Off Topic: What Are You Reading?

It's been a while since we've done this, so let's do it!

What are you reading right now?

Me? I've been a bit slack on the old reading front. I'm really into sports biographies and the last one I read was Ronda Rousey's one, which was co-written by her sister and actually pretty decent. It's not 'Open' by Andre Agassi good, but it's pretty good.

Anyway, what have you been reading? Let us know in the comments.


    I have a bunch of things on the go.

    Primarily, I'm working my way through The Shepherd's Crown, the last Terry Pratchett novel. Taking it slow, not reading when I'm too tired, because I want to soak in the prose for one last time.

    Also reading two short story collects- Three Moments of an Explosion, by China Mieville, and Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, by James Tiptree Jr. The Tiptree is probably better- I've never read much by her and it's fantastic.

    Also as an occasional read I'm working through Neal Stephenson's collected non fiction, as a toilet reader really. The centrepiece of the book is a 140 page thing on transoceanic cables which is a tooooooooough slog.

      I read my first China Mieville book this year (The City and The City) and it was... alright. Maybe the short stories might be more interesting.

        The City and The City is a bit different to his other stuff. I'm not convinced short stories are his best milieu, they're usually a cool concept but not super emotionally resonant.

        I still think his best work is The Scar, but I dunno if "new weird" fiction is your thing

          Oh I'll read just about anything once. I'll put it on my To Read list!

            Perdito Street Station is set before the Scar, it's not required that you read it first, but there are some references. Plus, it's a more contained novel imo.

              About the only things you need to know are

              1) New Crobuzon is a city
              2) Bellis' ex got in some trouble

              Outside of that it's pretty much all revealed in text.

        Yeah, I enjoyed Perdido Street Station, well for about 3/4 of the book, but then it got stale, didn't really enjoy his other books that much (okay, I get it, you like drum n base, now gt on with the story). It was inventive for a while, but then he seemed to lose it, like some great initial ideas, but then ran out of steam. I like weird stuff, but just found his a bit dull.

        Ooo I love China Mieville.

        I've got his collection of short stories called Looking For Jake - it's great, well worth a read. Although I also loved The City and The City, so maybe our tastes don't quite line up when it comes to Mieville :P

      His non fiction stuff is great, not sure I agree with his stance sometimes, so that makes it good, as who wants to live in an echo chamber.
      The Hole Hawg sounds terrifying though.

        Dude's an avowed socialist, as long as you know that it makes a lot of sense.

        Sacken was really, really horrific in 3 moments.

      Is it a Tiffany Aching book? I haven't started Raising Steam yet because I don't want it to ever finish...

        Yes it is. It's a better finale to the series than Raising Steam

    The final book in the Odd Thomas series, Said Odd. Will be a bit sad for it all to end. However there is still one graphic novel I haven't read yet, so I've got that to check out still.

    I think I'll try the Millennium Trilogy next and am looking forward to it.

      The Millennium Trilogy is a fantastic read; the first book is an especially gripping murder mystery, and really fun.

      Oh wow, I didn't know they were books, I really liked the film. Will have to check it out.

        Yeah! They were so good. Did you see the Swedish version of the film, or the American?

          Swedish. There is an American one?
          I gotta get out from under my log more often.

            The US one is done by David Fincher, and stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. It's fairly good, but I like the Swedish ones more.

        I am going to read the books first.

        Is the Daniel Craig one the american one?

          Daniel Craig one? The Odd Thomas film starred Anton Yelchin. :P

          I kid. Yeah the Dragon Tattoo one was the Craig one Im sure.

          Last edited 08/09/15 1:13 pm

            I saw the Trailer for the Odd Thomas movie and it was so far removed from what I had in my mind from reading the books that I am not going to watch it.

              It's....... an ok watch. It's not great but it feels like a dozen movies you've seen before to be honest. Pop it on if you've really got nothing else to watch one night. But I will definitely say the last 15 minutes are kind of gut punchingly well done. Overall a solid 6/10. Worth seeing but don't run out of your way to do so. If it's on Netflix go ahead or something? Know what I mean?

      I was a bit torn with the Millennium series. While the story is undoubtedly exciting and compelling, and they have very good pacing, I really disliked the machinery way they were written.

        I get that - Larsson was definitely a journalist rather than a novelist - but I still enjoyed it an awful lot, but it's by no means high literature.

    Yassssss. I'm at 32 books for my yearly challenge. Doing well so far.

    Not Forgetting The Whale - John Ironmonger (lovely so far, very quaint)
    The Girl in the Spider's Web - David Lagercrantz (I'm having to force myself to keep reading this, but by god, it's boring and disappointing)
    The Wolf in White Van - John Darnielle (re-read, and one of the best two books I read last year)

    After this: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer (everyone keeps recommending this to me); Middle Men: Stories by Jim Gavin and Among the Ten Thousand by Julia Pierpont.

      You're doing well, I'm at 22 books. Got sidetracked reading comics which has put me behind schedule!

        Oh, I reckon comics count! Well, the collected editions at least!

          Hah, these weren't collected per se (reading through Marvel unlimited) but there was 100+ issues of Exiles, probably 40 Thor comics, 50+ issues of X-Factor and a bunch of Iron Man :)

          I just read Watchmen last week, didn't know if it would hold up 30 years or howevr long it has been since I last read it, but I frigging loved it.
          I was so relieved, it is awful when you revisit something years later and can only see the flaws, but this was the opposite, I appreciated a lot more things this time around.

            Read Watchmen for the first time last year. Was not disappointed. Still my favourite graphic novel, and I've read quite a few after discovering them a couple years ago.

            Yeah, Watchmen's interesting as a deconstruction of the comics of the time, and some of it's still very relevant (the idea that there's something very wrong with you if you dress up in a costume and beat on people). I find some of it a bit less strong- the space squid, the pirate comic for examples- but it's still very good

              I personally found the squid worked for the comic, as did the pirate, but not for the movie. I think the change they made for the movie worked well but the absurdity of it for the comic served the inked page far better.

                It's more that I think the squid detracted from some of the other elements of the work (deep deconstruction of heroes and villians which is relatively grounded OH SUDDENLY SPACE SQUID) and the pirate comic was a bit on the nose as a commentary on the rest of the work.

                  When you read through it a few times, it wasn't really an 'oh suddenly' thing. The scientists working on it over the duration of the book etc. There's hints and references to its coming etc over the course of the graphic novel, then suddenly BAM its there. It was also a big sort of commentary on the absurdity of comics at the time from Moore. Remember nothing in Watchmen is there by chance or accident, Moore though a crackpot, is easily one of the best writers going in comics, or was, at his peak.

                  @weresmurf Oh, it's not unheralded, I just found it detracts from the rest of the story because it's ultimately a plot device that leads to not much. I thought the change for the film was fairly elegant in that respect.

                  I know he's very good (or, at least, has been very good on occasion) and Watchmen is very good, I just find those two elements are a bit weaker than the rest.

                  @Redartifice Indeed. I mean overall to be honest I felt the movie did it better out of the two of them in terms of fluidity and creating a more coherent result. When you weigh it up the squid is definitely the more 'out there' result lol. I liked having Manhattan held responsible at the end etc etc. I found that to be far, far better an outcome. I found Ozymandias screwing his friends over for the better of the world a fantastic little piece of necessary treachery and also loved that his undoing was his own hubris.

                  Last edited 08/09/15 6:39 pm

      Last year I chewed through probably 2 novels a week or so, this year I have hardly read anything other than The Tiger who came to tea, and endless Mog books, Maisy, and Ben & Holly.
      I would read at least 5 books a day to my 2.5yr old, we have hundreds and she can recite them all if I stop at any point. Kids really are a time suck :)

      Last edited 08/09/15 11:34 am

        Slinky Malinki was blacker then black
        A stalking and lurking adventurous cat
        He had bright yellow eyes and a warbling wail
        And a kink at the end of his very long tail

        (kept my son still through many a nappy change)

        Last edited 09/09/15 6:02 pm

      Is The Girl in The Spider's Web really not that good?

        Sadly not. I'm a third of the way in, and... nothing's happened. I commented on this in a TAY, I think, about how it seems this new author is just undoing all of the character traits that made the books interesting, and it just feels stagnant and frustrating. I hope it picks up and I can come back and say I was wrong!

          I've never read any of the books and only watched the first Swedish film, but are the first three books worth reading as someone who enjoyed the film?

            I second the absolutely! They are very good novels.

          Oh, dear. My copy just arrived today. Can't say I was expecting a lot since it's a different author but I'll give it a go. My rabbit likes chewing the paperbacks I declare are never to be read again so it won't be a complete loss either way!

            Haha, ashes to ashes, books to bunnies. What other books has the rabbit feasted on?

              I'm not sure I want to admit to reading them in the first place!

      This got me thinking on how many I have read. And I'm up to 22.
      Good going to get get to 32.
      I go through phases though where I will read a few books then binge watch a bunch of TV series or movies.

      I'm starting slowly but got back into reading again. It has improved my academic reading no end. I used to take forever to read a tutorial paper and now I read through them quite quickly, that is just one benefit.

      I have managed to finish; The martian, the wayward pines trilogy, no country for old men, heart of darkness, andromeda strain and gates of rome in a little over three months. This is from a "non-reader" who would pick up one or two books a year. the waywart trilogy was short so I finished that in about a week. I now have the second Conn Iggulden emperor book on the go as well as Sapiens (non-fiction) and state of fear. I find switching books keeps me interested if I hit a boring patch in one. I can then go back a day later and continue on.

        A+ dude! No Country For Old Men is one of my absolute favourite books (and films) of all time ever. And The Martian was my book of the year, and I got like, eight other people to read it because I would not shut up about it.

    I could have sworn we answered this about a month ago. Cause I asked if Wargaming and tabletop modules count.

      Which system?

        Well I have a PS4, a 360, a 2DS and my laptop. They're my main focus at the moment.

    Haven't read in a while. I generally get really into it and then ignore all my books for a year. Generally I read discworld books to get me back into reading but haven't since Terry Pratchett passed away. Only thing I've been reading recently has been Kotaku.

    I had American Gods recommended to me and so far it's a lot better than I expected.

    I'd initially written Neil Gaiman off after trying to read Good Omens and not getting beyond the terrible, never-ending puns. I still remember the line that caused me to throw the book across the room and not want to look at anything by him or Pratchett ever again, they were describing two people lurking. "If Bruce Springsteen had ever recorded 'Born to Lurk', these two would have been on the album cover." Just remembering that made me groan aloud.

      I liked American Gods, but yeah, I'm not much of a Gaiman fan either.

        Have you ever read Sandman though? @crotchdot? Some of Gaiman's best work by far. Most of his novels have been enjoyable fantasy romps for me. Good Omens feels way more Pratchett than Gaiman, too.

          Being a fan of graphic novels I have heard pretty much nothing but good things about Sandman, it's one I'd be keen to check out some time.

            Sandman is one of my favourite complete works in comics. Especially The Doll's House and A Game of You, both very powerful volumes.

      I loved American Gods, and The Ocean at the end of the street, haven't read any of his other stuff, other than The Immortals graphic novel. I have tried to enjoy Pratchett, but find it boring sadly. I keep thinking I must be missing out and trying different Pratchett novels from time to time, but they haven't grabbed me yet.

        The Discworld novels do vary quite a bit. Small Gods is the best stand-alone story. Anything with the Night Watch is also excellent (Guards! Guards, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, etc)

      Have you read Neverwhere? It just happens to be my favourite book of all time.

    A Dance With Dragons. Finding it a bit annoying - I bought the first 4 books of A Song Of Ice And Fire in a box set, so they were all the same size. ADWD I bought separately, and the paperback I got is a different size to the other ones I got in the box set. It's smaller which, apart from looking different to the other books next to it on the shelf and thus offending my OCD, also means it's printed much smaller which is making reading it on the bus on the way to/from work a bit harder.

      If you've got a tablet try reading it on that.
      If you've bought the paperback, I think it's OK to get a ebook copy off the web.

        Yeah I don't like carting my tablet around on the way to/from work, and reading lengthy books on the phone is a bit of a pain too. I'm a bit old fashioned, I still like my books physical - doesn't matter if it gets kicked around a bit during transport, and if I do something stupid like leave it on the bus (I've done it before!), then it only costs me 20 bucks or so to replace it :P

    I read Armada because I really liked Ernest Cline's Ready Player One for what it was. Armada was never, ever going to be able to hold a candle to RPO, which got the mix of nostalgia, wit, pop culture references and pace correct. Armada has a better pace - it gallops along - but it is very derivative and bland and instead of letting those references and nostalgia mix naturally, Cline has gone and shoehorned them in to every second paragraph. Just falls flat and comes off a bit wanky.

    I started reading Parkin's Death by Video Game because I love the way he writes, but not too far in. Similarly, just started Mort(e) which is about ants gaining intelligence and getting pets to kill their owners (or something). Not far enough along to make a judgement call but was sold on premise alone. That one is by Robert Repino.

      I really didn't like Ready Player One at all - I thought maybe I was too harsh on it, since I read it on a plane the first time, but I re-read it last year, and just, woof. No good for me.

      Have you ever read Douglas Coupland's work?

        I still have Microserfs sitting there. It's on the list I swear but may be behind The Claw of the Conciliator and NOS4A2

    Old Star Wars EU Rogue Squadron series. Currently at Solo Command and enjoying it, always loved Allston's Wraith arc more than the Rogue mainline. That said, can't wait for Adumar as its just so damn funny. "Wedge that's the sun" "I don't care, it offends me. Get up there in your X-wing and shoot it down"

      The Rogue Squadron series were one of the great arcs in the original EU series. RIP Aaron Allston.
      Currently reading the Dark Disciple novel at the moment and looking forward to Aftermath.

        The genius thing about the X-Wing series is that it didn't focus on the same three characters: Luke, Leia, Han.

        I really, really wish they'd managed to broaden the Star Wars universe further with more secondary/new characters entirely separate from the 'main' ones. It could've been a pretty damn incredible science fiction universe.

      "You're not a fighter, you're just a dilettante" *snaps blastsword*

      Oh cool, me too. I've halfway through my millionth re-read of the first book! :D

      I jettisoned most of my EU collection a few years back, but the entire X-Wing series and just a handful of other books survived the cull.

      Last edited 08/09/15 2:10 pm

      The x-wing series was one of my favorites, just finished reading the new canon novel "Tarkin" myself and definitely worth the read if you have time.

    Women's Weekly. There's some amazing winter warmer recipes which I bake and post on Facebook/Instagram. And I can't go a day without knowing what's going on with the Hollywood elite.

      You shut your trap.

        Damn right I am. Can't talk with this delicious soufflé in my mouth!

    Still trying to finish The Reaper as well as the latest Michael Jordan book. Loving both books but i just don't have enough reading time sadly.

    I read people's souls and dig out their biggest and darkest secrets. Dark Souls. Dark Souls 3!!!

    Reading Rakkety Tam from Redwall series, yes I'm 25 and still read Redwall, if you don't then shame on you. Other then that I'm waiting for David Farland to finish the 9th book of his runelords series. Also need to get my hands on metro 2034 and 2035 as metro 2033 was one of my favourites, so atmospheric. haven't had much chance to read this year but got holidays coming up and going camping so should get some reading don then :).

    Halfway through A Song of Ice and Fire. Just want to catch up with the show so people can stop spoiling it for me.

      The show and the books are at about the same point. Although the last season has diverged fairly significantly.

      I'm on book three. But taking a break as the damn thing is as heavy as a concrete slab.

      But, that's mostly because I had to get the hard cover version.

      Edit: WTH?! I don't remember making separate posts!

      Last edited 08/09/15 12:34 pm

        Ah I'm ahead of you, I'm trudging through A Feast for Crows, and I'm liking the books more than the show (which I wouldn't have thought possible)

          There is no denying, the books are better. But kudos to the series for staying strong to the book and the attention to detail in the characters, music, props, etc.

          But there are times when I wish Martin didn't go into so much detail.

          His writing also has a tendency to forget there is a complex plot afoot and shifts to either a technical manual on every suit of armour or a cook book. Still, can't say the Lannister's don't eat well, :-P

    I still have The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman on the go. Other than that I haven't really had time for that much reading.

      My daughter loves that book!

    The Rise of Endymion - To be honest I'm struggling through it. I've found the 2 Endymion novels far less engaging than the 2 Hyperion ones and this final one is very bland at times. Lots of world stuff but not so great on having interesting character stuff. But I've gotta see it through to the end!

    Catch 22 - It's been ages since a book has made me laugh out loud so often. That said, I'm about 100 pages in, and I've just resigned myself to the notion that there will not be a plot, rather a meandering series of anecdotes strung together like a train of thought.

      Rejoice, for there is a plot! It's presented in a fragmentary and out of sequence fashion, and only gradually gets defined by the way of the sub-plots (the individual bits of the sub-plots are presented a lot like anecdotes, as you say). None of it will have started to properly come together after 100 pages on a first read through of the book though. Fear not, all will become clear(ish). I envy you, as reading catch-22 for the first time is a brilliant experience. It's a book that bears reading more than once, as the early parts present very very differently once you've read the whole thing (I've read it probably half a dozen times).

        Ah, that's good news. As much as I've enjoyed it so far, I've frequently wondered if this is going anywhere - I'm looking forward to finishing it now.

    I'm currently reading The Skull Throne (book 4 of the demon cycle) by Peter V Brett.

    I'm also making my way through the Jack Ryan books, I'm up to Debt of Honour, and I've been reading this in chronological order that they've been set, not published date.

    I've also got the latest Lee Child, Jack Reacher book to read.

    These are being read on a mixture of physical books and ebooks.

    Last edited 08/09/15 12:19 pm

    Book 5 of the Wheel of Time.

      I feel for you brother. Started reading it in high school, got to book 8, stopped. He released book 9 a month or so later, tried reading, couldn't remember the details - had to reread book 8 to get through book 9. Then it was like a year break until book 10, had to reread book 9 to do it. Gave up.

      Fast forward, oh, 8 years. Decided to finish it - try reading book 10, can't make heads of tails of it. Started rereading from the very beginning, read through all 14-odd books. And at the end of all this, I can say with no hesitation...

      I have 0 regrets.

      It is arguably my favourite series of all time. Sure, the plot meanders in the middle of the series, but for sheer scale and worldbuilding it is utterly unmatched in anything else I have read. Brandon Sanderson was a fantastic choice for the last few books, he really pulls it all together without losing the Jordan style.

      Last edited 08/09/15 12:36 pm

        Try Malazan. It's got a bigger scale and more worldbuilding.

          Given I jumped straight from Wheel of Time into Song of Ice and Fire, I will probably give epic fantasy a rest for a while! But thanks for the suggestion, will keep it on my radar for when I inevitably dive back in.

          The other one I was considering was the Feist books (Magician series and everything in between). My GF read them and thoroughly enjoyed them and she isn't a huge fantasy fan, so that kind of sold it for me. Any ideas how Malazan compares?

          Last edited 08/09/15 12:58 pm

            Malazan is hard to compare to anything else. It throws you in the deep end, forces you to piece together a lot of history/motivations and jumps around a lot. It's a lot more complex and philosophical than most other fantasy, and definitely more so than Magician. It really excels on the reread.

            With Magician, I started to reread it recently, but I couldn't get into it. I don't know exactly why, because it's written well, the worldbuilding is solid and has good characters, but it just didn't click with me. I think it's definitely worth checking out, though, and definitely before you try Malazan.

          I loved Guardian's of the Moon. Started reading Deadhouse Gates but just wanted to strangle Felisin every-time I read about her so had to put it down. I should try and get back into it because it definitely looks like an amazing series..

          Malazan was good, but found it really hard to follow. Just when you think you're getting to know a character, they take them away and give you someone else you need to figure out. I gave up on it in the end, not that I didn't like the story, just didn't like the style of writing. Such a cool story too, will prob go back to it one day

        I solved that problem by re-reading the entire series at least every time a new book came out. After about book 7 it got a bit cumbersome because my life got busier, but there was nothing like that feeling of being 'in the moment' and the anticipation of cracking that new book. I picked up the last book in the series about 2 years ago (I think) but couldn't bring myself to read it (finally admitting the series was over). Now I've taken the plunge, and I think the series really hits its stride towards the end of book 4. I don't mind Brandon Sanderson's style. Let's just say that if he had copied Jordan's style the last three books would have instead been 'the last six books' at the very least. Definitely my favourite series of all time, although A Song of Fire and Ice is right up there, as is The Lord of the Rings (including Hobbit, Silmarillion, Lost Tales 1 & 2, Unfinished Tales and the Children of Hurin).

          haha same, then that decade wait for the last book to come out. Was worth it though, so happy with the closure I got in that series :)

        Haha. This sounds exactly like my experience.
        I went back and reread them from book 1 last year.
        Don't regret it at all.
        And I agree Sanderson's work was awesome.
        This got me reading some of his own stuff which is also awesome.
        Highly recommended if you have the time.

        Agreed. The last four books (Jordan's last, and Sanderson's three) were extremely strong, and ended the series brilliantly.

        I've reread that series about 8 times now. Each time they released a new one I'd have to go back through them all. Doing it for the Magician series now lol

      Pretty awesome series but I found it a lil tricky to keep track of all the characters and thier long wacky names, particularly the Aes Sedai. But i really enjoyed it.

      Aes Sedai*

      Last edited 08/09/15 12:54 pm

        I have a sneaking suspicion that you may be remembering a different series. Not sure about the Isadi reference...

          I was supposed to say Aes Sedai. I listened to the audio book so my spelling was a tad off :P

            Ha ha ha, that's awesome! At least they got the pronunciation right :-)

      Prepare yourself, boredom is coming.

      Well, maybe not. About half the people I know who've read the series feel that the pace really slows down and becomes a crawl by the tenth book. I'm In this camp.

      The other half claim that the rest of us are on crack and that there's no real slowdown.

        I fall into the first camp, but I love the slowdown. I would gladly have read another 20-30 volumes if Jordan had written them (his editor would have had a heart attack!) Having more insight into the machinations of the Dark One's minions was fascinating, and I would have loved more exploration of the other lands in the world, as well as Sea Folk life, Shara, etc. I'm looking forward to the Wheel of Time companion book coming out soon :-)

          For me, by the time it slowed, Mat was the only character I wanted to hear about, so it hit me harder than it would if I'd liked any of the other characters.

        I'm in the other half, you crack smoking hippy.

        To be fair, book 10 was the slowest in the series, but it was all about the setup for the last few books.

          You woolheaded sheepherder!

          I can actually see why people might enjoy the setup, but the excessive descriptions and lack of characters I cared about ruined those efforts for me.

        For my money, there's very definite slowdown that starts in books 6 and 7, and this is compounded even further in books 8, 9 and 10. Books 11-14 were unbelievably good, though.

    I've started The Gunslinger by Stephen King (which I am told is amazing but eh I am not really feeling it so far.) I also have The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes and The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly on the go. And I'm working my way through the American Vampire TPBs by Scott Snyder (amongst other comics).

      Gunslinger was alright, I guess. It never really captured me, either.

      Matthew Reilly's Seven ancient wonders, Six sacred stones Etc books are fabulous. pity its taken so long to get the 4th book though.

      That book (gunslinger) was a god dam mindfuck lol awesome series, but i had to reread it twice before I finally 'got it' lol brilliant author and great story, definitely worth the read, it starts a bit slow, but does pick up quite quickly

    Arnold Schwarzeneggers - The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.

    I've just finished the third book of the Long Earth Series by Pratchett & Baxter. It just seems to suck me into it and I can't stop.

    Otherwise, it's history books, mainly focusing on WWI and the ANZACs at the moment, considering the milestones we ahve been reaching. Dr Stanley's "Lost Boys of ANZAC" is really good, focusing only on the 101 ANZACs killed on the first day of the Gallipolli campaign, and dispelling some of the mythology that Bean started due to his inaccurate reporting. Whilst a lot of people may be wary of his writing since he claims the Japanese never intended to invade Australia, he is still one of the best historical minds investigating the ANZAC era (also, he happens to be a bit of a family friend).

    The Discworld books (among others).

    Really liking them. Wish I seriously started while Pratchette was still alive.

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