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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: What book are you reading right now, and what’s up next?

I’ve always got piles of books around me: books to read, books I’ve read and mean to write about at MaryAnnJohanson.com (and never seem to find the time to do so), books I feel like I should read but keep getting shifted to the bottom of the pile.

I’ve also sometimes got more than one book in progress. I started reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.], but it’s actually kind of dull, not terribly well written, and nowhere near as clever as it could be, so I sorta gave up on it, though it’s still sitting splayed open nearby, and every once in a while I pick it up and read a few more pages before I remember why I didn’t read it all right through in one rush; I’ll probably finish it eventually.
But the book I’m devouring at the moment is Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.], which I started because I figured that if it captured the imagination of someone like Peter Jackson, I’d probably like it too. And I’m loving it — it’s so original a concept and so beautifully written that I can’t put it down.

Next up, a book I only learned about last night, and can’t wait to read: Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.], which I’m told is Jane Austen with dragons. And since it’s Jo Walton, it should be waaay better than that zombie book. Walton wrote Farthing [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.] and its sequels, a mystery series that is like what might have happened if Agatha Christie and George Orwell collaborated on a whodunnit — I cannot recommend these enough. They’re amazing.

What book are you reading right now, and what’s up next?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • isobel

    I’m currently re-reading the Mists of Avalon. I first read it years and years ago when I was about 15, and came across mention of it on a review on here so thought I’d give it a go again. Still as good as I remembered! Book immediately prior to that was Hilary Mantel’s ‘Beyond Black’ which is completely fantastic.

    Up next is Elizabeth Kostova’s ‘The Historian’ which is a retelling of the Dracula story and it’s had great reviews, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s been out a few years so I’m not sure how I missed it before.

    ‘The Lovely Bones’ is nearly perfect, it’s on my favourites shelf, along with ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’, ‘Gods in Alabama’, ‘The Testament of Gideon Mack’, ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel’, Jane Austen (everything), Tolkien, Harry Potter, the His Dark Materials trilogy, ‘Life of Pi’, ‘The Glass Books of the DreamWeavers’ and everything ever written by Barbara Kingsolver.

  • Cori Ann

    I just finished reading the latest Wheel of Time installment, The Gathering Storm (story by Robert Jordan, book by Brandon Sanderson). Up next is Pride and Prejudice (the original, not the zombie one yet, though I’ll probably read that one eventually).

    MaryAnn, if you like the idea of Jane Austen with dragons, you might also want to try the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. One review of it I saw described it as “like Jane Austen playing Dungeons & Dragons with Eragon’s Christopher Paolini.” It’s a pretty apt description. I picked up the first one in a used book store and had to order the rest of the series after I finished it–then I got my mother in law to read them all, too. :o)

    @ isobel: I hope you enjoy The Historian. I read that a few years back and ended up loving it, though it did take some time for me to really fall into the story, but it is totally worth it if you stick with it!

  • Joanne

    I’m on a re-reading binge of Big Fat Books. I just finished Shantaram again – it is such a good book, though I still think the last quarter or so doesn’t match up to the first three-quarters. Now I’ve embarked again on Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, starting with Quicksilver. I love Stephenson’s writing, it manages to be funny, engaging, clever and portrays the time in which the book is set (17th/18th century) perfectly all at once.

  • I’m 600 pages into I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb and it’s wonderful. Don’t let the fact that it was an Oprah book club selection put you off. Story of identical twins, one of whom becomes schizophrenic. Really a great big wonderful doorstopper of a novel.

    Listening to the unabridged audio of Dan Brown’s new opus in the car and doing a lot of snorting, eye-rolling and talking back to the audio as I drive. Would have benefitted from judicious editing, to say the least. I’m on Disk 8 of 14 and nothing much has happened. Dan Brown’s apologists say he’s no Shakespeare, but he does write a cracking good story. Well no. Not this time. He’s definitely no wordsmith AND this is not a cracking good story. I enjoyed the other two (and a friend of mine read one of his earliest novels, from his pre-best-seller days, and said it was really good) but I just keep wanting to fast forward the CD on this one looking for something interesting to happen.

    On the Doctor Who front, just started The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper after finishing The Paradise of Death by Barry Letts (all hail) and Judgement of the Judoon by Colin Brake. I’m so far behind on my DW & TW books!

  • t6

    I have less than a week to finish my dissertation…so all of my reading is that sort of spot reading you do to find the footnotes you need so you don’t sound stupid.

    After my diss is done? I agreed to write a book review…so I’ll be reading a very good book called Dusty! Queen of the Post Mods by Annie Randall. And then another one called Big Ears on Women in Jazz…and then a sort of random third one about a female Finnish composer.

  • amanohyo

    Morning: Japanese Phrasebook
    After Lunch: Cannery Row
    Light Bathroom: The World’s Religions
    Lengthy Bathroom: Stories by Katherine Mansfield
    Breaks at Work: Japanese: The Spoken Language in Daily Life
    Late Afternoon: A Secular Age
    Weekend: The Lucifer Effect (not very good so far)
    Bedtime: The Power of Babel

    When I was younger, I could sit down for four or five hours every night and read books straight through, but I have a lot more difficulty concentrating on one thing for long periods of time now. I also vowed that I would finish every book once I started it, no matter what. I’ve honored that vow for nonfiction books, but can’t force myself to read mediocre fiction like I used to. I made it about eight pages into The Davinci Code and about three pages into Twilight before I had to stop. I did manage to make it all the way through the first Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl books several years ago, but I just don’t have that kind of patience anymore (although I still have time to waste).

  • James

    I’m currently re-reading Book 3 of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, with book 4 to come next. All the talk of this being made into a pilot for HBO made me need to go back to his amazingly developed fantasy world.

    After this, I’m going on to a new novel from Rob Kroese called Mercury Falls. Plot synopsis from Amazon follows: “Years of covering the antics of End Times cults for The Banner, a religious news magazine, have left Christine Temetri not only jaded but seriously questioning her career choice. That is, until she meets Mercury, an anti-establishment angel who’s frittering his time away whipping up batches of Rice Krispy Treats and perfecting his ping-pong backhand instead of doing his job: helping to orchestrate Armageddon. With the end near and angels and demons debating the finer political points of the Apocalypse, Christine and Mercury accidentally foil an attempt to assassinate one Karl Grissom, a thirty-seven-year-old film school dropout about to make his big break as the Antichrist. Now, to save the world, she must negotiate the byzantine bureaucracies of Heaven and Hell and convince the apathetic Mercury to take a stand, all the while putting up with the obnoxious mouth-breathing Antichrist.”

  • currently 2/3 of the way through “Tooth and Claw” and next up, hope to switch with MaryAnn for “The Lovely Bones.” just before T&C, i finished “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon… very unique and interesting alternative social history (as literary s/f is called these days). i’ve also got the next Eye of the World book on the pile, but think i’ll have to do a quick skim of the story up to this point… i was totally enthralled, but it’s hard to remember *all* the plot points after all this time.

    i can also highly recommend “Interred With Their Bones” by J. Carrell … i’ve been waiting for her next book, but the publishing date keeps getting pushed back.

    in between, i’m constantly occupied reading books about paris and the… occupation.

  • Tony

    My wife thinks I should read the Twilight series…LOL But, I think I might read Frankentstein or Dracula instead. Oh, and if I’m in the car I listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

  • Bluejay

    @Isobel: Awesome favorites shelf, it has a lot in common with ours. I also hope you enjoy “The Historian”–it has a mix of horror and scholarship that I loved.

    MaryAnn, do you visit tor.com? Jo Walton has a regular blog there, and often recommends books.

    I use the library a lot and check out books faster than I can read or return them, so I have quite a bedside pile. I’ve recently been on a Carl Sagan kick–older works like “Broca’s Brain” and “Conversations” (a collection of interviews)–and just finished his son Nick’s SF thriller “Idlewild.” Not sure what I’ll pick up next. Maybe “Rapture of the Deep”–part of L.A. Meyer’s excellent swashbuckling Bloody Jack series, about teenage sailor/pirate/spy/adventuress Jacky Faber. Or Richard Dawkins’ “Unweaving the Rainbow.”

  • Orangutan

    I’ve been going through a spate of re-reading books on my shelves. Right now I’ve got Christopher Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, and Neil Gaimain’s Neverwhere always within arm’s reach. When I’m not reading those, I’m reading my lighting and posing guides for photography, or perusing a photo compilation for inspiration, like Vanity Fair Portraits, or NatGeo’s Through the Lens, or Annie Liebovitz’s At Work.

  • Hdj

    I finished Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk over the summer, it was funny but short [ X rated too so I don’t recommend it for a school book report]. I was reading Stephen King’s first work ” Rage”. Didn’t finish it , I could go back, but I really want to try some of those Zombie horrors that have been coming out like ” Zombie Nation, “Zombie planet” “Monster Island” they sound like written B movies. I didn’t finish ” World War Z”, thats another book I could return too. I’m also considering reading Dan Simmons ” Terror” . Its horror I crave to read just unsure what book I should get it from.

  • bats :[

    I interrupted Christopher Moore’s first novel, “Practical Demonkeeping,” with a detour of A. Lee Martinez’s “Gil’s All Fright Diner,” so now I’m back to Moore.

    Supposedly P.D. was optioned by Disney in the 1990s; any idea if it was made into a movie? I can’t imagine Moore’s stuff being quite “Disney,” unless it was under the Touchstone or Hollywood banner.

  • bats :[

    Orangutan: are you aware that there’s a new Chris Moore vampire novel on the horizon (April 2010), “Bite Me”? The first two chapters are posted on his website.

  • Bill

    “The Trial”. Up next…I dunno…maybe “The Castle”. Or something mathy and nonfiction.

  • Isobel

    That Mercury Falls book sounds like it’s in a similar vein to Good Omens, which is another favourite (the scene with the naming of the hell hound is possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever read). I may have to check that out. And hurrah – more good reviews for The Historian! Definitely looking forward to it now.

  • Gia

    I’m working my way through the Sandman series once again while I simultaneously read Asia Booth Clarke’s John Wilkes Booth: A Sister’s Memoir. Talk about sureal.

  • Orangutan

    Orangutan: are you aware that there’s a new Chris Moore vampire novel on the horizon (April 2010), “Bite Me”? The first two chapters are posted on his website.

    Yes! Very looking forward to it, it’s part of the reason I decided to re-read Bloodsucking Fiends. Bite Me is part 3 of that story. :)

    Supposedly P.D. was optioned by Disney in the 1990s; any idea if it was made into a movie? I can’t imagine Moore’s stuff being quite “Disney,” unless it was under the Touchstone or Hollywood banner.

    It’s just sitting there, gathering dust. :( I would love to see any of his books get the movie treatment, but it’d be awfully difficult to pull off properly. Lamb or Fluke I think have the best shot, because they’re both pretty much self-contained. Although Fluke probably contains far too much whale-willy to actually be on-screen…

  • Renee

    I am re-reading Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy. After that I have a few options. I picked up Dearest Friend the Abigail Adams biography, but I am looking for a new author to get excited about. I will probably wander around the library for a while, so I have a few things to read for Thanksgiving.

  • Bluejay

    MaryAnn, if you like the idea of Jane Austen with dragons, you might also want to try the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. One review of it I saw described it as “like Jane Austen playing Dungeons & Dragons with Eragon’s Christopher Paolini.”

    I’ve also heard it described as a cross between Ann McCaffrey and Patrick O’Brian. It’s a great read. And it’s been optioned by Peter Jackson, MaryAnn, so if you’re interested in books that Jackson likes…

  • Paul

    Just finished: “Sins and Shadows” by Lyn Benedict, about a female private investigator who specializes in paranormal cases. It’s pretty wild, with a very strong female lead who has a gun a god turned alive so it would get past metal detectors.

    Presently reading:

    “Tao te ching” – translated by Red Pine with selected commentaries of the past 2000 years.

    “My Country and My People” by Lin Yutang

    “Translation and Translating” by Roger T. Bell, which is unfortunately one of those books that takes a chapter to say the obvious.

    Bathroom reading: “The Knowledge Book: everything you need to know to get by in the 21st Century” by National Geographic.

    “Remembrance of Things Past” by Marcel Proust, also known as “Searching for Lost Time.” I am 800 pages into the second volume, which is 1271 pages long. So was the first volume. It’s mostly about jealousy, snobbery, homophobia, and writer’s block. It’s the height of introspective, literary navel gazing that Hemingway and his kind rebelled against.

    Up next: “The Language of Science:” by M.A.K. Halliday.

    “How Far is Forever and more stories by women writers.” Chinese women writers specifically, but in China they don’t feel the need to put “Chinese” in front of women.

  • For School:
    Inequality and Power by KErbo
    Class Matters writers at the NY times
    Mathematical Proofs: A transition to Advanced Mathematics by Chartrand, Polimeni & Zhang

    For Sanity:
    Breath of Snow and Ashes by Gabaldon
    then the next in the series:
    An Echo in the Bone (Gabaldon)

  • LaSargenta

    Recently read

    Sherman Alexie’s War Dances (short story collection very good),
    John LeCarre’s A Most Wanted Man (very, very good, as usual…I love the way he can capture the inner conflict of disconnected and very controlled people),
    Walter Mosley’s The Long Fall (also very good),
    Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys (not as good as I would have liked),
    Ernest J. Gaines’ In My Father’s House (an old book, I never read it before, good)
    Terry Pratchett’s The Carpet People (One of his earliest books, recently reprinted with some editing by himself)
    Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home (a graphic novel, very good)
    And at the end of September I finally read Fight Club. I don’t need to tell anyone how good that was.

  • Leslie Carr

    Just this morning I have finished reading “The Undertaker’s Gift”, the last of my current set of Torchwood novels.

    I am currently reading “The Brass Man” (Neal Asher) and “The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 22” edited by Gardner Dozoi.

    I went in to Borders bookshop today (to cruise the science fiction section) and discovered that there is a whole aisle devoted to “Paranormal Romance”. Have I woken up in some deeply dystopian alternative reality in which Twilight was a commercial success? Someone help me!

  • I’m not reading any books.

    I’m too busy writing one.


    At 21,000 words but I gotta catch up :/

  • Dr Rocketscience

    Currently, I’m working on one of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Definitely Dead, I think. I’m also half way through the latest Anita Blake novel, but I’m getting tired of waiting for Ms. Hamilton to decide where that series is heading.
    After that: I want to finish A Lion Among Men, though it’s not nearly as intriguing as Wicked. I have John Varley’s Wizard on the shelf waiting. I want to get some more of John Scalzi’s stuff, having already finished Old Man’s War and The Android’s Dream. And I’d like to get to the 3rd and 4th Twilight books even if they are about a stalker. (Seriously, that girl should just leave him alone already.) ;)

  • Currently reading James Michener’s “Poland” in preparation for next year’s big trip. Very few Polish history books are in print in the US, so I’m reading this to get a rough idea of the history. I find Michener makes the mistake of confusing Important Men And Their Military Tactics with the sum total of history, but at least it’s giving me an understanding of all the various pieces Poland has been in. I’ll try and fill in with some specific info on Queen Jadwiga and Copernicus and such.

    I third the recommendation for the Temeraire books. And if you haven’t read Walton’s Arthurian books, give those a go as well.

  • Lize Corey

    Just finished Phoebe Damrosch’s “Service Included” about her time as a waiter at Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant. I’ve also got Frances Mayes “A Year in the World” and “Tamsin” by Peter S. Beagle going.

    Recently read:
    “Broken for You” by Stephanie Kallos
    “A Shortcut in Time” by Charles Dickinson
    “All About All About Eve” by Sam Staggs

  • Right now I am reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, and listening to And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer (which is better than you would think) in my car. The Year of the Flood is up next, unless I sneak in Collider: The Search for the World’s Smallest Particles first.

  • Mimi

    Just finished “Krik? Krak!” by Edwidge Danticat. Before that was “An Unsuitable Attachment” by Barbara Pym and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz. Oscar Wao was my favorite of the three, by far.

    Am now biding my time with New Yorkers while I decide what to read next. On my nightstand, in the running: “Blessings” by Anna Quindlen, a collection of Grace Paley short stories, and “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke.

  • Ken

    Currently, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, for my book club.

    Next up, I figure I should read The Greatest Show On Earth, so I can return it to the person who so kindly lent it to me.

  • You would ask this question the one week I’m not reading anything particularly highbrow…

    Seriously, I’m currently reading the Dean Koontz novel Cold Fire–which may or may not be one of his better ones. It’s too early to tell.

    I just finished Glen Cook’s Dread Brass Shadows from his Garrett, P.I. series, which is basically a Phil Marlowe pastiche set in sword-and-sorcery land. It’s not as bad as that description might make it sound but not something I’m going to be re-reading a lot either.

    In the future, I may actually get around to reading Nancy Collins’ novel Darkest Heart because it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year.

    Or I might finish up Ben Elton’s Gridlock. At this point I haven’t decided.

  • Vanessa Pytlewski

    I am reading; UNDER THE DOME By Steven King. It is great so far, I am only on page 75 and it has been nonstop death. I am like you MaryAnn and read several books at once so I am also reading; MY BOOKY WOOK Russell Brand, THE FEAST OF THE DROWNED A Doctor Who novel, And DIVORCE SUCKS By the woman who use to be married to Tori Spelling’s husband Dean.

  • I can’t imagine Moore’s stuff being quite “Disney,” unless it was under the Touchstone or Hollywood banner.

    I can’t imagine Moore’s stuff being quite anything cinematic unless it ended up in the hands of, say, Terry Gilliam or the Pushing Daisies crew. And I must confess that as much as I loved BSF, I preferred A Dirty Job to its sequel. (But then ADJ featured one of my all-time favorite cameo appearances from a Chris Moore character so in a way, it’s a sequel to BSF too.)

    I like Charlaine Harris’ vampire novels but I’m not too crazy about Laurell Hamilton’s Anita Blake books though I suspect even MaryAnn would prefer her Edward character to Stephanie Meyer’s.

  • misterb

    I’m reading “Infinite Jest” (David Foster Wallace) and I will probably be doing so for a long time. I’m a fast reader, but this book has the density of uranium. It’s a certified work of genius, so definitely worth it.
    Recently finished “The Road” (Cormac McCarthy) and “The Stars My Destination” (Alfred Bester) so I thought I could use some light reading.

  • Paul

    “Terry Pratchett’s The Carpet People (One of his earliest books, recently reprinted with some editing by himself)” – Wow, a TP novel I haven’t read. I might have to look for it.

    As for “Fight Club”, yeah, someone has to tell me why it’s good. I saw the movie and thought, wow, I’ll read the book. I slogged my way through twenty or so pages and gave up out of boredom.

  • Madeleine

    Hmmm … I shouldn’t really be reading anything at the moment apart from textbooks (or looking at the internet either!) seeing how I’m in the middle of exams: but, here are the books I’m currently in various stages of un-finished-ness with:

    Eye of the World, Robert Jordan (has been approx 10 years since I last read it & I’m reminded of all the annoying things I’d forgotten about)

    Bleak House, Dickens (loved loved the BBC serial so wanted to read the original – is fabulous!)

    Definitely Dead, Charlaine Harris (Book 6 of True Blood series – haven’t opened it for maybe 2 months – I think I need to start it again!)

    Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (haven’t finished it for same reasons as MaryAnn gave)

    Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis, Lisa Sanders (amazing!)

    heck …. there’s probably a few more around the house that I’m technically “reading”, but the above list has reminded me that I should stop now and go study!

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    At the moment: skipping between The Manual of Detection: A Novel by Jedediah Berry and In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell. I like to pair up a fiction book with a non-fiction book, I’m always in the mood for one or the other. I’ve also been flicking through Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism, edited by Patricia Allmer.

    Next: thinking of Buddenbrocks by Thomas Mann and The History of Middlesbrough by William Little.

  • Lisa

    just finished reading Mystic River by Dennis Lehane and Under the Dome – you think the first few pages are filled with death? I am now reading Matter by Iain M Banks.

  • Kimberly

    Currently reading:

    The Monk and the Philosopher, by Jean-Francois Revel and Matthieu Ricard. I heard Matthieu Ricard on NPR’s Speaking of Faith–he is a molecular biologist who became a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Interesting stuff.

    Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman.

    The Diary of Samuel Pepys. I expect to be reading this for some time (I got a great deal on a secondhand copy of the the complete paperback edition).

    Up next:

    Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder (for my book group).

    I’m thinking about re-reading some Jules Verne, whose books I loved when I was a kid. I want to read the latest by Barbara Kingsolver and A.S. Byatt, but I’m going to put them on my Christmas wish list instead of greedily rushing out to buy them (the way I just did with Series 2 of the Sarah Jane Adventures, ahem).

    I [n] the recommendation for Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books.

  • Isobel

    These Temeraire books are getting a good showing – I’ve just ordered the first on Amazon.

  • Kenny

    I just finished reading Marcus Chown’s “We Need to Talk About Kelvin” which is a very decent book about particle physics.. :) (Discussing such concepts as the Sun being the same if it were made of bananas) I’m actually thinking about going straight onto another of his called “the Never-ending Days of being Dead”.
    Although I might also re-read “The Riddle Master’s Game” by Patricia McKillip for the nth time..

  • stryker1121

    Spent the last three months reading the first two books of George RR Martin’s supremely excellent Song of Fire and Ice saga. Just started Storm of Swords (book 3) and will probably end up reading the Book 4 of that still ongoing series before getting into Under the Dome…i’m avoiding reviews of the latter like mad..sounds like a cool concept and I hope King brings back some of his epic nasty mojo to this one.

  • Paul

    “The Riddle Master’s Game” by Patricia McKillip

    She writes some of the most beautiful prose in or out of the genre. I’m glad to know of another book of hers to look out for.

  • Pat Mustard

    Several that have worked their way to the top of the – embarrassingly large – piles of books by the side of the bed recently (I subscribe to Terry Pratchett’s theory that over time the stronger books absorb the weaker & become visably fatter as a result):

    The Much Lamented Death of Madam Geneva: Patrick Dillon – concern over binge drinking by our lords & masters isn’t a modern phenomenon by any means!

    Something Borrowed: Paul Magrs. Definitely someone who’s head I wouldn’t like to live in. Part 2 of the ‘Brenda’ series; Brenda’s a landlady in Whitby, & if u think that sounds mundane – it isn’t. One of the best books I’ve read in years!

    Santa: A Life: Jeremy Seal. Did you know Santa Claus & Father Christmas were once two very different & distinct characters? I didn’t..

    India Britannica: Geoffery Moorhouse. The story of one of the greatest love-hate relationships in history.

    Not many applicable to the SF theme that seems to prevade here; but I keep returning to several that I always heartly recommend to anyone who’ll listen:

    The ‘Isambard Smith’ Trilogy by Toby Frost. Achieves the near-impossible of affectionately parodying all aspects of SF (& Britishness in general) – everything from the Matrix to Thomas the Tank Engine is in there – & combining it with an genuinely exciting plot, rounded characters & a coherent background. Kind of a Steampunk ‘Galaxy Quest’ where the British Space Empire (and tea)rules! Don’t read the second book – God Emperor of Didcot – in public..

    Iron Angel: Alan Campbell. Second book of the ‘Deepgate Codex’ trilogy. Has some interesting ideas about religion & the power of belief; I actually prefer this one to the first in the trilogy – Scar Night – which is still well worth a read. The third – God of Clocks – has a distinct ‘Doctor Who-ish’ slant to it.

    Glory Season: David Brin. Not as well known as his ‘Uplift’ books, but probably the only book I’ve ever read which gives a believeable (and plausible) picture of a world in which males are the gendered class. Doesn’t forget to be a damn exciting adventure story too!

    A Canticle for Leibowitz: Walter M Miller. THE classic. ‘Nuf said.

    I’m going to shut up now…

  • markyd

    I missed this thread over the weekend. We have such a literate group here! It’s great to see so many people reading so many books.
    I am currently reading Dragons of the Hourglass Mage. Terrible book. I am only reading it because it has a character in it that I was rather fond of 20 years ago.
    Other books on my shelf that are being read or will be read:
    The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1
    Chaos and Order(4th book in the Gap series) by Donaldson
    The first Temeraire book
    Elric: Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock
    and many more
    The real problem is that it can take me a few months to get through a typical book. Too many other things going on.

  • Bluejay

    Since there seem to be several Temeraire fans here, I just thought I’d mention this recent interview with Peter Jackson, sharing some thoughts on how he might adapt the series.


  • Orangutan

    I have officially jumped on the Temeraire bandwagon, and bought His Majesty’s Dragon after work today, along with and interesting-looking steampunk/zombie book called Boneshaker.

  • Hdj

    finally picked up a book, I dunno something about the winter I get the urge to read its like hibernation mode. Anyways I’m half way though Richard Bachman’s ” Blaze”

  • Bluejay

    …interesting-looking steampunk/zombie book called Boneshaker.

    I just started Boneshaker on the subway tonight! So far so good. And Time magazine just had a feature on steampunk… Must be something in the air.

  • Orangutan

    I HAVE been noticing an upsurge in steampunk-y stuff lately. This is a Good Thing as far as I’m concerned. :)

    And I started Her Majesty’s Dragon today. I’m only a couple chapters in, but I am enthralled so far. This is some quality writing here, and the premise is awesome. Thank you to everyone who pushed it, I doubt I would ever have found it if it weren’t for you guys!

  • Bluejay

    While we’re on steampunk-y stuff… I have to push another series that I don’t think has been talked about much: it’s called the Mortal Engines Quartet in the UK, and the Hungry City Chronicles here in the US, by Philip Reeve. The premise–a future world of Traction Cities, giant mobile cities like London that go around gobbling up smaller towns for resources (they call it “municipal darwinism”)–is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. And the scarred, maimed and dark-hearted heroine Hester Shaw is one of the most memorable characters I’ve come across. It’s basically steampunk heaven.

    More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortal_Engines_Quartet

  • markyd

    Hey, thanks for that info, Blue. Those books sound like something I would be very interested in reading. Love the premise, and the idea of moving cities.
    More books to add to The List.

  • Bluejay

    You’re welcome! I just saw that Amazon only carries the books through third-party sellers, and I don’t know if they’re still in bookstores… If you can get them used, or through a library, they’re worth it. :-)

  • LaSargenta

    @ Paul:

    As for “Fight Club”, yeah, someone has to tell me why it’s good. I saw the movie and thought, wow, I’ll read the book. I slogged my way through twenty or so pages and gave up out of boredom.

    Urm…well, I can tell you some of what I got out of it. Would that help?

    Could be that it really is a piece of crap; but, when I was reading it I was on a plane, so the riffing on “tiny life” was precise and apt. I found the storytelling method interesting. At first, I was all on board with the idea that this was two separate men. Then, things started being off-kilter and I found myself re-reading bits to see if I missed something, then I was questioning the editing of the book for continuity, then I caught on to the split-personality. It wasn’t a long book and if it had gone on too long I probably would have though that a cheap trick. But, it worked for me.

    It hit home for me because both of them (or both of him) reminded me of a version of men I know. I work in a really male industry — not just male because it is majority men, but “male” in a socio-psychological way (if there is such a thing) because although it is about design and mathematics and engineering and professionalism, yes; but also elementally about large, loud machinery, building things, accomplishment, making the longest pipeline, deepest pile foundation, tallest building, deepest or trickiest tunnel. We work with dangerous things. We make them “safe” (for a given value of safe) and “professional”; but, seriously, everyone I meet gets off on knowing how and having access to the sites with their pile drivers, or explosives magazines, or large scale tonka toys. We are grown-ups who still get to play in that fantasy which is a fantasy that this culture calls male. When I’m in a meeting with the other side of it, the financing and management side, I see a bit of jealousy, or longing. There is friction, there is pulling rank, but there is also insecurity felt on both sides.

    Somehow, a lot of this stuff I see when my mind starts wandering 3 or 4 hours into a meeting with the money guys taling to the construction guys was illustrated in Tyler Durden.

    Actually, I shouldn’t have assumed it was good. “Good” is just my own opinion. It hit something for me.

    Did that help?

  • Paul

    Yes, it does help me understand why a person would like it, even if I didn’t. Thanks.

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