Author Topic: What have you read lately?  (Read 39498 times)

polly_mer

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What have you read lately?
« on: May 19, 2019, 02:43:35 PM »
Just this weekend, I read Cal Newport's latest book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.  I generally like Cal Newport's work and this was well written.  However, I did several times think "SPADFY.  SPADFY!  Some freakin' people are different from you and I, personally, don't want to spend my leisure time doing a lot of freakin' work that isn't fun, interesting, or leisure!!!"

I don't even have a smart phone and my online interactions are mostly these fora.  I do, though, love television much more than I want to take up some hobby that somehow is more virtuous and meaningful because <reasons that are very clearly value judgements based on being upper middle class with a high level of education>.  I can get on the bandwagon that says, "Put down your phone to live in the moment", but not if it also includes "and then you must spend your free time on the treadmill to prove your worth as a human being through observable creativity that results in a displayable product".

I can't find the book right now, but months ago, I read a pretty good book on why many people don't want the lifestyle they associate with a college education; instead, those folks want a bit more money so they can have the same lifestyle their non-college-educated parents have with a little bit more financial breathing room.  That filling all one's leisure time with hard work instead of actual relaxing activities or time off is one big turnoff moving from a lower SES to a higher SES.

I've also been working through Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mysteries and savoring the old before moving on to the new-to-me number 25.
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ergative

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2019, 11:43:02 PM »
Yay, this thread!

I just finished Kameron Hurley's The Stars are Legion, which was incredibly gross and incredibly awesome. Enormous organic world-ships in space that are so old that everyone has basically forgotten how they work, rotting from cancerous disorders, and filled inside with lots of different, uniquely horrifying biosystems and cultures of people who don't even believe they're on a world-ship. There's a wonderful subversion of the whole 'live as one with nature' trope, because the people and the world-ships are perfectly aligned with each other: you can eat or drink anything you find, and you don't get infections in wounds, because the human/world-ship biology is so compatible; yet the flip side of that is a ton of body horror: women literally birth organic ship components, and everything can be 'recycled', which means lots of scenes in the deepest depths, where organic material (such as dead or not-yet-dead bodies) rots and is eaten by the recycling organisms.

In some ways Hurley's work reminds me of the opening scenes in Bones episodes: she takes such a delight in imagining the grossest possible things that could happen, and she has such a fertile imagination in rendering it.

I'm now reading Jeanette Ng's Under the Pendulum Sun, which is about Christian missionaries going off into Faerie to convert the fae, and not doing very well. Some of the elements are really beautifully imagined (especially the pendulum sun and the fish moon), but there's a weird sort-of-incestuous plot line that I'm not digging.

sprout

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2019, 11:50:24 AM »
Yay, this thread!

I just finished Kameron Hurley's The Stars are Legion, which was incredibly gross and incredibly awesome. Enormous organic world-ships in space that are so old that everyone has basically forgotten how they work, rotting from cancerous disorders, and filled inside with lots of different, uniquely horrifying biosystems and cultures of people who don't even believe they're on a world-ship. There's a wonderful subversion of the whole 'live as one with nature' trope, because the people and the world-ships are perfectly aligned with each other: you can eat or drink anything you find, and you don't get infections in wounds, because the human/world-ship biology is so compatible; yet the flip side of that is a ton of body horror: women literally birth organic ship components, and everything can be 'recycled', which means lots of scenes in the deepest depths, where organic material (such as dead or not-yet-dead bodies) rots and is eaten by the recycling organisms.

In some ways Hurley's work reminds me of the opening scenes in Bones episodes: she takes such a delight in imagining the grossest possible things that could happen, and she has such a fertile imagination in rendering it.

I'm now reading Jeanette Ng's Under the Pendulum Sun, which is about Christian missionaries going off into Faerie to convert the fae, and not doing very well. Some of the elements are really beautifully imagined (especially the pendulum sun and the fish moon), but there's a weird sort-of-incestuous plot line that I'm not digging.

Oo, I just added both of those to my wishlist. 

I'm currently reading:  How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan, and The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor.  Also briefly rereading Alison Bechdel's Fun Home.  Plus random fiction ebook on my phone.  I may have a problem, or maybe it's just nearing the end of the school year.

Puget

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2019, 04:17:06 PM »
I like to listen to audio books while a run/walk/work around the house.

I just finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman read by the author. People fall through the cracks in the world into a sort of dream scape alternative reality (London Below), where time and space don't work the same way and many crazy plot twists ensue. It was fun, and often funny, even though not all the plot points seem to really have a point and I could do with a bit less gratuitous violence.

I've now started Lincoln in the Bardo which won all sorts of things -- not sure about it so far but I'll keep listening and see.
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0susanna

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 11:35:18 AM »
Dorothy Dunnett's brilliant historical novel series the Lymond Chronicles, set in 16th c. Scotland/France/Malta/Turkey/Russia/North Africa/England, has been reissued in attractive paperbacks with nicely readable font AND new audiobooks with an excellent reader, so I just started re-reading The Game of Kings for the Nth time.

These books have made people laugh, cry, and throw them across a room. Highly recommended.

archaeo42

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2019, 12:48:56 PM »
I like to listen to audio books while a run/walk/work around the house.

I just finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman read by the author. People fall through the cracks in the world into a sort of dream scape alternative reality (London Below), where time and space don't work the same way and many crazy plot twists ensue. It was fun, and often funny, even though not all the plot points seem to really have a point and I could do with a bit less gratuitous violence.

I've now started Lincoln in the Bardo which won all sorts of things -- not sure about it so far but I'll keep listening and see.

Spouse and I chose that for an audiobook on a road trip since we'd both read it and figured it'd be fine for times we weren't listening carefully. Instead, we found Gaiman's voice so soothing that we had to stop it and switch to music because we were both feeling sleepy.

I just finished a random book I chose on my Kindle called Fortune's Daughters by Consuelo Saah Baehr. It's set in the early 20th century and I found it interesting enough. I'm biding my time until book 3 in Charlie Holmberg's Numina series becomes available.
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onthefringe

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2019, 08:22:50 PM »
Dorothy Dunnett's brilliant historical novel series the Lymond Chronicles, set in 16th c. Scotland/France/Malta/Turkey/Russia/North Africa/England, has been reissued in attractive paperbacks with nicely readable font AND new audiobooks with an excellent reader, so I just started re-reading The Game of Kings for the Nth time.

These books have made people laugh, cry, and throw them across a room. Highly recommended.

Ok, this may be what finally pushes me to an Audible subscription instead of just getting audiobooks from the library. I adore these books, and would love to hear them done by a good reader.

Right now I’m listening to Lies Sleeping, the newest Peter Grant novel from Ben Aaronovitch. These are beautifully done books about a British constable working for a semi secret branch that deals with magic. Absolutely charming, great main character, and wonderfully read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.

Just finished Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, which was beautifully written and engaging. Now reading yet another of Jody Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s series about British academics who “investigate historical events in contemporary time” (ie time travel). Some resemblance to Connie Willis’s time travel series, but enjoyable.

ergative

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2019, 03:48:31 AM »
Dorothy Dunnett's brilliant historical novel series the Lymond Chronicles, set in 16th c. Scotland/France/Malta/Turkey/Russia/North Africa/England, has been reissued in attractive paperbacks with nicely readable font AND new audiobooks with an excellent reader, so I just started re-reading The Game of Kings for the Nth time.

These books have made people laugh, cry, and throw them across a room. Highly recommended.
Just finished Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, which was beautifully written and engaging. Now reading yet another of Jody Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s series about British academics who “investigate historical events in contemporary time” (ie time travel). Some resemblance to Connie Willis’s time travel series, but enjoyable.

Oh, pooh! I love Willis's time travel books.

I have the first of the Taylor books, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

I've heard wonderful things about Middlegame, and I'll probably end up reading it pretty soon.

onthefringe

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2019, 05:51:48 AM »
Dorothy Dunnett's brilliant historical novel series the Lymond Chronicles, set in 16th c. Scotland/France/Malta/Turkey/Russia/North Africa/England, has been reissued in attractive paperbacks with nicely readable font AND new audiobooks with an excellent reader, so I just started re-reading The Game of Kings for the Nth time.

These books have made people laugh, cry, and throw them across a room. Highly recommended.
Just finished Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, which was beautifully written and engaging. Now reading yet another of Jody Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s series about British academics who “investigate historical events in contemporary time” (ie time travel). Some resemblance to Connie Willis’s time travel series, but enjoyable.

Oh, pooh! I love Willis's time travel books.

I have the first of the Taylor books, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

I've heard wonderful things about Middlegame, and I'll probably end up reading it pretty soon.

That came out wrong. I meant that the Taylor books were enjoyable despite feeling a bit derivative of the Willis series that I have also enjoyed...

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2019, 12:50:57 PM »

Right now I’m listening to Lies Sleeping, the newest Peter Grant novel from Ben Aaronovitch. These are beautifully done books about a British constable working for a semi secret branch that deals with magic. Absolutely charming, great main character, and wonderfully read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.

Just finished Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, which was beautifully written and engaging. Now reading yet another of Jody Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s series about British academics who “investigate historical events in contemporary time” (ie time travel). Some resemblance to Connie Willis’s time travel series, but enjoyable.
Taylor & Aaronovitch are delightful. Now I must look for McGuire...

ergative

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2019, 11:21:59 PM »
I just started reading the first Taylor book. It's very cute, and until I read it I hadn't realized how criminally underused dinosaurs are in other time travel books.

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2019, 10:09:17 AM »
I'm getting ready to start the third book in Martha Well's Murderbot Diaries. A friend rated them pretty high but I delayed reading them because "Murderbot". I mean, it just sounded silly.

OK. I was wrong. Well's seems to be using the main character to explore what it means to be a person. Situations we might find dull or commonplace are anything but for the character.

The books are also relatively short. The world building is interesting and the characters are also interesting. And the use of "Murderbot" is explained and done in such a way that gives it meaning.

azaz_the_unabridged

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2019, 11:53:29 AM »
I just started Catherynne Valente's Space Opera. It's good fun! Basically, intergalactic Eurovision, where the prize for not coming in dead-last is... well, not dying (as a species).

ergative

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2019, 01:26:13 PM »
I deeply enjoyed both Murderbot and Space Opera. I also enjoyed the first St. Mary's book, which was a rollicking fun read, although a bit choppy in the pacing.  Am now reading The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O, on the recommendation of my mother. It is also promising to be a rollicking fun read.

hmaria1609

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2019, 07:07:43 PM »
Finished Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini
Four friends organize a resistance movement as Hitler rises to power and takes Germany to war.

Now reading: Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard
Companion book to the popular YA "Red Queen" series.