What have you been reading lately?

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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by alynnidalar » Wed 26 Jul 2017, 20:32

Let's see, what are some recent (new) things for me...

I recently read Declare by Tim Powers. It's a somewhat dark fantasy spy thriller taking place during the Cold War. In brief, a spy during World War II found himself drawn into a mysterious organization dealing with the supernatural. His biggest, most-important mission, fails spectacularly. Twenty years later, he has a chance to give it another shot.

A true summary of the book would mention so many things--but part of the joy of reading this book was when I was about halfway in and still was just starting to uncover what it's all about. If this sounds at all like the kind of thing you're into, I would advise not reading too much about the plot, to preserve the mystery. Definite 5 stars for me.

Aside from that, I confess it's mostly been rereading old stuff, for me. I'm redoing the Witcher books at the moment. It's a weird series. I like 'em, though.

Brief summary for them, if you're unfamiliar: the stories are about Geralt, a witcher (essentially a grumpy professional monster hunter); his off-and-on-again lover, the sorceress Yennefer; and their sort-of adopted daughter Ciri, who might destroy the world someday and everyone wants control of. The books are set in a grim (but still often funny) pseudo-medieval fantasy world of the "everyone is always at war and life really sucks if you're a peasant" variety, with lots of confusing politics. They started off as some short stories about Geralt's travels (complete with pastiches of fairy tales), but the end of the short stories set up the main plot of the novel series, which focuses on the Geralt/Yennefer/Ciri story. They're odd books, and I feel I haven't done them justice at all through this description. One thing I like about them is the mix of a scientific and mystical approach to magic; it's always funny when Geralt gets annoyed by superstitious woo-woo turning out to be true, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary.

(because the original books are in Polish and only got translated later, you may be more familiar with the series title through the videogames, which are set after the novels but came out in English earlier)

I give them... man. I dunno. Three stars, I guess? They're kind of trash. But I absolutely love them. (and I'm not sure how much of the weird writing is a result of translation, and how much is original)
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by elemtilas » Fri 28 Jul 2017, 00:00

Tolkien's Final Witness;
Headland's Court Life in China;
Wilson's Bayeaux Tapestry;
Belasco & Byrne's Book of Fairy Tales.
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by lsd » Fri 28 Jul 2017, 19:18

La Licorne et le Dragon; Les malentendus dans la recherche de l’universel
(The Unicorn and the Dragon: The misunderstandings in the search for universal)
From a series of seminars between European and Chinese researchers on the cultural misunderstanding between East and West ...
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » Sat 29 Jul 2017, 18:24

It's cool to see that so many people here enjoy fantasy--I expected as much from the conworlding community. :)

When I read fiction, I often do read sci/fi or fantasy. Recently I've been reading Orson Scott Card's other novels in the "Ender" series, as well as some of Philip K. Dick's stories.

But I also read a lot of non-fiction. I just finished a book on JFK called An Unfinished Life and still plowing through Sihler's Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin :)
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by sangi39 » Sat 29 Jul 2017, 21:25

I've been re-reading Sal's reviews in his Disworld Re-Read Project because why the hell not? I love the Discworld novels and Sal's reviews are pretty damn good. I disagree from time to time on specific points, but when it comes to overall "scores" I'm more or less with him on every book [:)]
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That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by elemtilas » Sat 05 Aug 2017, 21:42

Finished Tolkien's Final Witness --- pretty good read, actually. And I don't often read courtroom / legal dramas. Also appreciated a few easter egg homages towards his illustrious grandfather's Legendarium!
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Re: What are you reading? or What have you been reading?

Post by lsd » Sun 20 Aug 2017, 22:59

lsd wrote:
eldin raigmore wrote:I just finished Max Barry's novel "Lexicon".
It's really fun for people like us....
Would it be "spammy" for me to say I very much recommend it?
I got it... gotta try it this summer...
finished... good thriller...
a secret "wizards" world hiden to Mr everyone...
the flash back story of the life of a "sorcerer", future evil mass murderer ...
and the parallele quest of one who survived from his killing to intent to stop his rise to power...
with flavor of violence, sex, and of spell language (since Babel)...
A kind of adult Harry Potter novel (even with "hogwarts" school...) in a spy mode...

I read also Snow crash this summer holydays with a similar back ground: where spells are informatics virus... a long-timer secret fight since Babel and Sumer for and against diversity of languages... baroque cyberpunk world with premonitions of increased parallele world of the web... craze and fun...
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by eldin raigmore » Mon 21 Aug 2017, 14:58

I liked Snow Crash too.
(Turns out I like most of that author's works!)
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by lsd » Fri 01 Sep 2017, 16:33

Did you read the baroque cycle ?
Can I have your advice...
I retreated before the size of the work (and its lack of translation in my L1 ...)
Is the effort well worth it...
Usually I avoid like the plague the saga that does not end... As I prefer the movies to the endless TV series...
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by eldin raigmore » Sun 08 Apr 2018, 21:30

(I looked for this thread in “Everything Else “ but it’s not there. )

I have lately been reading:
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Company Town by Madeline Ashby
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

————————————————————

Not since reading Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun tetralogy have I been motivated to look up so much stuff.

Lately it occurred to me to wonder whether there was any connection between that and the fact that these authors are all women?

————————

Whatever.

These books are great in my opinion. and I recommend them.
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by eldin raigmore » Sun 08 Apr 2018, 21:34

lsd wrote:
Fri 01 Sep 2017, 16:33
Did you read the baroque cycle ?
Can I have your advice...
I retreated before the size of the work (and its lack of translation in my L1 ...)
Is the effort well worth it...
Usually I avoid like the plague the saga that does not end... As I prefer the movies to the endless TV series...
I started the baroque books but didn’t finish.

It’s on the borderline in my opinion. MAYBE it’s worth it. Depends what else you have going on, and how hard it is for you.

I read all ofvGibbon’s Decline n Fall of t Roman Empire. That took awhile. I’m glad I did it but I don’t know if it was the smart thing to do.
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by lsd » Mon 09 Apr 2018, 18:19

Thank you...
My main interest is the period that saw the birth of the universal languages that gave birth to science itself ...
And their necessary controversy between the protagonists of the novel ...
Do they have any importance in the plot ...
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by eldin raigmore » Tue 10 Apr 2018, 04:58

lsd wrote:
Mon 09 Apr 2018, 18:19
Thank you...
My main interest is the period that saw the birth of the universal languages that gave birth to science itself ...
And their necessary controversy between the protagonists of the novel ...
Do they have any importance in the plot ...
I just don’t know. Maybe I read far enough, but don’t remember.
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by Dormouse559 » Thu 24 May 2018, 07:23

I've been reading La modernité au village. Tignes, Savines, Ubaye… La submersion de communes rurales au nom de l'intérêt général, which is about three French villages that were flooded when dams were built downstream from them. Specifically, I'm interested in Tignes because it would be in my concountry of Silvia, and the dam that flooded it would at the very least be quite different if it ever existed in the first place. Even leaving most events in this althistory unrealistically similar to our timeline, I can't avoid becoming an armchair expert in the politics of hydroelectricity. :roll:
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by Lao Kou » Thu 31 May 2018, 10:17

Amazon delivered my copy of Red Crag (红岩 hóngyán ) this afternoon. It's a Communist classic which Chinese friends of my generation had to read coming up in China. Back in the day, those who cared in the expat community passed around a copy in English translation to possibly gain some insight. Even then it seemed a little 50s-Communist dated. I don't what triggered for me the memory last week, but I asked my boyfriend (maybe a generation behind) if this was required reading in his school years. He said they only dealt with snippets (though he seems reasonably conversant in the plot). Anyway, my Chinese version has arrived today, so I'll be able to dive into it this afternoon and read it for myself. Yay!
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by DesEsseintes » Fri 01 Jun 2018, 05:30

Lao Kou wrote:
Thu 31 May 2018, 10:17
Amazon delivered my copy of Red Crag (红岩 hóngyán ) this afternoon. It's a Communist classic which Chinese friends of my generation had to read coming up in China. Back in the day, those who cared in the expat community passed around a copy in English translation to possibly gain some insight. Even then it seemed a little 50s-Communist dated. I don't what triggered for me the memory last week, but I asked my boyfriend (maybe a generation behind) if this was required reading in his school years. He said they only dealt with snippets (though he seems reasonably conversant in the plot). Anyway, my Chinese version has arrived today, so I'll be able to dive into it this afternoon and read it for myself. Yay!
I read Lao She’s Four Generations under One Roof 四世同堂 Sì Shì Tóng Táng and promptly promised myself never to read anything from that era again. Apart from the fact that it was simply badly written, the Communist propaganda really ground my gears. Admittedly, Lao She was forced to incorporate the latter into the novel before being allowed to publish it after the founding of the PRC.
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by Lao Kou » Fri 01 Jun 2018, 09:48

DesEsseintes wrote:
Fri 01 Jun 2018, 05:30
Lao Kou wrote:
Thu 31 May 2018, 10:17
Amazon delivered my copy of Red Crag (红岩 hóngyán ) this afternoon. It's a Communist classic which Chinese friends of my generation had to read coming up in China. Back in the day, those who cared in the expat community passed around a copy in English translation to possibly gain some insight. Even then it seemed a little 50s-Communist dated. I don't what triggered for me the memory last week, but I asked my boyfriend (maybe a generation behind) if this was required reading in his school years. He said they only dealt with snippets (though he seems reasonably conversant in the plot). Anyway, my Chinese version has arrived today, so I'll be able to dive into it this afternoon and read it for myself. Yay!
I read Lao She’s Four Generations under One Roof 四世同堂 Sì Shì Tóng Táng and promptly promised myself never to read anything from that era again. Apart from the fact that it was simply badly written, the Communist propaganda really ground my gears. Admittedly, Lao She was forced to incorporate the latter into the novel before being allowed to publish it after the founding of the PRC.
As for badly written stuff, I was a translator in Taipei (Chinese to English), and you'd often wonder, "Who wrote this, a second-grader?" But they were techies, not writers.

The translation style of stuff of that era has a certain, well, style. Even stuff on the very edges, like A Small Town Called Hibiscus (also a movie), in the Englishese was just very cautious. I expect to need to put on my wading boots ta make my way through the propangandist muck, but without reading the original, how can you know?

Back in the day, I could have read it in Chinese, but it would have taken forever. These days, I can read one-page English to one-page Chinese, so we'll see what conclusions I draw.
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by DesEsseintes » Fri 01 Jun 2018, 11:41

Lao Kou wrote:
Fri 01 Jun 2018, 09:48
DesEsseintes wrote:
Fri 01 Jun 2018, 05:30
Lao Kou wrote:
Thu 31 May 2018, 10:17
Red Crag...
I read Lao She’s Four Generations under One Roof 四世同堂 Sì Shì Tóng Táng and promptly promised myself never to read anything from that era again. Apart from the fact that it was simply badly written, the Communist propaganda really ground my gears. Admittedly, Lao She was forced to incorporate the latter into the novel before being allowed to publish it after the founding of the PRC.
As for badly written stuff, I was a translator in Taipei (Chinese to English), and you'd often wonder, "Who wrote this, a second-grader?" But they were techies, not writers.

The translation style of stuff of that era has a certain, well, style. Even stuff on the very edges, like A Small Town Called Hibiscus (also a movie), in the Englishese was just very cautious. I expect to need to put on my wading boots ta make my way through the propangandist muck, but without reading the original, how can you know?

Back in the day, I could have read it in Chinese, but it would have taken forever. These days, I can read one-page English to one-page Chinese, so we'll see what conclusions I draw.
I did read it in the original.
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 01 Jun 2018, 22:15

DesEsseintes wrote:
Fri 01 Jun 2018, 05:30
Lao Kou wrote:
Thu 31 May 2018, 10:17
Amazon delivered my copy of Red Crag (红岩 hóngyán ) this afternoon. It's a Communist classic which Chinese friends of my generation had to read coming up in China. Back in the day, those who cared in the expat community passed around a copy in English translation to possibly gain some insight. Even then it seemed a little 50s-Communist dated. I don't what triggered for me the memory last week, but I asked my boyfriend (maybe a generation behind) if this was required reading in his school years. He said they only dealt with snippets (though he seems reasonably conversant in the plot). Anyway, my Chinese version has arrived today, so I'll be able to dive into it this afternoon and read it for myself. Yay!
I read Lao She’s Four Generations under One Roof 四世同堂 Sì Shì Tóng Táng and promptly promised myself never to read anything from that era again. Apart from the fact that it was simply badly written, the Communist propaganda really ground my gears. Admittedly, Lao She was forced to incorporate the latter into the novel before being allowed to publish it after the founding of the PRC.
You could try some Soviet propaganda instead - I gather the quality is somewhat higher. [I have And Quiet Flows the Don haunting my shelves, but it never seems the right time to try it...]
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Re: What have you been reading lately?

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 01 Jun 2018, 22:18

sangi39 wrote:
Sat 29 Jul 2017, 21:25
I've been re-reading Sal's reviews in his Disworld Re-Read Project because why the hell not? I love the Discworld novels and Sal's reviews are pretty damn good. I disagree from time to time on specific points, but when it comes to overall "scores" I'm more or less with him on every book [:)]
Why thank you; you're really much too kind!

That project is nearly at an end now, as, having recently read I Shall Wear Midnight, I've only got two more books to get through. Although I might throw in some tie-in works as well. And I guess I could do the Science of Discworld books...


Anyway, my own most recent reads have been Abercrombie' Before They Are Hanged and Le Guin's The Dispossessed. The former is an improvement over the first of the series, but is still rather weak (and renders itself completely pointless by its conclusion). The latter is very, very dense and nothing happens, but it is thought-provoking and beautifully written.
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