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Re: What are you reading?

Do graphic novels count? Cuz I'm currently reading "The Long Halloween", which as it turns out is much of the basis for The Dark Knight. Lots of very familiar scenes and imagery.

Along with that, I'm doing an unusual thing for me and sort of jumping back and forth between four novels as the mood strikes/when I have time, which is rare. I'm the furthest along in Gaiman's "American Gods" (which is just begging to have that HBO series made), "Catching Fire" (because I can read and think about JLaw at the same time) and my random book find of the month is "Stormdancer", by one Jay Kristoff. I noticed it for the front cover, bought it because of the back.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51sT1gF5PTL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Several months ago I also randomly picked up "Leviathan Wakes", which is quite interesting as space operas go (it's kinda Alien/2010/Total Recall) and came with a recommendation from George R.R. Martin.

I hope to finish them all soon, they're all really good so far, but omg life.

Last edited by Vapes (2014-01-05 08:33:44)

"Defending bad movies is VaporTrail's religion."
-DorkmanScott

Re: What are you reading?

Vapes wrote:

Do graphic novels count? Cuz I'm currently reading "The Long Halloween", which as it turns out is much of the basis for The Dark Knight. Lots of very familiar scenes and imagery.

Along with that, I'm doing an unusual thing for me and sort of jumping back and forth between four novels as the mood strikes/when I have time, which is rare. I'm the furthest along in Gaiman's "American Gods" (which is just begging to have that HBO series made), "Catching Fire" (because I can read and think about JLaw at the same time) and my random book find of the month is "Stormdancer", by one Jay Kristoff. I noticed it for the front cover, bought it because of the back.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51sT1gF5PTL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Several months ago I also randomly picked up "Leviathan Wakes", which is quite interesting as space operas go (it's kinda Alien/2010/Total Recall) and came with a recommendation from George R.R. Martin.

I hope to finish them all soon, they're all really good so far, but omg life.

How is Stormdancer? It sounds really interesting and I might have to pick it up, as part of my resolution to read more.

God loves you!

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Re: What are you reading?

After hearing Eddie, Trey and Teague endorse Under the Banner of Heaven on several different episodes, I finally picked it up. Best book I've read so far this year--utterly horrifying and infuriating, and at the same time very engaging and informative. Highly recommended to all.

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Re: What are you reading?

fireproof78 wrote:

How is Stormdancer? It sounds really interesting and I might have to pick it up, as part of my resolution to read more.

Interesting, reads well. I'm not very far in yet, but it definitely kept my attention from the chapters I've read. It seems to be setting itself up as a hero's journey amid an empire in uncertain times.

Last edited by Vapes (2014-01-06 07:57:08)

"Defending bad movies is VaporTrail's religion."
-DorkmanScott

Re: What are you reading?

Vapes wrote:
fireproof78 wrote:

How is Stormdancer? It sounds really interesting and I might have to pick it up, as part of my resolution to read more.

Interesting, reads well. I'm not very far in yet, but it definitely kept my attention from the chapters I've read. It seems to be setting itself up as a hero's journey amid an empire in uncertain times.

Sounds good to me.

God loves you!

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Re: What are you reading?

I ran out of Young Jedi Knight books that I'd brought along on my honeymoon cruise this past week (bad weather meant a lot of relaxed reading time) and picked up Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear from the gift shop onboard. It's the second book of The Kingkiller Chronicle, and I haven't read the first. Still, though it takes some effort to get into since it's meant to be read after The Name of the Wind, I'm really enjoying it. The writing style is really enjoyable and the only negative I give it is an overuse of the word "clever", though I wonder if it's intentional lingual overuse by the author making characters use it the same way I use "cool".

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

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Re: What are you reading?

http://grainedit.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/john-gall-2.jpg

When it happens, this is what happens: I shoot myself.

Not, you know, my self self. My future self. He steps out of a time machine, introduces himself as Charles Yu. What else am I supposed to do? I kill him. I kill my own future.

Hoo boy. I can't say this is a great book but, hm, why am I talking about it immediately after finishing it. Maybe because I just grabbed it off the shelf four hours ago.

I got How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe from Barnes and Noble last month or so, then promptly forgot about it. Tonight, without much to do, I grabbed it (was actually looking for Verily, A New Hope but this dropped into my hand first), made a note of the 9:20 time, shrugged, and figured I'd give it a go. I read the last page (for the second time, but just that page) at 12:40 and immedioately felt the need to get out of my head what was bouncing around in there.

I don't like the writing style. For a chapter or two, the meandering and loose sentence structure is fine. Towards the end of the book, this got longer, more twisted. Single sentences would run for two thirds of a page; a parenthetical started on one and ended a third of the way down the next, and I had to flip back to figure out where we'd left off. Now, this isn't amateur; I'm sure you could give English profs a headache but they'd confirm that they're perfectly grammatically sound, but still, a long sentence is something you start to gloss over while reading anyway. A specific passage towards the end makes me thing that it's intentional, actually.

I do like the structure of the story. Similar to the sentences, it meanders. It's quite a while before we get a grasp of who the protagonist is (again, intentional; in a science fictional world, he's someone who works in the background as protagonists and heroes play out their stories*). It's not until more than a third into the book that the storyline is actually set into motion - where Charles becomes the protagonist of his own story, just then starting.

What I wasn't expecting was how personal a story it would be. From what little I'd sampled, including the quote above (the first prose you see, before chapter 1, and also [somewhat modified] what sets Charles' story into motion), the back-of-the-book synopsis (humorous, inaccurate, even humorously inaccurate) and even the title made me think of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but that really wasn't the case at all.

The Meat of the Book Show
In a few parts, when talking about the human existence of past, present, and future, the emotion posited that is tied most strongly to the past is "regret", and that, and the sadness it brings to mind, is the overriding emotion through this book. Sometimes it's "dead inside" and sometimes there's triumph (though a bit too little for my personal liking). And the focus of regret for the protagonist is his relationship with his father, somehow literally lost to time but lost to his family even before then. In Module α (the first and longest of the book's four sections) the flashbacks to Dad stuff seem somewhat normal, formative for our protagonist as he goes on his own adventures; it wasn't until maybe midway through (shortly after the adventure begins) that I realized that this would be the focal point of the entire story, with time travel and all the book's science fiction and grammatical weirdness just serving to facilitate it.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is a good book, I'll say. I don't know that I'll be re-reading it, but considering I tore through it all at once, I did enjoy my time with it (though keeping in mind I skimmed some titanic passages towards the climax). I recommend grabbing it off the shelf and reading a short chapter or two and seeing what you think; if you can deal with meandering sentences (of which I've had a few in this review, I realize, though certainly not on the same scale), it's definitely one that I recommend reading. Just don't go into it, as I did, expecting Douglas Adams. It's a different kind of book, and hopefully one you'll enjoy.

*Minor Universe 31 gets explained to some detail; how it is set apart from others, or even to reality as we know it (as opposed to the Reality level inside MU-31) is never expounded upon and eventually you just shake your head and take things at face value. It took me a frustratingly long time to "really just relax" and go with it.

Edit Hm, that came out longer than intended. Hope it's fine here but if you'd rather I re-posted as a Reviews thread I could do that too.

Last edited by Boter (2014-05-26 05:14:48)

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: What are you reading?

So I finished recording my Let's Play of Bioshock 1 here a couple of weeks ago. I had never played the game and only had a vague understanding of some of the broad ideas of it going in. Coming out it, I was absolutely, deeply, maddly in love. With the universe, with the technology, with the theme's, the concepts... everything, I was absolutely fascinated by everything it was doing. Without a doubt one of my absolute favourite universes of all time. So naturally me being the universe loving fool I am (I am such a sucker for a weird and cool, well thought out universe), I went looking for more things I could ingest into my face holes that would let me live in that universe a bit more (For complicated reasons primarily focused around the channel, I need to wait a bit before I can play Bioshock 2). And lo and behold I discovered Bioshock: Rapture, a (sort of but not really official) prequel novel to the events of Bioshock, written by John Shirley. So I picked it up as soon as I could and... well...devoured it. I haven't read a book that fast in a very long time.

Rapture tells the story of the construction, heyday and fall of Rapture. Pulling characters, events and places from the games while filling in the gaps between with his own storytelling. I absolutely loved it. I don't want to go into it too much for fear of spoilers, but if you are a fan of the Bioshock universe you should definitely check it out.

Personally I am a huge fan of stories that involve massive sweeping changes to characters in a very rapid amount of time (Typically by going craaAAAaaaazzzy, admittedly), and this does a really good job of taking us from our universe, 1945, through to the entirely fucked up universe of Bioshock we know, without feeling forced or like it's making weird logical jumps. Everything flows together really nicely and you can see how each of these characters goes from who they were in the "real" world to what they become in Rapture.

On the more novelly side of the review, the writing is solid, but I wouldn't say it's anything remarkable. Just out of necessity of the story it's trying to tell it will often jump years at a time, though it does a pretty good job of not losing you and filling you in. Although it can make it a bit difficult to follow exactly what's happening on Rapture viewed as a whole towards the end between all the different sides, plots and counterplots that are happening.

So, big thumbs up from me if you like the universe, if you don't, you can skip it without feeling like you're missing too much.

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: What are you reading?

The new 50th anniversary FOLIO SOCIETY edition of DUNE (with newly commissioned illustrations) is coming in a few months...

http://www.foliosociety.com/media/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Folio-Society-Dune.jpg

not long to go now...

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Re: What are you reading?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d1/SolarisNovel.jpg

Finally, I managed to read Solaris (it's probably the only Polish novel most nerds around the world are familiar with). I can't even tell you how inadequate the movie adaptations feel to me now. I'm not saying they're bad movies, but they don't capture the essence of what Lem was writing about (the incomprehensible nature of an alien intelligence and the philosophical ramifications of contact).

Highly recommended. It's not a very long read, you can breeze through it in a day or two. I can't vouch for the English translation, though (some people say it's not great); I've only read the original version.

(Fun fact: The first film adaptation of the novel was a 1968 black & white Soviet TV movie; it should be still on YouTube.)

We all float down here...

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Re: What are you reading?

Just sat down and blasted through the last four volumes of Blade Of The Immortal:

https://d2lzb5v10mb0lj.cloudfront.net/covers/300/24/24212.jpg

The last several books are just one final battle that practically destroys a harbor town and contains the deaths of about 80% of the main characters in the books. Some of them are very much long-awaited. Some of them come out of nowhere and are pretty fucking shocking. One of the things I loved about this series is how often it will toy with your expectations, and how the characters will disagree so violently with each other in a philosophical sense. Also, how often a character will realize how fucking dumb and wrong their own opinions of something are. It's a series where the characters feel very well fleshed-out and self-aware, even though half of the books generally consist of violent and bloody swordfights. You can agree with elements of just about all of the characters' philosophies and understand why they'd do the sometimes very ill-advised things they do.

If you've never read it, I highly recommend. I don't really do comic series anymore, since I just don't have the desire to wait for a month to read the next issue of whatever soap-opera bullshit some hack writer came up with for some book that's been running for 40 or 50 years. I usually stick with single-volume graphic novels. This one and Powers are the only two exceptions I've made in the last 5 years or so. Now I have only Powers to look forward to, because Blade is over. So sad.

But the art is amazing. The story and action are very good as well. The early books focus more on the sorta campy premise and the action it makes possible, but after the third or fourth volume, tho, you can tell that something is very different about the characters in this series. The guy who's supposed to be the villain is actually not that bad a dude, and makes a lot of really good points. By the time you get to volume ten or so you really have no idea who you're supposed to be rooting for, and the book becomes more about the clashing of different ideologies than a simple good guys vs bad guys sort of book. It's very good.

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Re: What are you reading?

Blade of the Immortal is the best comic I have ever read. Or rather, it is my most favourite of them all. I remember the moment after reading several of the first volumes where I realised that the comics I had been reading up to that point had been superficial crap. I think this is still true for 90% of what's out there.

The artwork is rare in that you can 'see' emotions so well and not just the most obvious. For instance, pick up any comic off the shelf and you'll see someone angry (their mouth open or gritted teeth) or happy (they're smiling), but bemused? charmed? contemplative? content? Somehow, what are essentially just line squiggles for mouths reveal so much about what these characters are thinking or feeling. The artist is completely in tune with his characters.

I've not picked up the final books yet. I've also a few to catch up on that I actually have (saved for a rainy day).

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. - Carl Sagan

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Re: What are you reading?

I'm slowly working my way through the Phryne Fisher Mystery Series.  There are twenty books in the series (so far), so it's taking me a bit.  Yes, it is the book series for "Miss Fisher's murder Mysteries" which is low key airing in the States on PBS (first two seasons are on Netflix), but like with most media adaptations, each source is pretty different.  And honestly?  I can't really say which is better.  On the one hand, the universe of the book series is much expanded.  There are extra characters, different story lines, and a level of bawdy that isn't AS present in the tv series.

That said, if you guys haven't checked out the television series, it really is quite good.  At least in terms of a costume mystery series.  And the producers have done a good job of adapting the source FOR screen (which is lovely to see).  Plots are streamlined or not given as much of an airing.  But! That's the TV series, and not the books. wink

Anyway, given that it's a long-running series (started in 1989), there are some definite ups and downs in terms of quality and consistency.  The first few books (Cocaine Blues through probably Raisins and Almonds) are VERY OBVIOUSLY those of a writer finding her feet and voice.  However, it's also very clear that the author has done some heavy research into the time period, both in terms of events and culture.  She regularly includes citations/further reading lists that are primary and secondary sources from the time (the series starts in 1928, and has moved into 1929 as of book #16), so while there's definitely stuff I'm raising an eyebrow at (seriously, it took until book #15 for anyone aboriginal to show up, though someone rightly pointed out that there wasn't a huge aboriginal presence in Melbourne during 1928).

I also like that it's a series that's very specifically Australian.  It shocked me pretty hard to realize that the first book in this series was the first book I'd ever read by an Australian author writing about events IN Australia.  I mean, I'm in my mid 30's, and that had NEVER happened before.  And while it's kind of easy to dismiss a bit given the US's shared colonial history with Australia, that's still a really jarring realization to make.

Anyway, the series is good light reading.  It's basically a serial in the tone of 1930's detective pulp novels.  It reminds me quite a bit in style, if not prose, of Dashiel Hammet, though with less of a noir theme.  The series is very firmly in the breezy/cozy mystery corner, and is great, summer light reading.

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Re: What are you reading?

Hunter S. Thompson, "Gonzo Papers vol. I." Just a big-ass collection of his essays.

Thompson's writing — same as David Foster Wallace, and Joss Whedon, and Deadwood, and others — has the tendency to alter my inner monologue for a while. Drop a toothbrush, exclaim "thunderous fuck!" in surprise, etc..

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: What are you reading?

Also, just noticed this:

Darth Praxus wrote:

Read both John Dies at the End and This Book Is Full of Spiders back to back recently, and they're easily the most fun I've had with literature all year. For some reason (maybe the hurricane of bad puns and non sequiturs he spews forth) I pictured John as Teague.

I am fucking touched.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: What are you reading?

Teague wrote:

I am fucking touched.

Show us where on the doll.

I write stories! With words!
http://www.asstr.org/~Invid_Fan/

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Re: What are you reading?

Invid wrote:
Teague wrote:

I am fucking touched.

Show us where on the doll.

Knowing John Dies at the End the doll would come to life and touch him back.

Re: What are you reading?

Just finished reading up on Fourth Dimensions and Tesseracts as part of scifi world building.

Does that count?

Seriously, if you are wanting to write science fiction. Atomic Rockets is a fun site to cruise. This is the article I was reading (with pictures and everything!): http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/r … hp#2.2.2.2

God loves you!

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Re: What are you reading?

The DIFpocalypse seems to have wiped out all the resurgent activity in this thread from the last year, including Teague and my posts about Peter Watts' Blindsight. Popping in because I'm in the middle of his Rifters series (body horror/hard SF about engineered humans at the bottom of the ocean) and the first page of the second book may be the most badass epigraph of all time.

https://i.imgur.com/bMNx7xW.png

Last edited by Abbie (2019-02-10 01:13:47)

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Re: What are you reading?

Today's news of the incoming death of literally all insects on the planet put me in the mood to re-read this very short story by Ursula Vernon (writing as T. Kingfisher). Text below; also posted in full on Uncanny Magazine's website.

SPOILER Show
"Packing," by T. Kingfisher

Today is not the day I wanted to do this, but we aren’t always given choices. It’s time to pack for the new seasons.

No, you can’t stay. This place won’t be here soon. It’s already going, slipping away, each new summer tearing off strips. You can see the new flesh underneath. We’re still guessing at the shape of it. Probably the cicadas know, but we can’t understand their buzzing, and there are more of them every year.

All these choices were made long ago. Now is not the time to relitigate them.

Now our job is to decide what to bring with us.

No, you can’t take the polar bear. I’m sorry. I know you loved him. He takes up too much room, and he requires refrigeration. So does his food. We have to make hard choices now.

(Look, he’s already making his own way, trading his coat to the grizzly bears, the seals for salmon. Let him go. Remember that you loved him.)

Stop. There is no time left for crying, either.

Don’t talk to me about Noah. He got an ark and everything came to him. In breeding pairs, no less! We get a suitcase and our own two hands, and only so much as we can carry.

The beekeepers began long before the rest of us, stuffing the hives into their knapsacks, bubble-wrapping up the queens. You can tell them by their honey-streaked T-shirts, by the way they greet each other, with buzzing luggage, performing the secret handshake of beekeepers.

The people who love wasps are rarer, but they will open up their coats and show you the rows of black and gold, all lined up in tubes with stingers pointed down, like an array of hypodermic needles.

The beetle lovers are fretful. There are so many beetles, you understand, and so many of them look alike, and sometimes they swap their tiny nametags and set taxonomy back a decade. When the beetle woman goes by, bent under the weight of a thousand carapaces, you can hear her muttering Latin names to herself.

Plants are easier, provided you don’t get too attached to water lilies or massive, stinking arums. The seeds pack into very small spaces, a whole potential forest cupped in the palm of your hand.

What will it be, then? Rare orchids? The cucumbers that went in your grandmother’s pickle recipe? The parrots with red feathers on their heads? The apples will be hard. It has to do with chilling hours, you understand. I wouldn’t weep. The Red Delicious has been a soggy travesty for years.

Of course I understand. My first love was Przewalski’s horse, from a poster I had on the back of my door when I was not much older than you. They won’t fit in my suitcase, though. Now we must choose practical things. Sturdy species that can’t be broken by the weather.

Sunflowers? Yes, certainly. We can sit on the steps and spit out the seeds together. And peppers, yes, those will do well. Tomatoes, too—not the big ones, maybe, but the little ones, in red and gold. The earthworms have already gone ahead. They’ll be all right.

Cats and dogs? No, don’t worry. They got there ahead of us, and the coyotes trotted in their wake. Rabbits, goats, and bristle-backed hogs—they’ll all be fine. The new seasons don’t worry them. We’ll still be neighbors.

What’s in my suitcase?

Ah.

Here, I’ll show you.

These jars here are full of beans. Don’t ask me to unpack them. There were so many and my hands cramped writing labels, trying to save them all. And here in this corner, in damp tissue paper, a tree frog with flashing orange patches on her legs. There were so few frogs that we could save. The ones that handle fire and acid and strange seasons, only. I packed spotted salamanders in around the box turtle’s shell, and yes, I cried over the ones I couldn’t save. But there is no more time, and grief takes up too much space in any suitcase.

Warblers, yes, I packed a few already. Nothing fancy. Let’s not get too ostentatious. If they can only breed in young jack pine, it’s probably best to leave them here. The mockingbirds have gone ahead of us. They know a thousand songs you know, and the warblers only one.

I fit the nuthatches into my other pair of shoes, their feathered bodies packed tightly in the toes. The vireos are rolled inside the tube socks, waiting to be released, so that they can sing at burning noon “Here-I-am, where-are-you?”

There were so many things I wanted to bring. I sacrificed my toothbrush for the pallid coneflower, my hairdryer to make space for hellbenders. But we can only bring what we can lift. The people who pooled all together to bring an elephant have strong backs, and I try not to resent how many frogs could have fit inside those boxes.

Yes, I know you’ll miss the others. We all will.

But it is exciting to move to new places. Try to remember that. Think of the people you’ll meet. And the creatures that will sit beside you as you travel: the crows snickering together, the mosquitoes reading newspapers on the train. The dragonflies clinging to the zipper pulls, with their great eyes reflecting the new shape of the world.

The friends you make now may be with you for the rest of your life.

Come on then. It’s time to pack.

Last edited by Abbie (2019-02-11 21:48:47)

Re: What are you reading?

I just finished Hemingway's "A Farewell To Arms" Oof. What a gut punch!

Extended Edition - 144 Detective Pikachu
VFX Reel | Twitter | IMDB | Blog

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Re: What are you reading?

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/316%2BfVjaxCL._SX294_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Expanded from this article that was making the rounds last year.

The main criticism of this book seems to be that it's scaremongering by relating chains of events that wouldn't be as dire as it predicts unless we ended up in the worst-case scenario. To which I respond . . . *vaguely gestures at everything going on outside* Anyone who truly thinks meaningful action on climate change will be taken by governments and corporations within our lifetime is kidding themselves.

It's really hitting me over the last few months that we truly are living through a slow-moving apocalypse, so this book didn't generate anxiety so much as crystalize it. Looking forward to huge portions of the globe being a hellscape while those who remain try to explain to their children how we fucked up so badly.

Anyway, highly recommended. Wallace-Wells is writing a summary of the research rather than a hard-science book, but what it lacks in original ideas it makes up for in urgency and gripping writing.

Re: What are you reading?

I should post in this thread more.

Anyway.

I'm terrified about wanting to read The Uninhabitable Earth, but I do.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: What are you reading?

When I was younger, I used to be a big reader. I pretty much used to always have something that I was reading at that point in time. I started to drift away from books, not in a 'Reading? I ain't got time for that!' kind of way - it just became less habitual. Even when I did pick something up, it usually ended up being just another Star Wars EU novel or a biography of sorts - and the likelihood of me even finishing it? Yeah, not great..

I had a lot of downtime at my old job, so I decided to get myself a Kindle to pass some time. I jumped straight in to Star Wars books first, with it being familiar territory and all, but then I branched out in to attempting some books that I had started in the past, but never finished.

Something had clicked. The link to the part of my brain that loved to read and HAD to read had returned. By habitually reading every single day, I now have that need to always be reading something.

Anyways, this is what I've read since getting the Kindle.

Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View Short Story Anthology
Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances by Timothy Zahn
Star Wars: Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phllip K. Dick
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (Currently about halfway through)

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Re: What are you reading?

Owen_Ward wrote:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I read that a year ago (in the original English) and, while the story is good and the universe interesting, something about Tolkien's style has made it an excruciating read for me (I kept thinking: "I'd rather just watch the movie again."). Is it more palatable to Britons?

We all float down here...

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