors are perfect, the shapes and how he uses his brushes and paint are incomprehensible, showing ease and deep familiarity. But the most striking thing is how accurately and emotively he represents the natural world. How the angle of every palm frond and every tree as the landscape leans against the constant wind off the sea feels right. How the neck of every bird and the squiggle of every cloud touches an exact memory, even though it's more impressionistic than realistic. I know it's probably a taste thing, but I love looking at those paintings in that book. I only wish I could see them bigger, the originals.
posted by Stanczyk at 1:32 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I'm deep in an anxiety spiral, and my recent books reflect that, so instead of sharing those, I'll recommend books from MeFi's Own.

I loved mchelly's The Norma Gene. I read it in one day during a time when reading took a LOT of mental effort, that's how deep I fell into that book. It was legit the first book I read all the way through to the end post-surgery. A++++, would read again!

Also, this post reminded me that I need to buy Kid Ruki the sequel to PhoBWanKenobi's Starglass. I have yet to read it myself, as locating it in Kid Ruki's room requires a multi-person excavation expedition (as in I am literally having my mom come over to help me clean it because teenagers), but Kid Ruki told her friends and English teacher about it, so I assume I'll recommend it personally once I read it.
posted by Ruki at 3:56 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]


Accelerando by (MeFi's own) Charles Stross. I bail on most books within the first twenty pages because either the prose is awful or the science is dumb (often both!). I'm about a third of the way through Accelerando and haven't bailed yet. The plot hasn't gripped me but there are some clever ideas and turns of phrase scattered throughout. I appreciate that he assumes a baseline science familiarity and will just casually dump a term like VASIMR in there without clumsily trying to explain it.
posted by dephlogisticated at 6:15 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


So, this is probably a good place to ask: I'm reading "The Overstory" right now, and I've just finished the first chapter. The writing is lovely, but it made me sad, and lately (since you can guess when) I've been reading to try to avoid depression. Should I continue, or set it aside for a (hopefully) better time? It seems like all the stories are probably about loss?

Aside from that, I recently read "Circe" by Madeline Miller, and loved it so very much. It was extremely difficult to tear myself out of that world, and in an effort to throw myself into something absorbing to get over feeling sorry that I had finished it, I picked up "A Room Away From the Wolves," by Nova Ren Suma, because it definitely promised to be a pageturner, because it had so many good reviews, and because the Bustle reviewer said it had "Major Shirley Jackson Vibes." It was a pageturner for sure, but there were so many loose ends and internal inconsistencies I was sort of shocked that it's been almost universally praised so highly. So that one turned out to be rather frustrating. Not Shirley Jackson.

After that I read "The Tea Master and the Detective" by Aliette de Bodard, and would have very much liked to read another with those characters. The ending seems to leave it invitingly open that this might occur, so I'll be hoping for that. After that, a breezy, clever little steampunk number, "Bloodless Assassin," by Celine Jeanjean that was a fun read. There's more in that series that I'll almost certainly check out at some point.
posted by taz (staff) at 7:48 AM on May 19


Just wrapping up The Expanse series which I am also liking and already despairing of finding a progressive-ish space opera series to replace it.

Elizabeth Bear's Ancestral Night (beginning of a trilogy, very progressive, a delight) and Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire (first book is all on-planet political intrigue which may be less what you're looking for but also an absolute delight.) Disclaimer: both authors are dear friends of mine. They're also what I just finished reading, along with the pulpier but also lovely The Widening Gyre by Michael Johnston (also a friend) and Ann Leckie's new fantasy which I was not nearly as happy with although it's a cool conceit.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:06 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


(It’s 1993 & Paul is on acid and lecturing a classmate about music)
”Let’s face it,” Paul continued. “There really isn’t anything unusual about Tom Jones’s heteronormative male gaze or his whine of dudely entitlement. Tanya Donelly reinvigorates Jones’ familiar words, posits an actually unusual expression of desire: a girl’s desire—possibly, probably even, queer.”
I’m 40 pages into Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl and A) I have never felt so seen and B) it’s fucking hilarious.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:25 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Thank you for this. I read ll the time on the Web, and have lost some of the habit of reading fiction on paper. But am giving it my best, and am well into Stephen King's The Stand, the unedited version. I read the edited version when it came out in paperback, probably around 1979, when I worked in a small bookstore chain. King is an engaging writer, and I suspect many of his books will stay in print for a long time. I like good writing, but am tired of the sort of good writing that tries too hard, so King is just the ticket. We seem to be living in a time of great struggle between powerful forces of evil, and earnest forces trying to be good. I know how the books turns out, perhaps that will be comforting.

Like other MeFi books threads, I'll likely return for ideas.
posted by theora55 at 11:32 AM on May 19


I just finished (listening to) Dave Cullen's Parkland. You know, the kids need to get off my lawn are alright.
posted by oceano at 8:05 PM on May 19


I just finished Robert Walser's Microscripts, which is for completists only, and I...am not a Walser completist. Alas!

I've also been reading Derek Jarman's Modern Nature in small chunks (weirdly the library has an electronic version that is just chapter-by-chapter PDFs that you can only get singly). It's compelling, much more so than At Your Own Risk, which I finished recently.
posted by praemunire at 10:26 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


I've been reading books in Spanish, many from small Mexican presses such as Paraiso Perdido. I've read many of their books but if you want a recommendation, Rodriguez Liceaga's Canta Herida is one of the better collection of short stories I have read in any language.

I also recently read Cristina Rivera Garza's The Taiga Syndrome (in Spanish but here is a translation from a small press) and there is little to compare it to. I had to stop reading the book at night because the atmosphere created by the book itself is so chilling. But I have rarely been so immersed in a book.

Next up is probably Agnès Desarthe's The Hunting Party - available here from another small press. I think I saw it recommended by Stephen Sparks on Twitter and he is a great source of recommendations.
posted by vacapinta at 1:09 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I got a deal on an e-book collection of Kage Baker short stories and novellas. I can't really explain what it is I enjoy about her writing style, maybe that it is dialog heavy and the characters are sharp. You probably want to have read at least of her novels about the Company, time travelers who 'liberate' artifacts just prior to their destruction, to have a frame of reference for the stories and to meet Mendoza to appreciate the collection.
posted by puddledork at 7:07 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


I am practically incapable of reading only one book at a time
Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil, an anthology of articles about the threats to the country’s sovereignty, Lula’s political imprisonment and the rise of Jair Bolsonaro written by 20 authors. Excellent - a sort of continuation of Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America but only for Brazil which has few or no good English language analysis of what is really happening today and the coup that has taken place.
Memors of Hadrian from a Mefi recommendation. Thank you whoever it was.
The Militant Muse - Love, War and the Women of Surrealism. - only now beginning to receive their due.
Fifteen Poems - Leonard Cohen - for dipping. Bitter / Sweet and I like remembering Leonard Cohen.
posted by adamvasco at 10:15 AM on May 20


I am struggling through the end of The Overstory. I am ANGRY at this book, because it's just too too long and shaggy.

Taz: No, really, the Overstory is a complete downer. I mean, yes, the personal stories are about loss but it's also just a full-on environmental collapse story. Also, the first third is good - I was recommending it to everyone because I thought it was wonderful. The middle section is kind of exciting, and the last section is just a mess. If I hadn't already invested so much time into it, I'd probably abandon it.
posted by vunder at 3:12 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


Oh, I just moved on to Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes, which I'm already digging.
posted by praemunire at 7:00 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


One of my all-time favorite books, praemunire!!

Thanks very much for the info, vunder; I'm putting this one aside for now. I picked up "Jane Steele" (ebook version) on sale the other day, and am now reading this. Why can I not handle the death and sadness of Overstory, yet am kind of excited to read a book that is basically "Jane Eyre as a serial Killer?" I don't know! If only humans made sense! Anyway, it's apparently still on sale on Amazon as I type this, if anyone else has read "Jane Eyre" eleventymillion times, and would kind of like to see her as a serial killer. (I've only just started, so I can't say if it's as satisfying as I hope it will be.)
posted by taz (staff) at 4:07 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I'm reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

It seems clever and is very well written. Starts as a Victorian ghost story set in New Zealand, but it is slowly mutating into something else. Layers are piling up, and characters report and translate to each other the same events over and over trying to piece together what is going on.
posted by haemanu at 8:07 PM on May 21


I just finished rereading Good Omens, as the series will drop in a few days' time. I enjoyed it every bit as much as I had the first time.
Sitting on the whole pile of Discworld novels, wondering where to start from. It's a good if slightly overwhelming problem to have.
posted by Nieshka at 1:23 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to like Gavin Young's From Sea to Shining Sea - I've wanted to read it for many years but never seen a copy, but it's turgid and overly sentimental. Blue Highways and byways it is not - which is what I was hoping for.

I've just read The Man without a face: the unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin, 2nd ed - a horrifying eye-opener.

And on a lighter note am re-reading for the nth time Tim Richardson's The Arcadian Friends: Inventing the English Landscape Garden which is about so, so more than the history of landscape from 1680 to 1750, it's also dryly humourous. My copy came for $1 from a misguided library weeding.
posted by unearthed at 3:34 AM on May 22


unearthed, I read the end of your comment as "My copy came for $1 from a misguided library wedding," and I was confused but intrigued. :P
posted by taz (staff) at 7:04 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Sitting on the whole pile of Discworld novels, wondering where to start from. It's a good if slightly overwhelming problem to have.

You'll get a hundred opinions on this. Here's another one. Start with Small Gods or Guards! Guards! for a broad view of what Pratchett does best. The latter will onboard you into the Watch series, while the former stands alone, although the religion in it appears later in the series. If you want a more female-centered reading experience, start with Wyrd Sisters, The Wee Free Men, or Monstrous Regiment.

You can ignore the Rincewind novels until you are feeling completist. They were mostly written in a time when fantasy tropes hadn't been critically examined and parodied as much yet, so you don't need to go where they're going, and Pratchett hadn't hit his stride as a writer. Also, there are some racist gags in the Rincewind books that were meant to be good-hearted fun but are still not okay. (Interesting Times is basically all this, despite its occasional sharp commentary and insight.)
posted by Countess Elena at 8:09 AM on May 22


taz that's hilarious.

'weeding' is a term used by NZ libraries to describe clearing little used books - a good proportion of my most useful landscape books come from this usually for a literal dollar.

I have a book of installation art I use often which I got from a library sale - I got it and immediately went to the art book store where I saw it for $110
posted by unearthed at 1:19 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Sitting on the whole pile of Discworld novels, wondering where to start from. It's a good if slightly overwhelming problem to have.

You'll get a hundred opinions on this. Here's another one. Start with Small Gods or Guards! Guards! for a broad view of what Pratchett does best. The latter will onboard you into the Watch series, while the former stands alone, although the religion in it appears later in the series. If you want a more female-centered reading experience, start with Wyrd Sisters, The Wee Free Men, or Monstrous Regiment.

You can ignore the Rincewind novels until you are feeling completist. They were mostly written in a time when fantasy tropes hadn't been critically examined and parodied as much yet, so you don't need to go where they're going, and Pratchett hadn't hit his stride as a writer. Also, there are some racist gags in the Rincewind books that were meant to be good-hearted fun but are still not okay. (Interesting Times is basically all this, despite its occasional sharp commentary and insight.)


also feel free to try out publication order and resurrect my pratchett read through over on fanfare so i can not feel the shaaaaaame anymore
posted by lazaruslong at 12:07 PM on May 23


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