Raoul's China Saloon (V4.0 Beta)

The Bar Room => The Champagne Cabana => Topic started by: AMonk on July 03, 2007, 10:20:31 AM

Title: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 03, 2007, 10:20:31 AM
As most of you may know, I am addicted to SciFi/Fantasy.  However, I have been doing some heavy-duty reading this past week.  I have just finished On Killing, by LtCol Dave Grossman, which delves into the question of how, and why, (most) people need to be trained into killers.

I have also read Ruben Gallego's White on Black, wherein he details his life as a quadruplegic, cerebral palsy child; an embarassment to his family who was abandoned into the Russian Children's Homes system.

And I am presently in the middle of Not on Our Watch by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast.  This book is advocating grassroots action against the events (genocide) occurring in Darfur, with some practical suggestions.

So....what are YOU reading?

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on July 03, 2007, 10:29:50 AM
Lonely Planet T, a John Grisham (bathroom reading).  I'm taking Tiziano Tersani's "A fortune -teller told me" (travels all through S-E Asia and my "Chinese made easier (in 5 million lessons!)" with me for the train.

Anne McCaffrey is being VERY slack and not writing much, as are most of my favourite authors.  But ... I'll buy myself the new Harry Potter when I get back and have an afternoon of reading boarding school adventures again.

Is he better than "Just William" or the "Famous Five"?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: gonzo on July 03, 2007, 10:31:46 AM
Some Oxford UP socio-linguistics short readings! It's really interesting stuff. One piece is on the conversation gaps that are used in different language communities. It says Americans wait for each other to finish before wading in! This has been my experience with Raoul and Hamish, but certainly not others [no one on this forum, I hasten to add].
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: limubai2000 on July 03, 2007, 10:34:14 AM
I recently finished -

The Art of Happiness by the DL and Howard Cutler, MD - I was  little let down by this one, his other books are better. (edit per recommendation, sorry)

The Demon Awakens by RA Salvatore - the first book in his Corona world, it was a little steeped in fantasy cliche but still good.

The Highwayman by RA Salvatore - a "prequel" to the above book set in the same world, far superior and I would recommend to fans of the Drizzt saga.

His Majesty's Dragon, Book 1 Temerarie Series by Naomi Novik - this is the best fantasy book I've read in a long time, think Master & Commander but instead of crews on ships they ride large dragons into battle circa the Napoleonic era.  Peter Jackson (LOTR and King Kong films) bought the movie rights to the series.  This was Novik's first novel and it's simply great. 

and now I'm working on -

Shibumi - Trevanian - a spy novel but the main character doesn't like to use weapons or gadgets, translated from Japanese Shibumi means "effortless perfection".

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on July 03, 2007, 10:37:46 AM
Yes the DL book wasn't as thought-provoking as I had hoped.  I felt that the author spent way too much time involved in HIS point of view rather than what the DL said.

And it might be safer for the forum if you didn't use those particular words!! cbcbcbcbcb
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 03, 2007, 10:47:00 AM

and now I'm working on -

Shibumi - Trevanian - a spy novel but the main character doesn't like to use weapons or gadgets, translated from Japanese Shibumi means "effortless perfection".

Trevanian does write good books.  I hope you're thoroughly enjoying Shibumi....it's one of those that my son "borrowed" (You know you're not getting this back, don't you?) from me a while ago.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 03, 2007, 10:58:50 AM
To the last man- by Jeff Shaara. It's about World War 1.

The Satanic Verses - extremely confusing.

Islam, a brief introduction and the Koran - need to know what exactly all the fuss is about with regards to Rushdie's work.

The Complete Stories of Ambrose Bierce.

Vanity Fair by W.M.Thackeray.

And a truck-load of variuos history books. Not to mention the language courses. An occasionally boring job requires lots of reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: moon over parma on July 03, 2007, 11:07:00 AM

The Complete Stories of Ambrose Bierce.


Awesome writer!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 03, 2007, 11:08:16 AM
Sounds like your job is more than just "occasionally" boring, Eric. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 03, 2007, 11:19:08 AM
Well, when there is nothing to be translated, the computer system does not allow streaming media and it's a 9-5, one has to make time pass somehow. Besides, I work for the Turkish government and as Turkey is, albeit extremely moderately, Muslim, it makes sense to learn a bit about that faith. Maybe boring was the wrong word to use.. relaxed or stress-free would be better bfbfbfbfbf

MoP, Ambrose Bierce is indeed an awesome writer.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: belrain on July 03, 2007, 12:16:16 PM
I enjoy reading Fantasy stuff.
Terry Pratchett's "Disc World", R.A. Salvatore "Forgotten Realms" for example.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 03, 2007, 12:29:29 PM
I enjoy reading Fantasy stuff.
Terry Pratchett's "Disc World", R.A. Salvatore "Forgotten Realms" for example.

Terry Pratchett is amazing. Can't wait til September when "Making Money" is published. Haven't read a FR novel in years, though I recall I found them tremendously entertaining.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: moon over parma on July 04, 2007, 03:46:42 AM
The overnight engineer at the station gave me the book "Killing For Culture" by David Kerekes and David Slater. That's what I'll be digging into soon.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: belrain on July 04, 2007, 05:16:46 AM
Terry Pratchett is amazing. Can't wait til September when "Making Money" is published. Haven't read a FR novel in years, though I recall I found them tremendously entertaining.

Maybe you also know the Demon-Series from Robert Asprin. It is also great. And, of course, the first two seasons of Dragonlance from Margret Weiss & Tracy Hickmann
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 04, 2007, 07:37:48 AM
You mean the Myth books? Yep, read them all. Devoured all the Dragonlance books when I was 15. I hear they are making that series into an animated series or movies. Should be interestin.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: belrain on July 04, 2007, 08:05:35 AM
Well, I do not know the english title for the books of Robert Asprin. But if it is about Skeeve, Aahz and friend - the we talk about the same  agagagagag

Regarding movies or series from Dragonlance, I did nt hear about it, yet. I saw the two Dungeons&Dragons movies and for me, as a D&D player, they were total  bqbqbqbqbq
Hopefully the producers for the Dragonlance stuff do a better job, otherwise  cbcbcbcbcb
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 04, 2007, 08:18:48 AM
Indeed, we are on the same page regarding the Myth books and the D&D movies. I had no idea they made a second one. Why oh why would they do that? From what I can tell, they stick to the Dragonlance story and they have some pretty nifty actors to do the voices. Think Kiefer Sutherland is doing Raistlin.

And now I have to read some rather boring stuff, the annotated and commented edition of the Danish Constitution and Criminal Code...just to make my boss happy...sigh!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: belrain on July 04, 2007, 11:50:57 AM
What is also very good stuff is the "Belgariath Saga" from David Eddings.
Seems like I am reading Fantasy stuff only  bfbfbfbfbf

But sometimes, I also read books about China.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 04, 2007, 02:18:17 PM
I am currently being held captive by a large tome dealing with WWI. It's quite fascinating. My history teachers neglected to tell me much about this little skirmish, they were too preoccupied with telling me about the horrors of WWII. I seem to recall them telling me that WWI began because Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. That is just so completely wrong! I think I need to track down all my old teachers and  cbcbcbcbcb 'em good!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 04, 2007, 02:46:25 PM
I am currently being held captive by a large tome dealing with WWI......I seem to recall them telling me that WWI began because Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. That is just so completely wrong!


No, FF was not (just) killed by an assassin....he was done to death by Vanity.  He was such a prissy clothes-horse, that he insisted on being sewn into his suits! each day, and then he refused to give his doctors permission to cut them (even to sve his own life)!....and no one really mourned his dying...it was simply a good excuse to start a rumble - which then became widespread.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: limubai2000 on July 04, 2007, 04:22:34 PM
Dragonlance is being made into an animated movie and it is already to the point that the composer is working on the score.

http://www.dragonlance-movie.com/ (http://www.dragonlance-movie.com/)



Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: solongtinik on July 05, 2007, 03:42:02 AM
my first day in my town was spent in buying books!!!!!!!!

i bought the "the zahir" and jodi piccoult's "perfect match"..and some books from the book sale shops!!!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on July 05, 2007, 04:36:12 AM
my first day in my town was spent in buying books!!!!!!!!

i bought the "the zahir" and jodi piccoult's "perfect match"..and some books from the book sale shops!!!!

the Zahir is amazing.... easily one of my favorite books from the last decade! No one seems to understand and portray Obsession & Passion like Paolo
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on July 05, 2007, 06:15:59 AM
You mean the Myth books? Yep, read them all. Devoured all the Dragonlance books when I was 15. I hear they are making that series into an animated series or movies. Should be interestin.

Yeah, I LOVED the Dragonlance books, or the Chronicles and Legends at any rate.  Raistlin and Cameron, what a fascinating pair of twins.  I liked the third book in Legends where the world is all messed up in the future.

Currently reading the first book of His Dark Materials, Northern Lights.  It's pretty cool.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on July 05, 2007, 06:20:22 AM
Oh my god, I'm glad someone else mentioned how bad the Dungeons and Dragon film was.  That truly was utterly shocking, up there (or down there) with Lost in Space and Spawn in my worst ever films list. 

IIRC LOTR came out about six months later, talk about ridiculous to the sublime.  Anyone who slags off Jackson's opus should be forced to watch that D&D crap.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: moon over parma on July 05, 2007, 06:33:19 AM
Anyone who slags off Jackson's opus should be forced to watch that D&D crap.

Or, just as bad - for slagging they should be forced to watch Jackson's version of KING KONG as punishment. Poor guy rushed in too quick with KONG. He spent a lot of aesthetic equity bringing the RINGS films to life.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 05, 2007, 06:51:24 AM
The really weird thing is that, albeit LOTR is the Godfather of Fantasy, it really takes a lot of effort to make D&D suck. Having read FR, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, David Eddings (his Sparhawk books are some of the best fantasy ever written, in my humble opinion)and a whole host of other authors, I am amazed that Hollywood could make such a complete mess of the genre. It did not help that one of those annoying Wayans brothers, the Whalin chap and the Master of Over-acting, Jeremy Irons himself was in it. I don't know what happened to Mr.Irons, he was always a rather good actor and was splendid in "Elizabeth I". As for interesting early fantasy, I can highly recommend the tales of Lord Dunsany, they are quite enjoyable.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: dragonsaver on July 05, 2007, 10:29:22 AM
McCaffrey is my favourite.  That new Dragon book sounds interesting.  I must look for it when I get to Canada.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on July 05, 2007, 02:13:44 PM
Anyone who slags off Jackson's opus should be forced to watch that D&D crap.

Or, just as bad - for slagging they should be forced to watch Jackson's version of KING KONG as punishment. Poor guy rushed in too quick with KONG. He spent a lot of aesthetic equity bringing the RINGS films to life.

I quite liked King Kong, but agreed, but it to say it wasn't a patch on LOTR would be an insult to patches.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on July 05, 2007, 03:32:40 PM
Just reluctantly finished a re-reading of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. God, what I'd give to be able to write like that. And/or to have his access to truly interesting drugs.  uuuuuuuuuu
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: moon over parma on July 05, 2007, 03:49:06 PM
God, what I'd give to be able to write like that.

Lesson one: Get a crazy, 300lb Chicano lawyer with really, really, really good connections.

Lesson two: see lesson one.

Final word of advice from the rumbling voice that lurks in the darkness that looms from dusk until dawn on the meadows of the heavily-fortified Owl Creek coumpound; out where the crazy never die, and maybe every blue moon a Brown Buffalo roams: "Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether."
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on July 05, 2007, 04:11:44 PM
Just reluctantly finished a re-reading of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. God, what I'd give to be able to write like that. And/or to have his access to truly interesting drugs.  uuuuuuuuuu

China really isn't the place to be if you're into interesting drugs...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on July 05, 2007, 04:44:31 PM
This is news to me, my friend. uuuuuuuuuu
Maybe it's all in Moon's connections thing....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cheekygal on July 05, 2007, 06:15:20 PM
Reminds me - I have to take all my mom's books back.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on July 06, 2007, 05:07:06 PM
This is news to me, my friend. uuuuuuuuuu
Maybe it's all in Moon's connections thing....

Admittedly since meeting Mrs CD I haven't looked all that hard, but it appears to be all mongy Es, ketamine and very weak weed...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: limubai2000 on July 09, 2007, 09:35:01 PM
I finished Shibumi which was great.

I'm halfway through with The Iliad.  I haven't read it in a long time, great stuff!

Any other Song of Fire and Ice fans?  George RR Martin spins a great yarn.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Clan on July 10, 2007, 02:53:07 AM
I just finished a fan book of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I will so begin the real one afafafafaf.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on July 10, 2007, 07:09:23 AM
I just finished a fan book of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I will so begin the real one afafafafaf.

I managed to get my hands on a few of those thinking they were the real thing... asasasasas asasasasas Now I'm just waiting until the official release! I've already pre-ordered my copy at one of the Beijing bookstores... Now, I'm re-reading HP and the half-blood prince to prepare myself.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mimi on July 11, 2007, 04:16:52 AM
It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—that kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run...

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder’s jacket ... booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end ... but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was ... You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning ...

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave ...

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.


HST.  At the time (was I 14? 15?) the most meaningful thing I had ever read. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on July 11, 2007, 06:00:47 AM
Just finished Tiziano Terzani's 'A fortune teller told me'.  He is a journo with Der Spiegel and the book was the story of his travels for 12 months in Asia and across Europe only using land/sea transport and in the various countries visiting different fortune tellers.

Amazing story.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: limubai2000 on July 14, 2007, 01:32:26 PM
Finished The Iliad

Now starting Laughing Sutra by Mark Salzman (Iron & Silk) and it's just a more updated version of Journey To The West, entertaining read.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: anya on July 24, 2007, 02:06:29 AM
^wow, you read the Iliad for pleasure? impressive!

I just finished Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland and now I am onto some cheesy Russian detective story. Actually, I thought I would be doing a lot more reading than I am in China... Time just seems to slip away!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mimi on July 24, 2007, 02:22:41 AM
I finished the new Harry Potter book today, which is why I am back on the internet.  Someone spoiled the last one for me, and I was bummed.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 24, 2007, 07:09:08 AM
I just finished the Deathly Hallows too. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. And now I am going to re-read Tristram Shandy.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 24, 2007, 08:09:57 AM
 asasasasas Amazon F***'d up my order (placed in February!!!), so I have to wait for HP book.  llllllllll Probably not here for another 2 weeks. bcbcbcbcbc




Presently in the middle of the Sackett family sagas (Louis L'Amour).  Some nice, light, Western time-fillers.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: non-dave on July 24, 2007, 09:39:33 AM
You're my kinda girl AMonk, nothing like a good western story and L'Amour is a favourite. He wrote a ripping yarn (not a western, though) about an American Indian US Fighter Pilot shot down over Russia who escapes and runs through Siberia. I forget the name but it was a book I read every year or so...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 24, 2007, 10:10:51 AM
Last of the Breed - an Excellent read!!  And I loved the way he started at the end of the story, then went back to tell the tale, before giving me a "cliffhanger" to finish..?...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: limubai2000 on July 24, 2007, 10:53:42 AM
Deer And The Cauldron Book 1 - Louis Cha, just started it, wonderful so far!

I also dug through some essays about the Trojan War by Eric Cline on the internet.  I guess the Iliad is still haunting my mind. 

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Clan on July 25, 2007, 12:30:01 AM
HP done. Good stuff still wanted more stuff details and things. Excellent book sad to see the end. Sorry you had it spoiled.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Eagle on July 25, 2007, 04:33:11 AM
What I am reading is so pathetic that I can't even remember it's name ... and I don't even want to go to the reading room (aka - can) to find out what it is called.  It is something about the universe and strange species that live for megathousands of years and who get on each others nerves usually by being overly polite - sheesh, it sounds like a retirement home in Canada!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on July 25, 2007, 05:31:55 AM
The only book I've read lately that I'd recommend is Carter Beats the Devil.  It was in a book place in Baijing, and I've since seen it here in Canada, so it's becoming popular.  Actors must be fighting over the script as we speak.

I went to a place in Beijing called Bookworm: a library married a restaurant.  There were THOUSANDS of books on the shelves- I could end up losing my personal life to a place like that...

And may: they're opening a branch in Suzhou!
axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on July 27, 2007, 02:08:46 PM
Lonely Planet T.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on August 27, 2007, 10:38:00 AM
Finished the Sackett family stories (Louis L'Amour), HP (finally arrived!) and a couple of others, now re-starting Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books.









p.s. Pratchett has a new one due out fairly soon, about the Treasury (and Mint) in Ankh-Morpork.  It's on my 'Pre-Order' list at Amazon.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 27, 2007, 10:48:54 AM
Yep, Pratchett's latest "Making Money" is due September 24th. I might be able to pick up a copy in Canada to read on the flight home. Whopeee bfbfbfbfbf

Just finished reading Christopher Moore's "Lamb: the gospel according to Jesus' best childhood pal Biff". Hilarious and highly recommendable.

Have now started Samuel Butler's "Erewhon" and "Osman's Dream".
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: belrain on August 27, 2007, 11:03:52 AM
A new Disc World Novel?  bfbfbfbfbf agagagagag agagagagag agagagagag

I just started reading "Das verbotene Land" in english probably "Forbidden Land" by Margaret Weis. Cool stuff bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: limubai2000 on August 27, 2007, 11:11:36 AM
Finished David Gemmel's Bloodstone featuring the uber cool Gunslinger knockoff Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem Man.

Rereading Iliad for writing research.

Now reading book of 1 Arturo Perez-Reverte's series Captain Alatriste which is awesome! Basically a Spanish 1 musketeer type thing, it's great. 

On a somewhat related note, anyone ever had an idea for a Saloonie library?  Maybe checking books out by mail or something? 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Newbs on August 27, 2007, 08:26:53 PM
Just finished "Life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson.  First half was really great, at times I laughed so much people nearby started to move away and hide the sharp objects.  Second half it tapered off a bit but still a damn good read.  Recommended if you haven't read it yet.  It seemed, to me, to really show what it must have been like living in nice, white, middle class America in the '50s.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 27, 2007, 08:41:07 PM
Discovered a large, hidden used bookstore down some alley in Copenhagen. Bought the entire Flashman series. If you ever want to brush up on your 19th Century British history and have fun while doing it, Flashman is a good choice.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: George on August 27, 2007, 09:03:46 PM
Second that!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: solongtinik on August 28, 2007, 01:47:02 AM
finished "black order"

and

"who moved my cheese" good read!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kcanuck on August 28, 2007, 02:57:05 AM
nothing significant but I am reading and it's a treat.  There's a few more foreigners here and we've set up a lending library conveniently managed buy a canuck who's managing a bar...so I get to exchange books and have a pijiu while I'm doing it.  It's wonderful to be able to just read as much as I want without worrying about running out of material...for awhile, at least.  agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on August 28, 2007, 07:31:39 AM
New books arrived from Amazon today - and more on the way!!  Yippee.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on September 19, 2007, 08:29:53 AM
Nearly finished the Valdemar series, time to start raiding my shelves for my next binge.  Hhmmm.....what's next?  StarTrek?  Pern?  Darkover?  something of an historic nature? kkkkkkkkkk
Decisions, decisions, decisions  ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 19, 2007, 08:33:10 AM
I've just 2 Eric Frank Russell books from Amazon. Amazon is dangerous. cbcbcbcbcb
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on September 19, 2007, 09:15:23 AM
Eric Frank Russell is a legend.

I am reading New Scientist, Unleashing the IDea Virus by Seth Godin, Phaic Tan the travel book, Fire Time (poul anderson) and Frankenstein Unbound (Aldiss) Just finished a book on child development

and Dr Seuss one fish two fish.

Well, I did read it, but my little girl just looks at me blankly. Maybe wait a little longer before i read it to her again. Read the Sneetches to my wife while I was at it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on September 19, 2007, 10:26:33 PM
I'm reading 'life and death in Shanghai'by Nien Cheng. It's a cultural revolution thing - i've read quite a lot of these and this is a good one.

Also i'm half way through a biography of Billy Connelly written by his wife Pamela Stephenson. It's not as funny as i would have hoped, but a good read all the same.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 19, 2007, 11:54:09 PM

Also i'm half way through a biography of Billy Connelly written by his wife Pamela Stephenson. It's not as funny as i would have hoped, but a good read all the same.

Bit hard to make abuse funny, even for those two.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on September 20, 2007, 01:48:27 AM
Raoul's China Saloon (V3.0)

But in a few minutes, I will read some of a cookbook. Mmmm. Food. I have a cookbook with meat cuts in it, so I am showing my wife about it in the probably vain hope she can get some poor sucker to cut meat that way. Maybe not a great read, but satisfying, if I can make it work.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on September 20, 2007, 02:58:45 AM
Two of the better cookbooks, IMHO, especially here where you can't buy stuff but must make it all from scratch:

Cooking, a commonsense guide. (it has the meat cuts, plus how to make everything from scratch. A guide for the compleat idiot, but when doing things like making basics such as flaky pastry, marmalades, pickled onions etc or pasta or gnocchi or stocks and such, which I never had to do back in Oz, I need an idiot's guide. Plus it pictures the herbs, vegies, etc so I can ask the wife, wassis in Chinese, and try to get it. All the tools and implements, too. It;s been a big help) The paper is also food-resistance and wipeable as long as not too wet or oily, and spiral bound so it stays open flat.

The other one I have here is the Margaret Fulton complete guide. It's just a big book of western cooking, many kinds of others just as good, but it IS good. I have several others I prefer, but they are in Oz. Betty Crocker is also good, but I don't have a copy.

I use the net for other things such as I am going to be making sausages soon, which I haven;t done before either. MMM real sausages.

Muffin recipes I have but never tried cooking them, so I can't recommend any. Cakes, I hardly ever use a recipe, just what's around. Except for some maniac chocolate recipes that I don;t have with me here.

I am going to try for mum's profiteroles soon, I think, which will be a test of the Chinese equipment. Maybe during the October hols. If they work, will post pics and recipe.

Should this be in "cooking" or something? But this is a book I am reading. Maybe I will copy it and find the cooking thread too.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on September 20, 2007, 10:32:58 AM
Quote
Bit hard to make abuse funny, even for those two.

Very true LE, i never really knew much about his background but still a very interesting read. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kcanuck on September 20, 2007, 11:55:36 AM
Wild Swans, left behind by a foreigner.  I was told by a local that the book is banned in China, can anyone confirm that?  It's very interesting since much of it is set in this part of China and a very easy read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on September 20, 2007, 02:31:42 PM
It is true wild swans is supposed to be banned in China, although it is also true that the author is very much respected by the chinese big wigs, as her writing is known to be quite truthful, i think wild swans is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the chinese way of life.

After you have finished reading that i wholly reccommend her book on Mao, it is said that a lot of the old guard told her a lot of truths, due to her writing acuricies(i know thats spelt wrong, but it's late) in wild swns.
 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on September 21, 2007, 02:21:07 PM
Yeah, I'm dying to read that.  Wild Swans was amazing; compared to it, Dog's Daughter was lame.  Heck, I[/] wanted to deport the disagreeable little creep to a camp by the end of that book.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: phets72 on September 21, 2007, 06:18:05 PM
Ian Rankin - Exit Music - Fantastic!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on September 22, 2007, 02:55:33 PM
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. David Copperfield. All About Spice (a cookery book. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass; Hans Christian Anderson The Life of a Story Teller ; and What's So Important About Grace by Phillip Yancey.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on September 22, 2007, 05:10:25 PM
Sounds like a good, eclectic mix!!  Read On!!  agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: solongtinik on October 04, 2007, 08:49:37 AM
to all the aussies here please 100x! if anyone has the book |"mutant message" please send me a copy..i'll be glad to pay whatever amount it will cost in sending me...thanks!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on October 04, 2007, 09:27:12 AM
It's more popular in the USA where people believe the fiction depicted in the book is real. It has some terrible reviews in Oz, in fact, apparently Ozzies don't read it. I wonder what Lotus thinks of it? She used to work with aboriginals.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: belrain on October 04, 2007, 09:34:40 AM
The new Terry Pratchet is coming bfbfbfbfbf
Amazon send me an E-Mail, it is on its way to my home bfbfbfbfbf
So, when I start my travel to China tomorrow, I can start reading it - that is just in time delivery  agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on October 04, 2007, 09:57:59 AM
I just checked out this book on Amazon.....it got nearly universally bad reviews.  One fellow even wrote to say that the Aborigines were angry and upset over the book.  It was too Americanized and there were too many flat out lies in it.  (He's white, but working with the Aborigines for over 20 years).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on October 04, 2007, 10:49:42 AM
What does 'too Americanized' mean?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 04, 2007, 11:24:22 AM
'Too Americanised ' usually means that language, situations and cultural values have been changed to appeal to an American market.  It ignores the reality of other places, other views.

I haven't read it, and if it is true that there are too many flat out lies in it - I'd rather not.  Australians can create enough flat out lies about Indigenous Australians without other nationalities coming in and adding their versions of new lies! ahahahahah

I remember the 1st book - and the anger and frustration it caused among my Murri friends.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on October 04, 2007, 02:33:24 PM
What does 'too Americanized' mean?


Using Native American customs/rites and presenting them as Aboriginal.  e.g. dreamcatchers. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 04, 2007, 03:18:34 PM
Liz Byrski's "Gang of Four". Just wonderful! Australian writer - magic reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 04, 2007, 04:15:14 PM
Just finshed "Making money" by Pratchett, have now started "Stardust" by Gaiman, it's rather good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on October 04, 2007, 04:48:59 PM
I will get to read "making money" by hook or by crook.

Reading "The Key" by James Frey (about myths and writing)
about to start levinson's Guerilla marketing. Wife starting to read the hobbit.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on October 04, 2007, 10:11:27 PM
Picked up 2 Spike Milligan books out of a second hand book store. "Mussolini, his part in my downfall" and "Rommel?Gunner who?" Cant wait to get started on them, even if reading Spike makes me look like a crazy man when i start laughing out loud.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: teleplayer on October 04, 2007, 11:33:09 PM
Just finished Peter Hessler's "River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze." Hessler is back in China as a Beijing based free-lance journalist wriging for "The New Yorker," "National Geographic" among others. and . He was US Peace Corps ((they only take master's degrees as teachers I've learned from net) teaching English at a teacher's college in Fuling, Sichuan Province.
I think he tried to be honest to his experience and the people as best one could. His story not unlike what I hear here from those of you away from the major cities. Was struck by how an incident at his school involving PE Dept vs not a waiguoren teacher but poor folk in Fuling sounded much like THA's experience.
Want to read his "Oracle Bones" as well as some books from his reading list mentioned at end of book.

Also, I think he adequately predicted that Three Gorges Dam was going to make a bit of a mess. We now know it's having some meteorlogical effects that probably aren't so good. He basically saw it as damming up the upper Yangtze and it's tributaries with pollution. Guess time will tell.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 04, 2007, 11:35:24 PM
It was a good book.  The bit that got me was where he studied Chinese for 2 hours every night! That's dedication.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: teleplayer on October 04, 2007, 11:37:03 PM
It was a good book.  The bit that got me was where he studied Chinese for 2 hours every night! That's dedication.

Really, best I do is repeat of Pimsleur on my 30 minute walk to work...funny what you hear on the second and third listen. While learnign to write all that in Pinyin and Hanzi it's time for me to move on to more stringent. I envy those of you who are emersed.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Newbs on October 04, 2007, 11:56:46 PM
Noodles, stop me if I'm telling you the bloody obvious but Spike's war trilogy eventually became 6, or maybe 7, volumes.  In order, they are
"Adolf Hitler, my part in his downfall"
"Rommel?  Gunner who?"
"Monty, his part in my victory"
"Mussolini, his part in my downfall"
"Where have all the bullets gone?" and
"Goodbye soldier"

There may have been a 7th volume, but I've only got 6.

"Rivertown"  good read. bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on October 05, 2007, 12:13:48 AM
Hey Newbs, Yeah i've read the others that's why i got these two. Although not read where have all the bullets gone.

For the life of me i can't remember his books about the Irish guy/family living in London. Also great fun and i'd love to read again.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cheekygal on October 06, 2007, 09:15:43 AM
Books on Laws of Attraction, the Secret, multiple magazines on Interior Design and many many more things. I am multi-taskingreading!!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: woza on October 06, 2007, 09:57:23 AM
I have this new contract starting, very important, no textbook, so I have been reading a lot about curriculum planning from the internet.  It has really centred me, on how to go about doing this.  I have downloaded a lot about this global company as well.
Haven't actually read a book for a while, novels bore me now, whereas I used to love them.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on October 06, 2007, 10:16:23 AM
Two good books available in Foreign Language Bookstores are:

TEACHER'S HANDBOOK: Contextualized Language Instruction
Original Book ISBN 0-8384-1465-6


DESIGNING LANGUAGE COURSES: A Guide for Teachers.
Original book ISBN 0-8384.7909-%

Both books by Heinle and Heinle
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: teleplayer on October 08, 2007, 10:27:47 PM
Two good books available in Foreign Language Bookstores are:

TEACHER'S HANDBOOK: Contextualized Language Instruction
Original Book ISBN 0-8384-1465-6


DESIGNING LANGUAGE COURSES: A Guide for Teachers.
Original book ISBN 0-8384.7909-%

Both books by Heinle and Heinle


Jade, This would be good info over in the "Teachers Tips" thread. IN fact, may need a "Curriculum/Course Development" thread all it's own.


And a tad off topic.....(it's about writin' a reader okay?)
Oh, does anybody remember when in saloon one there was an attempt to write a saloon course book? Now, I know Raoul has the market on the concierge, room service, wait staff, cabbie, pink hair-dresser training manuals/supplements but is there a group here working on a basic primer. (I know there's a joke to follow this with too but my thoughts fail me)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: anya on October 09, 2007, 05:19:23 AM
The Zahir, by Coehlo. i stole it from a hostel in Shanghai, and so far it's good :)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 09, 2007, 05:48:13 AM
The complete works of Orhan Pamuk. It's for work, but they are actually really good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on October 09, 2007, 07:07:35 AM
The Zahir, by Coehlo. i stole it from a hostel in Shanghai, and so far it's good :)

that book is amazing... I read it twice this year and will probably do it again soon! just love it... no one writes obsession and passion like Coelho does
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 15, 2007, 12:47:46 PM
How come this thread falls away so fast and the movie thread stays up there? aoaoaoaoao

My books from Amazon arrived with 2 books by Eric Frank Russell in them - and not just books - compendia! The first is short stories, the 2nd 5 novels.

Nice for this weather.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on October 15, 2007, 12:56:19 PM
William Faulkner: A Light In August.

Re-reading The Secret Garden and The Three Musketeers.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: woza on October 15, 2007, 03:57:01 PM
AJ thanks for that.  Teleplayer they are books.  Don't be so anal.  The OP asked what books are you reading, I am actually researching books to buy on the internet on this subject, and maybe I will read them.  Am I being too broad?
I am currently reading Cat in The Hat to my grandson.  I am not enjoying it at all.
Why is this book so popular?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 15, 2007, 06:23:32 PM
A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller Jr.

"There were spaceships again that century, and the ships were manned by fuzzy impossibilities that walked on two legs and sprouted tufts of hair in unlikely anatomical regions.  They were a garrulous kind.  They belonged to a race quite capable of admiring its own image in a mirror, and equally capable of cutting its own throat before the altar of some tribal god, such as the deity of Daily Shaving.  It was a species that often considered itself to be, basically, a race of divinely inspired toolmakers; any intelligent entity from Arcturus would instantly have perceived them to be, basically, a race of impassioned after-dinner speechmakers."

Speaks for itself.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on October 15, 2007, 11:47:43 PM
Woza, get a hold of "the political Dr Seuss" if you can, a good doco on the man. The point is that unlike most kids writers, he is using concepts (like equality and other good things for people to learn) as mythopoetic ideals for the kids to absorb.

Combining that with reading "The Key" mentioned earlier, the long term effect of such writings in the population can be seen.

I too am reading some of his books, but I am enjoying them. Wife seeing them for the first time, heh. She wants to see how they turn out.

Nearly finished century rain by Alastair Reynolds. Good ultra-cyberpunk sf.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on October 16, 2007, 06:35:21 AM
Dr. Seuss is great. A friend just brought a bunch of his stuff from Canada. The kid loves Hop on Pop. I personally can't get enough of Green Eggs and Ham.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on October 16, 2007, 07:36:43 AM
Woza, the Cat in the Hat loves to have fun, and though he means well, makes a terrible mess and nearly ruins everything.  But in the end he makes it good, Mom comes home without incident and everyone had a good time.  Curious George does that in every single one of his books.

That said, it's far from my favourite.  Green Eggs and Ham is arguably his true Seuss-terpiece, although Hop On Pop and Oh, the Things You Will Do are both candidates as well.

Oh, does anybody remember when in saloon one there was an attempt to write a saloon course book? Now, I know Raoul has the market on the concierge, room service, wait staff, cabbie, pink hair-dresser training manuals/supplements but is there a group here working on a basic primer. (I know there's a joke to follow this with too but my thoughts fail me)

Yes, in a way.  The English textbook primer dwindled out when we all figured out that each of us had a distinct book in mind: some wanted a book for adult professionals, some a grammar book, some an 'Apple-Banana' starter book. 

Tell you what, I'll start a thread Upstairs in the serious room...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mimi on October 18, 2007, 04:05:41 AM
I just read Rosemary's Baby

Blech.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on October 18, 2007, 04:48:07 AM
I am re-reading the book I read last post, it was great.

I am also reading "the god delusion" by Dawkins (as a pdf which is not as happy, but at least I have it to read and didn't have to pay for it. I like real books, but feel guilty printing so many pages on a printer. Don't know why.), but its very very good so far.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 18, 2007, 06:12:09 AM
To cheer myself up and because winter is coming, I ordered a pile of books from Amazon (it's amazing how much money you can save by having the social life of a skunk) and am going to settle down with a mug of coffee, followed be the adventures of Flashman shortly to be followed by the complete works of Jerome K Jerome, interspersed with the works of the one true master, P.G.Wodehouse.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: dragonsaver on October 18, 2007, 06:28:11 AM
Man its been years since I read PG Wodehouse.  He is so good and funny.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 18, 2007, 07:13:53 AM
I can't decide which I like best: Jeeves&Wooster or the Blandings stories. I want to be Lord Emsworth when I grow old.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 18, 2007, 07:44:46 AM
Jeeves.  Remember the old Wodehouse Playhouse - ABC TV back in the olden days?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cheekygal on October 18, 2007, 07:53:54 AM
"Rich Dad, Poor Dad". Interesting reading!!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 18, 2007, 08:00:13 AM
Jeeves.  Remember the old Wodehouse Playhouse - ABC TV back in the olden days?

Alas, no, this did not get aired in Denmark. Have bought and watched, over and over and over and over etc the Jeeves&Wooster TV show.

Whoops...hi-jacking...better stop...If any of you are unfimiliar with George Macdonald Fraser, I recommend you pick up his Flashman series.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kcanuck on October 18, 2007, 11:31:39 PM
Munsch has a website where you can download MP3's of him reading his stories.  I presented the Paper Bag Princess to my college students last year, they loved it, though I had to do a lot of explaining...Robert really gets into his reading and sometimes zips through stuff.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on October 19, 2007, 02:34:27 PM
Munch's awesome.  My kindies loved his stuff.  Part of it's the stories- genuinely funny.  And his illustrators embed little eye grabbers and puzzles to keep the book from getting stale.

I read about 60 pages into The Red Tent, but Bugalugs took it to ship back to Juanbimba.  llllllllll God, I hope Bookworm has it- it's amazing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on October 19, 2007, 04:09:20 PM
Should have read faster. Totally enjoyed it, i read it twice. I'll be on the look out for it to add to my collection :)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on October 20, 2007, 03:30:48 PM
 It ends with a bitchin' car chase.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: jwbhomer on October 20, 2007, 03:51:31 PM
When the Going Gets Weird: the twisted life and times of hunter s. thompson, by Peter O. Whitmer - ISBN 1-56282-856-8
Raoul Duke please note!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on October 26, 2007, 10:11:28 PM
Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

Re-reading Treasure Island.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on October 27, 2007, 06:37:49 AM

Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco

this is one strange book so far! The description are nothing short of exhaustive (borderline exhausting... ) but a couple of chapters into it, it starts getting interesting.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kcanuck on October 27, 2007, 11:07:06 AM
Just finished Shanghai Baby, the jacket says this book is "banned and burned in China." There was quite a bit of sex in it, guess that's why burning is added in addition to the usual banning .   
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on October 27, 2007, 11:10:23 AM
WHAT!!!   No Hanging or Drawing or Quartering!!??!!  For shame!! cbcbcbcbcb afafafafaf afafafafaf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 27, 2007, 12:17:36 PM
Just finished "Tales from Nowhere" - a Lonely Planet book of travellers tales.  I love reading travel writing.

This one came from "Joyo" the Chinese version of Amazon. Delivered to my door, cash on delivery.  Much cheaper than having it sent form overseas.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: jwbhomer on October 30, 2007, 01:28:59 AM
Just finished Shanghai Baby, the jacket says this book is "banned and burned in China." There was quite a bit of sex in it, guess that's why burning is added in addition to the usual banning .   

More info please? Is it a novel? Author? One-sentence synopsis?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: jwbhomer on October 30, 2007, 01:31:16 AM
Just finished "Tales from Nowhere" - a Lonely Planet book of travellers tales.  I love reading travel writing.

This one came from "Joyo" the Chinese version of Amazon. Delivered to my door, cash on delivery.  Much cheaper than having it sent form overseas.

Also my favourite type of writing. (See recommendations above.) But I'm surprised you were able to get a foreign book in China. Or was this a Chinese imprint?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kcanuck on October 30, 2007, 03:54:36 AM
Sorry, Shanghai Baby has left my possession, can't remember the author but it was written by a mid 20's female living in Shanghai in 1999.  Autobiographical about her life as a struggling author cohabitating with a young man who has a problem with drugs.  Throw a foreign lover into the mix and a lot of Shanghai nightlife and you've got one steamy novel.  Nothing deep and meaningful but an interesting read nonetheless.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: belrain on October 30, 2007, 11:16:26 AM
The new Disc World novel by Terry Pratchett. Absolutely great  bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mimi on October 30, 2007, 12:42:21 PM
belrain - I adore Terry Pratchett!

Right now, I am reading a short story collection put together by David Sedaris。  I started Lisey's Story by Stephen King, but his writing makes me so angry.  I just want to find out what happens next, I don't want to suffer through fifty pages of his stumbling prose to get there.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Eagle on October 30, 2007, 01:08:30 PM
Just finished reading a few books:  Knights of the Black and White, by Jack Whyte; and Black Order by James Rollins.  Right now, I am reading another Ian Rankin book, The Fall.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 30, 2007, 03:56:30 PM
It's a Lonely Planet book which are printed in China anyway for distribution. But if you navigate through the website, you will find a reasonable (not great) selection of foreign books.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: jwbhomer on November 02, 2007, 02:08:49 AM

I've started to do some reading for my Master's dissertation and have been dipping in and out of several books, but the work of Jonathan Spence has caught my eye, particularly...

To Change China: Western Advisers in China

Sounds like a good recommendation. I'll have a look for it. For an interesting business book about what happens when you try to change Chinese business practices, do read "Mr. China" by Tim Clissold. Its point? TIC; proceed at your own peril.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 07, 2007, 02:46:28 PM
Finished Jian, forget the author's name.  got it from George.  Some of it takes place in Beijing, some in Suzhou!  Worthy read.

Just finished Snow Crash by Neal Stevenson.  Hated it to start, but it got better, and better, then was spectacular.  Almost in William Gibson's league, which is saying something.  Has this guy written anything else as good?

In the middle of Xenocide by Orson Scott Card, the 3rd in his Ender saga.  I'm a pig in poop-  all of you, find Ender's Game and read it before someone tells you all about it and wrecks it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: George on November 07, 2007, 02:54:44 PM
Neal Stevenson has written a number of books. Incidentally, "Snow Crash" started the path of Bruce Damer, who operates "Digital Space"...http://www.digitalspace.com/ (http://www.digitalspace.com/) which now employs my sister's company.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on November 11, 2007, 06:15:40 PM
Every bloody thing. Got it worked out so that my laptop is now my book. I got thousands.


Yaaah Bloody HOooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Working through discworld, warlock in spite of himself, Myth, and Demon Princes series this week. Thats just under 60 books. Less than ten a day. easy peasy.

mmmmmmmmmm.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: anya on November 12, 2007, 06:21:59 AM
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
it's not bad, but not as good as the reviews would have you believe
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ybielsalohcin on November 12, 2007, 06:41:35 AM
I finished re-reading Ishmael recently, and I'd push that book on just about everyone:

http://www.amazon.com/Ishmael-Adventure-Spirit-Daniel-Quinn/dp/0553375407

I also finished The Omnivore's Dilemma a couple of nights ago, which is a fun read, if depressing while in China.  It's hard to get excited about sustainable, local, organic food and then go to the xiaochi place for Steroid Pork in Hydrogenated Pepper Oil.

http://www.amazon.com/Omnivores-Dilemma-Natural-History-Meals/dp/1594200823

I started Hesse's Siddhartha last night as part of my recent Buddhist kick, brought on by some temple visits.  Next up is some Mark Twain, I think.  The American and British classics are readily available for fairly cheap in Beijing, so I guess this is an opportunity to fill in some gaps in my reading.  (But I don't LIKE Hawthorne...)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on November 12, 2007, 06:46:00 AM
Not like Hawthorne? House of the seven gables is one of the greatest books ever.
Anyhoo, I am on a Victorian trip at the moment, so I am reading the complete works of Dickens, Collins, Thackeray, Carlysle, and have just started on Jerome K. Jerome. That man was a genius. His "Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow" is highly recommendable.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: George on November 12, 2007, 07:53:40 AM
Jerome K Jerome , I read aeons ago when I was at school. Remember the humour.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on November 12, 2007, 09:17:03 AM
Hit the Foreign Languages bookshop this afternoon - but not as big a range as I hoped - spent nowhere near as much as I had budgeted!  But did end up with Ha Jin's In the Pond, St. Exupery's Little Prince, Yann Martel's Life of pi, J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) Memory in Death, and John Humphreys' Lost for words - mangling and manipulation of the English language.

The smell of a bookstore is wonderful!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 12, 2007, 12:11:29 PM
Life of Pi is delightful.  I get paid again today, so I can finally get a membership at Bookworm.

I've been reading a ton lately, and I like it.  I can feel myself getting smarter. wwwwwwwwww
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mimi on November 14, 2007, 09:05:34 AM
I finally read Running with Scissors.  I brought it with me and I recently found out my FAO was reading it, so I thought it would be fun to read it as well and then discuss it with her.  Now... I don't think so.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 14, 2007, 11:05:10 AM
Why, that bad?  Too good for the likes of her?  Too controversial?  Too dirty?

I found an autobiography that Martin Amis wrote when his father died.  DAMN funny so far.  It's waiting for me at the Bookworm when I get off here (Wednesday is Bookworm night).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mimi on November 14, 2007, 11:17:52 AM
Why, that bad?  Too good for the likes of her?  Too controversial?  Too dirty?


I just... I don't want to have to explain certain things to her.  But, I certainly don't want her to think that sort of family situation is common in America.  Maybe we will have an abbreviated discussion. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on November 14, 2007, 02:15:49 PM
Sadly finished with Jerome K. Jerome. That man is hilarious. "Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet, must be stolen". Ever so true.
Dug out my old Oxford History of English Literature. Had some fun discovering an old essay on "The Monk" tucked inside of it. Reminded me of those care-free days where one could sit and read all day and then go to the pub, proclaiming that one had worked hard all day. Have decided to pick myself up by the scruff of the neck and get down and dirty with some serious research. Pad and pen ready, flipped to the part where the 18th Century begins and have started to read, while jotting down authors names, date of birth/death and titles of works/date of publication. Seems I have a lot of reading to do. But there is a purpose to it. I learned recently that if you want something, you got to make it happen by yourself. So that is what I am doing. On with the reading!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 15, 2007, 02:04:50 PM
Want reading work ethic?  Read Money by Martin Amis.  He appears as an important character, helping out the protagonist.  At one point he describes a workday: Shakespeare for 2 hours EVERY morning, then 2 hours of a dead author, then 2 hours of a living author, then more Shakespeare...  how unworthy he makes me feel.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on November 15, 2007, 02:07:37 PM
Well, he also sounds unemployed.
But that is indeed discipline.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on November 16, 2007, 12:24:41 AM
Finished the J.D. Robb, now onto John Humphreys.  Not as scholarly as Don Watson, (Death Sentence, Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words) but just as entertaining on our use/modification of the language.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mimi on November 17, 2007, 01:02:47 PM
I just finished Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See.  It was a gift, as everyone thinks I must be dying to read about China now (I am, but not American fiction about China...)

I actually enjoyed myself while reading, but there was quite a lot about foot-binding and it made my feet ache.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 17, 2007, 03:42:43 PM
I just finished an Aussie novel, but I can't remember his name or the exact title.  Help me out, George: Watching the Stones?  Walking the Stones?  It's quite good, if rather anti-British.

I can't resist: an exerpt from Experience by Martin Amis, a snippet of conversation with his father, Kingsley Amis:

- I finally worked out why I don't like Americans.
I waited.
- Because everyone there is either a Jew or a hick.
- ... What's it like being mildly anti-Semitic?
- It's all right.
- No, what's it
feel like being mildly anti-Semitic?  Describe it.
- What's it feel like?  Well. Very mild, as you say.  If I'm watching the end of some new arts programme I might notice the Jewish names in the credits and think, Ah, there's another one.  Or:  Oh, I see.  There's another one.
- And that's all?
- More or less.  You just notice them.  You wouldn't want anyone to
do anything about it.  You'd be horrified by that.

It's not how loudly I laughed; it's that I luaghed about it every 3 minutes, for hours- it was just too ridiculous to get past.  Ever have one of those?  Okay, it's not that funny, and it's time to stop laughing and get on with life.  Then you laugh again.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: George on November 17, 2007, 06:12:49 PM
Sorry on. Can't help you. I lent that book to someone and it hasn't come back yet, so I can't look it up. Good read, though. I also got a Lisa See book as a gift. Basically, yer average whodunnit, set in China...for extra flavour.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 17, 2007, 06:16:59 PM
Yes, George, that was me you lent it to.  llllllllll  I'll post the name tomorrow.

I forgot!  I popped down to Bookworm the other night to read peacefully, and they were having a reading by Andy Williams, who wrote The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure and The Emperor's Bones.  There a third book out, hence his reading, but the sticker price is Y180.  aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: George on November 17, 2007, 06:18:36 PM
Quote
Yes, George, that was me you lent it to
afafafafaf
Gotcha!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cheekygal on November 18, 2007, 07:05:31 AM
I'm reading a Russian-English dictionary to beat Jorge in Scrabulous!  ahahahahah




P.S. I'm joking. I'm reading Modern Bride magazine because I want to make a dress for upcoming Latin Charity Ball.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on November 18, 2007, 08:15:42 AM
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on November 18, 2007, 10:10:18 AM
I took a short break from the eighteenth century yesterday, sometimes one does need to read something a bit lighter than Locke and Swift, and started a book called "The Heart-shaped Box" by newcomer Joe Hill. It is amazing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on November 21, 2007, 05:38:11 AM
I was looking for examples of flash fiction for my P/G Lit class and came across this gem.
Hilary Jenkins "Learning the Western Alphabet".

A set of flash fiction stories told from the point of view of a Chinese student and an FT. My students enjoyed them - especially "Green Ghost".

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/LearAlph.shtml (http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/LearAlph.shtml)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 21, 2007, 09:56:11 AM
Yeah, I enjoyed it. 

I just checked out One Hundred Years of Solitude.  It figures in nearly all of my friends' favourites list, including Raoul's and half of y'all.  The copy is small, with appallingly tiny font, so this will be a little grueling, but great lit's great lit.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on November 21, 2007, 02:28:19 PM
"The Heroin Diaries: a year in the life of a shattered rock star" by Nikki Sixx

amazing journey inside the mind and tribulations of an addict


Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on November 21, 2007, 03:14:27 PM
Finished "The Moonstone" and have now tucked into "The Woman in White". 9 Dickens novels, all wonderful Oxford University Press editions, arrived yesterday.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: limubai2000 on November 22, 2007, 02:53:18 AM
Journey to the West, Monkey King is insane! I love it!

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on November 23, 2007, 12:53:36 AM
Read Ha Jin's 'In the Pond' last night.  Interesting read set in the early years after the revolution. 

But I am curious to know why my Dean sent me an SMS at 1:15am asking me if I was still awake. Was he walking home and saw my light on, did he just take a punt in the dark?

Bought Chinese-English versions of "The Little Prince", "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam'  and Tagore's "Stray Birds" yesterday.  Plus a dictionary of Chinese idioms used in different fields (politics, economics etc).  There is a new bookshop near the uni, and it was offering good discounts.  Plus it has a lounge area at the back that they gave me cards to enter, so I can sit and read comfortably. Should I introduce the concept of (free) coffee and cake to them?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on November 27, 2007, 11:49:01 AM
Gao Xingjian's "Buying a fishing rod for my grandfather".  Nice collection of short stories by the Chinese Nobel Lit. winner.  Gives interesting insight into some behaviours.  "The Accident" was especially good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on December 04, 2007, 04:06:08 PM
Finished "Black" by Christopher Whitcomb (thanks DS - and I'm now looking for "White"), plus The Little Prince.  Half way through Life of Pi - and it's good!!  Lovely writing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lady Kate on December 15, 2007, 04:59:59 PM
I am currently reading The Once and Future King by T.H. White, a classic King Arthur story.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Clint Smoker on December 15, 2007, 05:24:45 PM
Hey Con--Money is one of my favorite books.

MY username is a character from his novel Yellow Dog, I like the name but overall found it almost unreadable.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: becster79 on December 16, 2007, 12:27:53 AM
I'm currently reading 'Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud', but Sun Shuyun. So fascinating! The author goes on the same journey as Xuanzang, the real dude Monkey King is based on. Great read, makes me want to revisit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian to take in what she saw.

Highly recommended!

Next thing will be my readings for my next MA subject uuuuuuuuuu...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on January 06, 2008, 04:04:41 AM
Bill Bryson 'A Short History of Nearly Everything'

I know there are a few scientists here who would probably scoff at this book but for a slack brain like myself this is a really good read. The physics covered in the book was nothing new to me but some of the other stuff is really interesting, actually written in a way that is quite amusing and doesn't cause me to zone out the way it did at school.

Also  Dai Sijie 'Mr Muo's Travelling Couch' Very good  funny book.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on January 06, 2008, 09:34:42 AM
A little bit of the Jesse Stone novels - I also enjoyed the movies, with Tom Selleck as the lead.

Finished Making Money, a good read, but not quite up to Pratchett's usual.  Presently re-visiting M.Z. Bradley's Thendara House.....which may result in a marathon re-read of her series on Darkova....or maybe not.  Depends on my mood.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 06, 2008, 09:18:59 PM
I have started "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare". Gotta read them at some point, besides it's just what you need after Chinese and Turkish....I swear Chinese characters were invented for the sole purpose of giving me a headache and yet I constantly come back for more bibibibibi
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on January 07, 2008, 10:05:22 AM
I have started "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare".



Nothing like a little light reading, is there?? ahahahahah agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 07, 2008, 10:20:48 AM
In Danish or English (or Turkish)?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on January 07, 2008, 10:23:46 AM
In English, of course......Willie didn't know Danish or Turkish!! ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 07, 2008, 10:27:15 AM
I'm having a hard time reading lately.  I need a book with a lot of dirty parts. afafafafaf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 07, 2008, 10:30:18 AM
I'm having a hard time reading lately.  I need a book with a lot of dirty parts. afafafafaf

Try the poems of John Wilmot or Charles Algernon Swinburne...or John Cleland's "Fanny Hill" or Defoe's "Moll Flanders"...full to the brim with lascivious naughty bits afafafafaf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 07, 2008, 10:32:26 AM
In Danish or English (or Turkish)?

In English....reading the Bard in any other language is like going to a Chinese restaurant here after having been in China, even if the cook is amazing, it will never be quite up to snuff.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 07, 2008, 10:36:24 AM
19th century smut? No thank you. avavavavav

i haven't read anything lowbrow in ages.  The writing I've been doing as taken too much out of my brain to absorb anything challenging.  "Triplets Go Shoping in Singapore" would do, so long as the type was really large.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on January 07, 2008, 10:40:54 AM
Or books by Anais Nin, or the "research" publications of Nancy Friday, or "The Story of O" or "Lady Chatterly's Lover". afafafafaf agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 07, 2008, 10:44:11 AM
Try Miller then.  But smut gets boring - you need to be able to read it TO someone and let it take you to other places. 

I'd say try a light murder instead.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 07, 2008, 10:45:57 AM
Or books by Anais Nin, or the "research" publications of Nancy Friday, or "The Story of O" or "Lady Chatterly's Lover". afafafafaf agagagagag

Have never gotten my hands on "Story of O".  Who is Nancy Friday?

Screw it, I'll just read a book about war, or one of those paperbacks with the cartoon-coloured covers about someone who hates her sister but then falls in love with a carpenter and forgives the sister shortly after quitting her high-powered job.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on January 07, 2008, 11:20:28 AM
Nancy Friday "researched" into people's (sexual) fantasies, then published them, with an erudite (NOT) commentary, to show that she was a serios researcher, rather than just a smut-monger.

Men in Love
My Secret Garden
Women on Top
Forbidden Flowers

Have fun!! bhbhbhbhbh agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on January 07, 2008, 12:14:18 PM
I have some war-ies if you want to borrow.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 08, 2008, 10:20:54 AM
Meh.  Think I'll just buy a coupla DVDs.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on January 08, 2008, 10:52:33 AM
Band of Brothers. Not that I watch that sort of thing. The young ones likes it.

I'm still turning over every sweet page by sweet page of Anna Karenina. Thank God the fridge has gone on the blink or I'd be sucked into the romance and danger of it all.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 09, 2008, 09:31:20 AM
Just finished Patricia Cornwall's "Predator".  Not her best, but good for a chilly afternoon.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on January 09, 2008, 09:34:04 AM
The Amber Spyglass.

After having spent months putting down then picking up again, Northern Lights (Golden Compass), I got through the Subtle Knife in about two days, and am now on the finale.

 agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 09, 2008, 10:09:34 AM
I found Pullman terribly disappointing. Amber Spyglass was good, Subtle Knife was ok and the last one was just plain odd and not good. Only reason I finished it was that once you start reading a book, you should finish it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 10, 2008, 01:38:52 AM
76 papers on "Using one of Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions and one of the 4 foundations of culture analyse the impact on Chinese and one other culture".

26 papers on "Using two of the methods of literary analysis (Feminist, Reader, Formalist, Marxist, Psychoanalytical etc) compare the readings of a novel, short story or poem of your choice."

Riveting reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on January 10, 2008, 01:41:41 AM

I just started readin "Soul Mountain" this morning!

So far so good, it's definitely not an over-prosed book and the writing is quite pleasant.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on January 10, 2008, 01:49:12 AM
Anna Karenina and The Good Earth and Mythology.. or rather I was. I lost my glasses again this week and the books have to wait until I get to the optometrist's this afternoon. asasasasas
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on January 10, 2008, 01:58:54 AM
Just read 'Lust, Caution' by Eileen Chang.

Gotta say i was a bit disappointed after all the hype about the movie - which i haven't seen yet, but it's just a short story with a collection of others. I haven't finished them all yet, not sure i will.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: dragonsaver on January 10, 2008, 01:59:29 AM
Bad luck Acjade  bibibibibi

The only reason I don't lose my glasses any more is I keep them on a chain around my neck.  I only need them for distance so I would take them off in the bank or similar places, lay them down and then leave.  Now, they hang from my neck when I don't need them.  The only problem I have is finding decent chains in China.   alalalalal
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 10, 2008, 09:32:06 AM
I read the first 30 pages of Love In the Time of Cholera.  Awesome!  And way easier than 100 Years of Solitude, which I'm still trudging through.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on January 10, 2008, 11:08:41 AM
I liked 100 Years of Solitude...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on January 10, 2008, 11:10:20 AM
I read the first 30 pages of Love In the Time of Cholera. 

Can you give me some more detail on that. It rings a big bell but the peels fade off.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 10, 2008, 12:49:29 PM
Book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Also made into a movie.  Tells the story of a love that stretches over 50 years, across marriage and affairs.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: George on January 10, 2008, 01:21:32 PM
Quote
Currently reading Ben Elton's Stark.
I think they made a crap movie of that in Melbourne. I had a tiny scene.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Shroomy on January 10, 2008, 01:49:32 PM
I loved both 100 Year of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.  I think I have read them several times, though I couldn't tell you what they were about. I haven't reread them since my brain malfunction in '96, similar to having someone erase most of your computer's hard drive, only bits and pieces left.  Like the names of the books, but not the story line or why you liked them.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on January 12, 2008, 05:49:05 AM
I loved Stark, although I read it many years ago.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 12, 2008, 07:27:27 AM
I love eBay!!! Just found "Jonathan Wild, Prince of Robbers" and Dennis Wheatley's "In the shadow of Tyburn Tree" and bou´ght them both for 10 pounds in all! And found among my books "The String of Pearls" which is the 19th Century penny dreadful that inspired Sondheim which then led to the, for me, much expected Sweeney Todd movie.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 15, 2008, 09:14:21 AM
I loved Stark, although I read it many years ago.

It was funny.  Matter of taste, I guess.

I recently read High Society, also by Ben Elton.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on January 15, 2008, 09:55:42 AM
Dead Famous is a good read too
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on February 06, 2008, 01:17:48 PM
Finished Christopher Whitcombe's "White" on the plane over and gave it to my daughter (Sorry DS) and on the plane today read Jane Smiley's "The age of grief'.  Not too bad.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on February 06, 2008, 01:58:03 PM
"The String of Pearls". The original Sweeney Todd tale from the 1840's.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on February 06, 2008, 02:24:27 PM
State of Fear by Michael Crichton.  Man, would Hamish hate it!  I'll sum it up when I'm done. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on February 08, 2008, 03:59:43 AM
Haven't had the time or means to read in a loooong time,but I'm on a big kick right now. Just finished A Voice For The Dead by Dr. James E. Starrs. The book is about the authors experiences conducting exhumations of people who died under questionable circumstances prior to the availability of todays forensic technology. Among the cases he looks at are The Donner Party, the alleged assassin of Huey Long, Jesse James and The Boston Strangler. He makes some fascinating discoveries and puts to rest a lot of myths.

 Currently reading Hunter Thompsons Generation  of Swine. A great read that gives me flashbacks to a decade of excess.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on February 10, 2008, 04:32:10 PM
Just bought and started "China: A New History" by John King Fairbank. I highly recommend it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on February 10, 2008, 04:41:44 PM
Just finished How Long Does It Hurt?, addressing the issue of incest and sexual abuse for teens (boys and girls).  Excellent resource.

Re-starting the "Darkover" series by Zimmer Bradley.  Should keep me going for a week or so.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on February 10, 2008, 05:23:27 PM
Reading a book called Galilee by Clive barker, which my mate said I would like.  It's, um, interesting so far.

Read another book about feuding families recently called On Beauty by Zadie Smith - now that is one brilliant book.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on February 11, 2008, 08:48:02 AM
Just started "Asian Godfathers" by Joe Studwell. Looks like it might be a real interesting book, it's about money and power in HK and south east asia. Full of interesting facts such as 8 out of the top 24 wealthiest families were (before the crash) south east asian.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on February 11, 2008, 09:08:59 AM
Finally embarked into a book by my favorite author I've been wanting to read for many years: The Satanic Verses  by Salman Rushdie. The man is far and away the most amazing writer I've ever witnessed.
So far Midnight's Children  is a better book...but I'm still very early in Verses...

For those of you reading HST: God luv ya. bfbfbfbfbf ajajajajaj
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on February 11, 2008, 09:15:26 AM
Even though I think it's great that TSV wound up the islamic extremists so much, it's also said to be a very pretentious, near-unreadable work...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: icebear on February 11, 2008, 01:06:40 PM
Currently reading Obama's Audacity of Hope. Its his perspective (realist as opposed to cynic) on modern politics, what's wrong with them, the joys of local politics (as opposed to national), etc. A bit like preaching to the choir much of the time but a lot of political stories which are new to me, as I normally don't follow politics on such a closer level.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on February 11, 2008, 01:17:56 PM
Even though I think it's great that TSV wound up the islamic extremists so much, it's also said to be a very pretentious, near-unreadable work...

It's not unreadable. It's very confusing, true. Lots of symbolism which will be lost on a lot of Western readers. I was lucky enough to have a Rushdie expert explain a lot of it during a lecture on post-colonial literature. Compared to Ulysses, it's neither unreadable or pretensious. I must admit I liked "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" way more than TSV.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on February 11, 2008, 08:30:56 PM
TSV is proving challenging going but not unreadable. I'm hanging in there so far.
As Eric points out, it helps to know at least a bit about India...true of many if not all of Rushdie's books.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: George on February 13, 2008, 11:41:04 PM
I found "Ruled Britannia" by whatsisface Turtledove, in Non-Daves cupboard, and I've just finished it. I previously read another of his books, which I found in Con's cupboard, and I pinched a third one from Non-Dave as well. Good shit, alternate history!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on February 14, 2008, 07:38:43 AM
I read 85 percent of an Iris Murdoch novel at the Bookworm; got in yesterday, and they'd shuffled the shelves!  llllllllll
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on February 14, 2008, 08:36:36 AM
Tokyo by Mo Hayder, an interesting look at the Nanking Massacre. Have really enjoyed it so far. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on February 14, 2008, 09:22:09 AM
I read 85 percent of an Iris Murdoch novel at the Bookworm; got in yesterday, and they'd shuffled the shelves!  llllllllll
Yeah. Apparently they hired Jason to do that. THAT  Jason... bibibibibi llllllllll aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on February 14, 2008, 09:29:23 AM
Meanwhile...starting to really get into TSV. The second section, entitled 'Mahound', is an absolutely breathtaking piece of writing. It elicited an audible 6am "Wow" when I turned the last page.

Also pretty sure this is the section that got Rushdie the fatwa issued on his ass. There are some things the Islamic orthodoxy do not like seeing written about... aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on February 17, 2008, 03:42:14 AM
 Reading East of Eden by Steinbeck. I loved his stuff when I was younger, but East of Eden was one I never got around to reading. For the last 7 years I've mostly only read non-fiction, but I have to say I'm enjoying this one a great deal. Steinbeck is one of the greatest story tellers of all time.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on February 18, 2008, 08:53:45 AM
I read 85 percent of an Iris Murdoch novel at the Bookworm; got in yesterday, and they'd shuffled the shelves!  llllllllll
Yeah. Apparently they hired Jason to do that. THAT  Jason... bibibibibi llllllllll aoaoaoaoao

They didn't hire ME?  asasasasas  They hired that piece of soylent green to touch those books?  aaaaaaaaaa  I oughta...

I'm reading "Blind Ambition" by John Dean, one of the guys who went to prison following the Watergate Scandal.  I'm really glued: the parallels with every place I've ever worked, especially in China are amazing... and pathetic and squalid.  Corruption, in the end, is a dreary, childish and in every sense of the word COMMON thing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on February 18, 2008, 09:13:59 AM
When are you going to bring Bookworm to Xi'an?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on February 18, 2008, 09:43:47 AM
I'm just a humble customer, but I'll put in a word.

How many foreigners does Xi-an have?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on February 18, 2008, 11:45:25 AM
It would make me sound gay.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on February 18, 2008, 11:54:49 AM
It would make me sound gay.

Not if you prefaced the remarks by saying, "Remember that young woman we brought in here when we had that snowstorm?  Well, she said to tell you that she thinks you are....."

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on February 18, 2008, 01:09:47 PM
It's a trap Con.

The words don't sound gay, sort of, but doing what they're asking is definitly gay.


Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on February 18, 2008, 02:23:12 PM
I must say though, Peter and Pierre.... that sounds like a nice couple.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on February 19, 2008, 08:46:14 AM
Yes, you are cbcbcbcbcb cbcbcbcbcb

Just began the small task of reading pretty much everything written in England between 1700 and 1900. Have to start somewhere and Samuel Richardson's "Clarissa" is a good place to do that. A 1000 page epistolary novel...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Eagle on February 19, 2008, 08:54:45 AM
Just began a new trilogy series sent to me by my daughter written by Fiona McIntosh called the Quickening.  So far okay for fantasy, especially since Fiona is an Australian.  Who woulda thunk?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Granny Mae on February 23, 2008, 12:55:27 AM
Have just started reading "Behind The Lines". For three years Andrew Carroll travelled throughout the United States and around the world to seek out the most powerful and unforgettable letters ever written during the U.S. wars. These include American and foreign war letters.There are vivid descriptions of guerrilla warfare dating back to the American Revolution. Fierce exchanges between brothers who fought on opposite sides of the Civl War. Secret messages to loved ones written by POWs while in captivity. Final words by troops who knew they were dying etc etc. LEST WE FORGET!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 14, 2008, 10:52:09 AM
Just started reading Nathan Englander's "The Ministry of Special Cases". It's really riveting.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kcanuck on March 14, 2008, 11:51:14 AM
Quote
"The Ministry of Special Cases"

That title sounds Harry Potter-ish to me...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on March 14, 2008, 11:57:47 AM
Or Monty Python-ish
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 14, 2008, 12:19:34 PM
Actually, it's neither. It's a very grim tale. No flying brooms or cutesy dragons. Lots of corruption and such.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: belrain on March 14, 2008, 12:43:57 PM
Lots of corruption and such.
So, a teaching book for living in China?  ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on March 15, 2008, 02:38:37 AM
I forgot to post I've been reading The Exquisite by Laird Hunt (a former teacher of mine) for about a week now. It's quite good... I'm almost finished.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on March 15, 2008, 02:49:47 AM
I'm re-reading the best photography book I've read - Michael Freeman's "The Photographer's Eye".

Plus reading Larry's Party, by Carol Shields (Canadian author) and Strange But True; Stories from Japan by Jack Seward.  (And my Chinese textbook!)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: joe.thinker on March 15, 2008, 04:23:51 AM
I just started a book called "Notes From an Exhibition." Bought it at the Bookworm (Suzhou) literary festival. Brilliant writing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on March 17, 2008, 11:56:58 AM
I got through over half of one of the funniest novels I've ever read, a Chinese effort called "Fortres Beseiged".  It's a Chinese novel, titled after a French proverb: "Marriage is like a fortress beseiged: those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside long to break out."  It follows the thoughts of both men and women, capturing the petty, silly, foolish and misguided thoughts of the characters.

The Bookworm got a copy, and I'm almost to the part where I was when I left it in a cab almost two years ago.  Absolute riot!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on March 17, 2008, 03:59:19 PM
It's a famous Chinese one.  Loaned my copy to someone and it has never returned.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on March 18, 2008, 04:50:19 AM
It's one of the best novels I've ever read.  Keep an eye out for it, people!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on March 18, 2008, 04:53:51 AM

just started reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash which came highly recommended by some friends. pretty interesting so far
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on March 18, 2008, 05:19:59 AM
Finished reading Galilee. Hmm.

Now going to try and get on with Ian McEwan's "Saturday" which I have already read some of, but which in my view has some seriously dodgy writing for such a good writer.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 18, 2008, 08:06:02 AM
Tracked down Christopher Hibbert's "The Roots of Evil: A Social History of Crime and Punishment"...it's really good. The good old days weren't that good, if one was a criminal.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on March 18, 2008, 10:26:01 AM
George gave me Snow Crash.  Really enjoyed it, but Neuromancer by William Gibson was better.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on March 18, 2008, 03:10:44 PM
Gibson is good.  Mr. N introduced them to me and I think I have all of his books, plus short stories now.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 28, 2008, 08:14:16 AM
For years now my dear, old, doddering dad has been clamouring on and on about a book. Normally, I pay no heed to the venerable old greybeard, as his incoherent mumbling usually revolves around the topic of me and my inability to appreciate the wonderful sensation of working with power-tools.
Frequently, the deluded chap will rant and rave for hours about different screws and show me drill after drill, sometimes he even gets so carried away that he hauls me off to a home depot, where he spends an hour salivating over yen another drill and complain about mom not letting him buy a digger. So you will understand that I am in the habit of tuning out his mad ramblings.
However, one thing did sink in. He has been going on about this book called "Francis" in which an American solider in Burma, this was when Burma was still called Burma, befriends a talking, flying mule named Francis. Well, you know me. Anything with talking animals get my attention. He only has a Danish translation of it and I don't read Danish translations of anything. They are anathema.
So I hunted it down, found an English copy on Amazon and read it last night. It's hilarious. David Sterne, "Francis", it will make you laugh out loud.
I'm sure that some of the..errr...more seasoned Saloonies have heard of it, possibly even watched the movie.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on March 28, 2008, 08:16:06 AM
That was made into a movie as well.  It was hilarious.  I saw it donkey's years ago - thank you for reminding me.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 28, 2008, 08:30:55 AM
LE, I am envious...been trying to hunt down a copy of the movie as well.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on March 28, 2008, 08:35:07 AM
Started reading Alistair Reynolds's "Chasm City".  Had it on my shelf for ages.  It looks like just the sort of space opera I absolutely love (but haven't read enough of).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on March 28, 2008, 09:52:36 AM
Finished with Laird Hunt's The Exquisite--it was rather unusual, but really cool. Now I'm on to Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five. I can't believe it's taken me this long to finally pick up one of his books.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on March 30, 2008, 11:36:11 AM
just finished another Coelho masterpiece : The Witch of Portobello.

It's a great read but i feel like i have to go at it again because it's such a different way of telling a story...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 30, 2008, 11:44:05 AM
Anyone come across a chap called Jasper Fforde? Just started re-reading all his Thursday Next novels. The man is a genius.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on April 05, 2008, 02:12:43 PM
Just put in my Pre-Order ahahahahah for the newest Pratchett book....Nation (a kid's story)....and Folklore of the Disc World.  They are both due out in September of this year.











I will surely miss the man's stories....... alalalalal....... ananananan

But I've heard (interview on the BBC) that he's Pisched off and fighting mad about his "sentence".  No going "softly into that good night" for our boy.  He's started a charity and is funding research into cures.  Hope one comes soon enough to help him.  That would be really super.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 05, 2008, 06:15:57 PM
Spooky...I did the exact same thing 10 minutes ago agagagagag

Just finished Ray Bradbury's "Something wicked this way comes"...God, that man can write!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on April 06, 2008, 04:27:56 AM
I read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.  Tremendously beautiful prose!  I grabbed another, South of the Border, West of the Sun.  I advise everyone to keep an eye peeled for this guy.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on April 06, 2008, 04:45:21 AM
I wanna be reading Socialism is Great!. I went to the book launch last night but the books were all gone before i could get my hands on one. The memoirs of a worker in China in th '80s looks to be amazing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on April 06, 2008, 07:39:28 AM
What Bugs said. I'll let her buy it first then borrow it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on April 06, 2008, 10:38:39 AM
I nabbed a copy of "Socialism Is Great!" last night and got the author to sign it. I was really bowled over by this lady and can't wait to read the book.

They made a whole series of "Francis The Talking Mule" movies. They were a matinee staple in the States in the 1950s and can still sometimes be seen on TV. The best ones could be pretty funny. In the 1960s the concept (and the then-radical technique of making an animal appear to talk) morphed into the legendary TV series "Mr. Ed", I line from whose theme song I still try to follow when posting here today: "People yakkity-yak and talk to pass the time away. But Mr. Ed would never speak- unless he had something to say."

Meanwhile, I finally and reluctantly finished "The Satanic Verses" and all I can say is: Wow. I may have missed out on some of the layers, but I think I understand the book just fine...and whether I did or not, Rushdie's writing never ceases to be breathtaking. I liked "Midnight's Children" even better, but TSV is a masterpiece.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on April 16, 2008, 02:39:17 AM
"Last seen in (the capital of that mtn place)" by Claire Scobie.  Fascinating book of her friendship over a number of years with a T'tan nun.  Well worth looking for - and if the authorities had actually read it, they may not be so happy to sell it here.  ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on April 16, 2008, 06:23:17 PM
Just finished the latest installment of the "Dresden Files".  Got a good flow to it...stayed up past my bedtime last night to finish it.  Like the others, it catches you up and drags you into the action.  But then it sets you up to gnash your teeth, since you know that there has to be another one!  Queen Mab did say - in the last two pages - that Harry still owes her one more (last?) debt.






Back to the Discworld and Captain Sir Sam Vimes......
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 16, 2008, 11:15:22 PM
I've just read a very short, somewhat disturbing book.

At the risk of going to prison for copyright violation, I'll transcribe it here:


Dick and Jane, the Final Story


See Spot

See Spot foam.

Foam Spot, foam.

No Spot, NOOOOOO!!!!!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on April 17, 2008, 09:04:16 AM
Just started Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong.  My Amazon books arrived today - Mo Yan, this one, plus a nice murder.  One more to come. Wolf Totem has started off well, and even though I know it has NO bearing on the literary merit of the book, the paper used is lovely to feel. ahahahahah

This means I have now started 4 books!!  One in the toilet, one in the bedroom, one in the living room and in my dining room.  bibibibibi

My Chinese mate is going to download it in Chinese and then we will compare our ideas on it.  He came over this afternoon and sifted through my books (criticising the translation of Wu Wei, Li Bai and DuFu poems I had bought ...) but it is nice to have someone around, relaxed enough to happily sit and read while you are also sitting and reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on April 17, 2008, 09:20:16 AM

nice one Lotus.. I just got Wolf Totem last week but haven't gotten around to starting it yet because of another book I found in suzhou: Khalil Jibran's "The Prophet".
I read it many years ago in Arabic and French but stumbled across a bilingual English-Chinese version at this lovely little bookstore in Suzhou! great little find even though the translation seems a bit off
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on April 17, 2008, 11:08:39 AM
I'm going back to reading Rushdie's Midnight's Children. I started it a while ago (second time) but got sidetracked by other things. This time I'm determined to finish it (hopefully soon). Only problem is I'm starting to run low on books... I need to start borrowing from my friend some more.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on May 10, 2008, 04:22:35 PM
Presently in the middle of 2(+) books.
 
Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion trilogy (daytime reading) and Terry Pratchett's Thud! (bedtime reader).  Both are re-reads.  Paksenarrion involves sword-play and a quest with (evil) mystic players in a place/time far from here.  Thud! is about troll vs dwarf warfare on Discworld....and young Sam's favourite book. 

Also, kinda/sorta browsing 3 travel books (China, Iran and Tunisia).




And just finished (devoured?) another cookbook Muffins and Quick Breads ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on May 10, 2008, 06:45:54 PM
CIA World Factbook, and local newspapers with real news!!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: joe.thinker on May 10, 2008, 11:35:17 PM
Since the weather is nicer, and the seasonal affective is going away, I'm back to good 'ole social justice books:

Brian Keenan's: An Evil Cradling.
Ishmael Beah's: A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.

Both are fantastic.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Canvet on May 11, 2008, 03:00:16 AM
Just finished Elizabeth Gilberts, Eat, Love Pray   bfbfbfbfbf
              Med Wolitzer's the Ten Year Nap

Just started  Jack Whyte's  Kinghts of the Black and White
              Toby Cecchini's Cosmopolitan, a Bartender's Life

Still plowing through - Eckart Tolle's A New Earth
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 11, 2008, 12:27:04 PM
Just started on "Bulfinch's Mythology", Donald R. Rumbelow's "The Regency Underworld" and am about to continue my trek into the 19th Century with a visit to Ireland and the, outside of ivy covered halls, deplorably forgotten genius that is Sheridan Le Fanu and his "Uncle Silas". Read "In a glass darkly" in a remote cottage. Some of the best ghost stories, rank right up there with the stories of M.R.James.

Starting re-reading Mervyn Peake's "Gormenghast". I cannot recommend that book enough.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Jack Fancy on May 12, 2008, 12:27:58 AM
Currently in rotation:

Henry Miller's 'The Tropic Of Cancer' ...yet again...
Arthur Nersesian's 'The Fuck-Up"
Thomas Lewis' 'The Monk'

and then it's on to Charles Palliser's 'The Quincunx'
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 12, 2008, 06:25:15 AM
"The Monk"..that's so good...wait, Thomas Lewis, not Matthew Lewis? Oh bugger...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: dasein on May 16, 2008, 02:33:19 PM
Currently: Aristotle's The Nicomachean Ethics, Proust's The Guermantes Way and Lonely Planet's Mandarin Phrasebook.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on May 16, 2008, 02:54:22 PM
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens with Segun Afolabi's "A life elsewhere" waiting in the wings.  Plus I have a new Chinese textbook with DVD as well to keep me occupied! (New Practical Chinese Reader:4)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 16, 2008, 03:53:55 PM
Good Omens is so cool. It's one of my all time favourite books.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: VoiceWithin on May 16, 2008, 06:41:15 PM
Good Omens ... great to be amongst other Terry Pratchett fans !

I'm on a Paulo Coelho streak ... finished the brilliant Witch of Portobello last weekend and now started Brida.

Oh, also my Introduction to Chinese Mandarin textbook.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Jack Fancy on May 20, 2008, 08:26:53 AM
"The Monk"..that's so good...wait, Thomas Lewis, not Matthew Lewis? Oh bugger...

Whoops!

Thomas
Matthew
John
James...

One of those Christian names...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 20, 2008, 08:29:26 AM
So it is Matthew "Monk" Lewis?? Yay agagagagag agagagagag It's probably one of the greatest Gothic novels ever written in England. Only, IMHO, surpassed by Charles Maturin's "Melmoth the Wanderer". I did my MA on the Gothic novel, must have read "The Monk" 10 times and it never got boring.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on June 08, 2008, 09:33:31 AM
Just got a small box from the folks at Amazon.  Included is one special, amusing "treasure" that I have to dive into....The Meaning of TINGO and Other Extraordinary Words From Around the World.

Turns out that I've been tingo-ed over the years by my son (particularly in the area of books)!!  I wonder how many of you, especially parents of grown children, have found yourselves tingo-ed, too?

"tingo (Pascuense, Easter Island) - to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by borrowing them".

WEll, he isn't going to "tingo" this book. bcbcbcbcbc (I already got him his own copy)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on June 09, 2008, 03:50:14 AM
I read Good Omens many years ago.  It was great.  I haven't read any Pratchett books since I was about 15, though.

I liked Guards Guards and Pyramids the best.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on June 09, 2008, 05:03:11 AM
 Currently reading The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. It's a fascinating and objective look at how globalization has shrunk the world. Highly recomended reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 09, 2008, 08:24:41 AM
I read Good Omens many years ago.  It was great.  I haven't read any Pratchett books since I was about 15, though.

I liked Guards Guards and Pyramids the best.

Contemporarydog, I highly recommend getting back on the Pratchett wagon. IMHO, some of his best work has been in the last 10 years.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on June 09, 2008, 09:15:00 AM
I have just- very reluctantly- finished the best history book I have ever read.

If you can find a copy of The Boxer Rebellion  by Diana Preston, by all means find a way to read it. It manages to combine an extraordinarily high level of historical research with breath-holding, page-turning readability. She really puts you THERE!
It was an amazingly good read, and taught me a lot about an episode of Chinese history about which I previously knew very little.

My copy belongs to the Suzhou Bookworm, and I'm about to take it back before I go...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on June 09, 2008, 01:40:15 PM
Currently reading The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. It's a fascinating and objective look at how globalization has shrunk the world. Highly recomended reading.

Ditto that. About a quarter of the way through I started reading it from the viewpoint of, "Hey, I'm teaching in China right in the middle of this whole epoch." It has informed some of my teaching since reading it.

I bought a bi-lingual copy (E-C) and gave it to a Chinese education mover and shaker. Chinese educationists need to realize (IMHO) that a lot of what Friedman describes and suggests is a lot quicker way to (re)joining the world than setting up endless IELTS/Study Abroad Programs for well-to-do students at schlocky western universities.

At the same time, I got my right-wing dad back home ("damn furriners takin' all our jobs") to read it and he's thrown in the phrase "The world is flat" at least a half-dozen times in phone calls and emails. He's still not off the kool-aid, but that's a tough habit to break when you have Fox News on the tube in the living room and Rush Limbaugh on the kitchen/bedroom/car radio 24-7. At least Friedman's mantra has seeped into his consciousness.

Lots of stuff about Dalian in the book if you're teaching up there, BTW.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on June 09, 2008, 01:58:23 PM
I just found, today at our local bookstore, a copy of 1421: The Year China Discovered the World. I have been hearing about the book for the last 3 or so years but have never seen it here. I decided to buy it and I have to say the first 75 or so pages are a compelling narrative of how the author got on the trail of the subject and then on into Chinese history at that time.

Anyone else here read it? Does it hold up?

I really didn't need to buy this because right now I am halfway through Wolf Totem which itself is a very interesting read. I hate to read two books at once, but pearls before swines and all that...I had to pick it up when I had the chance. (And the taxi was stuck in traffic for almost an hour on the way home, so I made the mistake of opening the book to kill the time rather than the intended plan of setting it aside for summer reading after finishing Wolf Totem.)

Any thoughts on any of these three books?

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 09, 2008, 02:01:11 PM
My students here know "The World is Flat' - they will quote it fairly frequently in speeches.

Old34 - I ALWAYS have 4 or 5 books on the go at the same time - different places in my apartment have different books, so no matter where I am I can pick one up.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on June 09, 2008, 02:13:00 PM
My students here know "The World is Flat' - they will quote it fairly frequently in speeches.

Old34 - I ALWAYS have 4 or 5 books on the go at the same time - different places in my apartment have different books, so no matter where I am I can pick one up.

My apartment isn't as large. It only has one bathroom. ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on June 09, 2008, 02:24:38 PM
LE:

Re: The World is Flat. It's good to hear your students use it.

One thing to be aware of, Friedman updated and revised the book in 2006 with a lot more examples especially on the China vs. India issue. All of the Chinese versions I have found here do not have this. Also the bi-lingual edition I have found here contains the English revised edition but the Chinese translation of the original edition. There's a wealth of relevant material in the revised edition so make sure your students are using that version.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 09, 2008, 02:36:17 PM
Thanks - I'll check - I didn't realise he had revised.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 09, 2008, 02:40:11 PM
Old34, I read the 1421 book. It was good. However, it has been widely criticized among historians since it was published. There is no doubt that the author knows his stuff but, from what I have read, the general opinion held by many historians is that a lot of the evidence presented in this book does not hold up to intense scrutiny. However, it is a corking good read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on June 09, 2008, 02:50:00 PM
Old34, I read the 1421 book. It was good. However, it has been widely criticized among historians since it was published. There is no doubt that the author knows his stuff but, from what I have read, the general opinion held by many historians is that a lot of the evidence presented in this book does not hold up to intense scrutiny. However, it is a corking good read.

Thanks. I had heard some of that. A full 1/3 of the book is appendices, but not too thorough. Anyway, I'm just looking for a good read, corking or not. The first 75 or so pages are certainly that.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on June 09, 2008, 02:52:57 PM
Thanks - I'll check - I didn't realise he had revised.

Not so much revision as addition - which adds heft to your students' arguments (assuming they are on the pro side).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on June 10, 2008, 05:46:02 AM
AMERICA by Jon Stewart and his crew.  One of the funniest reads ever- if you get your hands on it, my incontinence moment was on pp. 143,  courtesy of Steven Colbert: "Expressions".
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 12, 2008, 09:55:39 AM
I loved that book. Especially the part where all the Scandinavians look like Dolph Lundgren. ahahahahah ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on June 12, 2008, 10:13:10 AM
Pashley left me a few books, two of which are from the Baroque Cycle Trilogy by Neal Stephenson.  The more I read of this guy, the more blown away I get.  I recommend finding anything from this guy, taking the book away by gunpoint if necessary, and quitting your job while you stay home and read it twice.  Really.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on June 27, 2008, 01:06:56 AM
Vikram Seth's "Three Chinese poets; Wang Wei, Li Bai and Du Fu".  Interesting comparison of styles from poets who were basically peers.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on June 27, 2008, 10:11:37 AM
I have a really good book of Du Fu's poetry (only decent poetry translation I've found in China). I bought in Chengdu at the Du Fu museum. One of these days I'll track down some good translations of others.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 01, 2008, 07:07:30 AM
Started reading the Narnia novels. Been ages since I last read them. I had completely forgotten the first one, "The Wizard's Nephew". Yes, C.S.Lewis did get a wee bit to Christian at times but he still had more imagination in his pinky than most modern authors have in their entire body. Damn good novels. Not just because of the talking squirrels...though they do make the novels very special to me.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fire_Dragon on July 01, 2008, 07:13:05 AM
I love the CS Lewis books! They were an amazing journey for me. Yes, they are written with a Christian bent, but the stories themselves were worth the effort. To this day, the first and last book in the series are my favorites.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on July 01, 2008, 07:20:48 AM
"The Yellow Emperor's Four Canons", Antonia Felix "Condi; The Condoleeza Rice Story", Polly Evans "On a Hoof and a Prayer; Around Argentina at a Gallop', Kalsang Norbu et al "Modern Oral Amdo Tan" and this week's "New Scientist" magazine.

I have something to read in most rooms of the apartment!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fire_Dragon on July 02, 2008, 05:48:50 AM
"Effective Methods of Teaching Business Education in the 21st Century" by Martha Radar. Sadly, this reads like a bad university text -- dry, dry, dry and not all that enlightening. As it's assigned for my class, though, I've no hope for escape until it's finished. "Teaching with Love and Logic" -- can't remember the authors at the moment, but it is a fantastic book for anyone looking for ideas on classroom management or needing to find a better way to communicate with one's own children. For the light reading, I'm re-reading Janet Evanovich's "Four to Score" and Terri Garey's "A Match Made in Hell."
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 02, 2008, 10:04:06 AM
.....For the light reading, I'm re-reading Janet Evanovich's "Four to Score" .....

Another Evanovich fan?  So's my Sis.  Did you know that Evanovich is up to book #14, now?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fire_Dragon on July 02, 2008, 10:06:05 AM
Yep, I devoured it in a couple hours :) The books are pure entertainment. I want Stephanie's life ... or at least her men. That would work for me :D
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 20, 2008, 09:01:43 AM
"The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters" by G.W.Dahlquist. One critc summed it up as a blen of Dickens, Sherlock Holmes and Rider Haggard. It is. Really an amazing book. And there is a sequel.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on July 22, 2008, 03:20:29 AM
When I'm at the Bookworm I sneak a Ben Elton book off the shelves.  I'm currently chipping away at Past Mortem.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 28, 2008, 04:11:33 PM
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.

And I remain comfortable with my manhood.



Now ordinarily I can't stomach classics or books you should read... I like pulp... but there's one I figured I'd better take a chop at.  I mean, I looked at the first paragraph and it's awful, but if I'm going to write anything it's going to come out all Objectivist too so I might as well check out what can be done with so austere a form first... thus... next teen sensation up in the PDF viewer...

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.


Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 29, 2008, 08:15:55 AM
The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper....have ordered and should receive Peter Haining's bbok on "Spring-Heeled Jack" soon. That is another Jack, not to be confused with the Ripper.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on July 29, 2008, 09:47:32 AM
Ayn Rand is a highly effective anti-Communist/ anti-socialist writer, who champions the rights and contribution of the genius.  The Fountainhead does a great job of spelling this out.  Then Atlas Shrugged goes into hysterical mode, essentially espousing Fascism without coming out and admitting it.

As to her "Objectivism", it labels the apparent attempt at a positive philosophy, but in the end delivers much less.  Its impact on American culture is profound: the top 1 percent are exalted, while labour is a pernicious parasite, and all things spiritual are Enemies of Society.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 29, 2008, 11:57:58 AM
Well, that kind of spoils it.  But I heard at the end you find out "John Galt" is a much-repaired teddy bear stuffed with twenties glaring malevolently out at the world from the back of the closet, the one remaining black button eye pasted on with glue.

Twilight is... well, it's written for teen aged girls.  A 17-year-old girl moves from Phoenix to a small town in Seattle, falls electrically in love with a beautiful school mate, a vampire, naturally, and he falls for her too, and they do a long, long dance over, um, being "eaten".

I'm more than halfway through and willing to read on to the end, even as I know this is but book one of three.  Freely feely, emotion overwhelming, intuitions guiding action, touching and swooning, and beauty in stark over-abundance, and then going to class.  I must be getting clucky or something.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mister Al on July 29, 2008, 03:24:45 PM
Inconceivable-Ben Elton. F**king funny  afafafafaf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: contemporarydog on July 29, 2008, 03:25:59 PM
Just read a book called Bad Traffic about a PRC copper who comes to the UK to find his missing daughter.  Manages to be both a great crime thriller, an excellent book about culture clashes (like a reverse backpacking book) and a serious commentary on a serious issue (people trafficking).  Highly recommended, as books which try to combine entertainment with serious stuff don't always succeed.  I read it in about 2 hours, it was that gripping.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on July 29, 2008, 04:30:37 PM
Bad Traffic looks interesting unfortunately it's not being published in Canada until December. Maybe I'll order it once I'm back in the Big Silly.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on July 29, 2008, 04:35:42 PM
Hey CD, I read that myself a while back and i thought it was great, really interesting the whole culture shock thing from another point of view, and a pretty good story to go with it.

I've just re-read Animal Farm - haven't read it for years, probably at least 20, i know its based on Russia, but it fits well with most totalitarian states. Really gave the book a lot more depth after studying some of the recent Chinese history.

Right now i'm reading an awesome book. 'Fidel Castro - My Life' what an interesting read, it's actually one long interview with him. The man has had an interesting life and he can tell a good story. It has given me a new perspective on a subject i knew very little about, but want to learn more now. bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on July 31, 2008, 09:30:53 AM
Callch, I'd recommend reading Ayn Rand.  Like her or not, her work has been a major influence on post-WW2 thought.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 31, 2008, 09:54:37 AM
Started The Fountainhead.  Three chapters in.

Not liking Howard Roark--too sui generis.  He's bizarre and intimidating and comes from nowhere.  "People had always lost their sense of existence in Roark's presence," my hairy ass.  He barely exists at all in the story so far...

Kinda liking Peter Keating--more human.

Not liking how Howie and Pete are kinda obviously two halves of one man, Howard as the public face and Pete as the shadow.  Lil too cut and dried.  And the whole thing is so easy to see as a 70's movie.

I'm willing to be surprised.  I'll keep reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 31, 2008, 10:26:27 AM
Only ever tackled Rand's Atlas Shrugged.  I did enjoy it, but find that I have to be in a certain frame of mind to re-read it......same with the Thomas Covenant: Unbeliever series.

But then again, I am a little bit of a moody reader.  I can't just pick up any old book, at any old time and read it.  I have to be "in the mood" for that particular genre/author.

And I never did do well with the "you must read this" situation.  The "it's a classic" just makes me that much more resistant to ever picking it.  Mulish Monk, that's me.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on July 31, 2008, 11:38:10 AM
And I never did do well with the "you must read this" situation.  The "it's a classic" just makes me that much more resistant to ever picking it.  Mulish Monk, that's me.

Totally agree.

I read all of Ayn Rand when I was at Uni - one of those things everyone was doing then. She also had a foundation - and maybe a web page??
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: dasein on July 31, 2008, 11:44:09 AM
http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on August 05, 2008, 02:24:05 AM
I find Ayn Rand pretty painful to read. But each to his/her own. I agree with Lotus that most award winning novels are not so good. I feel they simply show the bad taste of the general public or the pretensions of the judges or academics awarding it.

I have just finished reading Jim Bishop's Dresden Files, then found they had been made into a tv series. The books are good. the series is still downloading but seems to suck.

Nightside series by Simon Green, excellent too, and his Drinking Midnight Wine.

Light reading.

Now reading Bazil Broketail series by Christopher Rowley.

Into a very light reading phase I guess. Probably because of the non-fiction I am re-reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on August 05, 2008, 07:09:18 AM
I have just finished reading Jim Bishop's Dresden Files, then found they had been made into a tv series. The books are good. the series is still downloading but seems to suck.


Yeah, Butcher's Dresden Files are a good read.  Wizard who doubles as a PI and has a real (fairy) godmother?  Who could resist?  I tried to watch the TV show....once.  Just couldn't stomach it.  Too far off from the book, and not sufficiently original to keep my attention (unlike the Dexter series). 

By the way, Book 11 is due out sometime next April.  I've got my order in at Amazon. agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 05, 2008, 07:14:49 AM
AMonk, if you like those books, might I recommend the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde and "The Big Over Easy" and "The Fourth Bear" by the same author? I think you'll enjoy them immensely.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on August 05, 2008, 07:24:05 AM
Thanks, Eric agagagagag I'll certainly give them a LookSee.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on August 05, 2008, 12:01:32 PM
Butcher, yes, not Bishop. I meant to write Butcher. I was surprised by the correction, went back and looked. Why the hell did I write Bishop? No sodding idea.

Sober too long mayhap.

My bad.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 06, 2008, 04:24:53 AM
Still reading The Fountainhead.  Up to chapter 14.

Can there be a book more filled with so many doom-laden people so frustrated?  With "Architecture" as the main character?  My God!  Architecture is the main character!  How can you have Architecture as the main character?!

I wonder when Howard will realise that what he wants most is for people to work with him?

Howard is not a person; he's a cold, hard, awful principle.  Unfortunately, I find it very attractive.


Waiting in the wings...  Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: BubbaBait on August 11, 2008, 10:00:31 AM
'The Pedagogy Of The Oppressed' by Paulo Freire.

A classic (I am told) and, so far into it, a wonderful guide to what teachers should do in China, at least.

It could serve well in some schools in London as well.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on August 11, 2008, 10:43:44 AM
Jasper Fforde Nursery Crimes series. The big over easy. The fourth bear. Good writing. Kind of metafantasy. Not bad, will try his Thursday Next series next thursday.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 11, 2008, 10:46:25 AM
Mr. N, you're in for a treat. The Thursday Next series is amazing. If you liked the nursery crime books, check out Malcolm Pryce's Aberystwyth series. Welsh metafantasy noir. Spectacularly entertaining.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 12, 2008, 08:01:19 AM
Still reading The Fountainhead.  It's awful.  I love it.

The whole thing is one giant INTJ glare in horror at the ENFJs amongst us.


(And love/hate for the ESFP shadow inside.)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Spaghetti on August 12, 2008, 08:59:03 AM
Ayn Rand. Complex social philosopher. Boring author.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on August 12, 2008, 10:26:53 AM
Thanks ETR I will investigate today.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on August 14, 2008, 08:12:48 AM
"Women in the Wild", ed by Lucy McCauley - a collection of writings by women travellers.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on August 14, 2008, 11:59:17 AM
I was searching for something that ETR suggested and found this instead.

Reads somewhat like Iain Banks Culture books, or at least the same genre. First book pretty good, second one only 20% through it.

"League of Peoples" series. James Alan Garner.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 21, 2008, 12:25:12 PM
Making my way through Nicholas Ostler's "The Empire of Words" a history of various languages. Enormously fascinating.

BTW, speaking of reading. Have any of you used the Project Gutenberg whilst being in China? The reason I ask is that if this web-site works in China, I'll be one happy nerd.
http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

In case you were unfamiliar with it, the above is the link to the site.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on August 21, 2008, 12:37:13 PM
Sorry ETR - link isn't working for me.  Ill try again tomorrow, sometimes will come good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on August 21, 2008, 12:57:24 PM
Often doesn't work for me either but what I do is google the title of a book such as The Little Princess and then wade through the entries until I get a Gutenberg and from there I can get into the Home page.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 21, 2008, 01:26:42 PM
It's a wonderful site. So many novels, so many terrific novelists, like Bulwer Lytton.

It's just rather expensive to print the books.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on August 21, 2008, 02:09:14 PM
"Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman" by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton.  Stories from Feynman's life, interesting, some funny and others good insights into his thinking.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on August 21, 2008, 05:50:54 PM
Feynman is one of my heroes. One of the great men of the world, ever. Makes the 'renaissance man' look like an amateur.

"What do YOU care what other people think" is the second book.

Wonderful wonderful man. Makes really complex stuff easy to understand. Einstein said he was the most intelligent man he ever met. I even understood his Nobel prize stuff.

Read anything by him. I had a lot of his lectures on audio, but the hard drive karked it, so it will have to be found again.

http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/feynman.html
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on August 21, 2008, 10:41:44 PM
Based on the amount I have read so far, he'd have been a brat to bring up - used his phenomenal intelligence from an early age to play jokes on his family, figure out ways to do things 'differently'.  ahahahahah  ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on August 25, 2008, 10:40:55 AM
Diary by Chuck Palahniuk, best known for writing Fight Club.  I have a lot of painter friends; this story, about the nature of artistic genius, was fun to read.  Well worth the effort.

Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores by Gabrielle Garcia Marquez.  It's brief- I read it in one afternoon- but marvellous.  I love this author's writing, but 100 Years of Solitude is hard to read unless you do it in long sittings.  I've taken several stabs at it, but get bogged down trying to remember what hapenned the last time I read it. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on August 25, 2008, 12:54:24 PM
After reading the whole "League of Peoples" series by James Alan Gardner (7 is the latest, but it's obvious there are more coming, I am reading James White's Sector General series again since I seem to have missed the last 2-3 books on a previous reading (not starting all over with a thorough reading, more or less catching up then continuing), and a Federation book by him, the name escapes me.

Also reading Dreamweaver 8 for Dummies to learn something about website making, followed by another website book on graphics for websites.

Simon Green's Nightside series latest "Unnatural Enquirer" is next in line.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fire_Dragon on August 26, 2008, 11:55:15 AM
Mr. Nobody, thanks for saying something about the coming Nightside novel. For some reason, I thought SRG had finished off the series. This gives me more to look forward to.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on August 26, 2008, 12:49:32 PM
I have it as an ebook. PM me your email if you want me to send it to you. Or you can hit demonoid up for it, that's where I got it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fire_Dragon on August 27, 2008, 12:12:16 AM
Such temptation, Mr. Nobody!!! I would, but I have the rest of the books and I won't have time to read for fun until November, anyway.

Thanks, though!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on August 27, 2008, 02:31:54 AM
Finished Apologies Forthcoming by Xujun Eberlein. Great collection of Cultural Revolution-themed short stories. Now I'm flipping through NYT magazines and articles my parents gave me...trying to decide what to read next. Still haven't read Hessler's Rivertown or Mahfouz's Palace Walk.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 11, 2008, 03:39:42 PM
J. Maarten Troost's "Lost on Planet China' and Simon Winchester's "The Man who loved China" - the story of Joseph Needham.

Both very interesting.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Ruth on September 12, 2008, 06:11:26 AM
just finished 'The Kitchen God's Wife' by Amy Tan.  Couldn't put it down for the past two days until I finished it.  'The Bonesetter's Daughter' is on my shelf, but I'm not letting myself start it until I get my teaching plans for the semester done.  I'm so bad once I get my nose in a good book.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: joe.thinker on September 14, 2008, 12:32:16 AM
Read Austen's "Sense and Sensibility." Wow. I've not invested in characters like this in a LOOOOOOOONG time.

A while back the Bookworm's had authors coming through. Met one of them named Patrick Gale. On to his "most controversial book" called "Rough Music" now.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on September 18, 2008, 02:38:18 AM
Having finished that spectacular but very long book Confusion by Neal Stephenson, I moved on to a lighter book that Pashley also lent me, Sharpe's Devil by Bernard Cornwell.  Sharpe, the title character, is a British soldier who fought at Waterloo (there's over a dozen of these books); this one takes place in Chile, while the nationalist revolutionary government is doing war with the Spanish colonial government.  Great history lesson, believable characters, and convincing battle scenes.  Great light fare.

Also read The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult.  It was okay. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 18, 2008, 02:52:40 AM
A Patricia Cornwell, but I don't like this one as much as the others.  Written in the 3rd person rather than 1st - spoiled the character I think.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fire_Dragon on September 18, 2008, 03:17:28 AM
I used to be a solid Cornwell reader. After listening to her books read aloud, I was turned off. Still not sure if my dislike is due to the reader or that I've outgrown the books. Which one did you finish, LE?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 18, 2008, 03:21:57 AM
Book of the Dead.  I have read most of hers but got a bit out of sync here.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fire_Dragon on September 18, 2008, 03:23:15 AM
I haven't read that one. You've made me curious.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on September 18, 2008, 08:52:25 AM
This afternoon I read The Little Prince for the first time in, um, decades I think.  Forgot what a beautiful little story that is.  I can't think of what books I can even compare it to; it's truly a unique work. 

My copy (14 kwai!  bfbfbfbfbf ) comes with a DVD, but one of those tiny ones that my laptop can't play.  I'll have to take it to work.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 18, 2008, 11:06:01 AM
Re-reading "The Pickwick Papers". It's brilliant.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Acjade on September 18, 2008, 01:31:18 PM
Re reading an Agatha Christie collection which includes both dear old Miss Marple and Inspector Pierot. Sheer joy. Plus Herman Wouk:  City Boy The Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on September 24, 2008, 04:29:25 PM
 I started Wild Swans today. Why have I not read this before? Let's just say that China holds a lot more interest for me now than it did before.

 I planned on reading 30 pages or so...I read a hundred. Un put downable. I am determined to finish it by the end of the week because I seriously want to pass it on to some Chinese friends. Damn near made me cry at times.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Schnerby on September 26, 2008, 06:21:53 AM
Wives of the East Wind (similar cultural revolution story) is much thinner but equally engaging and moving.

I had a review copy to read but since those buggers are unedited it had mistakes that were a bit distracting.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on September 27, 2008, 07:02:35 AM
 Chronicles of a Blood Merchant by Yu Hua (I think...) is also a very good book with similar subject matter. It is fiction, and the protagonist is male, but a very poignant and moving story against China's most turbulent times.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: VoiceWithin on October 04, 2008, 08:38:46 PM
I started Wild Swans today.

I'm about half way with this one ... wish I had more time to read !
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: babala on October 05, 2008, 12:44:08 AM
I have been re-reading some old books from my youth. I'm going to bring a few back with me. I know my Korean students really loved Judy Blume. I'm also going to bring Paula Danziger (The Cat Ate My Gymsuit) and some Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on October 13, 2008, 03:08:57 PM
I love airport bookstores!  I just found Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson in the Shanghai duty-free, and have been pounding away at it ever since.  Wonder if I can actually finish it by the time I get back to China.

Man, I love this guy!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on October 13, 2008, 04:23:55 PM

full blown reading mode right now! I'm juggling "Shadow of the Silk Road" by Colin Thurbon along with  my 3rd go at "The Witch of Portobello" by my mate, Coelho as well as "Ma Mere" which might be the first book my cousin has written that I actually enjoy...


Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on October 13, 2008, 10:02:52 PM
I've opened up a big can of whupass...reading Kenneth Lieberthal's monumental Governing China. (Courtesy of The Bookworm. agagagagag )

It's very slow going and a bit dry sometimes...I think it's often used as a textbook in China Studies, Political Science, International relations, and other degrees. It's also a bit outdated (mid-90's), but it still offers amazing insights into how things work here and how things got to be the way they are today. The knowledge I gained about the early days of the Party and the leadership of Mao Zedong were especially illuminating.

Also: An org chart of the government of China looks a lot like a big bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese that has just been hurled into the wall. bibibibibi
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 22, 2008, 01:55:16 PM
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Really interesting and well written.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 23, 2008, 03:39:29 PM
The Collected Tales of Washington Irving. It's for work...yep, totally. Sitting on a couch, drinking coffee, definitely work. I'd forgotten how much the movie "Sleepy Hollow" differs from the original tale. Darn it, Irving sure could write.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Sir Fudge Loving on October 26, 2008, 11:43:04 AM
John Adams by David McCollough; a long read, but surprisingly good. It's more than about the 2nd President; it's a revealing portrait of the revolution and the founding of the US, which sadly, many Americans do not know.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 26, 2008, 11:50:54 AM
tami Hoag's 'Kill the Messenger' - in the mood for fast-paced well written murder.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: George on November 16, 2008, 02:39:00 AM
Any members from Chicago?? Here is a bookstore, "Shake, Rattle and Read, owned by one Ric Addy, a former brother-in-law.
http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/MBv6lYQIde85LxO_tMZd5Q?select=FNUMTZY7hqclPEeMfeGZCQ (http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/MBv6lYQIde85LxO_tMZd5Q?select=FNUMTZY7hqclPEeMfeGZCQ)

He found me on Facebook. He's a bit like Raoul, in many ways.
His Amazon store...:http://www.amazon.com/shops/ricaddy (http://www.amazon.com/shops/ricaddy)
He hasn't sent any books to China yet, but I will test him out.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 16, 2008, 03:56:21 AM
Just finished The Deathly Hallows, the last Harry Potter book, and loved it.  It's interesting to see Rowling improve as a writer over the course of her career.

Next up is the Bookworm book club's next novel, a Philip K. Dick title I can't remember- I left it at kindie.  Hope my students didn't eat it.  ananananan
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on November 17, 2008, 11:48:05 PM
Flesh and Silver by Stephen L Burns. A Sci-Fi that 'Shroomy passed onto me. REALLY good - a new author to add to my list of favourites.  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Schnerby on November 19, 2008, 11:15:43 AM
I was walking to the station today when I realised I hadn't taken a book. I usually carry something to read so I was a bit annoyed. Once I got to the station there was a book balancing across the corner of the bin. Someone had put it there when they finished it for me (obviously  ahahahahah)

It is 'The Sweetwater Point Motel' by Peter Saab. I began and was pleasantly surprised. So far the characters were believable and interesting.

Suddenly it got deranged. A few rapes and tortures later with insinuations of child abuse and seriously imbalanced baddies, I simply was too sickened. I began skipping pages and finally stopped. I started again in my lunch break but was again disgusted. I decided not to finish the book. Finally I skipped to the end, found that it was horrific and depressing and the type of ending which suggested the characters had simply been tortured more.  aaaaaaaaaa

I put the book in another bin. This time I buried it in the recycle bin so nobody would be tempted to rescue it.

I picked up another book later on and it is much more interesting without being deranged.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on November 19, 2008, 02:01:31 PM
Bought Ma Jian's "Stick out your tongue' for the train home tomorrow.  This is the one that got him expelled from China.  Looked interesting.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: VoiceWithin on November 21, 2008, 02:15:43 PM
Read Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist on the plane back to SA ... really enjoyed it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on December 20, 2008, 03:38:48 AM
Simon Winchester's "The Man Who Loved China". 

Fascinating.

Ma Jin's "Stick Out Your Tongue' was also a good read.  Short stories set in T't.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on December 20, 2008, 07:14:42 AM
"The Golden Bough" by James George Frazer, "The Frogs of War" by Andrew Harman, "The Search for Modern China" by Jonathan D. Spence and "The History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell. Plus my Chinese text books....it's so damn cold that reading in bed is the best way to keep warm....well...second best way  afafafafaf afafafafaf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on December 20, 2008, 08:16:59 AM
it's so damn cold that reading in bed is the best way to keep warm....well...second best way  afafafafaf afafafafaf

And lasts longer than the 1st best way!  ALL day without a blue pill in sight.   ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 08, 2009, 02:09:36 AM
Just finished "Daughter of China" by Xu Meihong and Larry Englemann - fascinating account of one of the first women to be trained in military intelligence here, and her fall from grace.

Just started "Wolf Totem' - Jiang Rong - so far, also fascinating.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: psd4fan on January 08, 2009, 02:56:40 AM
What are the odds of finding Red Cliff and the sequel in English? bjbjbjbjbj
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on January 08, 2009, 10:02:19 AM

Just started "Wolf Totem' - Jiang Rong - so far, also fascinating.

I'll be curious to read your opinion on this one once you're done... most folks i know that read it either loved it or hated it with a passion. Strangely enough, the ones that cared for it the least were my Chinese mates.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 08, 2009, 10:25:33 AM
Not surprised about that - even as far as I have read it is pretty disparaging about the Han.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on January 10, 2009, 12:23:42 PM
Lotus, I'm almost finished with Wolf Totem...it's taken quite a long time to get through. It over-explains too much and reads like a textbook in parts. But it is interesting from a cultural perspective.

I think next up is Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on January 10, 2009, 02:01:00 PM
I agree with Matt. I started Wolf Totem quite some time ago and keep putting it down for something else. It's very interesting from the cultural perspective, and it's great in bursts. But then the guy's writing gets to me. Matt hit it on the head. He "over-explains" a lot. It starts to feel like when you're stuck at one of those interminable big dinners sitting next to some boring schmuck who just has to explain every little thing. The dinner (book) is good, but the dining companion (writer) gets on your nerves. Go have a smoke/go to the WC/talk to someone else (pick up another book). Wolf Totem will still be there when you get back. And you can jump back in for another 25-30 pages. It's a compelling read, but in a slo-mo kind of way.

Oh, and to comment on Noles post, yes, a couple of my Chinese friends have read it and didn't like it. They read the original (Chinese). From their comments, they were surprised (in a bad way) by the anti-Han viewpoint. They didn't mention the writing style at all.

Well there you go. I haven't picked it up in a few weeks, so I guess I got my Sunday reading sorted out for tomorrow. Brunch and Wolf Totem.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on January 10, 2009, 08:41:35 PM
I haven't read Wolf Totem, but I'm interested now. I'll have to snag a copy to read over Spring Festival holidays.

I just finished reading Peony in Love, this book all about the Chinese afterlife (and based on an old Chinese opera, the Peony Pavillion, and a commentary on that opera supposedly written by a poet's three wives) that takes place at the beginning of the Qing dynasty, when the traditional beliefs were still going strong. I've always found the traditional Chinese ideas about the afterlife -- hungry ghosts, ancestors, etc. -- to be a bit disturbing, and this book just confirmed that. Hungry ghosts are just about the saddest thing I can imagine, and the book's main character is a hungry ghost so a good portion of the book is pretty depressing. It is well written, however, and although I'm usually someone who stays far away from ghosts/paranormal stuff, the historical aspect of this novel sucked me in.

Before that I was reading Infidel (the book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch parliment member who was targetted by Islamic fundementalists after speaking out against Islam), which actually I still need to finish. That's another book that sort of over explains at times, which was distracting. Towards the end it goes off on long rants about Dutch government and certain political figures, and I found this really tiresome, maybe simply because I'm not Dutch. Still, I didn't really feel like I needed to know the particular policy differences between different Dutch parties in order to understand her message about Islam, or why she was persecuted. Has anyone else read it?

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 11, 2009, 10:18:22 AM
On a buddy's advice I read White Tiger, by - crap, forgot.  I'll add it later.  Indian fellow.

This book is incredible!  EVERYBODY: FIND THIS BOOK AND READ IT.  I banged it off today, start to finish.  I won't tell you anything about it- just get it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 11, 2009, 10:44:51 AM
On a buddy's advice I read White Tiger, by - crap, forgot.  I'll add it later.  Indian fellow.

This book is incredible!  EVERYBODY: FIND THIS BOOK AND READ IT.  I banged it off today, start to finish.  I won't tell you anything about it- just get it.

Aravind Adiga??
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: joe on January 24, 2009, 12:10:27 AM
'Red Dust' by Ma Jian...just starting it so I can't really comment yet. Which makes me wonder why I contributed this post. Oh well
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on January 28, 2009, 05:21:31 PM
I'm just finishing Mullahs, Merchants and Militants: The Economic Collapse of the Arab World  by Stephen Glain, a former Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. It oughtta be required reading for everyone in the upper levels of the US government. It gets past the knee-jerk "Israel good, Arabs bad" approach so prevalent here (including myself, until I read this) and gives a truly balanced, insightful view of what's really happening in that part of the world...and how incredibly stupid and damaging the Bush Middle East policies have been. A very useful, informative, and eye-opening read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 29, 2009, 07:36:14 PM
'Red Dust' by Ma Jian...just starting it so I can't really comment yet. Which makes me wonder why I contributed this post. Oh well

I enjoyed it, plus his subsequent books.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 30, 2009, 08:59:58 AM
Finished "The Man Who Loved China". An utterly gripping story about a larger than life person. Also finally found a copy of "The Life of Pi" which I began reading months ago while hungover in Con's apartment. Finished it on the plane. I recommend all to read that book. It's one of those novels that you will finish in one lenghty sitting. Finished reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma", a great read but, if you are a fan of KFC, you might not want to read it, as it might make you...well....a bit nauseous.
Started reading "I am a cat" by...err...some Japanese author whose name escapes me. The world as seen through the eyes of a cat, giving its unrelenting comments of Japanese society in the early part of the 20th century. It's good so far.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on February 01, 2009, 07:19:00 PM
While nosing around a thrift store the other day I came across a copy of the classic Thunder Out Of China  by Theodore H. White and Annalee Jacoby, marked at $2.
It seems to be a 1946 first edition, and judging from the appearance of the pages and the binding, I'm the first to actually read this particular copy.

It's a revelation. It talks about WWII in China, but is really more about the swelling peasant uprising long brewing there...which of course led to the revolution and modern China as we know it today.

Having lived there, it's virtually impossible to envision the China described in these pages. It describes a Chongqing during the days when it was the Guomindang capitol, numbers swollen beyond belief by the onslaught of countless refugees from the occupied east coast...the native inhabitants were almost entirely totally ignorant, insulated Sichuan mountain peasants whose introduction to the to the 20th Century, aside from the scandalous sight of lipstick and crimped hair on some Shanghai girls, was the sight of a Japanese bomber unleashing fiery death upon the ancient city. White describes the Chinese soldiery as having been "born in the Middle Ages, and dying in the 20th Century."

See if you can wrap your head around this bit of statistical information; I couldn't myself: At that time, not including the added devastation brought on by the war, fully half of all Chinese did not live to see the age of 30.

China's come a long, long way in 63 years.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on April 08, 2009, 07:43:11 PM
Just picked up a copy of The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong from the library. This is one of the things I really treasure having since moving back...free public libraries with a nice variety of literature. I'll let you know if this one is worth smuggling across the border from HK.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on April 10, 2009, 11:40:35 AM
Back on Haruki Murakami.  Read Dance, Dance, Dance (warning: contain little or no dancing).  It is one of the greatest reading pleasures I have ever had.  I generally don't reread books- too many more in front of me- but this one is inevi9table. 

Then I ate up The Underground, a study of the Tokyo Sarin gas attacks.  Murakami interviewed dozens of victims as well as cult members.  Great analysis.  He's amazing at finding the center of the truth.

Currently reading Claudius the God by Robert Graves (fiction and history at one go), and The Feng Shui Detective by Nuri Vittachi, whom I met at the Bookworm LIt Fest last year.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on April 10, 2009, 11:54:55 AM
Just recently finished Simon R. Green's "Nightside" series (all 9 books).  Loved them/him.  So do/did my student and my son.  3 generations agree.   bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf akakakakak








Of course it helps that we share a common (slightly odd) sense of humour.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on April 10, 2009, 04:23:00 PM
Yo,nightside was good.

there are two other series in the same ballpark. I think you said about a year ago you read the one with the wizard detective. Forget the name?Made a tv series. There is also Stalking the Unicorn and related stuff.

Have you read Hawk and Fisher series? Top stuff.

Love fantasy PI> the original was probably Darkside Detective by Micheal Reaves I think

Something like that.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on April 10, 2009, 04:39:21 PM
I think you said about a year ago you read the one with the wizard detective. Forget the name?Made a tv series......Have you read Hawk and Fisher series? Top stuff.

Yes, that was me.  The "Dresden" series by Jim Butcher.  (Currently awaiting #11 in the Post).  Also Ilona Andrews's "Magic" trio.

By the bye....Green's other major series ("Deathstalker") is much more of a plod.  The occasional bon mot does not enliven it enough for my liking.  I gave up mid-way through #5.  Read the first 3-5 pages.....then the last 3-5 pages, and I knew the entire book.  No need to read the intervening 300+, IMHO.

No.  Not read H&F.  Yet.  But I will get to enjoy the "Sookie Stackhouse" set (#1-7) - with #8, #9 & #10 on pre-order - by Charlaine Harris, as soon as Amazon has it delivered to me.  Waiting asasasasas is such a big drag bibibibibi



 ananananan I can not recommend the TV shows on either Dresden or Sookie.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on April 10, 2009, 04:43:15 PM
Also take a look at stalking the unicorn by michael resnick.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on April 11, 2009, 04:40:18 AM
I just finished The Age of Shiva, the new book out by Manil Suri, who wrote The Death of Vishnu. If you like modern Indian literature (and I do), its worth checking out.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Ruth on April 11, 2009, 08:11:16 AM
Currently reading the second of a two-part biography on Dr. Robert McClure.  He was the son of missionary parents, born in 1900 not in China because his parents had fled the country due to the Boxer rebellion.  He spent the first 10 years of his life in China.  His dad drew a chalk line in the doorway and had to insist the children speak English inside their home.  A short furlough home to Canada for the parents and Bob's teenage years were spent back in China with his father (a doctor).  Back to Canada for his own medical training and then mostly in China until 1949.  That part of his life is in "McClure - The China Years" and I've read it twice.  Excellent insight into rural life in China during the first half of the 20th century - dynasty falling, warlord era, Japanese occupation, rise of communism.

I found volume 2 while back home cleaning out my mom's house: "McClure - Years of Challenge".  I'm midway through and after China he served in the Gaza strip from 1951-1954, in India from 1954-1967, as Moderator of the United Church of Canada from 1968-1971, in Sarawak from 1972-74 in Peru 1975-76 and an outpost in Canada in 1978.  The book was written in 1979, so I'm not sure if the man ever retired. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on April 30, 2009, 11:40:32 PM
Xin Ran - China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation.  It is fascinating!!  Well worth getting.

She is one of my favourite authors.  Her 'Good Women of China' moves me no matter how often I read it. 

I bought a bunch of photography books and magazines while I was home, plus 'China Witness', James Fellows "Reports from China" (Fellows is a writer for "The Atlantic Monthly" and has a good blog looking at China), Zachary Mexico "China Underground', Susan Sontag "On Photography", a couple of Liz Bryski books, a Kerry Greenwood and a Patricia Cornwell. One Bryski and the Cornwell were finished on the plane, but now I have enough new stuff to last me for a month or so! bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on May 01, 2009, 02:38:05 AM
Just read secret histories 2 - Daemons are forever and nightside 9 just another judgement day by simon green, and Jim Butcher's Dresden Files 10 turn coat.

all good. Trying to find secret histories 3.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on May 05, 2009, 04:31:49 AM
Found another Terry Pratchett book.  When I need a light read (every 3 or 4 books) he's the bomb.

Read yet another Haruki Murakami novel: Sputnick Sweetheart.  I can't say enough about it- this guy may be the greatest living writer in the world.

Desperate for a substantial book, I took out Underworld by Don Delillo.  I'm about a hundred pages in, and whle the prose is fantastic, I have yet to figure out the cohesive point of the book.  Mind you, the thing's over 800 pages long, so I'm willing to be patient.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on May 05, 2009, 05:44:42 AM
100 pages and no coherent story? I'd have slung underworld out the window by now. Books are about story not prose, for me at least. If I'm not sucked into it by page 3, the guy can't write.

Call me shallow, if you like. But this is why I haven't liked a prize winning book for decades, and now a Nobel prize or a Booker prize is liable to ensure I never even look at the blurb. Unless it was long ago.

Whatever happened to story telling? I really detest books that scream "look how clever I, the author, am". The author should be all but invisible.

Rant over. Go back to what you were doing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on May 05, 2009, 05:48:03 AM
Totally agree Mr N.  My first English professor had a rule 'Give any book 25 pages, if you don't like it by then, toss it out."  Which is why I didn't get more than 25 pages into James Joyce "Ulysses". 800 pages of pretty writing would make me annoyed.  This sounds like a very Chinese book!  ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on May 05, 2009, 05:54:31 AM
Damn. Agreeing with English perfessers? I'm going to have to change my approach. I don't want to be establishment.


I'm a rebel without a clause.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on May 05, 2009, 07:25:20 AM
Damn. Agreeing with English perfessers? I'm going to have to change my approach. I don't want to be establishment.


I'm a rebel without a clause.

Sp error!  Rebel without claws.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on May 06, 2009, 09:25:52 AM
Bought the 'Twilight' series of books when i was in Beijing. Have finished the first 2 now i am forcing my self to slow down and enjoy the next 2.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on May 06, 2009, 01:26:52 PM
Just finished The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong. I was told he's a good writer, but this book was terrible.

Moving on to Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. My grad professor recommended it...so far it's pretty good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 07, 2009, 01:28:16 AM
I am about to plunge into "The Dark Volume" the sequel to "The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters"....the latter one is highly recommendable.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on May 07, 2009, 02:16:57 AM
Damn. Agreeing with English perfessers? I'm going to have to change my approach. I don't want to be establishment.


I'm a rebel without a clause.

Sp error!  Rebel without claws.

Rebel with outer claws?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on May 07, 2009, 05:04:55 AM
More like rebel with outer clew. But that's another yarn.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on May 11, 2009, 10:05:18 AM
So I put that book to the side.  I found The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach by Howard Gardner.  Thick, slow reading, but the first book I've read on educational theory.  I'll keep y'all apprised.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on May 11, 2009, 10:46:12 AM
Xin Ran's China Witness is brilliant.  I'm sneaking it into training sessions with me because I am learning so much and the stories are so fascinating.

If you can get it (and its equally brilliant predecessor "The Good Women of China") I REALLY recommend it!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on June 02, 2009, 05:20:44 PM
Finished Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels--amazing book, I highly recommend reading it.

Think I'll give my brain a little break and read some Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic. Trying to decide if I should keep going to the library or just sift through the 50 years of Paris Review that's on top of my desk (that's almost 200 issues).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on June 02, 2009, 11:50:42 PM
After finishing the latest butcher and green series books, I then read Simon Green's Furies, pretty good for heroic fantasy. Then I finished off the Greywalker series by Kat Richardson, not bad, kind of 'I see dead people'/PI cross.

Just started on the Repairman Jack series by F Paul Wilson. It's shaping up OK, but less 'speculative fiction' orientation and more normal kind of tough guy than I hoped from this writer. So far, anyway.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on June 03, 2009, 12:46:31 AM
Currently halfway through Leon Uris' saga of turn-of-the-20th-Century Ireland, Trinity. Read it in high school, but now I actually understand it. Uris is more famous for Exodus, but this is a deeper and maybe better book...really spellbinding. bfbfbfbfbf

Before that I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Nobel-prize opus, One Hundred Years of Solitude for the second time.
The first time I read this book, when I turned the last page, I truly and literally sat down and wept at the sweet, powerful beauty of what I had just witnessed. I didn't cry this time, but I came close...the book was even better the second time through. I agree wholeheartedly with one of the reviews on the book's cover: "...the first book since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race..."
It's been referred to as "the entire South American civilization presented in one book", but I'd go further. It's LIFE presented in one book...sometimes miraculous and sometimes mundane, sometimes tragic and sometimes hilarious, but always mysterious and compelling.
If you ever have the chance to read this luminous masterpiece, by all means grab it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on June 03, 2009, 06:39:09 AM
Leon Uris is awesome, might have to look at getting a few of his books when i am back home.

I am currently re-reading the 'Twilight' series. I love this series and can't get enough of it :D
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on June 03, 2009, 08:57:09 AM
Leon Uris is awesome, might have to look at getting a few of his books when i am back home.

I am currently re-reading the 'Twilight' series. I love this series and can't get enough of it :D

Truly original. I bet these three sentences have never been put together before.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: teacheraus on June 03, 2009, 09:01:13 AM
Leon Uris is awesome, might have to look at getting a few of his books when i am back home.

I am currently re-reading the 'Twilight' series. I love this series and can't get enough of it :D

Truly original. I bet these three sentences have never been put together before.

It does however show that Bugalugs is truely a wide ranging reader. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on June 03, 2009, 09:07:44 AM
Yep. Not critising, just found it interesting.

Now Eric's obsession with Dan Brown is a different story.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on June 03, 2009, 10:07:48 AM
Always had a wide range in what i read. I really will read what ever i can get my hands on. Is quite beneficial here in China where choices can be quite a hodge podge.

I am a sponge and just love devouring books :D
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on June 03, 2009, 10:21:31 AM
Before that I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Nobel-prize opus, One Hundred Years of Solitude for the second time.

One of my students in a writing class once tried to pass off a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as his own.  ahahahahah

I'm reading The Enchantress of Florence, by Salman Rushdie. It is fairly new book of his, out within the last year. I'm enjoying it so far, it is quite the page turner.  
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 03, 2009, 10:26:03 AM
Dan Brown...piffle....poppycock...flapdoodle....blithering nonsense....wouldn't touch his deplorable and pathetic excuse for literature with a ten-foot kuaizi....Re-reading Tristram Shandy now, part of the course syllabus next year...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: teacheraus on June 03, 2009, 10:30:16 AM
Bugalugs,

I agree that this is a good way to be ... Being like that too makes it just a little easier to decide just how many books I need to fit into my luggage ...  But I am still very happy to hear all of the suggestions on new books to look at and new sources of books I can use after I arrive.  Books are one thing I would find it hard to live without.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on June 03, 2009, 10:43:37 AM

Dan Brown...piffle....poppycock...flapdoodle....blithering nonsense....wouldn't touch his deplorable and pathetic excuse for literature with a ten-foot kuaizi....


Me thinks thou dost protest too much
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 03, 2009, 11:11:36 AM
I feel obliged to point out that, should you consult your Shakespeare, Act III, Scene II of Hamlet, he says, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." So, the word "methinks" should be one word, not two and it is "doth", not "dost".... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on June 03, 2009, 11:39:06 AM
Thanks. I did know it was the lady, however I didn't want to pick at the pink glasses scab.

(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a197/Bissessar/MortensGlasses.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 03, 2009, 04:11:25 PM
Pick away, old chum, pick away agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: synthette58 on June 03, 2009, 11:01:25 PM
Thanks. I did know it was the lady, however I didn't want to pick at the pink glasses scab.

(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a197/Bissessar/MortensGlasses.jpg)


Looks nothing like Eric - his eyes are much more beady, and his glasses more pink. Come to think of it, his eyes are much more pink too........on a good day.
 ahahahahah

Reading "In Xanadu", William Dalrymple, for the n'th time. Love it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ilunga on June 04, 2009, 12:38:51 AM
Ultra Nippon.

Best book I've read lately is Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.  In fact, possibly ever, in terms of what I've got out of it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on June 04, 2009, 07:31:36 AM
Stil: You, sir, are a madman. agagagagag akakakakak ahahahahah

Uh..."critising"? mmmmmmmmmm uuuuuuuuuu

...Eric's obsession with Dan Brown is a different story...

No, I think that's JAMES  Brown. :candyraver:

I am a sponge and just love devouring books :D

NOW yer talkin'! bfbfbfbfbf
Attaching yourself to the sea floor and enjoying Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, shredded and tossed with a few shallots and cherry tomatoes in a light vinaigrette, makes for one great evening! bhbhbhbhbh

I'm reading The Enchantress of Florence, by Salman Rushdie.

Oooh, I gotta find that one. Rushdie remains my favorite novelist. I'm still not over Midnight's Children  and The Satanic Verses, and hopefully I never shall be.

Looks nothing like Eric - his eyes are much more beady, and his glasses more pink. Come to think of it, his eyes are much more pink too........on a good day.

I was gonna say. Usually, when I saw ol' Larssss here, his glasses were beady and his eyes were flaming pink. bpbpbpbpbp





To match his underwear. ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mr Nobody on June 04, 2009, 10:26:02 AM
He has beady underwear? aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 04, 2009, 10:28:21 AM
Beady, frilly, lacy...since when did my underwear become so interesting?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: synthette58 on June 04, 2009, 05:08:40 PM
Beady, frilly, lacy...since when did my underwear become so interesting?

 aoaoaoaoao aoaoaoaoao aoaoaoaoao

...maybe it's something to do with the hat, bud??
...or maybe the 'hat' is the substitute for something stronger?
We can but wonder - hence, the obsession with your underwear.
 kkkkkkkkkk
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on June 05, 2009, 12:12:01 AM
Beady, frilly, lacy...since when did my underwear become so interesting?

Well, sort of  related to the hat, in a way...
They became interesting the night you came to Suzhou, got roaring drunk, stripped naked, pulled your pink beaded underwear on over your head, and went running up and down Shi Quan Jie screaming Turkish political slogans until I managed to fire a tranquilizer dart into you and drag you into a dark alley before the cops had time to respond.

But I suppose you don't remember any of that. bibibibibi

We knew how to party in Suzhou, didn't we? agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 06, 2009, 01:07:07 PM
We sure did agagagagag agagagagag *pulls out extra pair of pink undies and runs around the Saloon shouting "Atatürk! Atatürk!*

 agagagagag agagagagag

Just finished Barnaby Rudge...yes, Dickens...no, Dickens is not boring agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: synthette58 on June 06, 2009, 02:00:09 PM
'Pink' sure is your colour, dude!!
 ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: MissMotz on June 15, 2009, 11:53:46 AM
have just started Wild Swans has anyone read it?? tis fairly thick am I wasting my time or is it a good book??
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on June 15, 2009, 12:34:27 PM
It's worth a read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: teacheraus on June 15, 2009, 01:04:50 PM
I read it last year and found it definitely worth the read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on June 15, 2009, 08:19:17 PM
Finished Simon Green's "Hawk & Fisher" series.  Thank you for the recommendation, MrNobody agagagagag

Presently finishing off Charlaine Harris' "Shakespeare" books (only 1 more to go) ahahahahah Really good, Ladies.  The heroine is a house-cleaner and (now) a karate expert.  Good, clean arse-kicking fun ahahahahah





Awaiting my time/attention is/are Eric Flint's "1632" et al books.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on June 16, 2009, 02:34:39 AM
 Wild Swans is awesome. So riveting in fact, I read the second half in an entire day.

 Currently reading The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Great characters, brilliantly structured, intruiging plot-the kind of book you want to take your time with, but you just can't because it's too good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: solongtinik on June 16, 2009, 02:43:45 AM
reading these three books right now;

Disappointment with GOD by Philip Yancey
KOKOLOOGY:  really interesting
LIKE the flwoing river by Paulo Coehlo
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on June 16, 2009, 07:39:36 PM
Been perusing Managing the Dragon that I got at the library.

Sunday I met two Chinese-American writers at a book festival--really friendly and their books sounded interesting, so I bought one of each. Anyway, started Waylaid by Ed Lin--he described it as his "dirty book." About halfway through it now and it's quite dirty and very funny. Supposedly a good bit of it is autobiographical.

Next up will be Wendy Lee's Happy Family (about an illegal Chinese immigrant to NYC).

I was also told by a Chinese woman at the festival that I spoke Chinese better than one of the Chinese authors. The other author speaks much better than I do.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on June 16, 2009, 10:28:57 PM

I was also told by a Chinese woman at the festival that I spoke Chinese better than one of the Chinese authors. The other author speaks much better than I do.

TeeHeeHee ahahahahah ahahahahah bfbfbfbfbf agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on August 02, 2009, 07:24:16 AM
I am reading Lamb:The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore. It is quite possibly the funniest book I've read since Hitchkijers Guide the Galaxy. It's a gospel of Christ told by his childhood friend, Biff. In the prologue he is resurrected by an angel in modern day Jersuslaem and spends his time on earth writing his story in a hotel room in St. Louis while the angel watches HBO and orders pizza from room service.

Jesus has some great quotes in this book. For example-"You see the puzzle then? Jealousy makes you feel bad, but God is jealous, so it must be good, yet when a dog licks his balls it seems to enjoy it but it must be bad under the law."

 On the back it says, "Verily the story Biff has to tell is miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse renaimations, demons and hot babes."

 I love this book! bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on August 02, 2009, 09:54:16 PM
Would add to the kudos for Wild Swans. Awesome book, indeed.

I'm currently reading The Vikings in Britain  by the deservedly obscure British historian H.R. Loyn.

There are many theories concerning the rise of the Vikings from a loosely-confederated group of Scandinavian towns and villages, but as I read along one truth becomes increasingly clear: THIS WAS THE MOST BORING PERIOD/REGION IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF MANKIND. Either that, or the author needs to have his head boiled a bit. awawawawaw

I can only read about a page and a half without snoozing, and I'm still in the background bit describing how the Danes would spend their time raising sheep, brewing and drinking vast amounts of alcohol, and screwing (all activities that can be inter-related to varying extents), only to occasionally erupt into the unimaginable terror of the berserk attacks against such challenging targets as monasteries and isolated Scottish-island fishing villages- a pattern that remains unbroken even today.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: becster79 on August 02, 2009, 10:58:14 PM
Digital Fortress by Dan Brown (courtesy of Ruth).....great stuff!

Also just read Angels and Demons, and saw the movie, which they completely ruined  llllllllll
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on August 03, 2009, 12:32:11 AM
Ouch, sorry to hear that. I thought A&D was a MUCH better book than DaVinci Code...was looking forward to the movie.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on August 03, 2009, 02:23:22 AM
You should talk to Eric. He's a big fan of Dan Brown and I think he has all his works in autographed first editions. I do believe Mr. Brown (or 'my Danny' as Eric calls him) made a mistake with the restraining order.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on August 03, 2009, 03:26:20 AM
Just got back from the cottage. In the past week I've gone through 1) Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt, 2) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, thanks CDog! and 3) Lamb, which Decurso describes above. All very good reading, but unfortunately I didn't touch Curriculum Development in Language Teaching. I don't know why, that one always fell to the bottom of the pile when I reached for a new book. I'll probably pick it up again in one of the airports on my way home. Between now and then, however, I've got Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and John LeCarre to keep me distracted and away from anything that even remotely resembles work.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on August 03, 2009, 07:52:46 PM
Finished reading my review copy of The Beijing of Possibilities. It's a mostly enjoyable collection of short stories (Only one I really didn't like). Have to go write my review for it now.

Think I'll sift through the huge pile of literary journals that are sitting on my shelves.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on August 03, 2009, 08:58:10 PM
Last night I concluded a re-read of Elizabeth Moon's trilogy about Heris Serrano, and today I have just "cracked the spine" on Eric Flint's 1632 (first in his series)...with the others awaiting my pleasure/leisure. ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on August 26, 2009, 12:18:52 PM
Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, "Three Cups of Tea".  Fascinating story of an ex (sort of failed) mountain climber, building schools in North Eastern Pakistan.  Mortenson didn't summit K2, got lost returning to base camp, found his porter, got lost again, wandered into a tiny village, spent some time there to recover his health. Decided to repay the villagers by building a school because the village was too poor for a school building and could only share a teacher with another village, so the students walked long distances to study and on the days when they had no teacher, sat outside and tried to study by themselves.  He went home, lived out of the back of his car (literally) and took about a year to raise the money.  Fell in love at home, but she ditched him. 

Of course much more happens ...

BUT.. he achieved his aims.

Good story, writing a bit melodramatic, but still a good read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on August 30, 2009, 09:27:34 AM
Got obsessed by a book, my life grinding to a halt until I finished it.  "It" is Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

Knocked off 2 light reads, then tucked into The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.  It won the Booker Prize; I can thus far say that the prose is wonderful- I'm about 90 pages in, and haven't figured out the direction of the plot.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: thedogateit on August 30, 2009, 10:08:45 AM
"The God of Small Things" is a great book, give it time. It all makes sense in the end.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 05, 2009, 01:22:57 AM
Steven Pinker "The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature".  

Fascinating psycholinguistic discussion - which answers, along with a whole bunch of other stuff, WHY using 'taboo' words is offensive!  Not 'just' words! ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Pashley on September 05, 2009, 02:18:56 AM
Got obsessed by a book, my life grinding to a halt until I finished it.  "It" is Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

My copy is in the mail. I love Neal's stuff.

Perhaps his best book is "Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer", taking place mostly in Shanghai, but in a world radically transformed by nanotechnology.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on September 17, 2009, 11:00:03 AM
Yes, I'm trying to get that book read by as many people as possible.

I'm currently blazing through a book written by a guy about the previous 37 generations of his Qin ancestors.  Terrific history lesson.

I'm also reading The God of Small Things by an Indian chick whose name eludes me.  Amazing prose!  And 20th century India is about as dramatic as it gets.

Just checked Rupert Murdoch out of the Bookworm.  I've long suspected that he's the devil himself; I'm only a few pages in, but the author clearly agrees with me.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Schnerby on September 17, 2009, 12:24:59 PM
Steven Pinker "The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature".  

Fascinating psycholinguistic discussion - which answers, along with a whole bunch of other stuff, WHY using 'taboo' words is offensive!  Not 'just' words! ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah

Oh I love reading about the use of taboo words. It's a fascinating topic. Why words can have such an effect.

I'm reading a Robert Ludlum and a fascinating book called Reverence about the virtue (you guessed it) reverence. Greek and Chinese philosophy, mainstream religion and psychology all get a look in. An excellent book.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on September 18, 2009, 10:44:06 AM
Just finished 'Beijing Coma' by Ma Jian. I cant recommend this book enough. Without a doubt the best china book i have read for a long time.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on September 18, 2009, 02:20:35 PM
Finished Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol today. Pretty forgettable. Am mid-way through The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, which I find fascinating even though I'm not a business type. The writing isn't great and it sometimes goes into details that most people won't care about, but it's a great behavioural study of what makes a capable person a success.

Also, The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño is fantastic. Read it if you can find it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 26, 2009, 12:58:53 AM
Ha Jin's "The Crazed'.  Interesting.  I like Ha Jin's writing very much.  He and Ma Jian are a couple of my favourite Chinese writers.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 26, 2009, 10:40:52 AM
Just started reading "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck. It's rather good.
I also picked up a book called "Shanghai Baby" which was apparently banned and burned in China. Should be an interesting read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ccvortex on September 26, 2009, 04:00:17 PM
"The Dangerous Days of Daniel X" by James Patterson.
Not typically a Patterson fan but it was lying there, and I was bored...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on September 27, 2009, 10:16:31 AM
My teacher read us The Good Earth in class in grade 8.  Tremendous.

I read another Ender series Book by Orson Scott Card.  Always terrific.  I'm here at the Bookworm tonight, so I'll grab a few novels for the holiday.  Maybe I'll finally tackle the biggest hole in my reading, Moby Dick.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on September 27, 2009, 11:29:14 AM
I also picked up a book called "Shanghai Baby" which was apparently banned and burned in China. Should be an interesting read.

I'm 20 pages from the end. I know how it ends, and you will too, 20 pages into the beginning, but it's a light read-a summer read-a read at the beach if only Lin'an had beaches.

The original book was banned because of sex and drugs and rock and roll (well, the first two). The English version can be found everywhere now as the book is completely apolitical. It seems that only English translations of heavily political books (eg. Mao-The Untold Story, and many "slash lit"books) get the censors kibbosh. Still, publishers like to push that aspect--banned in China.

If you liked Jay McInerney and Tama Janowitz's vision version of NYC in the 80's, Wei Hui's "Shanghai Baby" reflects that ethos, shifted 180 degrees (more or less) to Shanghai in the 90s. Lots of product placements - LV bags, Sonic Youth, Park 97, etc. Lots of artists, hangers-on, but with Chinese characteristics (some bits about the family, cousins, Sichuan food, fascination with foreigners).

I lived in that area (Shanghai/Suzhou) during the time she wrote it and in fact I recognize a few places in her story and was present at a few incidents she mentions in the book so to me, reading it has been a bit nostalgic. Kind of like re-reading McInerney's "Bright Lights, Big City" takes me back to the 80's in the U.S.

I read "Shanghai Baby" as nostalgia. Others, more recent to China might read it in a different way. Either way, it's a good read. And she (or rather her translator) can occasionally turn a good sentence.

P.S. Can literature only 10 years old be nostalgic?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: afairman on October 05, 2009, 02:07:46 PM
Hi everyone

New to the saloon and this is post numero one. Thought I'd pick something weighty and important to kick things off with.
While I'd like to say that I'm reading something intellectual and worthy like Dostoyevsky or Kundera I've read far too much of that lately so good to read a bit of slush. I'm part way through Elizabeth Kostova's 'The Historian' a (so far) decent and well written update of Dracula. Rationing it as I'm in a town with no English bookstores (damn you lucky Suzhou people)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 05, 2009, 02:14:01 PM
Welcome afairman!  Pop over to introductions and tell us more about yourself. Especially about your name!  Affair-man  afafafafaf, a fair man (as in handsome :dancemj:), a fair man (as in just gggggggggg)  ....  ahahahahah ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on October 05, 2009, 02:48:18 PM
I just finished reading My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carol Oates. The book is based on the Jon Benet Ramsey murder case, but told from the point of view of the older brother. It was really heavy and more than a little disturbing, but I loved the way she wrote it, the very unconventional narrative.

Speaking of Shanghai Baby, Wei Hui wrote a sequel to it, Marrying Buddha, which was not nearly as good as Shanghai Baby, in my opinion. The main character has moved to the States and a lot of the book takes place there, and it seems that without the Shanghai backdrop the author sort of loses something.

A similar book if you liked Shanghai Baby would be Candy, by Mian Mian, and then Beijing Doll, by Chun Sue, both of which which are also heavy on the sex, the drugs, the rock and roll, and the supposed controversy. They all have the same sort of "banned in China" shock appeal, and I guess they are not what people -- especially the folks back home -- expect from Chinese writers, so they've gotten attention for sort of being, according to their Western publishers, some kind of voice for disaffected Chinese youth.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on October 05, 2009, 03:19:20 PM
Well, I did finish Shanghai Baby that week. Finished as expected. But then I found the movie based on the book in the local DVD shop. The movie's beginning picks up where the book ends (she shows up at her German lover's door in Berlin one morning) and then works backward from there.

The book is better.

Then I dove back into what I had started before summer began - "Lady Orchid" by Anchee Minn. It was hard slogging when I first got the book. I was an Anchee Minn fan before I came to China - Red Orchid, Katherine, etc. This one disappointed me at first (early summer) because it's a first person retelling of the story of The Last Empress (aka Lady Orchid, aka Cixi). After taking a break from it for the summer then getting back to it, it's not a bad book from the viewpoint of seeing the end of the Qing Dynasty from a very different viewpoint-the VP of Cixi herself. You have to work at it a bit because it uses the Wade-Giles format rather than Pinyin, but after the true but vacuosness(is that a word) of Shanghai Baby, it was a nice break to read the pseudo-historical, but equally vacuous words and thoughts of the Last Empress as rendered by a formerly interesting writer.

I think I'll spend my autumn re-reading the collected works of Lu Xun.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 05, 2009, 03:47:23 PM
If you haven't tried Xin ran, I would truly truly recommend.  The Good Women of China,  and China Witness are amazing books and NOTHING vacuous about them!!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on October 05, 2009, 03:59:56 PM
Xin Ran's The Good Women of China was my mid-summer read this summer (between Lady Orchid in June and Shanghai Baby in September.

I was in Nanjing at the time so it had resonance. My Nanjing friend, who has been teaching there since 1995 or so, lent it to me. I had Xin Ran's Miss Chopsticks with me (my read previous to Lady Orchid) and Miss Chopsticks resonated even more because it was set in the 2000s. So we swapped. We each finished our swapped Xin Ran's before July was out.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 05, 2009, 04:08:02 PM
I ahven't read Miss Chopsticks, so I'll look for that.  But I also have her Sky Burial.  It was interesting, but the other 2 were fascinating because of the real history and real stories of life.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on October 05, 2009, 04:09:16 PM
Well, I did finish Shanghai Baby that week. Finished as expected. But then I found the movie based on the book in the local DVD shop. The movie's beginning picks up where the book ends (she shows up at her German lover's door in Berlin one morning) and then works backward from there.

The book is better.

Then I dove back into what I had started before summer began - "Lady Orchid" by Anchee Minn. It was hard slogging when I first got the book. I was an Anchee Minn fan before I came to China - Red Orchid, Katherine, etc. This one disappointed me at first (early summer) because it's a first person retelling of the story of The Last Empress (aka Lady Orchid, aka Cixi). After taking a break from it for the summer then getting back to it, it's not a bad book from the viewpoint of seeing the end of the Qing Dynasty from a very different viewpoint-the VP of Cixi herself. You have to work at it a bit because it uses the Wade-Giles format rather than Pinyin, but after the true but vacuosness(is that a word) of Shanghai Baby, it was a nice break to read the pseudo-historical, but equally vacuous words and thoughts of the Last Empress as rendered by a formerly interesting writer.

I think I'll spend my autumn re-reading the collected works of Lu Xun.



I was also a big Anchee Min fan before coming to China. Her older stuff (Red Azalea, Becoming Madame Mao, Katherine) is much so better than her newer books about Cixi. I didn't mind the first Empress Orchid book, but she followed it up with a book -- The Last Empress I think it was called, about the latter half of Cixi's life and it was pretty dull. What I did like about the two books was that she sort of tried to reclaim Cixi as a heroine, rather than doing the predictable villainess thing. It is sort of a feminist re-telling of the fall of the Qing dynasty, supposing that Cixi was villified at least in part due to the politics of the time and because she, as a woman with so much power, was a convenient scapegoat. What I like about Anchee Min is that she takes risks with her work, even if she doesn't always pull them off.

She is apparently coming out with a new book about the life of Pearl S. Buck sometime next year and I'll definitely be reading it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on October 05, 2009, 04:15:37 PM
Following up, I engage a lot in stories and books where I can see the place. Xin Ran's China in Miss Chopsticks, I could see this summer.

Lu Xun wrote 70 or so years ago, but I have visited Shaoxing and lived for a week on the street where he lived.

When I lived in Suzhou, lo those many years ago, I used to take a copy of Lin Yutang's translation of Six Chapters of a Floating Life to the nearby Can Lan Ting (Blue Wave Pavilion)-the setting for the story- and spend the afternoon there reading it.

Before I came to China, I read Zhong Chang's "Wild Swans" as most FTs have before they came here. By absolute coincidence, I ended up in the small city where most of the main action takes place. I realized that about a week before I left, but wondered how much was true.

My first view of that city was as I emerged from the train station after flying to Beijing and catching an 8 hour overnight train there. As I emerged from the station, I was greeted by the same image she ended that book with - the giant hotel across the street. Living there, I saw the things she wrote about and people living there told me things that meshed. From then on, I was fanatic for books by Chinese authors that involve realism, realia, real stories, and real people.

Xin Ran, Wei Hui (in her own way), Lu Xun, Lin Yutang, and Zhong Chang (pre-Mao) strike that chord in me.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on October 05, 2009, 04:28:11 PM
Oops, right. Red Azalea, not Red Orchid. It's sitting on my bookshelf and the first of her's I read 15+ years ago.

I'm finishing the later Cixi story now - Lady Orchid. I haven't read the first one - Empress Orchid. I knew of it, and briefly thought I should read it first before Lady Orchid, but Lady Orchid appeared at the local Foreign Language Bookstore last spring so I snapped it up and started in on it.

I recently discovered her husband's blog and, though he doesn't talk much about her other than to mention his wife is a famous writer, he seems to be a complete tool. He's trying to write books using historical references and I think it's rubbed off (or been rubbed off) on her recent works. So my respect for her drops every time I read his blog.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on October 11, 2009, 10:25:29 AM
Finishing off Eric Flint's Ring of Fire II, an anthology of tales arising from his 1632 stories.  Also have Simon Green's Shadows Fall on the go, as my bedtime reading.

Next up?  Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals...freshly arrived from Amazon.com ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on October 12, 2009, 12:21:07 AM
Just stumbled across this website yesterday: http://www.51eng.com/en/ (http://www.51eng.com/en/)

It's a bookstore in Shanghai that will deliver COD to 21 cities in China. Shipping is free if you order at least 200 RMB of stuff. They don't take credit cards; your only choices are COD or wire transfer. See the website for payment and shipping options as well as which cities they'll deliver to.

They seem to have a pretty good selection of stuff across genres, and are able to get real, back-home textbooks (at real, back-home textbook prices).

I haven't tried them yet, so I can't vouch for them but the COD option protects you.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 12, 2009, 02:48:28 AM
Next up?  Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals...freshly arrived from Amazon.com ahahahahah

 ananananan ananananan ananananan me want  ananananan ananananan
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on October 12, 2009, 02:51:09 AM
ETR - Amazon is good here.  akakakakak akakakakak  They usually post from Hong Kong, so although the shipping notice will say 3 weeks, it mostly arrives in 2 weeks or less.  I'm waiting for 5 or 6 books now - they should arrive early next week!  bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on October 12, 2009, 05:05:22 AM

Just started on Dan Brown's Lost Symbol and Pratchett's Bad Omens.. mixed bag on both so far
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on October 12, 2009, 05:35:56 AM
Yeah, Pratchett didn't write Good Omens on his own; he shared the honours - and it shows.  Not that Omens is a bad book, but it's that I'd have to be in a particular mindset to do a re-read......kind of like I can't just pick up any Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever books.  They have to await a change in my mood(s) ahahahahah

As for Mr.Brown's latest kkkkkkkkkk.....I was bored and irritated by his first "best" seller.  I kept hoping for something new, but all I found was a re-hash of theories that I'd read aeons ago  llllllllll  Can't be bothered to try anything else he's written.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on November 04, 2009, 09:57:45 AM
Just recently finished an absolutely amazing book- The Red Book of Chinese Martyrs by Gerolamo Fazzini. Originally published in Italian, you really don't have to be Catholic, or even religious at all, to marvel at these inspiring and incredible stories of terror and oppression, faith and courage, before the backdrop of a country in the early throes of going officially insane.

It may seem hard to conceive now, but China once had a thriving, rapidly growing, and devout population of Roman Catholics. But from as early as 1950, as Mao tightened his grip on China and loosened his grip on reality, Catholics became a top-priority target of persecution. Nearly all foreign priests and bishops were expelled from the country, while Chinese priests were relentlessly subjected to intimidation, imprisonment, and public humiliation.

Most of the people whose stories are told in this book are not martyrs in the classic sense...with the exception of some monks living in a monastery on the Shandong island of Yangjiaping, they were not killed for their faith. But many faced conditions that made them wish for death...yet persevered to turn their stories into triumphs. Nearly all the subjects are priests or monks, but one is the story of a young woman, a layperson, who worked at a church.
She wrote her story on pieces of paper she'd cut to fit the shoe soles of an Italian priest who visited her in prison, who then smuggled them out of the prison in his shoes.

My favorite story is that of Father Joseph Li Chang. His persecution and treatment is not the worst described in this book, but it's how he dealt with it that's so absolutely glorious.

I don't think you'll exactly be finding many copies of this within China, but if you get the chance it truly is an awesome read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: joe on December 07, 2009, 02:50:07 PM
You pratchett fans missed out on a great BBC documentary on Pratchett about his Alzheimer's, it was really sad, but he still has his wit, and made the whole thing quite amusing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on December 07, 2009, 03:17:10 PM
I love Pratchett - and have introduced him to some students.  His Alzheimers is a real shame. 

Any hope the doco will be sold on DVD?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on December 28, 2009, 03:43:30 PM
Just finished "Honeymoon with my Brother' by Franz Wisner.  An internal/external-journey-of-growth genre, but interesting in the countries visited, and observations about them.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on December 28, 2009, 11:16:40 PM
I love Pratchett - and have introduced him to some students.  His Alzheimers is a real shame. 

Any hope the doco will be sold on DVD?

Demonoid has it

http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/1787237/8640170/
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 03, 2010, 10:57:37 AM
I just reading "Brave New World" for my novel class next year...I had forgotten how creepy that book is...
Now reading "Life and Death are wearing me out" by Mo Yan...it's rather good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 03, 2010, 11:05:10 AM
'Shifu, You'll do anything for a laugh' is also good.  I enjoy his work.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on January 09, 2010, 11:09:19 AM
Well.  I hope to soon be browsing Chambers Slang Dictionary.  It's a 1.5kg tome that is due to be released from Amazon.com in Canada on 17 February. ababababab
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 09, 2010, 12:38:06 PM
The collected works of Amy Tan, plus a dashed lot of novels are waiting for my undivided attention...The Joy Luck Club is, so far, rather good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 10, 2010, 06:34:46 AM
I just finished that awesome William Gibson novel Pashley lent me, and cracked open The Joke by Milan Kundera.  Man, is it good!  My life will grind to a halt until it's done.

Then, back to Moby Dick.  It's good too, but those other 2 books, plus Dexter, plus The Wire, all got in the way.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Pashley on January 10, 2010, 03:32:03 PM
Picked up two in HK recently.

"God's Chinese Son" is a biography of Hong Xia Quan who started the Tai Ping Tian Guo, Heavenly Kingdom, 1850s. He claimed to be Christ's younger brother, ruled a big chunk of China (all of Jiangsu, most of Zhejiang and Jiangxi, bits of Anhui) for over 10 years, and started the second bloodiest war in history (first is WW II, third WW I). Fascinating, if distinctly weird.

"The Soong Dynasty" is an interesting take on an important family. Charlie Soong was educated in the US, came back as a Methodist missionary, made a large fortune first by selling bibles, then branching out. He was an early associate of Sun Yat Sen, printing subversive literature and funding the revolution. Son TV Soong was foreign minister and finance minister in the KMT gov't. Eldest daughter Ai Ling married a guy who ended up the richest businessman in Taiwan. Middle daughter Ching Ling married Sun Yat Sen, over dad's objections. Youngest Mei Ling married Chiang Kai Shek.

I have not finished it. Very interesting. Not your party line portraits. Sun portrayed as fairly weak and vacillating. Chiang as power-mad and more-or-less completely the creature of the Shanghai mob.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 12, 2010, 03:00:35 AM
"God's Chinese Son"...thanks, Pashley, I'll be looking for that. Sounds awesome. Came across the Tai Ping Rebellion in a Flashman book and would so like to read some more about them.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Pashley on January 12, 2010, 08:50:54 AM
"God's Chinese Son"...thanks, Pashley, I'll be looking for that. Sounds awesome.

You can borrow mine. It was not as good as I expected, but worthwhile.

I'm in Fuzhou, will visit Shanghai/Suzhou and Guilin/Yangshuo areas during holiday. PM me for more detail.

Quote
Came across the Tai Ping Rebellion in a Flashman book and would so like to read some more about them.

Same place I first encountered them. Nanjing has an interesting Tai Ping Tien Guo museum.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on January 15, 2010, 08:23:49 AM
Second bloodiest war EVER?  Golly, that's a big hole in my history reading.
oooooooooo  Off to Wikipedia!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 15, 2010, 08:50:22 AM
Con, just read "Flashman and the Dragon" instead, it'll be more fun and quite possibly more correct than Wikipedia agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 21, 2010, 02:49:41 AM
Jules Hardy "Altered Land" - interesting novel about an adult who was the victim of an IRA bomb on his 13th birthday, ended up deaf.  Well written, and from his perspective and his mother's.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: magnakaser on January 21, 2010, 01:18:39 PM
After 10 years of urging from my older brother, I started reading the first of King's Dark Tower novels on my flight to China a couple months ago.  Loved it.

Now, for whatever reason, every bookstore I've been to in Hangzhou that has English books has the series, but only 1, 3, 4, 5, etc...  No 2 to be found.

Beyond infuriating.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Schnerby on January 21, 2010, 01:31:35 PM
Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.

Why? Because I should be packing.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on January 28, 2010, 01:34:17 AM
Yesterday I read a review on ChinaSMACK (http://www.chinasmack.com/pictures/niubi-eveline-chao-chinese-bad-words-reactions/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+chinaSMACK+%28chinaSMACK%29&utm_content=Google+Reader) of the book Niubi!: The Real Chinese You Were Never Taught in School. Since I'm at home in the States now, I popped over to the local Borders and picked up a copy. 

The book is absolutely hilarious. Not only does it have a ton of slang, profane, and filthy expressions, but it also includes explanations of how many of the terms came to mean what they mean. It's interesting, funny, and informative. Highly recommended!

Here's a link to it on Amazon. (http://www.amazon.com/Niubi-Chinese-Never-Taught-School/dp/0452295564)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on January 28, 2010, 02:02:51 AM
This is one Chinese book I don't need!  I have a great Chinese teacher who is more than happy to tell me what I need to say - and help me practice exactly the right intonation (as opposed to tones!) to make it sound right. uuuuuuuuuu

Right now my reading is... not of the 'can't put it down' variety.  Business Chinese and CS4 for Digital Photographers.  Useful, but not take to bed stuff.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on January 28, 2010, 04:12:18 AM
I'm reading an interesting book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Basically, it's about all the intangible x-factors that make a person succesful, and it's pretty thought provoking. He used numerous examples, including Bill Gates, the Beatles and Mozart. I have so far learned that unless you were born between January and March, you have no chance of making it in the NHL, why the most successful corperate lawyers in America are jews born between 1934 and 1935, and why you can have an IQ of over 200 and still spend your life working menial, low paying jobs.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 28, 2010, 05:27:53 AM
I just finished Nineteen Eighty-Four...That book just get more and more creepy every time I read it. I think contrasting that book with Brave New World is going to be fun, as the two societies in the novels are so extremely different and yet riddled with similarities.
Time to get busy with Catch-22, followed by Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick...I am enjoying my vacation immensely agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on January 28, 2010, 08:05:33 AM
I'm reading an interesting book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Basically, it's about all the intangible x-factors that make a person succesful, and it's pretty thought provoking. He used numerous examples, including Bill Gates, the Beatles and Mozart. I have so far learned that unless you were born between January and March, you have no chance of making it in the NHL, why the most successful corperate lawyers in America are jews born between 1934 and 1935, and why you can have an IQ of over 200 and still spend your life working menial, low paying jobs.

Great book. All of Gladwell's writing is interesting.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on January 28, 2010, 03:17:58 PM
I just finished Nineteen Eighty-Four...That book just get more and more creepy every time I read it. I think contrasting that book with Brave New World is going to be fun, as the two societies in the novels are so extremely different and yet riddled with similarities.
Time to get busy with Catch-22, followed by Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick...I am enjoying my vacation immensely agagagagag agagagagag

Great choices!  Catch-22 is a classic.  Which Philip K. Dick" novel will you be reading?  I just finished "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy which will gave me chills followed by nightmares.  Next up is "Let the Great World Spin".
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on January 29, 2010, 03:15:19 AM
JD Salinger died  aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on January 30, 2010, 04:35:24 AM
Great choices!  Catch-22 is a classic.  Which Philip K. Dick" novel will you be reading?  I just finished "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy which will gave me chills followed by nightmares.  Next up is "Let the Great World Spin".
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep...I have been downloading almost all his works these days...Been toying with the idea of a sci-fi course in the Fall Term. Just watched the movie adaptation of A Scanner Darkly...good one, but I preferred the book.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on February 05, 2010, 03:34:49 AM
I know you hate movies, Red, but you might screen Brazil.  Perfect fit with 1984, Brave New World and Farenheit 451 (um, which I've never read).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on February 05, 2010, 04:18:04 AM
I love Brazil, Con agagagagag agagagagag It's so delightfully weird.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on February 05, 2010, 04:57:35 AM
I just finished reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.It's really a very interesting read. It's about the intangible factors that make people succesful. It uses such diverse examples as Bill Gates and The Beatles. Among the more interesting things detailed in the book are that you have virtually no chance of making the NHL if you are born in the second half of the year. 40 per cent of NHL players were born between January and March. The reason? The eligibilty cutoff for age-class hockey is January 1. Therefore, a boy who turns 10 on Jan 2 could be playing alongside a boy who doesn't turn 10 until Dec 27. The bigger, more mature, more experienced boy will be perceived as more talented and will get more playing time, better coaching and will develop faster. Disturbingly, the same is true in education.

  It also tells us why the most succesful corperate lawyers are Jews born in the mid 1930s (because they were shut out of the elite law firms and had to go into business for themselves handling the type of work other firms wouldn't touch-hostile takeovers. However, in the 1970s this became the bread and butter of corperate law, and they were the only ones with the experience in these matters), why Korean and Columbian planes crash more than American ones (because the culture of respect for authority prevents co-pilots from pointing out pilot errors) and why Asian kids are better at math than Western kids (because the language of numbers is more logical in Asian languages and cultures rooted in rice farming have a stronger work ethic than those rooted in wheat farming). Seriously, it's fascinating stuff.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on February 05, 2010, 05:58:03 AM
Sort of on the Outliers topic - did it mention anything about Germany?  I have German friends who believe that since the German language has adopted words etc from other languages (especially English) that the precision engineering etc has declined, as these languages don't give the same structure to thinking.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on February 05, 2010, 07:36:31 AM
Sort of on the Outliers topic - did it mention anything about Germany?  I have German friends who believe that since the German language has adopted words etc from other languages (especially English) that the precision engineering etc has declined, as these languages don't give the same structure to thinking.

A German talking about purity eh? That's not an outlier.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on February 05, 2010, 02:38:09 PM
I just finished reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

I heard him interviewed on National Public Radio and he did sound very intresting, yet down to earth.  He stressed the value of plain hard work and repetition; citing the Beatles experience in Hamburg where they played 10-12 hours each day and were virtually secluded with each other in that foreign city.  It brought them together as a group and honed their skills without distraction.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Eagle on February 05, 2010, 04:23:12 PM
I enjoyed Outliers.  It was more than about putting in the time, about 10,000 hours.  It also talked about being in the right place and the right time (Bill Gates), having the right birthdate (hockey players), and so on. 

Right now I am reading some pleasant trash - "Chasing Eden" by S.L. Linnea. Also on the go, some heavy reading - "Jung Uncorked: Book Two - Rare Vintages from the Cellar of Analytic Phschology" by Daryl Sharp.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on February 11, 2010, 02:13:01 PM
Alexander McCall Smith - The right attitude to rain.   Interesting, unusual, no sleuths, no murders, just slow development of relationships through the eyes of a highly literate moral philosopher.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: MissMotz on February 15, 2010, 01:56:59 AM
re reading Jane Eyre...for Uni but I had forgotten most of the book  bibibibibi
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on February 15, 2010, 04:49:23 AM
I have discovered a good way to go mildly insane...read Nineteen Eighty-Four, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Animal Farm, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, The Time Machine and Erewhon back to back... agagagagag agagagagag.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: VIVI on February 18, 2010, 10:19:28 AM
 1984
 but hardly got the meaning  ananananan
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on March 07, 2010, 11:25:04 AM
"A Loyal Character Dancer" by Qiu Xiaolong.  Nice little Chinese detective mystery.  I think Lisa See is probably stronger as a detective writer, but this one is interesting for the Shanghai view and triad discussion.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Magnus1977 on March 07, 2010, 01:54:30 PM
What Am I reading??

I just finished STEVE FORBES "How Capitalism will save us."
Amazing book and really easy to read and understand.  They had the complaints followed by an answer and then an explanation.  Learned TONS.

Then to read more about China I pulled my "History of Imperial China" off the shelf and decided to wade through that.  Fascinating stuff.  Never had heard of the RED EYEBROWS and how they terrorized people back in the day.  Got some good ideas for our site too.

Also trying to slog through ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand.  Tough but looks like so far an interesting read.

Who is John Galt?
Don't spoil it for me!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on March 07, 2010, 02:29:13 PM
What Am I reading??

I just finished STEVE FORBES "How Capitalism will save us."
Amazing book and really easy to read and understand.  They had the complaints followed by an answer and then an explanation.  Learned TONS.

Then to read more about China I pulled my "History of Imperial China" off the shelf and decided to wade through that.  Fascinating stuff.  Never had heard of the RED EYEBROWS and how they terrorized people back in the day.  Got some good ideas for our site too.

Also trying to slog through ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand.  Tough but looks like so far an interesting read.

Who is John Galt?
Don't spoil it for me!

John Galt was the Sire to Ayn Rand's Dam. The resulting Foal was Steve Forbes. Hope that helps!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on March 07, 2010, 02:32:23 PM
 bkbkbkbkbk bkbkbkbkbk 

And apt.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on March 08, 2010, 03:35:55 AM
I'm reading my autographed copy of Hessler's new book, Country Driving. Quite amusing thus far.

I'm also looking through some more old copies of the Paris Review. I have Winter/Spring '64, Fall '75, and Summer 2003.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: NiuBi822 on March 08, 2010, 03:45:05 AM
Just finished reading Catcher in the Rye to see what all the fuss is about. It was good, but I am past the targeted age group. Moving on to Nine Stories next.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on March 08, 2010, 04:52:17 AM
I read half a dozen books over the holidays. Among them were:

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. A fascinating study about the intangible things that determine success and mediocrity.

The Siege by Helen Dunmore A really moving novel about a family trying to survive the siege of Leningrad.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: becster79 on March 08, 2010, 11:44:22 AM
Reading Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol' atm. Writing style has most definitely changed since Da Vinci Code, chapters are short as, very Hollywood movie-like jumps.

Nice to learn about some history and monuments in DC though.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on March 08, 2010, 12:05:09 PM
Reading Nemesis by Max Hastings about WWII in the Pacific. It's a real eye-opener/myth-buster.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on March 08, 2010, 12:12:02 PM
I'm reading Moments in Peking by Lin Yutang. Unfortunately for the book I just got a box from the US filled with magazines, so the book has taken a back seat for the moment. It is quite good though.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ITBOY001 on March 08, 2010, 01:51:09 PM
i am reading some Stories of adventure which thrill me.novels about robbing graves r more popular.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on March 09, 2010, 11:24:55 AM
Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh.  Vietnam War from the perspective of a North Vietnamese soldier.  An interesting view.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Noodles on March 09, 2010, 01:04:32 PM
Puckoon by Spike Milligan. Hilarious. I've read a lot of his books including his war memoirs but i'd never had chance to read this. I'm loving it and will probably be finished in a few more hours.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Gaomeigeng on March 10, 2010, 03:12:00 PM
George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones - I'm loving it
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Larry Paradine on March 12, 2010, 03:14:38 PM
The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins.  The better sort of Victorian melodrama, and usually classified as one of literature's earliest detective novels.   I'm enjoying it, but my reason for selecting it is mundanely economic:  English language literature here is hard to come by and grossly overpriced, but this book (a Penguin Popular Classics edition) has a torn cover and some marks of being "foxed", and was on special offer at half price (still considerably more expensive than it would have been in Britain).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on March 12, 2010, 03:44:25 PM
"The Early Arrival of Dreams" - Rosemary Mahoney

Heard about it for years, but never ran across it. The new teacher had it with him and asked me if I had ever read it.

"No"

Boom! Weekend reading
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on March 15, 2010, 09:54:17 PM
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

I'm not sure what to say about it. A cowboy novel about a nameless kid who falls in with scalp hunters killing their way through Mexico. It's powerful and unsettling and disgusting, but what a book. Well worth reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Lotus Eater on March 16, 2010, 12:10:28 AM
Hit the Beijing bookshops yesterday and bought half-a-dozen books. 

I'm halfway through Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" - very interesting. 

Also bought "The Outliers", plus Xin Ran's "Miss Chopsticks". 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on March 16, 2010, 12:19:57 AM
Presently re-reading Flanagan's Run, a novel based on the Bunion Derby of 1928.  Marathon running across the USA. bebebebebe Darn good read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: becster79 on March 16, 2010, 03:31:23 AM
Just started "The Time Traveller's Wife"- quite an interesting read so far!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 09, 2010, 02:28:30 AM
The Road
Cormac McCarthy.

In terms of what happens it's essentially the same as the movie (if you saw the movie first), but there's a qualitative difference, both more intimate and more epic and a bit less Viggo.  I keep trying to read Cormac McCarthy books, and this is the first I made it through.  McCarthy isn't purposely obscurantist I don't think, just really, really economical and when his references to higher things do come, they're often presented in but a single sentence, whereas some other things, the signs of the physical world for example, are relentlessly repeated.  I'm unsure what this means but he does it effectively.

I award this book the CP Thumbs Up Seal of Non-Rejection.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 09, 2010, 04:17:41 AM
China Melville's "Un Lun Dun"...and a heap of other novels...I am, for strange reasons, on an Agatha Christie trip...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on April 09, 2010, 05:21:57 AM
Loved Blood Meridian.  Every time I read McCarthy's stuff, I start sating things like "I reckon" and "Well, it will or it won't" and other such laconic nuggets, until my friends threaten to glass me.

Just finished The Soong Dynasty, which Pashley left me.  Utterly epic.  Except for Ching Ling, wife of Sun Yat Sen, that family does NOT come off well in this book.  I recommend it highly.

Now digging into Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie.  Bitchin' so far.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 15, 2010, 10:19:24 AM
I have the new Pratchett book....I have the new Pratchett book...
I also have a copy of the...hmmm...literature produced by Borkya and her husband, which I am going to write a review of...and I mean a proper review...the kind of self-important, lengthy, snooty thing one would find in a 19th Century newspaper... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 15, 2010, 01:57:37 PM
I have the new Pratchett book....I have the new Pratchett book...
I also have a copy of the...hmmm...literature produced by Borkya and her husband, which I am going to write a review of...and I mean a proper review...the kind of self-important, lengthy, snooty thing one would find in a 19th Century newspaper... agagagagag agagagagag

I heard about this tonight! I can't wait....

...I think....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on September 25, 2010, 02:09:01 PM
the kind of self-important, lengthy, snooty thing one would find in a 19th Century newspaper

Is it your birthday already?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Pashley on September 26, 2010, 01:52:12 AM
I'm working my way through Churchill's six-volume "The Second World War". Some of it is rather dry, but it is a unique & fascinating series. The whole thing is seen through his eyes and none of the other leaders wrote such a detailed memoir. Also, it is quite well written; one sees why he got a Nobel for literature.

Suzhou Bookworm has at least some of the volumes in hardcover. I'm buying the trade paperbacks. 70 rmb each in Shanghai, but printed right on the cover are UK prices -- 20 or 25 pounds apiece. Interesting that they are so much cheaper in China.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on September 26, 2010, 03:46:53 AM
I had a lot of time to read this summer. Some of the better reads I had were-

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald-no, I'd never read it before. Desrves its reputation as a classic.
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga-brilliant look at modern India told from the point of view of a servant who rises to the position of a prominent business man
Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell-I taught my literature students Outliers last semester, but haven't read any other Gladwell books. This was good stuff, and I told all my students I'm still in contact with to read this as well.
Freakanomincs by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner-Gladwell-esque book that uses theories of economics to track seemingly unrelated social trends
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt-Non-fiction novel that acts as a brilliant "city confidential" of Savanah, Georgia set against the backdrop of a high publicity murder trial
Practical Demon Keeping by Christopher Moore-Light, easy amusing read. Not as funny as Moore's other works, as he originally intended it to be a horror novel
Asian Godfathers by Joe Studwell-A complex and insightful look at how the economies of Southeast Asia have been controlled for the past 150 years by the same 50 families, and how the factors that allow this are responsible for the lack of growth in the region.

I'm currently working on The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter Thompson.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on November 04, 2010, 06:43:56 AM
At least being confined to a hospital bed is a good way to get some reading done. Read “Perdido Street Station” by China Mieville, “Paradise Lost”, “Crime and Punishment”, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” and am halfway through “Against Nature” by Huysmans...the latter being that wicked book Lord Henry Wotton lends to the easily corrupted Dorian Gray...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: becster79 on November 04, 2010, 08:55:32 AM
I'm now reading John Grisham's 'The Broker' courtesy of Ruth  bfbfbfbfbf. Really good, I really enjoy reading about life in Italy, but unlike the other Grisham books, would make a pretty boring flim, imo. Good reading though.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on November 04, 2010, 01:14:22 PM
Well, I'm a little afraid to mention this for outing myself as a super nerd, but I am re-reading all of the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time books in anticipation of the last one coming out next year. So far I'm on book 6 and there are going to be 15 in all. Each book is between 600-900 pages so it is taking me a little while to get through, but I plan on finishing book 14 right before book 15 comes out.

 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on November 05, 2010, 01:09:32 PM
Just finished the very wonderful Lacuna by Margaret Attwood.Usually hate sci-fi but made an exception in her case. And now am reading Two Caravans by somebody Ukranian whose name escapes me.
Quite fun.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on November 09, 2010, 01:47:30 PM
I finally picked up a copy of Laird Hunt's, my grad professor, second book, The Impossibly (which is being released in French this month). So far, a bit confusing. He really likes using experimental styles.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: NATO on November 09, 2010, 01:58:39 PM
Demons - by Dostoyevsky, whether it ever gets finished remains to be seen.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 13, 2010, 04:03:53 PM
Finishing off Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein.  Really enjoying it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Ruth on November 15, 2010, 03:36:20 AM
Just finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  It's a story about a young girl, narrated by Death, set in Nazi Germany.  His writing style is brilliant and thought provoking.  He mixes words in a most unusual way that really brings images to life (for me, anyway).  Highly recommended.

A sample:  Upon her arrival, you could still see the bite marks of snow on her hands and the frosty blood on her fingers. Everything about her was undernourished. Wire-like shins. Coathanger arms. She did not produce it easily, but when it came, she had a starving smile.  Her hair was a close enough brand of German-blonde, but she had dangerous eyes. Dark brown. You didn't really want brown eyes in Germany around that time.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on November 15, 2010, 02:35:48 PM
We just read that in our book club. I just finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer which I thought was good if a bit conceited.
Now reading short stories by a Pakistani writer Daniyal Mueenuddin "In Other Rooms Other Wonders" pretty good so far even though I usually hate short stories
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on November 15, 2010, 03:04:16 PM
That sounds really good Ruth, I'm going to check it out!

I've got loads of books that have been arriving from Amazon over the past few weeks and have been slowly working through them. I've been reading the historical fiction trilogy about Henry II by Sharon Kay Penman and just finished it off ... for history buffs, Penman is great, very true to fact.

Right now reading a book by an Indian author (whose name escapes me) called The Unexpected Son. It is ok, kind of fluffy after the hardcore 800 page historical tomes from Penman though.

What I'm really looking forward to is the latest book by Jonathan Franzen, Freedom, which hasn't arrived yet. I loved The Corrections and I've heard good things from other Franzen lovers about Freedom so I'm looking forward to it.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on November 17, 2010, 11:26:45 AM
yeah Local I am also thinking about reading that one. The Corrections was brilliant and I only read it cos my cousin recommended it to me after she was the translator for it here (into Hebrew) and now I definitely want to read his new one.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on November 20, 2010, 01:15:48 PM
Polished off Puppet Masters, now digging into The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Heck, everyone's doing it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 29, 2011, 07:10:16 AM
Just finished reading Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union"...it was absolutely brilliant.  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on March 30, 2011, 12:29:58 AM
Just finished re-reading the Hobbit. Classic stuff.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on March 31, 2011, 10:09:21 AM
I recently finished 'A Gesture Life' by Chang-Rae Lee. In terms of style it has a lovely spareness lit up with the occasional wordy gem.

It's about a man who served as a medic in the Japanese army and explores the idea of 'comfort women' during this period. For anyone with an interest in war-time history (unless you're purely into the planes, bombs and guns side of it) it's a good read. I could also recommend it for people who enjoy well drawn, realistic characters.

I also loved A Gesture Life, Kanga. Chang-Rae Lee's most recent book, The Surrendered, is also very good, you should definitely pick up a copy if you liked A Gesture Life.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 31, 2011, 11:24:43 AM
Since I do teach Am Lit, part of work is to sit and read....life is hard...just finished Moby Dick, Mosses From an Old Manse, The Red Badge of Courage, The Gilded Age, A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur and an anthology of short stories...it is always nice to have several books going at the time...and classics are good, dash it all agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: fullricebowl on March 31, 2011, 02:48:35 PM
Just finished The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. This is the second book I've read by him and at some point in every chapter I have to laugh out loud. Although it is basically him reminiscing about 1950s America, it really does take a fairly serious tone describing American politics at the time as well as reflecting on the death of the American downtown.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: the_otter on April 04, 2011, 06:52:52 AM
Just finished reading Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union"...it was absolutely brilliant.  agagagagag agagagagag

 agagagagag Bought that at London Heathrow and read it on the way over. Great read and filled me with the hitherto unknown desire to visit Alaska. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on April 07, 2011, 03:13:22 PM
Picked up two by Haruki Murakami: After Dark and hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the Earth.  I'm a pig in poop.  bhbhbhbhbh
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on April 07, 2011, 03:34:01 PM
hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the Earth
That is a fun, fun book. Enjoy!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 07, 2011, 11:13:37 PM
Just started "The Difference Engine" by William Gibson...I am on some kind of steampunk trip these days...have a bunch of novels awaiting order on amazon.cn...steampunk is fun... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Tuco on April 08, 2011, 02:05:43 AM
I have several books going but just finished reading 1984. Great book.

ongoing:
ac/dc a serious biography and outline of a great band.

anne rice: Vampire chronicle #5
FDI in china

basically i read in spurts when i get my ass on the subway and usually when there is nothing else to do.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mimi on April 09, 2011, 02:49:22 PM
I've been reading Mao's Last Dancer.  Really good, even if you care nothing for ballet.
 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: solongtinik on April 12, 2011, 02:11:16 AM
tried john grisham but too anticipating.

LIFE of PI is a good read ^o^
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: tomhume89 on April 21, 2011, 04:24:44 AM
I've been reading Mao's Last Dancer.  Really good, even if you care nothing for ballet.
 

Saw the film on the flight back to the UK a few months back. Can recommend the film too!  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on April 21, 2011, 09:19:51 AM
Presently reading The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel.  It's the conclusion to her Clan of the Cave Bear series.  Not as good as the others, but bear-able.

Also have 1637 on the go.  An alternate universe idea, wherein a smallish town in present day West Virginia gets shifted into Europe in the midst of the 100 Years War.  This is the latest book in the series.  I'm enjoying it/them.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Kid Presentable on April 21, 2011, 12:18:25 PM
I got a Nook just before coming to China and recently found a few good torrents of Epub collections. I'm currently reading Cities of the Plain, which is the final novel of Cormac McCarthy's "Border Trilogy". I noticed some people in this thread have mentioned The Road and Blood Meridian, which I've also enjoyed. Blood Meridian is still my favorite McCarthy novel. The border trilogy is generally slower paced than The Road, and far less grim/violent than Blood Meridian. As a whole, the trilogy encompasses the last days and gradual disappearance of the cowboy. I found them to be so sad that I almost couldn't take it anymore, but enjoyed that they were able to play on my emotions the way they did.  ananananan

Of the McCarthy novels I've read, these ones have characters that feel more fleshed out, with a past and a distinct voice. Whereas some of McCarthy's other protagonists (The Kid, The Man) seem intentionally non-desrcript to allow the reader to put themselves into the story. In short, if you're a McCarthy fan, these are worth your time.  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: tomhume89 on April 21, 2011, 01:02:12 PM
hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the Earth
That is a fun, fun book. Enjoy!

I've heard so much! I loved The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood and A Wild Sheep Chase- and Kafka on the Shore was good in parts too.

Is that the next one I should read then?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on April 22, 2011, 02:01:23 AM
I just finished 2 new good ones.

Steven Pressfield's Do the Work. It's new and a follow up to his fantastic War of Art (and Do the Work is available for your Kindle free on Amazon right now.) As a writer, i really appreciate his ideas and short, no nonsense writing style.

Turn Left at the Trojan Horse by Brad Herzog. This is a travel book about a guys "epic" journey around America. He is inspired by Joseph Campbell, Greek Mythology, and especially Homer's Odyssey. So his "average' travels take n a cool, mythic quality.

Anyway, I liked them both. Also, I'm keeping track of the books I read this year on my blog, and after reading those 2 I'm up to 28 since Jan 1st! Jeesh! Even I didn't realize i read that much!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 22, 2011, 11:10:58 AM
Only 28...in 4 months..just kidding. I just finished “McTeague”, “Sister Carrie”, Jack London’s “The Iron Heel” and Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”...tackling F.Scott Fitzgerald and Sherwood Anderson next...and I get to call it work...aint life grand:-)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on April 22, 2011, 11:40:35 AM
read 'the quiet american' recently. epic book. reading 'ordinary people' by judith guest which is quite interesting, i've got this library of 'modern classics' and they are good but you do get bored of reading about middle class WASP americans with kind of interesting problems
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on April 27, 2011, 04:08:13 PM
Just finished "The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit",quite nice but by no means great literature. Just embarked on "Ines of my Soul" by Isabel Allende,as mandated by my book club.Got a feeling it's not going to be up to the standard of her previous one.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Cassnadra on April 28, 2011, 02:11:32 AM
Mother Tongue - Bill Bryson - me trying to pronounce words he's written phonetically in different accents must frighten people on the train...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kyr_ie on April 28, 2011, 04:33:28 AM
I just finished reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins...  It was entertaining but too simple and not violent enough.  It's teen fiction though so I probably should have expected that.  I'm not sure if I'll bother with the third in the series yet.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 28, 2011, 04:56:23 AM
Just got done with Edith Wharton's 1913 seriously funny classic "The Custom of the Country"...Urbine Bragg is a funny and yes despicable social climber...highly recommend reading it agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on April 30, 2011, 05:13:31 PM
Now that finals are over, I have time to read again! Finally got around to Dream of Ding Village--absolutely amazing. I really don't see why it was banned though.

Since my parents went to the library book sale a couple weeks ago, they gave me every piece of Chinese literature they could get their hands on. So, I decided to start Ha Jin's The Crazed. It's alright so far. Not all that impressive yet.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on May 05, 2011, 12:40:06 PM
Just started the 19th Wife (for our book club) and it's a "couldn't put it down" read 120 pages straight off.  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on May 07, 2011, 11:04:26 PM
Thanks to a big going-out-of-business sale at our local Borders Books, I finally got to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies . I laughed until I spit up! ahahahahah
It's done totally dead-pan, and beautifully preserves the 18th-Century aristocratic tone of the original...but with zombies. bfbfbfbfbf

I wish EVERY alleged "great classic of world literature" had zombies in it. Wouldn't YOU much rather read War and Peace and Zombies  or Much Ado About Zombies  or Lady Chatterley's Zombie  or Last of The Zombies  or even Harry Potter and the Zombies of Hogwarts ?

I know I would. bjbjbjbjbj
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on May 08, 2011, 12:41:00 AM
I just finished reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. I'm not a Pattie Smith fan, but I found her book absolutely fascinating.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Kid Presentable on May 08, 2011, 11:03:30 AM
Thanks to a big going-out-of-business sale at our local Borders Books, I finally got to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies . I laughed until I spit up! ahahahahah
It's done totally dead-pan, and beautifully preserves the 18th-Century aristocratic tone of the original...but with zombies. bfbfbfbfbf

I wish EVERY alleged "great classic of world literature" had zombies in it. Wouldn't YOU much rather read War and Peace and Zombies  or Much Ado About Zombies  or Lady Chatterley's Zombie  or Last of The Zombies  or even Harry Potter and the Zombies of Hogwarts ?

I know I would. bjbjbjbjbj

That book was amazing! I never read any Jane Austen before, and I could hardly tell what was changed about the original. I thought it would be really cheesy and obvious when the author shoehorned the zombie parts in there. It was seamless though. The way a persons social standing is largely determined by their skills in the deadly arts seems so natural for that time and place. I was also really into World War Z when I read it a few years back. If you haven't read that I strongly recommend it. By far the best piece of zombie literature I have ever read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on May 08, 2011, 09:41:00 PM
So, Ha Jin's The Crazed bombed. I got 130 pages into it and decided there was absolutely nothing keeping my attention. Now I'm reading Into The Wild.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 08, 2011, 10:20:48 PM
Currently reading "The Manual of Detection" by Jedidiah Berry. A surreal modern noir novel. So far, it is good. If Kafka and Raymond Chandler had a love-child, it would have been this book agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on May 09, 2011, 03:44:44 AM
What a wonderful description! Just the book I need next  bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: WastedYouth on May 10, 2011, 01:05:53 PM
The Penguin History of Modern China - The Fall & Rise of a Great Power 1850 - 2009.
By Jonathan Fenby.

All sodding 816 pages.
But it is actually quite readable and rather interesting. Been going for quite a while now and haven't given up on it yet, just getting up to the 1980s....(But enough of that!)

Review
'His book is a miracle of thoroughness, truthfulness and readability - the perfect primer for a time when China is about to enter all our lives' Sunday Telegraph

'Jonathan Fenby's ... illuminating book [is] the first major history that looks at the country with the eyes of the 21st century rather than the 20th' - Rana Mitter, FT

'[It] reads like a novel and is never less than thoughtful and compassionate for the fate of a much-abused people ! [Fenby has] a journalist's eye for telling detail' Herald

'Taut, anecdote-studded ! a great introduction for a general audience, with vivid scene setting and character sketches' - Michel Sheridan, Sunday Times

'For an accessible, authoritative, fair and comprehensive and well written account, this would be hard to better' BBC History

'A wonderful history of modern China and a cracking good read' Chris Patten
Times

'Fenby excels at weaving the strands of his complex narrative into heroic and more often harrowing tales. There are sharp pen portraits of the heroes and (mostly) villains of the piece ... Fenby's enthusiasm is infectious'
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: xwarrior on May 18, 2011, 11:48:19 AM

Quote
Naughty bedtime book a piracy nightmare

http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/5021059/Naughty-bedtime-book-a-piracy-nightmare
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on June 08, 2011, 01:57:28 AM
Finished "A Thousand Splendid Suns" last week. It was interesting from a cultural standpoint, but it wasn't a great work of literature. This week I finished Dostoyevsky's "Notes from Underground." It was on my reading list.

I just picked up Rudy Rucker's "Spaceland" from the library. I had a workshop with him in grad school and decided it was about time I read one of his books.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: tomhume89 on June 08, 2011, 05:23:04 AM
The Penguin History of Modern China - The Fall & Rise of a Great Power 1850 - 2009.
By Jonathan Fenby.

Hmm. Wasn't too fond of it. A lot of sweeping generalisations and many unreferenced parts. One sweeping generalisation was him mentioning how one Red Guard thought Jiang Qing looked funny (thanks for the fascinating analysis), another talks about how Mao watched videos of Red Guards being violent "presumably enjoying it all".

TBF though, he does a good job of making you remember the hundreds of characters in Chinese history- like the fat warlord, the warlord with a moustache, the warlord who looks like a sunflower, etc.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on June 08, 2011, 05:28:02 AM
Chem text book, Biol text book and math review sheets :/
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on June 08, 2011, 08:14:30 AM
Just finished my first kindle book "ta da!" The Gun seller by my idol Hugh Laurie twas quite a wheeze actually.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on June 08, 2011, 12:04:10 PM
I'm currently reading The Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree by Tariq Ali, which is about a Muslim village in the aftermath of the fall of Granada and the Spanish Inquisition. It is definitely a more heavy read and the plot is kind of plodding but it is really interesting to read about that time period and the Muslim culture of Spain.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 08, 2011, 02:00:04 PM
I just finished The Shadow of the Wind and immediately began “The Angel’s Game” both by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Mystery, murder and a secret library called the Cemetery of Lost Books, does not get much better. Have to finish this novel before reading the 18 books about pirates Gutenberg had to offer in preparation for the dreaded third term. Authors like Sabatini, Defoe, Marryat and Captain Johnson and the company of such characters as Captain Singleton, Captain Blood, Doctor Syn, Long John Silver and Captain Vanderdecker....fun, fun, fun. Can’t use smileys as this is typed on phone. Laptop is at the ICU. Piglet, I found The Gun Seller highly enjoyable too.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on June 09, 2011, 04:28:18 PM
God Eric you and I are going to have SO MUCH FUN I loved the Shadow of the Wind too!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: tomhume89 on June 10, 2011, 12:05:26 AM
Both my posts here are very negative, but I really didn't like Shadow of the Wind! I found the characters predictable and the story so contrived. Sorry. I got the book as I was told it was like Borges, the master of magic realism, but I was thoroughly disappointed.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on June 10, 2011, 07:28:51 AM
not really like Borges but a fun read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on June 10, 2011, 11:37:01 AM
I'm reading "On China" by Kissinger. Not someone I greatly respect or admire, but it is an interesting read so far.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on June 12, 2011, 06:37:44 AM
I do a lot of my 'reading" by listening to audiobooks and I just finished:

"World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War" by Max Brooks

It's a pretty good book but a great audiobook with different readers playing parts. The style of the book with an interviewer travelling the globe talking to people with different accents is perfect for an audiobook.

Some of the readers:

Max Brooks - The Author is the inteviewer
Mark Hamill
Henry Rollins
Alan Alda
Carl Reiner
Rob Reiner
John Tuturro
Jürgen Prochnow
and many more excellent readers I don't know.

Btw, The book opens in Chongqing
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: porcuswallabee on June 12, 2011, 12:58:04 PM
I Loved  World War Z and it sounds like it would be worth it to listen to the story a second time.  Cool Beans.

  But the story which currently has my complete and undivided attention is Ishmael by Dan Quinn.
 
  It's like that scene in the Matrix where Neo first meets Morpheus and learns the truth about the world except in this book Morpheus is a giant Gorilla (Ishmael) and Neo is the nameless protagonist. 
  The author's goal was to explain how Humanity blundered horribly when it adopted an agriculturalist lifestyle while also outlining how and why we need to go back to tribalism (though he's not advocating returning to being Hunter/Gatherers). 
  It's one of those cases of the right book at the right time in one's life.  It has a lot to do with why I was (and still am!) on here looking for some kind of wwoofing or permaculture farming lifestyle opportunity.
  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever had a notion of 'saving the world'.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on June 13, 2011, 04:06:12 AM
Oh right just discovered I have this one in the torrent collection I downloaded for my kindle and I had never heard of it.
Great!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on June 14, 2011, 01:35:37 PM
On to my next book. I was disappointed by Spaceland. Yesterday I just read a few short stories. Today I'm trying to decide between Hemingway and Salman Rushdie.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on June 15, 2011, 12:59:02 PM
Rushdie Rushdie Rushdie  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on June 15, 2011, 02:36:48 PM
Yes, Piglet, I chose Rushdie's Satanic Verses. So far, it's wonderful.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: becster79 on June 15, 2011, 03:40:12 PM
Just last night finished reading 'The Girl Who Played with Fire' (2nd in the 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' series). Don't know what everyone else who's read them things, but this series has seriously jumped the shark in book terms!

1st book- Took me 100 painful pages for the story to actually get interesting!
2nd- Straight into the story, only the '100 pages' was spread throughout the book. It's the resulting climax that really annoyed me and ready to throw it out the window!
3rd- Won't even bother!

Next up on the bookshelf: 1984!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on June 15, 2011, 04:07:40 PM
Intereseting,I did wonder what all the hoo hah was about when I saw the movies. I thought they were like sub standard Hollywood style whodunnits.IF they had not been set in Scandinavia nobody would have paid them any attention IMHO
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on June 15, 2011, 11:15:24 PM
Kraken by China Mieville

Sort of urban fantasy kicked in the balls. The sneaky bugger has taken an interesting "who done it" and turned it into a literary (though deeply warped) work. I've never read his work before so can't compare but I like Kraken.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Crippler on June 16, 2011, 02:07:40 AM
Song of Ice and Fire series. Just watched HBO miniseries, Game of Thrones, and decide to try the book series.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on June 16, 2011, 02:20:04 AM
my wife and i are watching the game of thrones a bit at a time online. Like Tolkein on crack. I can't decide whether its worth the time or not. Certainly not the best stuff to come from HBO, but not bad either. Let me know how the books work out, I might just dip into them.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Just Like Mr Benn on June 16, 2011, 04:12:55 AM
I think the GoT TV programme has improved as the series has gone on. On the other hand I thought it was pretty good from the start.

A but too much sexposition, which is when lengthy background information is given in a conversation where at least one of the people is naked in an attempt to hook the fans of Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

I'm reading the sections of the first novel after watching the relevant sections on TV, but once the series finishes next week I'll definitely plug on with the rest of the novels.

I guess the TV had to miss out so much information, and I'm enjoying the background I'm getting from the novels.

I understand why people compare it to LOTR, but I'm not a Tolkein or Fantasy fan at all. GoT appeals to the history geek in me, in that it has a lot of parallels to English history, but with the advantage that I don't know what's going to happen. It also has a lot more philisophical meat to it, about morality and ethics. If that kind of depth is in LOTR, I completely missed it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 16, 2011, 03:14:59 PM
I gave up on fantasy a long time ago...too much Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, David Eddings and such...but I recently started reading GoT too, also after watching the first episode of the series. It is not great literature, but it is good fantasy...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on June 19, 2011, 03:39:34 PM
I am still trying to get my head round Latefordinner's "Tolkien on Crack"  aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: WastedYouth on June 19, 2011, 07:21:04 PM
Just finishing the obvious book "River Town" by Peter Hessler.
Really liked it, very informative & some great stories.
I'm sure most of you fellow saloonies will have read it too.

It was written in 1997/98 and I kept thinking how much has this area changed since the 3 gorges dam.

Out of interest has anyone read his wifes book?

Factory Girls by Leslie T Chang
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/033044736X/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1BG1WTRKHM48B21NS4HE&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467128533&pf_rd_i=468294

Any good?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on June 19, 2011, 10:54:32 PM
I haven't read his wife's books, but I have read all of Peter Hessler's books and I am a big fan. If you liked river town you should read his new one, Country Driving. It's all about how the car culture is changing china. It's quite good!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on June 20, 2011, 12:42:20 PM
WastedYouth, there's a good reason why River Town is still considered a great work of nonfiction--Hessler's done a great job of diligently researching his subjects. If you're interested, I did an interview with him for Terracotta Typewriter a while back: http://www.tctype.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Spring10.pdf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: becster79 on June 20, 2011, 01:49:34 PM
A couple of years back when I was in Taiwan for a summer camp I had a few days off. Found myself in Page One bookshop at the base of Taipei 101 and found 'River Town'. Flicked through it and didn't end up leaving the bookshop for about 3 hours- speed read pretty much the whole book. Found myself constantly nodding to myself over various events and descriptions.

Really should have bought it!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Kid Presentable on June 20, 2011, 03:29:51 PM
I've yet to read Hessler's other books, but I recently read Country Driving, and really liked it. I particularly enjoyed his account of village life. The way he became a part of that community and an "uncle" to the only young boy in the village was pretty amazing to me.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: porcuswallabee on July 16, 2011, 10:44:36 PM
I just read the first Hunger Games book...which might be why I was asking about learning archery in another thread. :]
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 17, 2011, 04:51:31 AM
I am reading "German for Dummies"...I took the languge, by force not choice, for 7 years in school...now reviewing...not for fun though, for money...it would seem I am relocating to a Uni which has several friendship-agreements with German universities...Might be able to get some private German tutoring classes...so back to reading German... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: NATO on July 17, 2011, 07:13:58 AM
Mao: A Life, by Philip Short. And I'm realising there is a lot to like about him during the early years, say up to 25ish. Idealist, democrat, organiser, pacifist. Looking forward to getting into his later life to see how it all went so awry.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 21, 2011, 08:39:36 AM
Just finished Chinese Wine, Universe in a Bottle by Li Zhengping.  A little pricy at 95 RMB, but it provides some useful background material for my baijiu collecting hobby.

Decided to dig into the crates were the Library de Lunatique is stored and was happy to find David Brin's Brightness Reef as well as the other two books in that trilogy.  I read the first two when they came out, but that was back in the 90's, so I'm starting from book 1, chapter 1, page 1.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Cassnadra on July 21, 2011, 11:25:08 PM
I better start reading the odd selection of books I accidentally sent to my new kindle... bibibibibi
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 22, 2011, 12:03:58 AM
Having been up most of the night devouring Harold Bloom's "The Western Canon", I am now downloading as many of the titles on his fiction reading list as possible to my Kindle. Bringing "The Divine Comedy" to Hangzhou today...Dante, coffee, Subway sandwich, that spells a good day agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on July 22, 2011, 12:54:45 PM
 ahahahahah ahahahahah bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 12, 2011, 01:43:12 AM
Just started reading "Blood Meridian"...as a newly converted Bloomite, I had too, as he praises is tremendously in one of his books...it's one of the most brutal books I have ever read, where nothing good ever happens to anyone and those who try to be good gets punished...I got kind of put off by "No Country For Old Men" but this book has gotten me re-evaluating my stance on Cormac McCarthy..

Now, I only have to exert the will-power to not buy "A Dance With Dragons" and have it downloaded to my kindle...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on August 12, 2011, 02:53:54 AM
I ust finished re-reading the Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. That series is understated and under appreciated in today's pop culture world, but is really good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Bugalugs on August 12, 2011, 12:10:51 PM
I love the Dark Is Rising I read it nearly every year.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 14, 2011, 12:13:31 AM
Weak..sooo weak...I caved, found a torrent and downloaded "A Dance With Dragons"...almost done reading it...Tyrion Lannister is one of my top ten favourite literary characters. agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on August 14, 2011, 04:33:13 AM
Don't know if I will ever find the time to read that, but on TV at least he is a great character, and gets to deliver some wicked lines. Must be fun to play him!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on August 17, 2011, 10:05:19 PM
I recently read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. always kind of dismissed it as a "chick book", but obviously 5 years in China kind of increased it's appeal to me. It's an absolutely fabulous read! Anyone who has dealt with chinese women in the past, whether it is a girlfriend, friend, co-worker, neighbour or whatever...will find themselves shaking their heads and saying, "Oh God, that's SO true!"
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on August 18, 2011, 12:56:06 AM
Blindness by Jose Saramago. It's interesting because I just finisjed reading Lord of the Flies and the books are basically the same thing, only one is an island full of little boys and the other is an asylum full of blind people.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 18, 2011, 02:40:33 AM
That bastard George RR Martin writes literary crack.  I read all the extant Song of Ice and Fire books, even the tiresome Feast for Crows, and it's going to be years before he writes the last two books!

Currently reading various of the Ender books by Orson (Awesome) Scott Card.  Read Ender's Game, then Speaker for the Dead, now on Xenocide.  Claustrophobic, philosophical, family-hating, spare and modestly bizarre.

I discovered too that William Gibson is still writing.  So next on the reading list will be Pattern Recognition, then maybe the next two, Spook Country and Zero History.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on August 18, 2011, 04:09:58 AM
Just finished Infinity's Shore and got stared on Heaven's Reach last night.  David Brin rocks!!!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on August 18, 2011, 03:37:39 PM

Ah the Postman guy yeah that was a good read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 19, 2011, 12:46:38 AM
Started E.F.Benson's "Queen Lucia" yesterday. It is extremely funny, if one likes subtle and mean British satire agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Jedi Smurf on August 19, 2011, 01:49:23 AM
I am currently reading Great Expectations. I would like to put a plug in for a graduate of the Writers Workshop at my own University of Iowa, Justin Cronin. Last summer he released a hell of a vampire book, The Passage. If you want your vampires the way they should be, that is actually scary monsters and not emo posers, then give it a whirl. Also a great read for fans of Stephen King epics such as The Stand or people that like other apocalyptic tales.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on August 19, 2011, 01:53:21 AM

Ah the Postman guy yeah that was a good read.

Not sure I could handle re-reading The Postman after what Kevin Costner did to it. aaaaaaaaaa
 aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on August 19, 2011, 11:22:54 AM
How fortunate that I didn't see that then,EL
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on August 21, 2011, 12:58:48 PM
Just started reading "Blood Meridian"...as a newly converted Bloomite, I had too, as he praises is tremendously in one of his books...it's one of the most brutal books I have ever read, where nothing good ever happens to anyone and those who try to be good gets punished...I got kind of put off by "No Country For Old Men" but this book has gotten me re-evaluating my stance on Cormac McCarthy..
I'm reading Blood Meridian for the third time this year. What a book. I enjoyed No Country a bit less (though found it much better than the film adaptation), and very much disliked The Road.

In which book does Bloom talk about Blood Meridian? I found an interview with him about the book (http://www.avclub.com/articles/harold-bloom-on-blood-meridian,29214/)…and I think you should crop down the photo of Prof Bloom and make it into your new avatar.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on August 21, 2011, 03:11:50 PM
I loathed the Road and in fact didn't even finish it, which is most unusual for me.
However I did quite enjoy All the Pretty Horses.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on August 23, 2011, 12:07:19 PM
The guv is in town so not only are the DVD shops closed for the week, but the Worm just stashed all the books upstairs and locked them off.  llllllllll  So I've been hardlining John Grisham and a bunch of fantasy novels.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Granny Mae on August 23, 2011, 09:05:42 PM
Given that a lot of you folk lead such busy lives, when do you find the time to read?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 23, 2011, 10:43:43 PM
Easy, Granny, reading is a part of the job agagagagag agagagagag Oh, wait, busy lives...nope, that's not me...Yesterday I read a Smurf comic in Chinese...I still can't say things like "Help, I have been stabbed" but I can say "Oh, look, a smurf!"... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on August 24, 2011, 01:35:56 AM
Given that a lot of you folk lead such busy lives, when do you find the time to read?

Before bed, while waiting for someone, in the bathroom....

If I don't read for a day or two I start going a little crazy. And if I go a week without reading anything then I start smashing stuff and ripping off heads. So yeah, I make time. ;)

I'm keeping track of my reading this year and just finished my 70th book for the year. It was Secrets of a Computer Company, one of the China Breeze books, level 2. I always feel so accomplished when I finish reading a book in Chinese!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on August 24, 2011, 07:24:28 AM
overwhelmingly impressive Borkya! btw first line of your post,I missed the comma and thought it said "while waiting for someone in the bathroom"  ahahahahah bibibibibi
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mac Attack on August 24, 2011, 09:48:24 AM
You know Borkya and Piglet this could work either way. Some people take an incredibly loooong time. I bet you could read a few pages or even a whole chapter.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Granny Mae on August 24, 2011, 08:45:28 PM
ETR, please don't get stabbed! aoaoaoaoao  I still don't know how you find the time to do all the things that you do.

Borkya, I don't think that I have read 70 books in my life.  oooooooooo I am excluding small children's books and comics and the odd Mills and Boon (romance stories). ahahahahah  Reading in Chinese! I too am impressed. bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on August 25, 2011, 02:53:11 AM
I've always known I've read a lot, but had no idea how much. That's why I decided to just keep track of it this year. Even i was surprised to realize I knock out about 2 books a week considering i teach so much (last semester I did 8 hours extra, just for fun) go to as many chinese classes as I can (about 8-10 hours a week) and deal with all the grading work that comes with teaching 100 students writing. And all my TV show addictions. So yeah, even I'm surprised!

You can see the full list on my blog under the "book list" tab at the top.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: tomhume89 on August 30, 2011, 09:37:21 AM
Blindness by Jose Saramago. It's interesting because I just finisjed reading Lord of the Flies and the books are basically the same thing, only one is an island full of little boys and the other is an asylum full of blind people.

I haven't got round to reading that- let me know how you get on! I've read The Gospel According to Jesus Christ which was utterly amazing, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis which was utterly dense, and Death at Intervals which was so-so.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Larry Paradine on September 04, 2011, 02:35:45 PM
This summer I've had an excessive amount of spare time for reading but a dearth of new reading material;  the only shop in town that sells English literature offers a very limited selection of books that I've already read and a somewhat larger number of authors who I have no desire to read, so I've had to fall back on a small stock of books I brought from Britain many years ago and select from those an even smaller number that I decided were worth re-reading. My choice:

"In Parenthesis" by David Jones.  First published in 1937, it was probably the last, and one of the very best, of the books by men who'd fought and suffered in what for them was The Great War (1914 - 1918).  Jones was Welsh and a poet, a potent mixture.  I'd had some difficulty locating my copy about twenty years ago, although I knew it had recently been republished, but that was because I was looking in the fiction and war sections, and it was shelved in the poetry department.  Jones described cockney as the language of the army, and much of the dialogue is in the accent of Whitechapel-on-Somme, but some of the  narrative passages are pure poesy. The book pulls no punches in its graphic account of the horrors of war, but Jones was more objective and less bitter than many of the traumatised authors who relived the hell of the Western Front in their books.

"Quiet Flows the Don" by Mikhail Sholokhov. This is the first full English translation and was published in the 1980s after Sholokhov's death.  The original, much abridged translation got Stalin's approval, but I doubt he'd have given Sholokhov the Stalin Prize for Literature if he'd read the complete text in the original Russian.  The 1930s edition concedes that some of the Red Army's requisitioning tactics antagonised the Cossacks, but generally it set the Red/White conflict as a struggle between good and evil. The unexpurgated edition is much more equivocal, and Grigory (the main character)appears to view both sides with equal distaste and to be saying "A pox o' both your houses".

"White Teeth" by Zadie Smith.  This could be said to be the first 21st century novel, and it got the new era off to a rollicking start. The author is of mixed race and her writing is enriched by the mixture of cultures she grew up in.  

"Zorba the Greek" by Nikos Kazantzakis.  I first saw the 1950s film and then read the book.  After that I read every book that Kazantzakis wrote.  Unfortunately I only brought one of his books, Zorba, with me, and, although I've enjoyed re-reading it, I can think of at least four other Kazantzakis works I'd have preferred.  One of those, the autobiographical "Homage to Greco", introduces the eponymous Zorba:  in real life George Zorbas was his partner in an unsuccessful mining venture, and obviously a seminal influence on his life.

"The Story of San Michele" by Axel Munthe.  This has been a favourite with me since I first read it as a teenager, and I do tend to be rather proselytising about it.  I found a Russian translation and gave it to my wife but, alas!  she wasn't impressed.  

As summer still had a few weeks to run after I finished the above, I went to the aforementioned bookstore and bought half a dozen of the Wordsworth classics.  I'd read most of them before (Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the Durbervilles", Conrad's "Lord Jim", Kipling's "Kim", Dumas's "Three Musketeers"), but I was quite pleasantly surprised how readable Wilkie Collins's "The Moonstone" and "The Woman in White" are.  Victorian melodrama could be really dreadful, but Collins was a master of the genre.

If next summer sees me still deprived of something to read I may have to bite the bullet and buy electronic books, but I couldn't derive from them anything like the blissful pleasure that old fashioned printed paper gives me.  Perhaps I should go to london for a week, taking six empty suitcases with me, and return with them tightly packed with books.            
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 04, 2011, 10:45:38 PM
Mr. Paradine, before you head off to London ( which would make me very, very, very jealous agagagagag agagagagag) as a fellow bibliophile, permit me to offer you two recommendations: the first one is, though I fully agree with your statements on paper v. Electronic books, is that you acquire a Kindle. It is almost, not quite, but almost as good as a normal book. Second, I have gotten many books from amazon.cn...they deliver and you can opt for paying on delivery.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: DC@54055 on September 05, 2011, 02:07:00 AM
I figured I contribute here as well. I recently read these books

The Millionaire Next Door. by some goofball named Stanley.

I also read a book called Our Man in Tehran by...I forgot.  mmmmmmmmmm

Now I'm reading On China by Henry Kissinger. I dont know which one I will read next...I want to read The Dragons Gift by Brautigam.

I've wanted to read Atlas Shrugged for some time now...maybe I'll save that tome for another day  bfbfbfbfbf

PS. Has anyone ever read the Chronicles of Amber by Zelazny?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on September 07, 2011, 01:20:52 PM
I'm stranded in a hotel in HK right now, waiting for my contact in China to send me a package of documents. It's getting expensive, so I don't go out much. I have, however, discovered a bookstore nearby, and am reading The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka and Coleridge Cook. It's from the same people who gave us Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. A certain cure for agoraphobia.
Just finished Pratchett's Unseen Academicals
Next up, Christopher Moore, Fool.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on September 07, 2011, 04:03:29 PM
Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Larry Paradine on September 08, 2011, 05:36:51 PM
Mr. Paradine, before you head off to London ( which would make me very, very, very jealous agagagagag agagagagag) as a fellow bibliophile, permit me to offer you two recommendations: the first one is, though I fully agree with your statements on paper v. Electronic books, is that you acquire a Kindle. It is almost, not quite, but almost as good as a normal book. Second, I have gotten many books from amazon.cn...they deliver and you can opt for paying on delivery.

ericthered, please clarify what "almost, not quite, but almost as good as a normal book" means. My main objection to electronic books (apart, of course, from their inadequacies as mosquito swatters and the fact that you can't pencil copious objections to the text in the margins) is that I derive no pleasure and quite a lot of pain from gazing at my computer screen, and assume electronic books would have the same effect on my aged eyes.  If I'm wrong, please enlighten me (here or by pm whichever is more convenient). At the turn of the century, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the electronic age (my first, very reluctant, encounter with e-mail, which is now as indispensable to me as my morning tea and evening beer)and, even now, I may not be too ancient to make the quantum leap to electronic books, if you or someone else (NOT a salesperson for e-books) can persuade me to do so. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Just Like Mr Benn on September 08, 2011, 10:38:36 PM
Speaking for myself, reading books on a Kindle is just fine. If I was back in britain and had a choice between reading a hard copy of a book or on a Kindle, I would probably choose the hard copy, because here is something satisfying about physically turning a page, and it can be apain on a Kindle if you want to thumb back to an earlier point in a book to look something up.

However, reading on a Kindle is essentially every bit as enjoyable as reading hard copies, and getting one earlier this year has almost ludicrously improved my enjoyment of life because i can now read what I want, including newspapers and magazines from around the world.

It's not at all like reading a book on your computer, which I can't bear.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 08, 2011, 10:58:35 PM
JLMB summed it up nicely. Reading on a Kindle is not at all like reading on a computer..I had the same reservations before I got the thing, as I also hate reading on a computer. The Kindle is not back-lit, which makes is basically like reading a normal page.

Now, back on topic...I just finished "Poetics" by Aristotle, "Mythology" by Edith Hamilton and the delightful "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell...now on to Suetonius and Edward Gibbon agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 09, 2011, 12:37:08 AM
It's not at all like reading a book on your computer, which I can't bear.

Totally true. And the kindle does have a 'highlight' feature (so you can highlight your favorite or meaningful passages) and a 'notes' feature so you ca write your own thoughts.

I am another one of those people who, if I were in America, probably would have never gotten the kindle. But in China it is my best friend and I will definitely use it when (if) I return to the states again. Like you said about e-mail, the kindle is just so convenient and enjoyable to use it has now become indispensable.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 09, 2011, 03:01:19 AM
I read on my phone.  All this talk of Kindles and torrents was what got me started.  I figured I'd just have a try and see both what the reading experience and the range of books available was like.  It turns out that for me, a 3.7 inch screen (480 X 800 WVGA) is perfectly acceptable.  (HTC Desire, Android 2.3).  I use Calibre to put the book into ePub format and then use Moon+ Reader to do the reading and am content to sit there for hours doing just that.  The fonts, page backgrounds, and available magnifications offer enough alternatives that it was easy to find a nice looking, unobtrusive set up.

Crucial, however, is a page-turning animation.  I found it very disconcerting to touch the screen and have the next page appear instantly.  A proper lift and swish was needed, and found, so I'm content.  I've read more (non-technical) books in the last three months than I have in the last three years.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 11, 2011, 07:04:24 AM
Ken Follett is not nice...I just took a break from class reading and began "World Without End" and now I can't put it down...It is a triple killer...good plot, good writing, good characters...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on September 11, 2011, 07:49:08 AM
just finished Fool by Christopher Moore. sort of juvenile, (where else can one find a convent called Dog Snogging?), but otherwise a bit like Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters. Starting Hessler's River Town, on the basis on multiple recomendations here.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 11, 2011, 01:41:57 PM
Just finished "Pear of China" a fiction book about Pearl Buck written from her life-long best friend in China. The best friend is fictional, made up of a number of aquaintances, but the history is real (as is the Pearl Buck history) and it was an interesting read. I didn't really know much about her before.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on September 11, 2011, 02:32:19 PM
Just finished "Pear of China" a fiction book about Pearl Buck written from her life-long best friend in China. The best friend is fictional, made up of a number of aquaintances, but the history is real (as is the Pearl Buck history) and it was an interesting read. I didn't really know much about her before.

Have you read any of Anchee Min's other books? I really love this author, but Pearl of China was not my favorite of hers. Red Azalea is probably her best book imo.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 12, 2011, 01:09:59 AM
No, I actually haven't, but I read the "author's bio" on the back and it gave a brief history of her life and mentioned her biography (That's red azalea, right?) and I was definitely interested in reading more about her. You don't happen to have it as a torrent file do you?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on September 12, 2011, 02:17:04 AM
Nope, unfortunately. I'm still in the dinosaur age here with paperbacks and such. ;)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 14, 2011, 02:08:30 AM
I don't know if anyone else here has come in contact wit the works of Derek Landy, a young Irish author, but I highly recommend them. He has written a series starring Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain, the former being a skeleton sorcerer noir-detective and the latter his apprentice. The novels are set in Ireland and is jam-packed with violence, magic, fast cars, hilarious witticisms and well-rounded characters. It also makes fun of pretty much every popular novel/series, like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Da Vince Code and others. For anyone who, like me, enjoy the writings of Eoin Colfer, Jasper Fforde, Tom Holt, Robert Rankin and Terry Pratchett, Derek Landy's novels are a must-read.

Now I just have to wait for the shipment containing novels by Rankin and Christopher Moore...How can one not read novels with titles like "The Japanese Devil-Fish Girl" and "The Lust-lizard of Melancholy Cove"????
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Larry Paradine on September 17, 2011, 06:00:04 PM
Borkya, JLMB, C.P., E the R,(excuse abbreviations), thanks for the information:   a kindle is definitely on my shopping list now. 

E. the R.  Is the "Decline and Fall" available on Kindle?  I've only read the whole book once (the Everymans Library edition),and that was more years ago than I care to remember;  never since have I had enough time to re-read it but, if next summer presents me with as much leisure time as this one has, the stately prose of Gibbon's magnum opus would do much to dispel the boredom.

The last of this summer's reading list, also a return to something I've read before, is Edvard Radzinsky's biography of Stalin. I don't know if I'm unique in having my attitude to reading material affected by the weather, but this second perusal (the first time was 10 years ago) coincided with the wettest, darkest, gloomiest September that I can remember, and the grim story of one of history's darkest episodes is deepening my sense of depression.  I should finish it this weekend, after which, if the weather doesn't improve, I shall have to go through my stock of Terry Pratchett and Tom Sharpe in order to recover my joi de vivre.     
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 18, 2011, 12:41:06 AM
Just finished three Wizard of Earthsea books. I have to say, they are my all time favorite wizard stories. I know some people think they are dry, or a little too stoic, but I friggin love them.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on September 18, 2011, 01:10:35 AM
I've finally jumped on the "Game of Thrones" bandwagon. I just finished season one of the HBO series, and not being able to wait for season 2 to find out what happens next I started on the books. Great stuff...not only does it have some of the most crackling dialogue in recent literary history (Jon Snow: I have no idea who my mother is. Tyrion Lannister:Some woman, no doubt. Most of them are. ahahahahah) but it's loaded with all the gratituitous sex, violence and girl-on-girl action that the Harry Potter series was sorely lacking.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 18, 2011, 02:38:16 AM
I've finally jumped on the "Game of Thrones" bandwagon. I just finished season one of the HBO series, and not being able to wait for season 2 to find out what happens next I started on the books. Great stuff...not only does it have some of the most crackling dialogue in recent literary history (Jon Snow: I have no idea who my mother is. Tyrion Lannister:Some woman, no doubt. Most of them are. ahahahahah) but it's loaded with all the gratituitous sex, violence and girl-on-girl action that the Harry Potter series was sorely lacking.

I'm so tempted to start this series, and i even have it all loaded up on my calibre library, but I'm just a little worried. The series isn't over yet, and it took him what, 5 years(?) to write the most recent book. I hate starting series that could keep me in suspense for decades (I'm a robert jordan victim. It has been almost 20 years and I'm still waiting for it to finish.)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 18, 2011, 03:26:47 AM
Err...Borkya, you do know that Robert Jordan passed away in 2007, right? There ain't going to be a finish.
I read all the R.R.Martin books, they are amazing. Yeah, it'll take him a while to finish the next one...
Just finished "Edward Trencom's Nose"...a novel about intrigue, murder, spies and cheese...amazingly funny novel, only problem with it is that, once you have finished reading it, you really want cheese, proper cheese.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 18, 2011, 05:47:35 AM
Err...Borkya, you do know that Robert Jordan passed away in 2007, right? There ain't going to be a finish.

Yeah, but he's also a crazy popular writer with every book being a NYT bestseller, so they ain't gonna give up that gravy train. They V.C. Andrew'd him!

A new writer was hired a few years ago to finish it (based on Jordans extensive notes.) He's written two books so far, and the last one should be out in 2012. So someday....someday I hope I will finally be put out of my misery.

I feel like RR Martin could also kick the bucket any day now. But I think they would hire out the rest of the books just to make the money too. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Mac Attack on September 18, 2011, 08:51:35 AM
Hey Borkya, it doesn't matter. There have been many books written after the author has died......by other people. I just wish that I could find a series that really motivated me to read like........wait for it..........Harry Potter!  bfbfbfbfbf Yeah, it is for kids but has a lot of suspense. So there! I did not care for the last book, though!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 18, 2011, 12:36:51 PM
Mac Attack, have you read Terry Pratchett. His Discworld series is pretty good. Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" series is spiffy too. And if you like a good alternative history/noir send-up, Malcolm Pryce's "Aberystywyth" series is cool too. If you liked Harry Potter, I do think Derek Landy would be right up your alley agagagagag agagagagag I liked Potter too, despite it having the dumbest, weakest, most useless protagonist in the history of literature.  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on September 18, 2011, 11:34:04 PM
Quote
a Robert Jordan victim

Quote
They V.C. Andrew'd him!
Nice turn of phrase, B.
I suspect that soon you'll be saying "They Escaped Lunatic'd him"

EtR: a weaker, more useless protatgonist than Rincewind? (R isn't dumb)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 19, 2011, 12:54:24 AM
Yes, Harry Potter is more useless than Rincewind. I never liked Harry Potter, the character I mean, he is such a useless, snivelling nincompoop. Give me well-rounded, entertaining, delightfully cowardly chararcter like Rincewind any day agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on September 21, 2011, 02:37:25 PM
Yes, R is certainly a fun character, and although he is cast as the fall guy, he does have an endearing (or is that enduring?) quality. Who else could survive to inherit the chair of egregious professor of cruel and unusual geography? R is a character made to be, not well-rounded, but well-ground under the heels of a capricious fate. Yet he somehow survives.
Harry Pigu OTOH is a darling who is born to great things, but he somehow comes across as, how shall I say it? Looking for a facewash in yellow snow.

<Damn it! I just aksed to have some business cards made. I should have remembered to have "Egregious Professor of C&E Geography" printed on my cards!>
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 22, 2011, 12:37:01 AM
Harry Potter is not born to great things, his protagonist-status comes from two things: a monstrous cliche and Voldemort having not fully considered his back-up plan. The cliche being that Lilly Potter defeats the most powerful curse of all with the power of love... aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa and Voldemort accidentally makes him a Horcrux...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on September 23, 2011, 03:41:34 AM
And now I place the harshest prophecy regarding the fate of ETR. It is worse than anything he could ever have imagined.

Eric, your grandchild will be a literary teacher like yourself, only specializing in works from the late 20th and early 21st century.  Your final moments will be spend having an apoplectic seizure when you find the syllabus for your grandchild's upcoming class entitled "An In-depth Study of the High Literary Merits of the Harry Potter Series".

At least this will spare ETR from living long enough to see one of his great-grandchildren being the screenwriter for a very creative Hollywood reimagining called "Harry Potter and the Golden Fleece of Odin on Gilligan's Island".
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 23, 2011, 05:15:36 AM
At least this will spare ETR from living long enough to see one of his great-grandchildren being the screenwriter for a very creative Hollywood reimagining called "Harry Potter and the Golden Fleece of Odin on Gilligan's Island".

I am totally writing this book right now. (Then I'll sell the rights to his great-grandchildren and make a bundle.)

In other, on topic news, I've just about finished A Wrinkle in Time. Classic!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: psd4fan on September 23, 2011, 05:45:11 AM
Journey to the West. That fukin monkey needs to be spanked.  afafafafaf Ya I said it.  uuuuuuuuuu
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 23, 2011, 05:52:44 AM
Splutter...gasp...nononono...actually, I think I would read something entitled "Harry Potter and the Golden Fleece of Odin on Gilligan's Island"...I would not like it, that goes without saying.

I just finished "Bloodsucking Fiends", "Bite Me", "You Suck", "Fluke", "Fool", "Practical Demon-Keeping", "The Lust-Lizard of Melancholy Cove" and "The Island of the Love-Sequined Nun"...Christopher Moore is kind of addictive...I don't know if the word "Fucksocks" is in the OED but it really should be.

Hahaha...sell the rights to my great-granchildren...if they are all going to be academics, they won't have a dime agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on September 23, 2011, 10:49:11 AM
actually its fuckstockings. mehh. I wonder if that's like a contraceptive for the anatomically confused.
Was thinking of COR's comment from another thread:
Quote
When the pharmacist asked how they used them, the men replied they used them the same way he had shown them when they bought them. They would even show him. They then rolled it onto their thumbs.
[/size]
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: jimbojagpot on September 23, 2011, 11:45:52 AM
Hi welcome to my first post.So I remembered my log-in details!!Currently reading Jules Verne's "Captain Hatteras",V S  Naipaul's "Magic Seeds" & Yuyin Li's "Gold Boy,Emerald Girl".Like to have several on the go at once.That's a clean upstanding first post or what?Cheers fellow bookophiles.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on September 25, 2011, 11:25:43 AM
totally excellent first post jimbo but I personally didn't like Magic seeds even though I am keen on Naipaul.Not acquainted with the others,though-please update on those  agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: jimbojagpot on September 25, 2011, 12:27:34 PM
Sorry,that should be "bibliophiles".Hi there,the Yuyin Li is a set of short stories about contemporary issues (divorce,care of the elderly,spinsterhood etc)in today's PRC.(Not a mention of HIV surprise,surprise)Well worth a read.The Jules Verne is a good clean arctic adventure.Loads of references to actual discoveries & if you're technically minded there's all the early scientific blurb he does so well.The Naipaul is not in the same mould as his usual stuff.Defo the odd one in the set. I recommend Erica Jong's 1980 "The adventures of Fanny Hackabout Jones" for the most euphemisms for the "jade gate" & other body parts!Cheers ,Jim
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on October 27, 2011, 04:04:46 AM
Working through Will the Boat Sink the Water? The Life of China's Peasants is one of the most difficult reading experiences I've had. With the possible exception of a few works about suicide and the holocaust, this book has had the largest emotional impact of any work I've read.

The book, which is banned, was written by two Chinese journalists, who have been forced to live in hiding, about mistreatment of peasants by village- and town-level Party officers.

"Mistreatment" is the wrong word to use, really, since in most of the cases the peasants are extorted, abused, beaten, and murdered by local officials, who then go uninvestigated and unpunished...unless the case somehow becomes publicized and garners enough public outrage that Beijing is forced to act.

What makes this book so difficult to read is that every nasty, petty, irritating thing about Chinese society is magnified and personified in the thugs who have wound up as local authorities.

The rural life depicted in this book is basically feudal. It is horrible to read, but vital. It gives context, for example, to recent reports about a certain blind activist who is under house arrest enforced by a band of 100 thugs hired by local authorities to keep everyone out. Stories like that sound too fantastic to be true, even to Chinese who are skeptical about conditions here; after reading this book, I believe them.

Highly recommended. Essential China reading. The most difficult thing I've read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: jpd01 on October 27, 2011, 06:34:16 AM
Yeah I read that one a few years back before coming to China. It is a difficult read but one that is worthwhile.
There is a retired minister that publicly told everyone at the tsinghua anniversary celebration last year that said this book should be required reading for every Chinese citizen. That was pretty kick ass.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 29, 2011, 05:24:56 AM
I..hmm...I seem to have fallen victim to the infernal machinations of my inner child...I started reading "A Series of Unfortunate Events"...and now I can't stop...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on October 29, 2011, 11:18:01 AM
I..hmm...I seem to have fallen victim to the infernal machinations of my inner child...I started reading "A Series of Unfortunate Events"...and now I can't stop...

Cause their awesome, that's why you can't stop!

Although now that I think about it, those books are tailor made for you ETR. Snarky, random literary/historical references, and cheesy action. Right up your alley!

As for me I just finished The Diary of Mattie Spenser, historical fiction about a woman moving out on a wagon to the uncharted terrain of Colorado, and all the adventures and trials of living during that time period. It was pretty good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 29, 2011, 11:34:47 AM
It's getting worse...I have been assaulted by the collected works of E.Nesbit, F.Anstey and James Branch Cabell... ananananan ananananan ananananan...my inner child is soooooo mean.... ananananan ananananan ananananan
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on November 24, 2011, 11:43:55 PM
I read this short story/novella this morning. Recommended.

The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window by Rachel Swirsky

You can read it here : http://is.gd/qC00V3
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on December 26, 2011, 10:24:24 AM
I just purchased the entire Castle Perilous series from Amazon (may the chap who invented the Kindle be forever blessed with all kinds of good things)...John DeChancie is, as far as I have read, one of the pioneers of comic fantasy.

For those of you who are looking forward to a dreary, explosion-filled Spring Festival, may I recommend you start reading the Louis Knight series by Malcolm Pryce. Noir meets alternate history, set in Wales...it sounds odd but they will have you giggling inapproriately loud in Starbucks.

For those of you Saloonies who, like me, at times feel the need to indulge the inner child, I can wholeheartedly recommend the "Artemis Fowl" series by Eoin Colfer. A criminal teenage genius discovers the hidden underground world of the fairies and hilarity ensues.

If you are already familiar with these authors, a recent one I came across is the young Texan writer, A. Lee Martinez. So far I have only read "Chasing the Moon", "In the Company of Ogres" and his debut novel "Gil's All-Fright Diner" all of which were awesome.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: WastedYouth on January 03, 2012, 10:26:06 AM
Just finished "World War Z"....I know, I know, where have I been?
Cracking read, couldn't put it down!
Glad I read it before the film came out.

 bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: KeyserSoze on January 05, 2012, 05:31:01 AM
I like Jack London short stories and novels.
I also like science fiction short stories.
Does that count?

Is there anything similar out there?

 ababababab
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on January 07, 2012, 01:36:54 AM
Happy Bang Bang season, ETR. Yes to Louis Knight and No to Artemis Fowl (foul sidc) :wtf:
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on February 19, 2012, 06:06:52 AM
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

There's a clear enough line of development between here and now and the scenario of the story that you could call the book a work of speculative fiction. But it's gone pretty far out along the line of development that you could say it's scifi too. It was however important to the book (and the author) that the story maintain its roots in "reality", and it does, despite how outlandish that reality becomes. Either way, the book's really a story about several people and I was willing to read it all the way to the end because those people where interesting. (As is the central question, not really a mystery, of what is going on around these people.) Right at the very end the book feels unfinished, but that does only appear at the end--for the rest of the story the narrative is complete and compelling. Lovely writing too.

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cruisemonkey on February 19, 2012, 08:59:36 AM
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (it's pretty damn good).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on February 21, 2012, 05:00:31 AM
Yeah Oryx and Crake was brilliante all right. bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on February 21, 2012, 02:25:49 PM
Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces.

On my facebook profile my religion is Joseph Campbell, so this book is basically my bible.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 02, 2012, 03:41:05 AM
My reading these days have been primarily work orientated...read "American Lion" about Andrew Jackson, "Assassination Vacation' by Sarah Vowell, "The Last Stand" by Nathaniel Pilbrick which was a most insigtful tome about Custer and that whole Little Big Horn debacle, "Empire of Liberty" by Gordon S. Wood, a very well-written and extremely informative book about America between 1789 and 1815. Now, as an antidote, I am reading "Chicken Poop for the Soul" a parody of those horribly positive "Chicken Soup" books...I hate those books...nice stories about nice people doing nice things for other people out of sheer altruism.....blithering piffle, I say....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 02, 2012, 04:05:20 AM
Trying to read The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Thus far it is very metro-French and gives no sign of letting up.

For relief: Feed by Mira Grant--can't go wrong with a decent zombie holocaust story with bloggers and a presidential election.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 16, 2012, 04:13:33 AM
Feed turns out to have been the first book in The Newsflesh Trilogy (http://miragrant.com/newsflesh.php), a collection of three books telling the story of a world gone zombie but with much of the world itself still intact. Many cities are still populated, but with many areas, even whole countries, ceded to zombie infestation, most people live with fear (and near constant bloodtests). Blogging, particularly news blogging, has gained a prominence for its role in spreading information during... The Rising. The books follow the tribulations of two bloggers, Shaun and Georgia Mason, and their news site, After the End Times.

Me likee. The zombie rationale was cool (they came about when a genetically engineered cure for the common cold and a genetically engineered cure for cancer met and mutated--producing a fast spreading, easily caught reanimation virus), and the stories were good.

The first book was a pleasing political thriller of some substance, and had zombies. The second book was something different, and that was really cool. It's not just the difficult middle book. It's a stand-alone book with different themes and purposes, which at the same time continues and deepens the original story, this time as a conspiracy thriller.

And book three.... won't be released until May  ananananan I'm making do with The Hunger Games and it's just not the same. Katniss is such a tiresome speculator.


Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 20, 2012, 07:58:29 AM
Blackout, the third book in the Newsflesh trilogy is due to be released in two days. How fast before it makes it to the Internet? Meanwhile...

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Has very mild sci-fi elements inasmuch as it is officially set in a future beyond some apocalyptic collapse (which is unimportant to the story and isn't described), but really the story is set in North Africa where a genocide is beginning. The story has magic realist elements, but in the end comes down firmly in the fantasy camp. And although I'm not usually much of a fantasy fan, this story's not bad perhaps because of the almost real setting and the fact that this is really the story of the growth into (one kind of) womanhood for the lead character Onyesonwu (the eponymous "Who Fears Death" herself).

Not entirely for the faint of heart.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: eggcluck on May 22, 2012, 05:19:15 AM
I am being very boring and readin FSI, and some fairy tale book aimed at little girls.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Paul on May 22, 2012, 11:22:49 AM
Michael Crichton's "The Great Train Robbery".

That guy could write a bloody good story!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on May 25, 2012, 11:03:37 AM
shall look out for that one Paul
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Chief on May 25, 2012, 03:56:14 PM
I have just finished The Hunger Games, as I thought I would read the book before watching the film. I was really impressed ad found it a thoroughly good read.

Must also start The Hobbit soon as that film is coming out at some point this year.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on May 25, 2012, 09:49:02 PM
Just finished Call the Midwife bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf and am halfway through the (first) sequel, Shadows of the Workhouse kkkkkkkkkk aoaoaoaoao  Gives me a fresh appreciation of what my father's grandmother probably went through as an orphaned child, before she was indentured at about 7 or 8 years of age apapapapap
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 26, 2012, 05:57:04 AM
Just acquired three delightful series: The Bryant and May novels by Christopher Fowler, The Railway Detective novels by Edward Marston and the Erast Fangorin novels by Boris Akunin...they are just waiting for me on the shelf, eagerly anticipating the end of term which is in two weeks...Already read the first four Bryant and May novels...weird detective fiction with a heavy dosage of English history, especially social history of London...pure and undiluted bliss agagagagag agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 23, 2012, 03:04:44 AM
The Takeshi Kovacs trilogy:
Altered Carbon
Broken Angels
Woken Furies

Then,
Market Forces

And finally,
Black Man

All of which were written by Richard K Morgan. They all use some kind of sci fi premise and all explore questions of social organisation and effective individual violence. The main character in each novel is a mercenary man of some kind, with aggressive instincts, some kind of differentiating skill, but still with lots of questions about the meaning of it all.

Altered Carbon is set in a world where cortical implants make it possible to transfer the complete and current state of your personality from one body to another through a process of up and download. It is of course hugely expensive and has changed the dynamics of the world and what's possible in significant ways. Kovacs, a man with a history of elite soldiering in and out of wartime custom bodies, operates more as a private detective in this story. The result is very sci fi noir. Excellent stuff. Broken Angels features the same universe and the same main character, but events have moved on considerably. In this story Kovacs is back to his old life of mercenary solider, and we learn more about where the current state of the worlds came from. Woken Furies finishes off the Kovacs lifestory by taking him "home". It's weaker in some ways than the other two books, not least because it has a grand new cast of characters that Takeshi used to know and is meeting again, but we've never seen them before, so it gets confusing.

Black Man (or Thirteen in the US) is a different book. Very similar themes, but better written and developed. The author perhaps is getting closer to what he wants to say. The world of the story is our own, but moved on some several hundred years. Where the Kovacs of Altered Carbon is a man trained to use and be part of technology, Carl Marsalis of Black Man is a thirteen, a product of a program of genetic development meant to produce... well, what? That's a large part of the story. The thirteens are part genetic throwback, part advanced development. And of course, soldiers. By the time of the story, the soldiering programs have been disbanded and Carl is a kind of mercenary until he gets brought in as a consultant on the case of another thirteen whose gone more rogue than usual.

Market Forces is a different book again and doesn't fit exactly with these other stories. It's set a much shorter distance into the future and features a world where what we know as the mercenary and competitive nature of corporate employment has become somewhat more directly physical: executives can and do legally compete in aggressively lethal road rage duels for promotion and position. And the banking and finance worlds have expanded into the realms of conflict investment: they finance and manage wars and regimes, and sometimes regime change too. Mad Max meets Greed. Less of a sci fi book too inasmuch as no one in the story is enhanced by anything other than anger or avarice.


Currently reading Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazell. So far it's an "underbelly of hospital residency" story that's quite familiar these days, but the writing is slick and darkly funny, so it could be okay.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 23, 2012, 03:25:40 AM
Also, an endnote: sex in novels is, well I don't know if it's ever done fantastically well, but in each and every one of Richard K Morgan's books you're guaranteed two anatomically correct, lengthy, and frequently athletic acts of congress. Two thumbs up.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on July 23, 2012, 08:30:41 AM
James Fallows China Airborne. Fascinating book about China past, present, and (envisioned) future aviation industry and culture. Really worth reading, though the Kindle edition is overpriced.

I'd seen this and heard it was good, but I couldn't imagine that a book about the aviation industry would be interesting... I will give it a look now.

For the sake of recommendations:

Demonic Males (tracing human violence to our ancestors the great apes)

God is Not Great (Christopher Hitchens' atheist polemic - very well written and entertaining)

The Spy that Came in for the Cold (Le Carre's first novel, it has aged well, genre-defining thriller)

Country Driving (Peter Hessler - I was pleasantly surprised by how thoughtful this was. I will now look up more by the author)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on July 23, 2012, 02:01:59 PM
I've been reading 'La Peste' by Camus for almost 2 weeks and I can't knock it but it's very difficult to enjoy. I want to finish it but I think I have a lot to go through....

I was burning through books and this one just slowed me right down, I dread going back into it, it's not really fiction..
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on July 23, 2012, 04:04:32 PM
I've been reading 'La Peste' by Camus for almost 2 weeks and I can't knock it but it's very difficult to enjoy. I want to finish it but I think I have a lot to go through....

I was burning through books and this one just slowed me right down, I dread going back into it, it's not really fiction..

Ditch it. LIfe's too short for books you're not enjoying.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 23, 2012, 04:17:00 PM
I'm slowly chewing my way through a heavily annotated (at least an 8:1 annotation to original text ratio) version of Marco Polo that I downloaded from Amazon.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 30, 2012, 08:57:32 AM
Beat the Reaper turned out to be a fast read, and as promised, familiar, yet darkly zesty enough to be worth it.

Currently starting in on Reamde by Neal Stephenson. Annoying start with sudden, story-obscuring narrative leaps, but it gathers steam well. So far it has, well--everything. A misdirecting hero, paeans to Iowa, a MMORPG, an indistinctly British Columbian and Chinese background, a Seattle setting, and now some Russian mafia.


Interesting tangent: the casual references to Google by name in novels these days. Google isn't part of this story per se, just part of the background because, I guess, it's part of our background. Then again, maybe it's product placement. Starbucks gets mentioned too, like in a movie.

How's that for media suspicion! When a western movie features actual product names, you wonder what commercial motive outside the story drives it. But when guerrilla filmmakers use them, the references add something to the stories.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on July 30, 2012, 10:02:07 AM
I've been reading 'La Peste' by Camus for almost 2 weeks and I can't knock it but it's very difficult to enjoy. I want to finish it but I think I have a lot to go through....

I was burning through books and this one just slowed me right down, I dread going back into it, it's not really fiction..

Ditch it. LIfe's too short for books you're not enjoying.

Finished it, I like challenging books and I do get something out of them even though they are not always fun to read....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: mustachioed-ken on July 31, 2012, 01:51:29 AM
Trying to read Rant by the Fight Club writer guy.. I normally love his stuff but this one is kinda making me sleepy every time I read it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on July 31, 2012, 08:53:22 AM
just got the mother of all Amazon shipments (how am I going to fit all of this in my luggage to go back to China??!!)

anyway, so this is my reading for the next year or so:

Catching Fire: How cooking made us human

Mafia State - Luke Harding (guardian reporter gets chased out of Putin's Russia)

Robert Huges - The Fatal Shore (about the transportations to Oztralia)

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee  - Dee Brown (I figure I should know more about this era)

The Scramble for Africa - Pakenham (ditto)

Daniel Kahneman - Thinking Fast and Slow (recommended by people far smarter than I)

Will the boat sink the water (can't remember Chinese author's name - think this was recommended on this thread a while ago)

...

Dinstinct lack of fiction  mmmmmmmmmm. This from a man who spent his teens and twenties reading, studying, teaching and writing literary fiction. I guess I just want to KNOW things now.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 31, 2012, 09:41:51 AM
Fatal Shore and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee are both "keepers" agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on July 31, 2012, 10:30:22 AM
I assigned Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee to my history students for summer reading. Definitely a good choice.

I'm reading a memoir called "Home is a Roof Over a Pig" written by a woman, Aminta Arrington, who moved her entire family (husband and 3 kids) to Tai'an.

for a China memoir it is ok. Reading between the lines I get the feeling she might be a missionary, but she never says so outright. She also has a somewhat irritating tendancy towards amateur ethnolinguistics/etymolgy with regards to Chinese characters as well as a way of doing the whole "He Qing (pronounced Huh Cheeng)" thing that some authors do and I also find it annoying. The book was probably written for people who have not lived in China for 10 years so I'm trying to give it a break on that account. I think she also suffers from a bit of the sophmore syndrome -- has a few years in China under her belt, thinks she's got it all figured out. She makes a remark at one point about how the Chinese "respect their ethnic minorities." Huh? And she is blown away, blown away I tell you, when she visits this lady's home and discovers that not all Chinese people are poor.

All that said though, the book is not poorly written and a lot of her experiences will ring true with long term expats. As a parent it is kind of interesting too reading her experiences raising her kids in China, sending them to kindergartens, etc. Worth a read I say.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on July 31, 2012, 11:05:37 AM
Yeah, I'm like you TLD in that I'm pretty hard to please when it comes to China-reading, which is why I was so pleasantly suprised by Peter Hessler's Country Driving. I had wrongly put him down as a sort of Bill Bryson-esque hack.

I have Oracle bones ready to be taken back to China with me.

Glad to hear you all approve of my buys!!! Cheap as chips on amazon  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 01, 2012, 12:13:14 AM
I can only agree with Fozzwaldus, there is just something awesome about history books. As for works on China, I have been ploughing through some of those myself this holiday.
For those who has an interest in the Golden Age of Shanghai, Robert Bickers' "Empire Made Me" will knock your socks off. It is essentially the story of one man, Maurice Tinkler, who worked as a constable in the Shanghai Municipal Police Force between during the early part of the Twentieth Century. Bickers also wrote one called "The Scramble for China" which documents the coming of and role played by us laowai in China between 1832 and 1914.
"Fatal Shore" is awesome. I recommend reading, if Aussie history tickles your fancy, "Austtralia" by Frank Welsh and "The Commonwealth of Thieves" by Tom Keneally too.
For a better understanding of the tumultuous years between the fall of the last emperor of China and the rise of the glorious republic, the autobiography of Pu Yi, "From Emperor to Citizen" and the memoirs of his English tutor, Reginald Johnston "Twiligight in the Forbidden City" are both excellent, albeit bear in mind that, as they are not banned in China, there is a good chance a lot of the information has been made to be deliberately inoffensive to the Chinese cencorship authorities.
The last book, so far, I would like to recommend is the giant tome entitled "Europe" by Norman Davies. It is, essentially, a tour-de-force of European history that will blow your mind  agagagagag agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 01, 2012, 07:03:23 AM
The story in Reamde has now caught a plane to China:

Sokolov had never been a spy per se, but he had undergone a bit of training in basic spycraft as part of his transition into private commerce. Spies were supposed to have a strong intuitive sense of when they had been noticed, when someone else’s eyes were on them. Or at least that was the line of bullshit that the spycraft trainers liked to lay on their students. If true, then no Western spy could tolerate even a few seconds’ exposure to a Chinese street, since that internal sense would be setting off alarms continuously—and by no means false alarms. If they had dressed up in clown suits, strapped strobe lights to their foreheads, and sprinted out into traffic firing tommy guns into the air, they would not have drawn more immediate and intense scrutiny than they did simply by entering this public space as non-Chinese persons. Sokolov could only laugh. He had thought it might be otherwise, simply because Xiamen had such a long history of contact with the outside world.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on August 01, 2012, 08:00:05 AM
@ETR - I'll get the Europe book for my mum - she's been studying Greek and Roman History in her spare time (even taking Freshman courses in Trinity College Dublin!) and I get the feeling she'll want to know what comes next!  agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: randyjac on August 01, 2012, 11:55:27 PM
This is a dangerous thread. I think I spent $200 US stocking up my Kindle last month. My intellectual horizon has been raised. No more Jack Reacher. Currently I am invigorating my mind with "Why the West Rules -- for Now: Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future", by Ian Morris.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 02, 2012, 04:24:01 AM
Dangerous indeed...knowledge is expensive...just bought all 11 volumes of Will Durant's "The Story of Civiliation" for my kindle...pricey, pricey... agagagagag agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: JShep on August 13, 2012, 12:54:35 AM
I'm reading "The States", written by me. Find in signature.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 13, 2012, 04:32:27 AM
Reviews for "The States":

"A stunning debut!"
- Washington Post

"Colorful primer, a must read!"
- Idaho Tribune

"GUY GOT SOME KINDA PROBLEM!"
- New Jersey Chronicle
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 23, 2012, 04:50:50 AM
Forgiving Ararat, Gita Nazareth

What is God, What is Love, What is Justice? Has Germans, Jews, one or two Arabs, and takes place in a claustrophobic and actually kind of scary spiritual plane, Shemaya Station, on or about the time of the death of the main character, which death she doesn't accept.

Tooth and Nail, Craig DiLouie.

There are enough zombie books around these days that one challenge in the reading (and probably the writing) of them is to not have the story be infected, as it were, by every other book you've read. In this book the zombs are called, without affectation, Mad Dogs, and it actually works really well. The story develops through the eyes and actions of Charlie Company the day after they are recalled from Iraq to take up a security role in Manhattan.

(Also, while the book has nothing whatsoever to do with Modern Warfare III, if you've recently played that fps, the story is really easy to visualize.)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 26, 2012, 12:59:29 AM
I just finished the "Joe Pitt" series by Charlie Huston. Vampire Noir, so much better than tween vampire crap. Also a rather fascinating, scientific explanation for where the vampires came from.

Also, for  those of you who might be thinking of what to do for a Christmas lesson, Jeff Guinn's "The Christmas Chronicles" could provide somme ideas.  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on August 26, 2012, 02:38:36 AM
I just finished reading "That Book About Harvard," and it was pretty amusing. If anyone is teaching students who are hung up on the Ivy Leagues, I'd recommend it. It definitely brings the school down a notch or two.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on August 28, 2012, 04:07:22 PM

The last book, so far, I would like to recommend is the giant tome entitled "Europe" by Norman Davies. It is, essentially, a tour-de-force of European history that will blow your mind  agagagagag agagagagag agagagagag

Just bought this for my mum for her b-day, and she seems very happy with it, so thank you Eric the Red! She's keen to fill in the gaps in her Euro-histoical knowledge.

Davies also has a book entitled Europe: Vanished Kingdoms (or something like that) that looks intruiging!

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 29, 2012, 06:54:43 AM
I am halfway through "Vanished Kingdom" and it is smashing.  agagagagag agagagagag

For those of you with small children, might I recommend Terry Pratchett's "The World of Poo"....it is excellent entertainment  agagagagag agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Maifeilan on September 10, 2012, 03:53:04 PM
Bleak House.  Something about Jarndyce & Jarndyce being somewhat analogous to my employer ...masters of interminable ***** proceedings ...  eeeeeeeeee
 
 ssssssssss
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cruisemonkey on September 10, 2012, 08:21:59 PM
The passage contract for the dirt cheap (with 'Teacher Rate') 7-day cruise (with unlimited, All Inclusive Drinks package) I booked from Shanghai to Yokohama and back during 'Golden Week'.
 agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 10, 2012, 11:41:16 PM
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

There I was, reading along, thinking this is an ok space opera, it has war in the solar system, space navies, and a smidgen of detective drama, but maybe it's a little dull since the characters are a bit shallow, and I might let it go, when all of a sudden....

SURPRISE ZOMBIES!

Zombies make every book better.

Watch for the sequel, Leviathan Scratches.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: NATO on September 11, 2012, 10:27:02 AM
The Black Swan - Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I saw his name on the back of another book I read and picked this up. This book has had quite the effect on me and has articulated some feelings I hadn't figured out/articulated myself. Recommended.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on September 11, 2012, 11:01:47 AM
The Black Swan - Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I saw his name on the back of another book I read and picked this up. This book has had quite the effect on me and has articulated some feelings I hadn't figured out/articulated myself. Recommended.

have this on my shelf. will read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on September 21, 2012, 12:59:03 AM
"Good Omens" by Terry Prattchett and Neil Gaiman I am pissing myself laughing  ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on September 21, 2012, 03:52:35 AM
Peter Hessler's Oracle Bones

I needed something light. I like it but it doesn't impress me in quite the same way as Country Driving, which seems a more mature reflection of a long stay in China.

He's in Egypt now. I'll be interested to hear what he has to say about that!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: mlaeux on September 21, 2012, 06:46:33 AM
Quote
He's in Egypt now. I'll be interested to hear what he has to say about that!

Oooo me too. That's one the of the places I was eying for next year.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on September 21, 2012, 09:29:14 AM
Terry Pratchett's Dodger
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on September 21, 2012, 12:27:57 PM
not reading anything atm, but hope to get back to it soon, and hope to read some of the recommendations here. (Did I mention that I love you all?)
Piglet: I've gone through GO several times, and LOL every time. A truly weird but truly successful collaboration, given how different the 2 authors are.
AMonk, ETR: please don't spoil too much about Dodger. I am a huge Pratchett fan, but I am patient enough to wait.

One book I didn't finish this summer was the Penguin edition of The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun Simply put, I was underwhelmed. Yes, I've read some of these before in other places, and was curious enough to search out a collection so as to deepen my experience; but when faced with story after story after story, it got pretty depressing. And pretty pointless. And pretty pointlessly depressing. And pretty depressingly pointless. And I'm a Leonard Cohen fan. And a Kafka fan. I believe it would be better if my Chinese were good enough that I could read it in the original, but somehow I doubt it would ever live up to expectations.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 21, 2012, 01:48:24 PM
LFD, no worries, I still have not received my copy...bloodystupidnogooduselessdipshitAmozon.cndouchenozzleoperatedshiteforbrainscompanyunabletodeliverbooksontimemoronsshouldallbeflogged...grumblemumblesnarl

Instead, I am reading the latest Bryant and May mystery...followed by a book on the history of the Yakuza...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on September 21, 2012, 02:23:24 PM
a book on the history of the Yakuza...

details please!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 22, 2012, 12:46:19 AM
It's called "Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld" by David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro. Apparently the authors spent two decades doing the research, interviewing some rather unpleasant chaps and such. It is, as far as I can tell from browsing around online, one of, if not the most, exhaustive and detailed work on one of the most secretive criminal organizations in the world.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on September 22, 2012, 02:05:53 AM
@mlaeux would not go to Egypt right now it's a little unstable to say the least.
News from the Sinai border is NOT good. kkkkkkkkkk
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4284517,00.html
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 23, 2012, 03:31:16 AM
I'm reading Mao's Last Dancer, a true story about a Li Cunxin a male Chinese ballet dancer during Mao's time. It's not bad.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Pashley on September 24, 2012, 03:45:13 AM
Pierre Trudeau & Jacques Hebert "Two Innocents in Red China". They visited in 1960. At the time Trudeau was a labour lawyer & Hebert a journalist best known for travel pieces on Europe & Latin America. China was in the middle of the Great Leap Forward and no Western governments recognised "red China" officially. The book came out in French in 1961.

By 1968, Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada, brought the book out in English and shortly thereafter recognised China, ahead of all other Western countries except France. Eventually, Hebert became a senator; in Canada, those are appointed rather than elected.

A lovely period piece, very interesting.

 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on September 24, 2012, 01:24:33 PM
Borkya saw the movie before we left Israel and LOVED it (was seeing every movie I could about China in that period).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 29, 2012, 09:13:23 AM
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. (A Girl's Own Clockwork Orange.  bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf)

Next I'll try Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. I'm dubious of the future world it's set in. Technological sophistication is coveted yet most technologies have failed? We'll see.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: teacheraus on September 29, 2012, 09:40:22 AM
The new JK Rowling novel A Casual Vacancy
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 06, 2012, 01:25:18 AM
Grumble...teacheraus beat me to it...picked up "The Casual Vacancy" yesterday. So far it is good, takes a while for it to get gripping. At least I have this book whilst I impatiently wait for the new "Skulduggery Pleasant", Rankin's "The Educated Monkey", Tom Holt's "Doughnut" and both "Dodger" and "A Blink of the Screen"...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on October 06, 2012, 08:28:57 AM
'God is Not Great: How Religion Ruins Everything' by Christopher Hitchens. Witty, articulate and persuasive rant from an atheist 'saint'  ahahahahah

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on October 06, 2012, 12:04:10 PM
Read Blood Meridian and I'm just about to finish All the Pretty Horses by Cormac Mccarthy

They are both good but Blood Meridian was just insanely good, after writing something like that I don't think I'd have any ambition left
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: bobrage on October 06, 2012, 12:16:55 PM
George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series.

I like it when the villain is the hero.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on October 06, 2012, 02:00:14 PM
Read Blood Meridian and I'm just about to finish All the Pretty Horses by Cormac Mccarthy

They are both good but Blood Meridian was just insanely good, after writing something like that I don't think I'd have any ambition left

I read blood meridian when I much younger, don't think that I got it all, must read it aagin.

have the whole border trilogy on my shelf as we speak. Have you read The Road? Incredible book. Absolutely terrifying.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on October 06, 2012, 02:38:36 PM
Read Blood Meridian and I'm just about to finish All the Pretty Horses by Cormac Mccarthy

They are both good but Blood Meridian was just insanely good, after writing something like that I don't think I'd have any ambition left

I read blood meridian when I much younger, don't think that I got it all, must read it aagin.

have the whole border trilogy on my shelf as we speak. Have you read The Road? Incredible book. Absolutely terrifying.

I read the road after I saw the film which I think was a mistake. I think I might have to re-read it because a bit like you said with Blood Meridian I didn't really get into it properly

By the by, I think that No Country for Old Men is probably the best film adaptation of a book that I've ever seen
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 21, 2012, 05:27:27 AM
Just finished Margaret Atwood's The Year of The Flood. It's set in the same world as her Oryx and Crake and shares some characters and the same timeframe. It's a good story, perhaps sometimes a bit too on-the-nosey when it seemed to the author necessary to detail the connections between the stories, but Oryx and Crake was better. I think I like Atwood's books. I'm putting The Blind Assassin in the queue.

Meanwhile, Christopher Hinz's Paratwa Trilogy (because I read Ash Ock once, the middle book, and now I have to know).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 21, 2012, 01:41:49 PM
Picked up K.W.Jeter's "Infernal Devices" the other day. Apparently, Mr. Jeter coined the term "Steampunk".

I wanted to read "The Steam House" by Jules Verne next (Some British chaps cross India after the Great Mutiny in 1857 inside a steam-powered elephant  agagagagag agagagagag) but I can't find a good electronic copy, so I will have to settle for the collected works of Arthur Machen... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on October 21, 2012, 01:46:02 PM
If On A Winter's Night A Traveller

by Italo Calvino ...

Been a long time since I read an unashamedly Po-Mo novel. Wears its skeleton on the outside.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 21, 2012, 01:52:11 PM
Italo Calvino is cool  agagagagag agagagagag His book "Why Read the Classics" is awesome  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: NATO on October 21, 2012, 03:04:37 PM
Recently read:

The Cleanest Race, How North Koreans See Themselves - B.R. Myers

Norwegian Wood - Murakami

Confession's of a Crap Artist - P.K. Dick

Now on to:

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 25, 2012, 05:13:41 AM
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

A jigsaw puzzle of a book, containing, indeed, some true beauty

(once you get past the first chapter).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: psd4fan on December 25, 2012, 06:59:37 AM
Book 3 of the Empire of Man Series ( March to the Stars) by David Webber.  ababababab
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on December 25, 2012, 10:47:55 AM

Re-reading Robert Asprin's Phule series; an amusing look at the (future) Space Legion's "Omega Mob".  Currently in Book 3.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on December 25, 2012, 12:17:12 PM
Currently reading: For work: Dickens' "Hard Times", which is an awesome book. I am sorry, but classics rule. They just do  agagagagag agagagagag

For fun: Ian Kelly's biography of Samuel Foote and T.J.English's book "Paddy-Whacked" about the Irish Mob in America. Ripping stuff.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Just Like Mr Benn on December 25, 2012, 01:30:04 PM
'Our Man in China' by Ming Liu.

A novel about ABCs (American Born Chinese) in China. I did the Inca Trail with (amongst many others) Ming a few years back, and she was a great encouragement in terms of making me get off my arse and finish my first novel. She'd written this novel already, but was still looking for a publisher.

At the time I had no idea that I'd end up moving to and living in China. The China is this novel though is completely foreign to me; big cities, nightclubs, airports, acronyms and business deals. In the meantime, here I am in a bottom tier University in a second tier city, in a relationship with a traditional Chinese woman with a young son. I can't honestly say that I identify with a single character in the novel, or feel i would enjoy spending a single second with them. These are pretty much exactly the type of people I am keen to avoid while here.

Nonetheless, Ming has a good narrative style. I would love to know what yli would think of this novel. (I think you're an ABC; apologies if I've misremembered) or Nolefan who I imagine being at the centre of Beijing nightlife and knowing whether the world in this novel actually exists.

I've also finally got around to reading 'The Party' by Richard McGregor (about the Chinese Communist Party) which someone recommended, probably on this thread, ages ago.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: caley1313 on December 25, 2012, 03:40:28 PM
If anyone wants a real clean and true perspective of the Muslim mind in the Mid East, I would highly recommend Naguib Mahfouz's the Cairo Trilogy. It's three books of one man's family from before WW1 and thru to WW2. It's an amazing read and offers an understanding into a world in which most of us are unfamiliar. FWIIW, Mahfouz is so well thought of that in 1958??? or thereabouts he was the Nobel Laureate for Literature. Cheers, Caley
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on December 25, 2012, 10:33:08 PM
For any Saloonies who, like me, have come to cherish and relish the greatness of P.G. Wodehouse, I can recommend E.F.Benson's "Lucia and Mapp" books. Albeit they are not exactly the world of Blandings and the Drones, they are set at the same time and are amazingly hilarious. So many books, so little time... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on December 28, 2012, 09:26:57 PM
"Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War".

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on December 29, 2012, 10:59:37 AM
Finished Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and trying Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman but can't say I am thrilled so far.
Might ditch it and go for the Calvino which is patiently residing on my Kindle.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Papillon on January 30, 2013, 02:53:56 AM

I picked up Bill Bryson's 'A short history of nearly everything' at Nanjing's Foreign Language Bookstore. It is a brilliantly written and informative book. It is the only book that I finished reading and started it again from the beginning. ababababab
I guess a lot of the info is something we might already have a grasp on but it gives us a great insight in to how we can to know the things we do today. It also gives some back ground on the people who were behind these great findings/inventions/accomplishments/etc.

I paid 85RMB for it but I guess it would be cheaper on tabao/amazon.

Totally recommended:)

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/billbryson/excerpts.html#sunburnedcountry
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on February 01, 2013, 06:35:42 PM
China Rocks by Peter Baird

Otherwise known as our very own Decurso.

It's available for Kobo and just like Decurso himself it's cheap and easy to get.

China Rocks (http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Chinese-Rocks/book-Physlur0Y0Wn_jOevfbqJQ/page1.html?s=9wy_eDz4DE2bSupuYDCiYw&r=1)

Maybe Decurso can tell us how else it's available.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: fullricebowl on April 01, 2013, 02:44:07 AM
China Rocks by Peter Baird

Otherwise known as our very own Decurso.

Wonderful. I really enjoyed reading some of his blogs and I'd love to read the full book.

I just finished reading The Small Woman. One of my distant relatives loves this book and whenever I would see her, she would gush about it and how my life reminded her of it. It was actually made into a movie in the 1950s, but all the Chinese are played by white actors with terrible makeup..

It's about a naive British woman who travels alone to China in the 1920s as a missionary and ends up running an orphanage in rural Shanxi for some 17 years. During that time, she becomes fluent in the local dialect, flees from the Japanese, leads 100 orphans over the mountains to Xi'an, served as a "foot inspector" to stop the practice of foot binding and falls in love with a KMT officer. Seeing as I've mostly been reading history, political, and philosophical books (for the past few years..) it was nice to be able to pick up something with an actual plot that read very quickly. It's based on a true story. I thought it was interesting how as recently as the 1920s rural China seemed to be unchanged for some 500 years. Trying to convince my husband we should really hop down to Pingyao to see the old walled city over the upcoming holiday.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: LordImmp on April 11, 2013, 02:42:10 AM
Mutineer's Moon by David Webber,
Born to Run by Stephen Kenson
and currently reading Teaching with Chopsticks.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on April 11, 2013, 03:02:56 AM
I'm going through a load of Zizek that I downloaded ages ago

I love what he says although I am not so keen on his fetish for Lenin and Stalin, it's like he destroys everyone elses fetishism so well and then when he admits his own it's equally stupid, but I think that is why he is so famous because he is not aloof like most philosophers, he is very open about his own weaknesses
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 11, 2013, 05:21:14 AM
Taking a rest from zombie books at the moment, and discovered: The Good Son (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7667756-the-good-son) by Michael Gruber.

Islam, Pakistan, nuclear plots, a mother taken hostage, a son in the US special forces, and... JUNG! A cracking read thus far. The mother, a believer, an adept with the various languages, and a Jungian therapist, gets taken hostage, and the son, who happens to be both a US specfor AND a former mujahid of the anti-Russian jihad, hatches a plot to get the US to invade Pakistan. Not a Cold War novel.

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: mlaeux on April 11, 2013, 07:36:27 AM
The Whole Brain Writing Game, by Chris Biffle
http://wholebrainteaching.com/ (http://wholebrainteaching.com/)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on April 21, 2013, 11:13:48 AM
"Death By Black Hole" by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Finding out I don't know duck about science.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 01, 2013, 04:17:22 AM
Just started reading Felix Gilman's "The Half-Made World", a steam-punk alternative history novel set in a somewhat strange US.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 02, 2013, 01:29:16 AM
http://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/post/49379142505/science-fiction-in-china-a-conversation-with-fei

Does anyone know if any of the "three generals"--Liu Cixin, Han Song, and Wang Jinkang--are published in translation? Three Body by Liu Cixin seems like it might be interesting, but I can't find anything.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 06, 2013, 01:17:43 PM
Just finished Gilman's novel and have now started Gail Carriger's series "The Parasol Protectorate", which can only be described as a Wodehouseian steam-punk vampire series.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on May 06, 2013, 10:20:44 PM
The Parasol Protectorate ROCKS akakakakak agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 09, 2013, 05:02:06 AM
Fat Years - Chan Koonchung.

Strangely organized for a novel. It's in three parts with the third being a very long epilogue (actually a very lengthy speech by one of the characters). Interestingly there's an artistic reason for that structure.

The story itself is so mild mannered, yet so, so disconcerting. It's set in the China of now and the last two years, the fat years of the title, have been very prosperous and deeply harmonious. But there's a missing month.


Imma start reading some more modern Chinese authors (in English). The story telling style is noticeably different to what I'm used to. Currently, looking at Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong (which may or may not be a straight up detective novel, but interesting because set in 1990s China).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 11, 2013, 11:42:26 PM
The Parasol Protectorate ROCKS akakakakak agagagagag

Absolutely. Not only is the take on the whole vampire/werewolf aspect refreshing, the novels also stray away from the erotizised vampire, a concept I have disagreed with ever since reading Polidori's "The Vampyre", they are also refreshing in use of language and plot. There are so many examples of the wonderful humour in the first novel "Soulless' which I just finished but this is a rather smashing one: " Highland werewolves had a reputation for doing atrocious and highly unwarranted things, like wearing smoking jackets to the dinner table". Now that is good humour  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on May 12, 2013, 12:33:39 AM
Heavily immersed in "Shantaram" by David Gregory Roberts the  Australian Gentleman Robber who broke out of jail and escaped to Mumbai I.can't figure out how much is autobiographical - I fear he loves himself a little too much although the story is pretty gripping.Descriptions of Mumbai a little hyperbolic now and then.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 12, 2013, 01:36:17 AM
I started reading Story by Robert McKee. That dude is one repetitively verbose mofo. If I didn't really, really want to know what all the fuss is about, the sheer bloat of Part 1 would have been reason enough to sling the book out the window. (Metaphorically sling, anyway; pressing the delete button in the ebook app wouldn't satisfy nearly so much.)

Meanwhile, Qiu Xiaolong is telling an agreeable mystery story, potholing it with the occasional awkward metaphor.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on May 12, 2013, 09:19:06 AM
In honor of Roger Ebert, "Life Itself". His memoirs. Very fascinating by itself but, also how the industry and its stars have changed.  Some of his casual meetings with such famous people are hard to believe in this day and age.  GOOD FOR HIM!  A humble, Midwestern boy who never got caught up in his celebrity or overly impressed by the movie stars themselves.  Who would have thought someone of his beginnings could have had such a rich and significant life?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 17, 2013, 11:20:11 PM
I have now finished the "Parasol Protectorate" series. It was good, dashed good. Am now plunging into Chris Wooding's "Retribution Falls", Cherie Priest's "Boneshaker" and Mike Dash's "Satan's Circus". I have been on the most delightful reading spree this month, chomping through novel after novel, it's been pure bliss. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 23, 2013, 11:48:08 PM
What are they reading...

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/05/23/chinese_military_liberation_novels


(I'm reading the article, not the books--can't read Chinese--but it's really interesting, both for web publishing and for what kind of pulp is popular in China.)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on June 10, 2013, 05:23:44 AM
Finished Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong. Meh. Boring hero, recognizable old Shanghai, complicated but not very mysterious political doings. Weird poetry. YMMV.

Moving on to Abaddon's Gate, the third book in The Expanse trilogy, a very space opera-y space opera, by James S.A. Corey.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 03, 2013, 12:38:56 AM
The Reapers are the Angels - Alden Bell.

Sure, it says "zombies" and "post-apocalypse", but what it really is is a western, somewhat in the mold of No Country For Old Men, only post-apocalypse and with zombies.


 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 04, 2013, 11:07:06 PM
I have been reading 'An Utterly Impartial History of Britain" by John O'Farrell. A history book that informs you of events but with no reverence. For instance, when the author describes the forests of England pre-1066 "Britain was covered in a thick impenetrable mesh of thicket, fallen branches and brambles which barely exists in Britain today outside the gardens of student houses".. ahahahahah ahahahahah and after that it is Saul David's "Victoria's Wars". All in the name of class prep  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: LoveSasa on July 06, 2013, 08:53:42 AM
I have been reading 'An Utterly Impartial History of Britain" by John O'Farrell. A history book that informs you of events but with no reverence. For instance, when the author describes the forests of England pre-1066 "Britain was covered in a thick impenetrable mesh of thicket, fallen branches and brambles which barely exists in Britain today outside the gardens of student houses".. ahahahahah ahahahahah

Sounds like my kind of history book.

I'm currently reading "The Search for Modern China" by Jonathan Spence. And by reading, I mean... It's in my Audibles queue, and I keep telling myself I'm going to get through it because I should REALLy know this stuff.

What I'm actually reading is "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakami. Maybe it'll inspire me to actually get off my butt and go for a jog. Yeeeeah...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 06, 2013, 10:09:33 AM
The book by Spence is good, really good. If you have the chance, you might want to try the "History of China" podcast available for free on iTunes, it is made by a chap called Laszlo Montgomery. I highly recommend it.
If you are keen on some China history, Julia Lovell's "The Opium War" is good too, so is "God's Chinese Son" by Spence. To get a feel for some of the Chinese cultural tales, I recommend Pu Songling's "Tales from a Chinese Studio".  agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on July 06, 2013, 11:39:02 AM
The book by Spence is good, really good.

Agreed! I read it in my second year here (lo those many years ago) and have found what I learned from it has melded and mellowed my understanding of how and why things are as they are here. Required reading for living in China.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on July 06, 2013, 12:05:05 PM
The Spence book was one of my textbooks in a course I took when I was an undergrad Asian Studies major -- many many years ago. ;) Agreed, really good book!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: LoveSasa on July 06, 2013, 06:12:02 PM
The book by Spence is good, really good.

Awesome! I'm glad to hear that so many of you recommend it. It seemed like the best "overview" option available on Audibles. I've also read the first two of Peter Hessler's books, though I'm holding off on Country Roads so I can get a bit broader perspective. I also read a bunch of kindle books from people who have taught in China and Taiwan, though none of them really stuck out enough to be memorable.

If you have the chance, you might want to try the "History of China" podcast available for free on iTunes, it is made by a chap called Laszlo Montgomery. I highly recommend it.
If you are keen on some China history, Julia Lovell's "The Opium War" is good too, so is "God's Chinese Son" by Spence. To get a feel for some of the Chinese cultural tales, I recommend Pu Songling's "Tales from a Chinese Studio".  agagagagag

Wow! Thanks for all the recommendations. I'll definitely look into these.

Have you guys found that your Kindles/Audibles accounts work fine? I'm a bit of a book hoarder and I'm trying to avoid a repeat of my year in Germany, in which I had to mail 2 boxes of books home... (Though I have half a shelf of books on Chinese language study, so I may haul those over with me, yet...)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 06, 2013, 11:03:29 PM
Don't know about Audible, but Kindle works fine  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 24, 2013, 09:25:54 AM
A Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka Mrs Harry Potter)

A London-based detective story, and actually pretty good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 24, 2013, 11:36:07 AM
"Satan's Circus" by Mike Dash, the true story of the only member of the NYPD who has ever, apparently, been convicted of murder. Haven't finished it yet, but it is good  agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on July 24, 2013, 11:44:44 AM
Just read 'Gangs of New York'

awesome book. HBO should make a series of it, total madness, specially around the Civil War when they tried to burn down New York

I'd quite like to learn about US social history in depth, it's pure Mad Max up until WW2
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 24, 2013, 12:42:25 PM
The I can recommend you read "Five Points" by..hmm..I forgot..and I also recommend H.W. Brands' "American Colossus" and a rather interesting book called "Paddywhacked" which chronicles the history of Irish gangsters in America  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Guangzhou Writer on July 24, 2013, 12:57:39 PM
Just read 'Gangs of New York'

awesome book. HBO should make a series of it, total madness, specially around the Civil War when they tried to burn down New York

I'd quite like to learn about US social history in depth, it's pure Mad Max up until WW2
Good nutrition up until WW2.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on July 24, 2013, 01:22:54 PM
and a rather interesting book called "Paddywhacked" which chronicles the history of Irish gangsters in America  agagagagag agagagagag


Oh I'm getting that.

I love watching Boardwalk Empire just because all the tough guys are Irish.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 24, 2013, 01:31:08 PM
"The Westies" about one of the most infamous gangs to ever come out of Hell's Kitchen is also rather good. "The Robber Barons" is also really good. For post-WWII you could read "The Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test".

I am also, being a many-books-at-the-time kinda guy, currently reading "The Killer of Little Shepherds" by Douglas Starr, about the serial killer Joseph Vacher and the origin of forensic science. Good stuff  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on July 24, 2013, 02:11:26 PM
Thing is I say I will....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on July 24, 2013, 02:57:48 PM
"The Boy in the Suitcase" working my way through all the Man Booker Prize shortlists from 2000 onwards which I "obtained" gratis from a useful source.So far it is pretty good.Also on that list were "Snowdrops" set in Moscow really excellent and " THe Half Blood Blues" also most enjoyable.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on July 25, 2013, 06:00:46 AM
Been reading a lot this summer. Almost finished with Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities." Interesting to think how it relates to our own travel stories.

No idea what to read next.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on July 25, 2013, 08:49:27 AM
I'm being a pretentious douch and reading Dante's inferno. I actually like it, but have to read it out loud to understand it better.  ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 25, 2013, 09:01:04 AM
Why is it pretentious to read one of the greatest works of literature ever written?? That's exactly one of those inane mistakes the world forces upon us, that reading something great and profound is in some way wrong. If reading great works of literature is pretentious then I embrace wholeheartedly and without an iota of shame or regret my pretentiousness. I just finished reading "Paradise Lost' for next term and am now plowing through the works of Dickens and the poetry of the Cavaliers and the Metaphysical poets. Shades of Grey, Dan Brown..piffle...give me just one line of Shakespeare, one couplet of Jonson, one comma from Milton instead. Of course, this begs the question, which translation of Dante are you reading? The Longfellow one? The OUP blank verse one? I must admit, I prefer Longfellow. Blank verse is..well....we all know what T.S.Eliot thought of blank verse and I can only agree with him  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Guangzhou Writer on July 26, 2013, 12:57:12 AM
/snoody British accent = on
I think it's raaather pretentious to declare oneself to be pretentious. Ah-Haw.
/end snoody accent

That said, I'd really like to read some Dante.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 26, 2013, 01:44:29 AM
What's stopping you? Dante is readily available in most Chinese bookstores and free to download on Project Gutenberg.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on July 27, 2013, 12:24:13 AM
Reading, (actually listening to), Kevin Phillips' "1775".  Interesting if you're into American/English history.  He calls it one of three civil wars fought by English speaking peoples and the first World War.  He loves to dispel the commonly accepted notions about The Revolution and the era. Interesting that the New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland colonies, largely, did not want to rebel. 

One interesting factoid, one-fourth of all the British officers killed in this eight-year war died at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on July 27, 2013, 02:25:01 AM
I was going for sarcasm, cause I'm a dumber 'merican who has trouble with them big fancy wurds. but sigh.....so hard to do right on the internet.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 27, 2013, 11:57:23 PM
Naturally, sarcasm is normally indicated by modulating one's inflection, which is difficult to do in writing. Now, Borkya, you may have an incomprehensible passion for tea and an even more strange need to befriend and hang out with young people, both of which are good reasons to stay at Hangzhou Number 7th Hospital for a while but no-one could ever call you dumb... agagagagag agagagagag

You never told me which translation you are reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on July 28, 2013, 12:42:59 AM
I think I was just complimented!  ababababab

And I'm reading the Longefellow translation. Not on purpose, it was the first one I found when downloading. It's not bad I have to say.

And by the way, the reason I started reading it was because of this infernal weather. I was talking to a friend and made some "7th ring of hell" joke and then I thought to myself...."I should read Dante's Inferno." So this hot weather is slightly inspiring I guess!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on July 28, 2013, 01:19:31 AM
Then you should try reading "the  Dante Club", sensationalist but fun. Lots of good info on Longfellow's problems with Dante.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on July 28, 2013, 11:43:57 AM
I just started reading Map and Territory by Michel Houllebec

I read another one ages ago, I haven't read the one that got him into trouble back in the 90s so I don't know about all that but I am really enjoying this and I loved the first one that he wrote about sexual freedom and all that.
I lap up this sort of existentialist literature when it's done properly, is he an existentialist? definitely in the tradition of Sartre, Kafka etc
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 06, 2013, 09:19:04 PM
The perfect ending to a good day...curled up in bed with a cup of tea and the latest Neil Gaiman novel "The Ocean At The End of The Lane". agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on August 07, 2013, 05:11:15 AM
Baudolino by Umberto Eco -

I have a love-hate thing with Eco, but this one is really hitting the spot. Playful literary medieval romp.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 09, 2013, 11:35:00 PM
The Remaining by D.J. Molles - four books of infectious apocalypse fun!

The hero is a special forces dude who was part of a program designed to provide pragmatic national continuity in the event of apocalyptic disaster. He, and Coordinators like him, get sent down into personal bunkers to hole up when news of national threats pops up, and usually they are recalled when the disasters turn out to be not so big. Only this time, it was huge! A bacteria that turns the higher level areas of the brain to mush, and the poor infected into a rabid, instinctual killer, is loose, and spreads so fast that two weeks later, when Lee lets himself out of his bunker and his mission begins, nearly everyone is gone!


It's really interesting reading the books. Aside from the fun story with great pacing and detail, the writing is occasionally clunky and heavy handed. Like, sometimes you come across a sentence that really should have been edited out. And I say, WHAT OF IT! This is sophistication in the making. It's like watching a writer get better as he goes.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on August 10, 2013, 07:32:48 AM
"Room" by Emma Donoghue.It wouldn't be so scary if it wasn't so reminiscent of a well publicized case of kidnapping,hostage-holding that recently went to trial in the US.But here it is told from the perspective of the 5 year old child... chilling indeed. aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on August 10, 2013, 07:35:17 AM
And by the way I am now adding my books on www.shelfari.com so I don't forget what I have read and what I thought about it.It's also a good source of book crits and recommendations organized according to tags and keywords,and there are some discussion groups too.  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on August 10, 2013, 10:57:29 AM
Baudolino by Umberto Eco -

I have a love-hate thing with Eco, but this one is really hitting the spot. Playful literary medieval romp.



Me, too, but probably more limited. Is "Baudolino"  closer in nature to "The Name of the Rose" or "Foucault's Pendulum"?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Fozzwaldus on August 10, 2013, 12:47:25 PM
@old34 -

I would say closer to the name of the rose in terms of readability, though it's not a murder mystery.

Story of this character, Baudolino, who bumbles his way through some key moments in the middle ages lying about everything and shaping history as he goes.

It's really a meditation on how reality/history is shaped by the stories we tell (i.e. the lies we tell) and the stories that are recorded versus those that disappear into the mists of time.

But it is also a picaresque romp through some bloody and raunchy moments of medieval European history. Good read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: psd4fan on August 10, 2013, 01:18:27 PM
The Safehold series by my second fav scifi author David Weber.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 26, 2013, 10:20:59 AM
Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

I figured I had to read at least one of the real noir novels, but I forget exactly why. The worlds and people described are... different.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 26, 2013, 11:10:27 PM
"Red Harvest" is a noir classic, but I personally prefer the novels by Chandler. "The Long Goodbye" or "The Little Sister" are both excellent.

I am reading "The Rise of Ransom City" the sequel to "The Half-Made World". Alternative history steampunk, and rather well written too  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 27, 2013, 02:12:36 AM
Okey doke, upon looking it up, The Long Goodbye looks worth a try, thus I shall.

Presently embarking on Jan Guillou's The Road to Jerusalem.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: KeyserSoze on August 27, 2013, 07:29:26 AM
"Thinking, Fast and Slow", by Daniel Kahneman. Probably a great book, but I just look at the pictures.
 ababababab
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on August 27, 2013, 11:38:08 AM
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Actually I had no idea what this book was about. It was just sitting on my kindle for weeks and I wanted to read a long book. But it's really good!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 29, 2013, 06:26:08 AM
"Wodehouse on Wodehouse" a collection of P.G. Wodehouse's three autobbiographies. This is not a book to read anywhere near people, as you sudden and uncontrolable burst of laughter might annoy them  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on August 29, 2013, 12:16:54 PM
@Borkya yes loved that book too.So well written.There is another one by him but I forgot what it was.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Isidnar on August 29, 2013, 12:46:13 PM
...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on September 03, 2013, 11:31:31 AM
This has got to be my next one the very wonderful Margared Atwood with zombies
http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/margaret-atwood-s-zombies-the-present-state-of-the-future-1.1513562?page=1 (http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/margaret-atwood-s-zombies-the-present-state-of-the-future-1.1513562?page=1)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Tree on September 03, 2013, 12:21:50 PM
Rereading Marcus Aurelius's Meditations and Zhuangzi [only the thin paperbacks made the trans-Pacific cut]. To my reading they differ only in the role intelligence plays in ordering one's affairs, but both deeply recognize the paucity of particulars in relation to the universal.

However Aurelius frequently returns to the human scale, half by necessity and half by philosophical bent, while Zhuangzi revels in the inhuman. The Chinese philosopher is closer to nature, but useless, and admittedly so, while the Roman emperor must spend his time chasing ideals half congruent with his worldly duties.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Isidnar on September 03, 2013, 12:54:08 PM
...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on September 03, 2013, 04:50:02 PM

Clothing is easy to get, not so good books. And I hate reading pdfs.


PDFs? I take it you haven't really tried an e-ink reader like a Kindle or Kobo. It's not at all like reading on a computer screen, even a tablet.  Missing is the tactile feel of page turning and knowing where you are in the book by feel but they more than make up for that with the fact that you have 1000s of books in your back pocket and you download books instantly. Reading epub or mobi is not the same as reading a pdf at all.

Anybody who likes to read should really give e-ink a good try. You'll never complain about the lack of books again. I randomly download what people recommend here all the time.

Even the squirrel, has come over to the dark side.

For me, books are not difficult to get at all but clothing is not as simple
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Isidnar on September 03, 2013, 11:50:19 PM
...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on September 04, 2013, 01:00:53 AM

Clothing is easy to get, not so good books. And I hate reading pdfs.


PDFs? I take it you haven't really tried an e-ink reader like a Kindle or Kobo. It's not at all like reading on a computer screen, even a tablet.  Missing is the tactile feel of page turning and knowing where you are in the book by feel but they more than make up for that with the fact that you have 1000s of books in your back pocket and you download books instantly. Reading epub or mobi is not the same as reading a pdf at all.

Anybody who likes to read should really give e-ink a good try. You'll never complain about the lack of books again. I randomly download what people recommend here all the time.

Even the squirrel, has come over to the dark side.

For me, books are not difficult to get at all but clothing is not as simple

Agreed.

I got a Kindle 2 years ago, upgraded to a Paperwhite a couple months ago, and never looked back. I never read pdfs either. If I come across something I want to read that is in pdf form, I convert it to mobi and read on my Kindle.

Insidnar, look at the thread on e-readers in the tech section. There are a lot of hints in there about getting good access to ebooks in China.

My 500rmb a month imported book habit has been reduced to practically nothing. 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: NATO on September 04, 2013, 05:50:51 AM
"Thinking, Fast and Slow", by Daniel Kahneman. Probably a great book, but I just look at the pictures.
 ababababab

I read that earlier in the year, great book. Didn't have many pictures in my illicitly obtained copy  bibibibibi.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on September 04, 2013, 06:37:04 AM
Jumping in here,I was hard to convince about the e-reader thing being an old school bibliophile,love the smell,the feel,the cover etc but having been warned by the aforementioned Squirrel that living in China meant not having available reading matter in English I took the plunge and bought my Kindle in Sept 2011 and now love it.I can trade books with my friends back home and get many many books for little or no cost at all.So yest I miss the tactile but I am never out of reading matter and travelling with 600 page novels is a breeze.  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 04, 2013, 07:31:10 AM
Yep, I'm with Piglet on this one. If your in an English speaking country we can have a good debate over the pro's and con's of an e-reader. But if your in China your just stupid if you don't get one. You can torrent all but the most obscure books these days (or legitemitely buy them if your into that.  afafafafaf ) and dealing with books, mailing them, storing them (as many of us have a nomadic life) and getting them is just too much trouble

That being said I have somehow found myself with a bookshelf and desk filled with books. Even after a large culling. Sigh.......

To bring this back to topic I'm now re-reading Tim Ferriss' the 4-houe workweek.I'm reading the updated one.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Isidnar on September 04, 2013, 01:30:34 PM
...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on September 04, 2013, 11:20:34 PM

But can you write in an ebook? I don't feel I've read a book unless I've marked it up. Many books I read are fodder for other projects. I need the handiness of flipping quickly to the right page and of making comments in the margins.


Yep, you make highlight sections and make notes and go back to them later for reference.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on September 05, 2013, 06:34:11 AM
Yes you can also "fold" down a corner to bookmark without ruining the book physically,make footnotes etc and the fact that the book opens where you left off is lovely too.  akakakakak
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Isidnar on September 05, 2013, 02:41:27 PM
...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 06, 2013, 01:35:59 PM
MaddAddam - Margaret Atwood


The third book in the Oryx and Crake series. Halfway through and finding it better than the second book. It might possibly live up to the first too.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: The Local Dialect on October 06, 2013, 03:03:16 PM
I finally finished the Song of Ice and Fire books (ahem, the Game of Thrones series to non-book readers)! Finally! These books totally screwed up my yearly reading challenge because it seriously, no joke, took me from June until September to read all of them.

So now I get to feel all smug when I watch the TV series because I know what's going to happen. Sort of. GRRM needs to hurry up and finish the stupid things.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 07, 2013, 09:41:01 AM
I finished, after starting and then work forced me to stop, "Paddywhacked - The Rise of the Irish Gangster in America". It's fun to read stuff like that and then watch "Boardwalk Empire"  agagagagag agagagagag Now, work is forcing me to read Frances Yates' "The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age"...work is sooooo hard  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Reawake on October 15, 2013, 09:00:23 AM
Beyond Good and Evil - Nietzsche.

Damn, it's hard, but bending open my mind when I get a good straight run of concentration.
A very rewarding challenge so far, and actually quite amusing with the staunch opinions and mockery amid all deep postulating.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 16, 2013, 07:46:36 AM
Three Day Road - Joseph Boyden

Set in (and before) 1919 in France and Belgium, and Northern Ontario - and the sex, my god, the sex, it comes out of nowhere, people throw off their clothes like didn't have any - but more often it's the story of two Cree who become snipers in WWI.

Injuns and the Somme are by now familiar stories, of course, but I'm finding this one fresh and compelling.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on October 16, 2013, 09:11:48 AM
Nibbling my way through Turtledove's Worldwar series.  A bit of the way into book 2, Tilting the Balance.

I've got hardcopies of all of these downstairs, but didn't feel like digging through 50 crates of books, so I found an alternate source for a copy to read.
 bzbzbzbzbz
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on October 16, 2013, 09:17:48 AM
GRRM needs to hurry up and finish the stupid things.

He has a novella coming out in December.  But, the last two books?  I can only hope he makes it that far. He is not a healthy 65.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on October 16, 2013, 10:40:29 PM
Just finished the very wonderful Tom Holt's book Doughnut (thanks to the recommendation of the even more wonderful EricTheRed) and now started Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on October 17, 2013, 01:38:40 AM
Beyond Good and Evil - Nietzsche.

Damn, it's hard, but bending open my mind when I get a good straight run of concentration.
A very rewarding challenge so far, and actually quite amusing with the staunch opinions and mockery amid all deep postulating.

I think Nietzsche is really unfairly maligned, he's actually quite positive and funny once you get the hang of his writing. Obviously it's heavy philosophy so it's not 'wahey' kind fun, but Good and Evil is a great book
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Reawake on October 18, 2013, 09:09:09 AM
I have to say that his ilk reminds me of a more coruscating Dawkins. It's far more accessible than other philosophers ('classic' wise) I've tried, but I agree that you do have to get the hang of his style. Some of his passages are so long and require every drop of my brain power, at once to process the language and then to comprehend his statements.

Anyone read the new King yet?
My kindle is bust so I have to wait.
Oh, and is anyone else really looking forward to Donna 'The Secret History' Tartt's new novel the Goldfinch, her first in about 8 years?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on October 18, 2013, 12:56:26 PM
Donna Tartt's "Secret History" was the "It" novel of the early 1990's. They pimped/pumped the hell out of it-the young and up-and-coming authoress.

It was actually not bad.

Glad to hear she's still in the game and publishing again.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Isidnar on October 18, 2013, 03:06:06 PM
...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Reawake on October 18, 2013, 05:50:27 PM
Donna Tartt's "Secret History" was the "It" novel of the early 1990's. They pimped/pumped the hell out of it-the young and up-and-coming authoress.

It was actually not bad.


I guess they were capitalising on the stream of boom from Bret Easton Ellis' emergence, and associating her with the 'brat back' of writers whose associations were actually fairly tenuous. Oh, marketing.
The Secret History had a big affect on me, also I don't know why nobody ever talks about the stuff JK Rowling so obviously cribbed from that book, the descriptions of Dumbledore's office, and the characters of Crabbe and Goyle.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on October 19, 2013, 02:12:24 AM
If we are to castigate all authors who seem to be more than a little inspired by the works of others, we could be at it from now til Gabriel blows his horn. No-one made any references to the works of Diana Wynne Jones or Anthony Horowitz either, albeit they gave us a proto-version of Hogwarts long before Rowling put pen to paper. You should read Harold Bloom's "The Anxiety of Influence".

Just finished reading "Reprobates" by John Stubbs, really good book for those who want to know exactly how lewd Restoration poets were  agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Just Like Mr Benn on October 24, 2013, 12:41:03 PM
Donna Tartt's "Secret History" was the "It" novel of the early 1990's. They pimped/pumped the hell out of it-the young and up-and-coming authoress.

It was actually not bad.


I guess they were capitalising on the stream of boom from Bret Easton Ellis' emergence, and associating her with the 'brat back' of writers whose associations were actually fairly tenuous. Oh, marketing.
The Secret History had a big affect on me, also I don't know why nobody ever talks about the stuff JK Rowling so obviously cribbed from that book, the descriptions of Dumbledore's office, and the characters of Crabbe and Goyle.

It's weird that you would mention JK Rowling, because the Guardian review of The Goldfinch likened the main character to Harry Potter. Anyway, the books out now, but it will have to wait because I have a wee bit of a backlog. Currently reading the latest Stephen King which it took me a while to warm to. I was planning to read the new Robert Harris afterwards.

The Secret History for the decade after Uni was perhaps my favourite novel, and tart by extension one of my favourite novelists; but then came 'The Little Friend' of which the kindest thing I can say is that it's unreadable. So, I'm in no particular hurry to read the new book as my expectations are somewhat low. I've avoided reviews, (I only skimmed the firs paragraph of the guardian review. I want to make up my own mind). Apparently it's quite long.

Charity shops in Britain all tend to have a hardback copy of 'The Little Friend'. Did anybody like it?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 24, 2013, 01:08:30 PM
Apocalypse Cow - Michael Logan.

Zombeef.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Nolefan on October 28, 2013, 04:01:15 AM
Wolf Totem... great book! don't know why it took me so long to get it out of its shrink-wrap.

i should know better than to listen to critics.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Larry Paradine on November 12, 2013, 09:39:40 AM
"London" by Edward Rutherfurd. (yes, that is how his surname is spelled, even though my software insists on underlining it in red).  Published in 1997, so it's hardly a new release and some of you may have read it, but this is my first encounter with it.  I've always loved history but this book would have converted me to history even if I'd hated the subject. The epic story of half a dozen families over a period of 2,000 years, sometimes intermarrying, more often mutually hostile.  A wonderful read, especially recommended if, like me, you live in a backwater where the only works of English literature usually available are Winnie the Pooh, "All Men are Enemies" (Richard Aldington), "Gone with the Wind" and (groan!) Harry Potter.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on November 16, 2013, 07:04:15 AM
"London" by Edward Rutherfurd.


I'll bet you get your money's worth. Audible does not have this one but it has "Paris", (38 hours); "New York", (36 hours); "Russka", (39 hours); and "Sarum: The Novel of England", (45 hours).  Was he in competition with James Michener for worst case of carpal tunnel?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on November 29, 2013, 09:18:05 AM
Nolefan,

I read Wolf Totem while I was still in China. It's an interesting book, but overly detailed. Could easily be a few hundred pages shorter. Also found the narrator to be a bit annoying toward the end.

Anyway, I'm reading classics this year as I won't pay for books on Kindle. Finished Conrad's Heart of Darkness and now I'm on to Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on November 29, 2013, 09:30:01 AM

Anyway, I'm reading classics this year as I won't pay for books on Kindle. Finished Conrad's Heart of Darkness and now I'm on to Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

Pay for a book?! Do people still do that?  ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on November 29, 2013, 12:06:25 PM
Yes, they do...I am currently plowing through the collected Jackelian novels by Stephen Hunt. A Kindle is nice but a good, old hard-back is nicer. Amazon.cn are definitely happy with my patronage.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 30, 2013, 01:08:42 AM
Serve The People - Yan Lianke

I did not fully understand. It's a feature of reading Chinese authors (in translation) for me that I do not fully understand. I get the sense of some other layer of communication going on that I do not grasp. Serve The People, for instance, is a satire. Intellectually, I can see it. But it's Cultural Revolution stuff, and maybe you had to be there. I don't quite know what was satirized.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 29, 2013, 01:25:47 AM
The Machine - James Smythe.

Unusual book. It's been compared to Shelley's Frankenstein, but I wouldn't know since I haven't read that. The horror element however is done pretty well. The story is set in a future Britain where climate change has long since altered where people can live. This makes the days very hot and adds a kind of permanent temporariness to housing. (That's a neat trick by the author, it means he can move everyone into, basically, council flats.) There have been conventional wars too. And outlawed innovation in health products. The Machines in particular were made illegal. They were built to excise memory. And they did, but too well. Some early patients ended up bereft even of the ability to remember to breathe. The Machines were used on traumatized returned soldiers, and on Alzheimer's patients, and others. The story starts some ten years later when one wife, a high school teacher, acquires an early model Machine, one that with the aid of custom firmware built online by activist hackers, can replace memory. Her husband, a former soldier and now a Vacant, was one of the early candidates for the original treatment.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Borkya on December 29, 2013, 02:52:28 PM
The writing classic--On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

I'm gearing up to start re-writing my nanowrimo novel in january, so this is just the book for me right now.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on December 30, 2013, 04:16:13 AM
Finised reading Isaac Asimov short stories which the movie "I Robot" was very loosely based on. Great stuff. I especially liked the one about the robot who gets religion and finds it impossible to believe that an inferior creature, a human, could have made a robot. That story is going on the curriculum next term.

Now on to "The Meowmorphosis".... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on December 30, 2013, 05:45:27 AM
Gave up on the Murakami 1Q84 as it was just getting more and more irritating and started Skullduggery Pleasant (thanks ETR)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on December 30, 2013, 06:04:27 AM
Gave up on the Murakami 1Q84 as it was just getting more and more irritating and started Skullduggery Pleasant (thanks ETR)

I thought IQ84 could have been an amazing single book story....

I know that part of his style is going on long rambles about 'who am I? what does it all mean?' etc but the 2nd act where everyone is hiding and waiting is ridiculous, it's about a third of the book describing the fact that they are waiting for something to happen.
The beginning and end are pretty dense and fast paced as well.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on December 30, 2013, 03:29:17 PM
somehow, Meowmorphosis dissapointed me, left me feeling a bit let down and empty. Something like a real Kafka story, so I guess it was a success in that respect. PP&Z however was a good little romp. ("You have my balls", he said)

Just started The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Steampunk rather than cyberpunk, but I'm getting into it. Also on a Tuchman binge. Recently finished The Proud Tower, now rereading A Distant Mirror.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on December 30, 2013, 10:17:40 PM
It is not the best book ever, I agree. "The Difference Engine" is great though.

Now on to Karel Capek's "War With the Newts"... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 31, 2013, 03:47:38 AM
Difference Engine, pffft. Although William Gibson had some part in it, it's steampunk and I just cannot read steampunk. Alternative "real" history is like (http://www.toffeetalk.com/public/style_emoticons/default/major%20overreaction%20alert.gif)

Meanwhile, in an attempted inoculation, I have embarked upon Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. It is a fantasy novel. Indeed, it is the first in a series of three. There have already been ghosts. The eponymous prince however is a both the hero and a 13-year-old psychopath bent on revenge. That seems like something I can read.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on December 31, 2013, 05:33:49 AM
There is nothing real about steampunk, nor does it attempt to be real. It is just fun.
 agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 31, 2013, 08:09:55 AM
If they, as they should've, had adopted the more accurate "gonzo-historicism" as the genre's title, I could forgive them. But ripping on "cyberpunk"? No, sir. THIS SHALL NOT PASS GO!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on December 31, 2013, 08:36:47 AM
Well, to be fair, Jeter had no intention of creating a genre when he wrote his famous letter inventing the word. He was, as I understand it, merely trying to explain the odd novel "Infernal Machines" to his agent. Then again, I think cyberpunk is overrated.
More to the point, if you read Stephen Hunt, for example, that's pure fantasy. Well, steampunk fantasy. The problem with steampunk is that, like science fiction, it is indefinable. Yes, I agree, lots of the novels are set in 1800s England, but take someone like Felix Gilman or Prathchett's latest, they both fall within the term and they are not gonzo-historians.... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 31, 2013, 09:50:52 AM
I'm starting to like this term though. Gonzo History. For you see, "cyberpunk" is easy enough to understand - "cyber" for the tech toys and "punk" for the attitude to change. "Steampunk" is just... wrong. There's steam, apparently, but the use of "punk" misleads. I keep thinking I should like this gonzo history stuff based on how it might be punk like cyberpunk, when in fact the attitude to change is nearly the opposite of cyberpunk!

Fantasy bothers me too. The whole attitude to invention is... (preference alert!)... just wrong! (And yet I was able to read all the Game of Thrones books........)


Preference is an interesting game.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on January 01, 2014, 02:00:09 AM
Thank you eggheads I am learning a whole new vocabulary over here !  bjbjbjbjbj bfbfbfbfbf agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on February 01, 2014, 10:40:41 AM
Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire Trilogy (Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, Emperor of Thorns)

The stories sprawl bigger with each book, following Jorg Ancrath as he wades further and further afield, moving throughout the lands of the Broken Empire, facing men, wizards, necromancers, data ghosts, and eventually even an army of the dead. This is fantasy, basically, of the swords and sorcery variety, but with an intriguing foundation: all around the peoples of this story lie Builder relics, left-over pieces of the world from before the Day of a Thousand Suns, and they influence what happens even now.

But the story's about Jorg, really, and his sociopathic rise to power, as seen from inside himself and through his adventures. I liked it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on February 09, 2014, 01:38:03 AM
The n-Body Problem by Tony Burgess.

I recall reading A Clockwork Orange by Tony when he was Anthony and I was in high school. I recall raving about it to a thug-style acquaintance/classmate. I thought he'd like it. Don't know if he ever read it. So now we come to The n-Body Problem, or what happens when Anthony Burgess writes a zombie novel.

Very confrontational imagery, that's what.

When people die, their bodies don't. The bodies don't have any will. They're not angry people-forms. They just wriggle and jerk about. Conventional body disposal begins to seem horrific. A solution that works for most is to launch the bodies into space, or more exactly, into earth orbit. In time the sheer mass of bodies, still largely invisible from the ground, begins to alter light. And with that alteration comes remarkable and horrifying alteration on the ground. Disease increases exponentially, in speed and spread. The psychological toll on humanity begins to resemble psychosis. There pops up a Selling industry - people who travel from town to town, selling positions in the sky. Whole towns buy in, meaning they all agree to die. And what happens after that....

 aoaoaoaoao


eta: I'm also reading wikipedia. Turns out Anthony Burgess (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Burgess), author of A Clockwork Orange, is, as we know, British, but this Tony Burgess (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Burgess_(author)), the author of The n-Body Problem, is some Canadian with a three-line wikipedia entry.

Well, crap.

I would have liked an Anthony Burgess zombie novel. This Tony Burgess one is like Francis Bacon (figurative painter) in text.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Tree on February 09, 2014, 04:49:58 AM
The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

I've come to the realization that reading non-fiction or watching something before bed exacerbates my mild insomnia.

Thus, fiction!

I've already barreled through Kafka and Lovecraft, so this compendium makes nice bedside reading. Great for dream fodder, depending on one's personal fortitude/preferences. Liminal thoughts from liminal minds.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on February 09, 2014, 01:04:05 PM
Just read a book called The Tiger's Wife,set in the Balkans during the war.Sort of magical realism.Very weird - I like weird.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on February 13, 2014, 11:23:42 AM
Elmore Leonard - Out of Sight

Just like the movie! (I know the book came first.)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on February 27, 2014, 01:19:51 AM
A few pages into Life After Life (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15790842-life-after-life) by Kate Atkinson. Intrigued so far.

Then imma try The King in Yellow. It's a book of short stories first published in 1895, which I recently saw described as influential and as "weird fiction". The content, or at least some of the memes, keep being referenced in True Detective too.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on February 28, 2014, 12:44:06 PM
H.P.Lovecraft considered Robert W. Chambers' "The King in Yellow" one the great masterpieces of weird fiction. It is also, from a teaching point of view, one the best books for teaching about the convention of the cursed/evil book as used in horror literature.

I just started reading The Mortdecai Trilogy....ripping stuff...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 30, 2014, 05:55:56 AM
Hater - David Moody.

Didn't really make it past the first page...

Simmons, regional manager for a chain of high street discount stores, slipped his change into his pocket then neatly folded his newspaper in half and tucked it under his arm. He quickly glanced at his watch before leaving the shop and rejoining the faceless mass of shoppers and office workers crowding the city centre pavements outside.

The perils of the self-published? I looked up on goodreads, and people do like this book. It, hell, isn't even just one book but the first of at least three in a series. But I want to be able to tell good writing from bad. I don't know what the standards really are, but I've decided that excising pointless adverbs must be one. SO WHY DOES THE MAN QUICKLY GLANCE AT HIS WATCH? IS AN ORDINARY GLANCE NOT QUICK ENOUGH FOR THE INFECTED?!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on March 30, 2014, 06:59:15 AM
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulowayo
The title already had me.It's a semi autobio which got short listed for the Man Booker prize.It is wonderful.  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on March 31, 2014, 02:32:57 AM
Hater - David Moody.

Didn't really make it past the first page...

Simmons, regional manager for a chain of high street discount stores, slipped his change into his pocket then neatly folded his newspaper in half and tucked it under his arm. He quickly glanced at his watch before leaving the shop and rejoining the faceless mass of shoppers and office workers crowding the city centre pavements outside.

The perils of the self-published? I looked up on goodreads, and people do like this book. It, hell, isn't even just one book but the first of at least three in a series. But I want to be able to tell good writing from bad. I don't know what the standards really are, but I've decided that excising pointless adverbs must be one. SO WHY DOES THE MAN QUICKLY GLANCE AT HIS WATCH? IS AN ORDINARY GLANCE NOT QUICK ENOUGH FOR THE INFECTED?!

"city centre pavements outside"...hmm...redundancy. I find that pavements are rarely to be located inside.

Have started reading Dr. Schama's trilogy on the history of Britain. Quite good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 02, 2014, 02:40:21 AM
Saw piglet mentioned the Man Booker Prize. Decided to have a look at the finalists for last year (http://www.themanbookerprize.com/news/man-booker-shortlist-2013), as its not my usual kind of fiction choice. Am starting with The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin. Interesting even just a few pages in. Intense.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on April 04, 2014, 09:44:02 AM
Been reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The idiot. Been reading a lot of Russian lit lately.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on April 04, 2014, 11:02:24 PM
Calach I "obtained" all the Man Booker prizes and shortlisted books and I am going to work my way through them.But now taking a short break with Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" so far nice light train reading. agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 06, 2014, 03:23:57 AM
Piglet, where did you obtain these novels??? I would like to also obtain them... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 06, 2014, 05:00:21 AM
Torrents.

And a hail cthulhu or two for absolution.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on April 07, 2014, 12:47:12 AM
ETR go to any torrent site e.g kickass and just input Man Booker in the search box.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 18, 2014, 12:46:34 AM
The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton.

It won the Man Booker, is long, and Kindle says I stopped reading at 6%. It has a spayshul structure, which might end up being interesting, but I found the first chapter tedious. I found the first section of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas tedious in the same way, and that went on to contain wonders and had a spayshul structuring too. But of The Luminaries...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 25, 2014, 08:21:56 AM
Just finished 'The Small Bachelor" by Wodehouse. I know of no other author who can so thoroughly engage the reader and lift even the gloomiest of spirits.

Now on to 'In Search Of Oblivion -- A Social History of Drugs"... agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on April 25, 2014, 09:21:43 AM
I don't know why I am not enjoying Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" .I usually enjoy him but am feeling a little bogged down and considering throwing in the towel.. mmmmmmmmmm
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 25, 2014, 02:09:42 PM
"American Gods" is not his best one. I found it slow and a little disorganized.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on April 25, 2014, 06:35:01 PM
I've never quite got Neil Gaiman. I am supposed to like him and I love Sandman and Death etc. But I can't get not the novels. I admit, I gave up with American Gods.

In some ways it reminds me of Stephen King. I could never never actually make it through The Stand but I liked other books. Later when I tried to re-read some I decided that they where mostly crap but his short stories were awesome.

Someone tell Gaiman to put out another graphic novel, I'd be interested in that.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 25, 2014, 11:44:34 PM
Stil, did you read the graphic novel he published called...err...Punch and Judy...Mr Punch...something along those lines. It was good.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on April 26, 2014, 02:17:15 AM
Stil, did you read the graphic novel he published called...err...Punch and Judy...Mr Punch...something along those lines. It was good.

No, I'll see if I can find it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on April 26, 2014, 08:57:06 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tragical_Comedy_or_Comical_Tragedy_of_Mr._Punch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tragical_Comedy_or_Comical_Tragedy_of_Mr._Punch)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 28, 2014, 04:10:10 AM
Sample chapters from Winds of Winter (http://www.georgerrmartin.com/excerpt-from-the-winds-of-winter/)

I've read the Theon and Tyrion samples. The link currently points at the Arya sample.

I JUST WANT IT ALL TO END!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 28, 2014, 05:32:03 AM
Wanted to read a good book, and it's been quite a few years, so downloaded a fairly well done translation of the Good Book.

Regarding the rules for burnt sacrifices in Leviticus and Numbers, I do wonder how many forests were chopped down to get that much firewood.  mmmmmmmmmm  Some of those were general things done by the priests for the group as a whole, but others were specified as coming from each individual person who met certain requirements.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: A-Train on May 07, 2014, 07:16:16 AM
"Flash Boys".  No, it's not homo-erotic porn, it's about the stock market.  Never thought about how closely related those two things are until just now.

These guys uncover how groups of computer experts have been cheating the investment market system for years. They do it by placing their computers physically near the New York Stock Exchange's computers. This buys them a 2 millisecond advantage, (it takes about 40 milliseconds to blink you eyes), but it's enough to profit in the billions without taking any risk or adding anything to the economy. 

It took a group of people 18 months to figure it out. Everybody who had figured it out before them, joined in the profit taking. It took a Canadian and an Irishman working in New York to, finally, blow the whistle.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on June 12, 2014, 05:19:04 AM
The Orenda - Joseph Boyden

Huron warriors v French Jesuits (v Iroquois problem child) in the 17th century.

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 12, 2014, 06:13:34 AM
"1000 Years of Annoying the French" by Stephen Clarke. It is exceptionally funny. agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cruisemonkey on June 12, 2014, 08:19:40 PM
"1000 Years of Annoying the French" by Stephen Clarke. It is exceptionally funny. agagagagag

The title has me 'rolling on the floor'.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on June 22, 2014, 06:19:34 AM
The Party - Richard McGregor

A lengthy description, with brief anecdotes, of the CCP and what it does. It's like, oooh, I see, so that's why that happens. Not a history but certainly coherent in and of itself.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Patches O'Hoolihan on June 26, 2014, 08:16:44 AM
Dark Tower series from Mr. King

Although my kindle broke so now I have to read from a computer screen and it's hard to enjoy reading when you can't hold a book and turn its pages. ananananan



 
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on June 27, 2014, 06:52:50 AM
The Zero - Jess Walter

Not for everyone. The story of Brian Remy, it begins with him shooting himself in the head. He and his partner were at ground zero, 9/11. Now he has lengthy gaps in his days and he doesn't know what happens in them. So far, a chapter or so in, blackly funny.

“Something else,” Paul said to the car, and Remy sensed danger and closed his eyes. “You notice how the number keeps dropping? Eight thousand. Seven thousand? Six. It’s like the swelling going down. I was thinkin’, maybe it’ll go back to zero. You know? I mean, where are the bodies? Maybe it’ll turn out that everyone was at home that day. Maybe we’ll actually gain people when this is all over.”
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on June 29, 2014, 12:26:14 PM
On holiday I read the 4 Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' novels

Really interesting and although they are very of the time a lot of the 'topical' humour is still true. Really made me miss England, for all of our problems we English do have a very good way of making self loathing funny lol
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 20, 2014, 05:46:39 AM
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent - Marie Brennan

Not sure about this one yet. It has similarities in tone and setting to Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and the main character, though neither a man nor ship-bound, is similar in some ways to Dr Stephen Maturin (late of Patrick O'Brien's Master and Commander novels). And other than that, it appears to be Scotland (in the book Scirland) plus... dragons. So, I don't know what I'm reading yet.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: redoctoberblack on July 25, 2014, 12:37:34 PM
Just finished Rereading Drakon by SM Stirling. As well as the Hard Magic" Trilogy.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 30, 2014, 05:57:31 AM
I recently watched Divergent and found it to be entertaining (albeit comical in places with the subtext of abstinence), and I saw a few gushing reviews of Veronica Roth's writing and thought I'd have a read. Now, Divergent is the first book in a trilogy, and Insurgent, the book I started reading, is the second. The writing is... it seems to me, somehow, it draws attention to itself. I don't know how that happens, exactly. Also, Insurgent seems to be YA porn. There's touching and rubbing and hot n bothered yet chaste retreat. Not sure if I should go on.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Isidnar on July 30, 2014, 04:14:15 PM
...
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 10, 2014, 08:42:51 AM
Reapers, Inc. - Brigit's Cross by BL Newport.

Lesbian dies. Doesn't go to hell. Is instead recruited by the last of the Grim Reapers. Hijinkx, largely unrelated to sexuality, ensue.

Interesting reading this because it's clearly a self-published e-book that hasn't been edited professionally, has a few really missed opportunities (like for instance, Brigit makes the transition from corporeal life to ghost life with next to no culture shock at all), and yet remains mostly readable and interesting. The story is of how Brigit really loves her wife and doesn't want to leave the mortal coil so she accepts to work as a reaper. It's fairly simple-mindedly romantic, but still sweet and interesting. There's a lot of her interacting with people (who are for the most part also dead), and perhaps that's why the other issues can be glossed over (no matter how clear it becomes that "as" is the author's favourite preposition).
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 15, 2014, 11:41:36 PM
The Girl With All The Gifts - M.R. Carey

(http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/wp2013/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/the-girl-with-all-the-gifts-cover-mike-carey-orbit-books-628x957.jpg)

Impressive reinvention and relocation of the "zombie" concept. As often as not it is a story of teachers, children, and soldiers.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.


 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on August 17, 2014, 08:32:45 AM
How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran, some hilarious bits, some bits I think only comprehensible to Brits (correct me if I am wrong) on the whole enjoyable.Also The Art of Hearing Heartbeats set in Burma started of well but went off the rails somewhere.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 21, 2014, 07:53:31 AM
Seven Troop - Andy McNab

Opaque British military slang. Readable though.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on August 24, 2014, 08:28:56 PM
Finished Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and now on to Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: kitano on August 25, 2014, 07:55:14 PM
I finished Don Quixote

I am so happy, I embarked one that journey much longer than a year ago, it actually gets quite exciting at the end, but it's a massive massive trek.

I still have les miserables and the bible sat there half finished lol.

It's a tricky one because reading these 1000 page books really suck it all out of you and I've read about20 other books in between getting through Quixote and I'm not even a big reader, but then when I finished it I was really moved how Id gone through this adventure with him and then it ended, I was a bit drunk by the end.....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on August 28, 2014, 07:25:12 AM
I finished "The Secret Life of Houdini" which was quite excellent. Then I dived into Tom Robbins' "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates" which was weird and immensely entertaining. Now, I have begun Eleanor Catton's "The Luminaries" and Mark Booth's "The Secret History of the World" and Chuck Palahniuk's "Damned"...I have an odd preference for books dealing with the infernal regions. I would probably shoot myself in the face with a nail-gun before read the book "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" but if it was "The Five People Who Will Greet You At the Gates of Pandemonium" I would buy it lickety-split.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: rattie on August 28, 2014, 08:05:04 AM
Hey Eric if you ever purchase a nail gun you'd like to use, I was given a copy of Five People You Meet in Heaven by a well meaning Christian lady who probably makes macrame pot plant hangers and has a lot of ultra heavy ceramic mugs for mint tea at home....in a period of book desperation I read it  aaaaaaaaaa
You're welcome to it any time.
Rx (Kostya didn't like it either)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 29, 2014, 12:40:32 PM
Remainder - Tom McCarthy

Remainder tells the story of an unnamed hero traumatised by an accident which "involved something falling from the sky". Eight and a half million pounds richer due to a compensation settlement but hopelessly estranged from the world around him, Remainder's protagonist spends his time and money obsessively reconstructing and re-enacting vaguely remembered scenes and situations from his past. These re-enactments are driven by a need to inhabit the world "authentically" rather than in the "second-hand" manner that his traumatic situation has bequeathed him.

I have read as far as the initiation of the project to create the first reenactments, and thus have finished 25% of the novel. I can read no more. I shall possibly take up the book again at some later date for it is quite clearly art and might well be significant. As well, the prose is not poorly done. But the book contains no hope and I suspect it never will. It is something else again, and troubling.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: decurso on August 31, 2014, 05:01:55 AM
I recently finished reading Choke by Chuck Palahniuk....which is about a sex addict who works at a colonial farm and pretends to choke on food at restaurants in order to get money for his his sick mother who is in a mental institution where he comforts senile old ladies by pretending to be the person responsible for the worst experience of their lives. Currently reading Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore. It's about an alcoholic, sex-addicted pilot drafted to work for a Micronesian cult after a career ending blunder. Reading some weird shit lately.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on September 02, 2014, 07:20:27 AM
Decurso, Christopher Moore is definitely one of my favorites. You should try "The Gospel According to Biff" and, seeing as weirdness is your literary food of choice currently, Tom Robbins "Still Life With Woodpecker" and/or "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates" would fit the bill nicely.

Finished "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" and am now half done with Jeremy Paxman's "The English".
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 03, 2014, 06:45:24 AM
Fresh - Mark McNay

In the lowlands of Scotland, factory worker Sean O'Grady goes to work thinking he still has six months before his fantastically unforgiving brother gets out of prison. Written in tha accent o the speakers and no overburden wi punctuation, its a braw wee read and no mistake. The story works its way through this one work day, from first light til wherever that day will end, telling by turns events in the past and events of the day.

Next on the list is David Mitchell's new book, The Bone Clocks. His last one, Cloud Atlas, was very good, and this new one is being ballyhoo'd as better still. Looking forward to it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on September 25, 2014, 08:53:37 PM
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.  I love medieval times, especially since I don't have to live in them.  Two thumbs up.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 29, 2014, 12:25:28 AM
Co-ooooo-on!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 29, 2014, 12:36:02 AM
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Puzzling, yet possibly an even better book than Cloud Atlas. Like Cloud Atlas it is presented as a series of connected novellas. Whereas in Cloud Atlas the novellas were very loosely connected (yet somehow flowed), the sections of The Bone Clocks often connect back to the same people (separated by decades). The stories are more grounded in mundane, lived lives, but feature a deeply mysterious hidden conflict that threatens lives. There is perhaps less lively beauty in this book, and more earthly humanity (alongside, as it is, a nebulous, warring spirit world). As with Cloud Atlas, I am not sure what the end means, but starting at the beginning and making your way there is probably worth it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: gonzo on September 29, 2014, 03:02:03 AM
The last time I read fiction was 4 years ago in China. Really, I don't like it. Or movies: I prefer news/docos.
But reading? An oldie but a goodie is Becoming a Language Teacher, E. Horwitz, (2008) Pearson Education. Boston.

Horwitz, the designer of the BALLI, is hugely experienced as a second language teacher, I realised how popular this book was when I couldn't borrow it from my university library! Its got all the serious beginner needs, as well as being pedagogically sound. The glossary is excellent.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Stil on September 29, 2014, 05:21:53 PM
These days there is not much difference between news/docos and fiction.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 17, 2014, 06:59:16 AM
James Dashner's Maze Runner sequels, Scorch Trials and Death Cure.

I saw The Maze Runner movie and decided it was pretty cool. The movie, like the books, is very much about running and jumping and finding a way out of tight spots, but the movie I watched was a crappy cam version and I'd like to see a clear screen version before making a review. I went on to read the books instead.

They're very fast reads. Apparently the first book, Maze Runner, starts slow, but it speeds up quickly later. The other books sprint from the beginning. In the stories, the world has fallen apart, burnt by climate change and massive and sudden solar activity, but also ravaged by a custom virus that escaped a lab when infrastructure fell apart and burned. The story follows a bunch of kids who are immune and who learn only piece by piece that they are being studied to find out how their brains work. But they can't trust even that information - it might be just another test.

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf

Also about finished with Already Dead by Charlie Huston, a Joe Pitt Casebook. Pulp-noir, vampire-zombie, who could ask for less? I could. You can't put zombies and vampires in the same story, they cancel each other out. For that very reason, I almost put the book down. Already Dead however does get away with, mostly by being a hard-bitten detective story about a detective who bites hard, with zombies as incidental. The vampires, or Vampyrs as the book will have it, and how they run New York, is the main story.

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: dongbeinanren on October 17, 2014, 07:34:19 AM
Wen through Stephen King's Dark Tower series last year.  Was incredible, I say true.  Then my Chinese wife started watching Under the Dome.  It's an ok series, but it got me interested in the book.  First trip out of my tier 88 paradise I picked it up.  A 1200 page doorstop, I was so addicted I read half of it in just about one sitting.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 20, 2014, 07:21:44 AM
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

More pulp-noir, this time in Hollywood, featuring a human who eleven years ago was set to Hell by his magicians' circle. Being the only human in Hell, he learned how much his old magic was worth. Now he's back, and he wants revenge. A lot.

 ababababab
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on October 20, 2014, 09:10:52 AM
Wen through Stephen King's Dark Tower series last year.  Was incredible, I say true. 
I still get a little angry when I think about the last three books. They were just awful. I keep hoping he'll rewrite them, but my understanding is that, at least for now, he's decided against it.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 13, 2014, 12:57:20 AM
11 Terrible Examples Of Bad Sex Scenes In Novels (http://www.buzzfeed.com/patricksmith/11-terrible-examples-of-bad-sex-scenes-in-novels)

And one double negative.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 14, 2014, 01:36:16 AM
The A Land Fit for Heroes trilogy by Richard K Morgan. Morgan started out with scifi, and Takeshi Kovacs. Now, with fantasy (!?!) he writes about Ringil Eskiath, a mighty homosexual warrior who isn't dead yet despite pointy end involvement in many duels, wars, and trysts with capricious, powerful gods. In The Steel Remains Ringil was living on his legend as the years-ago hero of Gallows Gap when he's asked by family to search out the whereabouts of a relative sold into debtors slavery. In The Cold Commands he is busy killing off slavers when he catches the plague and the attention of an old god. In the Dark Defiles I don't know what happens because I haven't started it yet.

The worlds of this trilogy are interesting. They're ridden with splendidly horrendous politics and staffed by species various, including various races of aliens, some of whom are little more than memory. Gil specifically is joined by Egar, a Majak warrior, and Archeth, a lady at court, and also a Kiriath-human hybrid who fights with knives. So, swords and sorcery it is, plus a dash of scifi and a sprinkle of dudebro. The trilogy is not unlike the ...of Thorns books by Mark Lawrence, but definietly different from them too - wider in scope, I think.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: El Macho on December 01, 2014, 10:47:17 AM
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. Great book about Scientology by a highly regarded journalist. Prior to reading this I thought Scientology was bad but was ambivalent about Tom Cruise being a Scientologist…now I still think Scientology is bad and strongly disapprove of Tom Cruise having benefitted from Scientology slave labour. Probably the biggest revelation from the book was about how insane L Ron Hubbard was and his predilection for going to sea to avoid process servers.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 10, 2014, 06:01:06 AM
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Miserable Christians in space! The author, who is also the author of The Crimson Petal and the White, which I also have and may consider, has said now that his wife has died, this is his last book. I wonder what that means. With The Book of Strange New Things it's apparent from the first chapters that, even with a miserable, prissy, supremely earnest main character, the writing is pristine.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 24, 2014, 07:00:31 AM
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Not sure what I was expecting. A few chapters in, I was thinking this is some Mae West kind of deal - that era-ish, that kind of heroine. Then it turns out this Mae West is "Boy", she's going to get married, and she's going to be wicked stepmother to a girl called "Snow", and I haven't even met "Bird" yet. Killer opening line though:

"Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy."
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on January 25, 2015, 05:29:27 AM
The Peripheral by William Gibson

Very puzzling at the beginning. Gibson has eschewed many a definite article and indeed quite large chunks of some sentences, and he isn't taking time out to explain references, which, given that the world in question is a future somewhat further on than our own, initially obscures more than illuminates. People have "phones" for instance, and they call them "phones", but they're a few incarnations further on than our own kind of "phone" and they do different things. This world is populated by other kinds of daily technology too, and habits of people, world conditions and environments, that throw one off the scent of what the damn story might actually be! But this is William Gibson, so I shall persist. And I shall be rewarded.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Tree on January 26, 2015, 04:02:52 AM
Fooled by Randomness - Nicholas Taleb

An amusing writer waxing on the theory and implications of randomness.


Damn it's good to be on break - haven't read anything for fun in a few months....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on February 16, 2015, 07:33:33 AM
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz

Although a work of fiction, the novel is set in New Jersey where Díaz was raised and deals explicitly with his ancestral homeland's experience under dictator Rafael Trujillo. The book chronicles both the life of Oscar De Leòn, an overweight Dominican boy growing up obsessed with science fiction and fantasy novels and with falling in love, as well as the curse that has plagued his family for generations.   -wikipedia.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: piglet on February 16, 2015, 09:07:03 AM
We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Don't know how to describe this- reads like a typical dysfunctional family in Bloomington but it is something very different.Don't want to give spoilers so will stop there.Suffice it to say it's absorbing and an easy read. (but not airport fluff). Enjoy.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 04, 2015, 11:23:21 AM
Had enough of literature for the moment. Thus...

The Red - Linda Nagata

Not that it's not literature. Fancy techno war pulp is literature too.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cruisemonkey on March 04, 2015, 09:17:13 PM
The October List by Jeffery Dreaver.

A mystery/thriller told in reverse.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: cobra on March 19, 2015, 11:47:05 AM
The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language    by Melvyn Bragg

recommend  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 26, 2015, 04:36:00 AM
Zone One - Colson Whitehead

Now, (a) it's a zombie novel, but (b) it's supposed to be a literary novel as well. It's supposedly a "punchy cocktail of horror, comedy and social critique". I will say it is an extremely wizzbang set of words. Speaking of reconstruction efforts and data collection after the apocalypse, the story says: "The scientists wanted the sweeper data to superimpose it on their map of the smithereens and generate prophecies." That's just one tiny piece of all the wordsmithing that goes on in this story. "Smithereens"! What a word.

However, can you really have a zombie novel where people are crushed by the weight of how dumb society is? Can you have a zombie novel were everyone, and especially the protagonist, is miserable? Well, sure. The apocalypse isn't necessarily jolly. But so far the people in the story are miserable because they're miserable, not because the world ended. They would have been miserable anyway. WHAT IS THIS STORY ABOUT?!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on March 28, 2015, 04:47:00 AM
just think of the spin-offs: The Official Guide Book to the Smithereens, Sing Around the Napalm: an Official Smithereen Songbook, Smitherine in 5 minutes a Day
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 28, 2015, 05:08:36 AM
I JUST LIKED IT OKAY?!

He didn't say the world had been blown to smithereens. The early chapters are about how everything's been ruined by huge numbers of people being wiped out, and what's left is all sorts of broken down infrastructure and a small groups of people with all sorts of new jobs, - like Disposal, or Sweeper (for stray dead) - and some attempt at central government. Rather than say the task of data collection amid the ruins fell to the sweepers so that the central government could collate and plan for Restoration, he said they wanted a map of the smithereens.

The author actually can't go longer than a sentence or two without deploying some such word smithery. It's word porn, really. Every image is re-rendered as something else using some trick of reference to make a wider image. It's not as tiring to read as it sounds.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on March 30, 2015, 02:35:00 PM
relax mate, just teasing a bit. I'm intrigued by the thought of a writer who can't go more than a sentence or two without some word-buggery. My (puerile) imagination is piqued, I'll give it a look if I can find it this summer. Besides, I love zed-lit. Nothing makes you appreciate being alive more than those who won't take death lying down.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 16, 2015, 10:58:45 AM
Seems like there's not a lot new at the moment. I've presently settled for

Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey

It's the fourth book in what was supposed to be a space opera trilogy, and James S.A. Corey is two people. I suppose it will be okay. They appear this time to be exploring more of what the protomolecule is - a biomechanical, planet-sized problem solving machine that is not conscious but has assimilated consciousness. And also introduced humanity to the Gates.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on April 24, 2015, 01:51:11 PM
Having recently had to do a lesson on the Indian Wars between 1865-1890 I read Dee Brown's "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee"....oh Odin....I think that book should be mandatory reading in all high schools.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on April 24, 2015, 09:21:02 PM
Having recently had to do a lesson on the Indian Wars between 1865-1890 I read Dee Brown's "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee"....oh Odin....I think that book should be mandatory reading in all high schools.

I most heartily concur.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on May 02, 2015, 12:47:18 AM
Herbert Asbury's "The French Quarter" which deals with the history of crime in New Orleans from the earlist days to mid-Twentieth Century is a riot. I am reading that and his book on San Francisco back-to-back. Read the one on New York which informed me of how much the DiCaprio movie got wrong...so many things wrong...never understood why an Irish immigrant and a Catholic Priest to boot would name his son Amsterdam...and err...since when did Catholic priests have sons?....Ordered the one on Chicago. I have always had a fondness for Chicago and how the gangsters there ruined Valentine's Day...Every year on Feb 14 I spend ten minutes showing Pictures of and explaining the Valentine's Day Massacre.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 08, 2015, 06:15:07 AM
The Kept by James Scott (2014)

Daring and bleak, they're calling it. Reminiscent of Michael Ondaatje, Cormac McCarthy, or Bonnie Jo Campbel. Set in turn of the 20th century rural America, with isolated homesteads, massacres (it starts with one), and some new revelation in every chapter. I'm avoiding spoilers while I read (and herein review) because part of the pleasure I'm finding in this book the simple life it describes and the wow moments where with a sentence the narrative takes a deeper turn into something else.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on May 22, 2015, 11:48:46 PM
Ordered the first (British TV) series offering of Outlander.  A 1940's ex-nurse is transported back into 1700's.  Multiple adventures ensue, as she crosses over time and again - pun intended.  Looked like great fun. 

I then saw that it was based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon, so ordered them for myself. Only now I am reading (Amazon) reviews, which make these books sound/feel remarkably similar to Sergeanne Golon's Angelique tales. I will have to continue my investigations with my own set of tomes, and let you know my conclusions in due course.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Phillis on June 03, 2015, 05:49:22 AM
Ordered the first (British TV) series offering of Outlander.  A 1940's ex-nurse is transported back into 1700's.  Multiple adventures ensue, as she crosses over time and again - pun intended.  Looked like great fun. 

I then saw that it was based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon, so ordered them for myself. Only now I am reading (Amazon) reviews, which make these books sound/feel remarkably similar to Sergeanne Golon's Angelique tales. I will have to continue my investigations with my own set of tomes, and let you know my conclusions in due course.

I've read the series and they were all a great entertaining read.

I'm into Ben Bova lately. Just started the "Moon" series: Moon, Moonrise, Moon Wars

Strange for me because I don't really like science fiction, but I really like these books. I previously read Jupiter and thought it was amazing as well as The Kinsman Chronicles.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on June 08, 2015, 03:45:49 AM
PROJECT ORION  The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship by George Dyson

Of all the insane things that could have been done for spaceflight, this is #1 on my list of things that should have been done.  We could have explored the moons of Saturn as early as 1970 and would have a colony on Mars by now.

The price - insanely cheap.

The method - Light a cherry bomb under an inverted garbage can and watch how high it goes.  Scale up to 4000 tons (or even much larger) and use very small nukes instead of cherry bombs. agagagagag

It sounds impossible, but all the engineering problems were well within the capabilities of early 1960's technology.  Weight wasn't an issue.  They were going to build these things mostly out of steel, possibly at a shipyard.  If we built one today (and could find a way around the test ban treaty), it would work even better.

The book goes into great detail about how the idea was developed, how it evolved, and how it was finally killed.  In a way, it's too bad it's a non-fiction book.  A fictional version would have the project rescued from cancellation and lead to the conquest of the solar system.

Instead, the US and USSR stuck to chemical rockets.  The US won the moon race, declared victory, and gave up on human exploration of other worlds (despite repeated promises to get back to the moon or land on Mars "in about 10 to 15 years".  Humanity hasn't gone past low earth orbit since December, 1972. asasasasas


The author of the book is the son of Freeman Dyson.  Among many interesting things Freeman Dyson did was working on Project Orion for a few years.  Unlike most of the people in the book, he's still alive to be annoyed by the cancellation of Project Orion.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on June 14, 2015, 02:57:51 AM
A new novel by a chap called Jonas Jonasson. He previously rocked the literary World with a book entitled "The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Walked Out The Window and Disappeared" which was exceptionally funny. If you crave a good laugh in the summer heat of China, I recommend that book. His latest is called "The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden".
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 01, 2015, 01:10:58 AM
Presently reading Allegiance, book five in The Remaining zombie series by DJ Molles. But it's been so long since book 4 I forget what betrayal LaRouche did in book 4 that makes him so bugnuts in book 5. And then I discover, like the zombies themselves, no zombie book series ever truly dies. There's to be a sixth book, Extinction, and it'll be released this month. WILL IT NEVER END?!

Meanwhile, what I'm actually going to read next is Ghost Fleet by Peter Singer and August Cole, a very buzzy book at the moment.

How Ghost Fleet Nails The Perfect Vision of World War III (http://io9.com/how-ghost-fleet-nails-the-perfect-vision-of-world-war-i-1713881852)

In Ghost Fleet — a scifi thriller set for release on June 30 — Singer and Cole portray a future conflict in which the United States is pitted against an expansionist China. Both sides refrain from a nuclear exchange, instead opting for a “hot war” that features an array of futuristic military technologies, from robots and drones through to cyber attacks and brain hacks.

But given the backgrounds of the authors, it’s fair to say this is no ordinary thriller. Every trend and technology portrayed in the novel is based in reality — so much so that the U.S. military has already taken notice. Indeed, the book features 374 individual citations spanning 23-pages of endnotes.

Make no mistake, however, this is no technical slog — it’s a highly readable and engaging thriller that sets a new standard for techno-thrillers. We spoke to P. W. Singer to learn more about the project, how it was put together, and what their story can tell us about the future of warfare.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 14, 2015, 12:28:59 AM
Ghost Fleet

So far, one fifth of the way in, the book is still proving hard to read. The cast of thousands, many of them POV characters, are distracting; the technology details are disorienting (they represent real tech, but one or two generations into the future, meaning some parts of them are not real, so DO I SUSPEND DISBELIEF OR NOT?!); and the details of the war are mysterious. China conspires with Russia to encircle the US. Using a combination of massive technological sabotage, a surprise technology that completely undermines the US at sea, drones, and then troops delivered in container ships, they capture Hawaii and maybe some coastal territory and then BOOM, the story jumps ahead nine months and I don't know what's going on. I *think* the story so far is US forces and influence have been restricted to their own mainland landmass because no other nation came to their aid and the economy is much diminished. The "war" is due to enter some new phase.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Con ate dog on July 14, 2015, 02:48:55 AM
REAMDE by Neal Stephenson is rollicking adventure, set partly in Shanghai, Fujian and Taiwan.  You will all love it.

About to start my uni courses, so I snacked on a few Terry Pratchett books.

Now I'm reading a section of the Iliad.  Unexpectedly, I'm really enjoying it!

Oh, non-fiction:  if you haven't yet, get your hand on Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, an anthropologist who set out to answer the question 'Why did some regions rise to dominate the world while others didn't?'  He gives a very complete answer.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 21, 2015, 10:28:50 AM
Currently reading Biomimicry  Innovation Inspired by Nature by Janine Benyus.

A great read so far.  Every now and then, she waxes poetic in ways that seem a bit forced, but overall, it flows along nicely.  Loved the first part about sustainable perennial agriculture.  I'm wondering it I can mix that with what I learned reading about Square Foot Gardening.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 24, 2015, 04:00:48 AM
Night Heron by Adam Brookes

UK spy thriller set in modern China, with journalists and labour camp escapees. Clunky writing, but a page-turner.  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Pashley on July 24, 2015, 12:10:40 PM
Dodger by Terry Pratchett

I've read & enjoyed many of his Discworld series, but this is not one of those. More drama than comedy & set in 19th century London. Still good, though.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 11, 2015, 05:10:49 AM
Finished Extinction by DJ Molles, the sixth and putatively final novel in his The Remaining series. They blow everything up. Can't presently bring myself to start Nemesis Games by James SA Corey, the fifth book in their Expanse Trilogy.

So...

Boo by Neil Smith

In 1979, Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple, aged 13, dies of a heart defect and goes to Heaven. In Heaven he discovers everyone else is aged thirteen too and their "Town" which exists in a perpetual early summer is surrounded by impossibly high walls with no way to see outside. Food and clothing arrives in warehouses with no apparent bodily intercession. Transport is by communal bicycle. The buildings and windows fix themselves. Oliver, who wishes to be a scientist, is nonplussed.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: rattie on August 11, 2015, 12:44:08 PM
Tim Winton, Eyrie..bought it in Melbourne during my recent visit and started it yesterday, just waiting for the kettle to boil to make camomile tea and get into bed and resume. I always enjoy his stories.
Rx
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 10, 2015, 05:46:11 AM
The Incarnations by Susan Barker

"about a Beijing taxi driver whose past incarnations over one thousand years haunt him through searing letters sent by his mysterious soulmate."

Not sure about this one, yet. It's a bit weird.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 29, 2015, 11:28:45 AM
I finished The Incarnations. It's a slow boil of a story, but it has captured in English something remarkably Chinese, I think. That is to say, it's imperfect as a book, but I don't think I've seen anyone else represent the reach of the culture. People talk, or used to, of 5000 years. This book seems to lift that stone and look underneath, especially near the end.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 06, 2015, 01:50:11 AM
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Twenty years post the Georgian Flu Apocalypse, The Travelling Symphony (with numerous flashbacks) tracks year by year between the tiny remaining outposts of humanity in the Great Lakes region to deliver symphonic composition and Shakespeare... "because survival is not enough".
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 12, 2015, 05:14:05 AM
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Scifi. The main character looks human but isn't. It's a several thousand years old AI marooned inside just one of its own ancillary units. The book has a hard scifi coldness, which is okay, and probably is there as part of the main characterization, but it's a bit of a slog. One nifty element is how this AI defaults to female pronouns when describing people. Nearly everyone in the book thus far is "she".
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 23, 2015, 06:00:01 AM
In honour of the forthcoming movie...

The Martian by Andy Weir

An astronaut gets marooned on Mars when a severe dust storm strikes up and his mission has to evac. Since communications are destroyed by the storm and everyone thinks he's dead, he has only whatever food and equipment everyone left behind, and four years until the next mission arrives.

It's kinda cool. The early part of the book is about all the science he does to survive.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 02, 2015, 05:04:18 AM
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman.

The novel uses two alternating first person narratives. One narrative is told from the point of view of Fatale, a female cyborg who is recruited by the superhero group The New Champions as they investigate the disappearance of superhero CoreFire. The other narrative is told from the point of view of Dr. Impossible, a supervillain who possesses super-human strength and intellect and suffers from Malign Hypercognition Disorder ("evil genius" syndrome), as he escapes from jail and makes his thirteenth attempt at taking over the world.

 bfbfbfbfbf ahahahahah bfbfbfbfbf


Also Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala, a first person account by a boy of civil war in West Africa as he becomes a child soldier, and Binti, an odd future space fantasy novella by Nnedi Okorafor of a girl going to university.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 09, 2015, 05:32:10 AM
The Warriors - Sol Yurick.

Big fan of the movie. Turns out the book uses elements of Anabasis by Xenophon. Might try reading that next.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Henali on November 11, 2015, 03:18:48 PM
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting. The best short story collection in the universe! I love it so much.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 16, 2015, 06:37:20 AM
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The problem I have with fantasy is I don't know why I'm caring about Dust or daemons or the Master or some gloomy British college. We'll see if I can get past chapter 3.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 28, 2015, 07:12:55 AM
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The second book in Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. The Golden Compass turned out far more engaging than I originally expected, mostly because Lyra Belacqua is such an engaging character. The Subtle Knife seems like it'll be strong too. Will Parry is a grand addition to the stories.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 02, 2015, 02:29:24 AM
Are any of these banned or controversial?

The best Chinese fiction books of the last century (http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Books__Film-Book_features/25350/The-best-Chinese-fiction-books-of-the-last-century.html)

- Available in English
- Published after 1900
- Written by a Mainland or Greater China-born author.

20 Becoming Madame Mao
19 The Vagrants
18 The Man With the Compound Eyes
17 When Red is Black
16 Decoded
15 Empire of the Sun
14 A Dictionary of Maqiao
13 Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
12 The Book of Sins
11 Northern Girls
10 The Noodle Maker
9 Dream of Ding Village
8 The Good Earth
7 Cat Country
6 Last Quarter of the Moon
5 Fortress Besieged
4 Red Sorghum
3 Love in a Fallen City
2 To Live
1 The Real Story of Ah Q and Other Tales of China


(Meaning: if I give that list to students....)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: TrevorTheTee on December 08, 2015, 10:28:29 PM
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson  - serious Sci-Fi - this guy seems an expert on Mars geology and topography.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on February 01, 2016, 02:54:13 AM
So many books, nothing to read.  ananananan

I like zombies, but I've read all the survival horror I can for a while. I like scifi, but maybe Ancillary Justice was enough. And apparently we're leaving dystopias and swinging back to triumphalist, happy endings now (I'm possibly looking at you Kim Stanley Robinson, though I haven't read 2312 yet). I, to my surprise, like fantasy too, but His Dark Materials filled up that cup fairly to brimming. What I did just finish reading was Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace, and that book had it all! A post-apocalyptic technoghost story with archaic worldviews and journeys to unreal dimensions! Fantasy meets scifi in a big booyah bang with a muscular girl hero. Enjoyed it!

Now I have nothing left.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on February 22, 2016, 06:28:05 AM
How I live Now by Meg Rosoff (2004)

I love this book with all of my little tiny heart. It's YA, and Chinese book info sites list it as a "children's book", and I'll be 50 soon. So, Elizabeth/"Daisy", fifteen, escapes her father and stepmother by travelling to England to live outside London with her real mother's sister's family. Real mother's sister is a bigwig and often not present because everyone's been Living With The Threat Of War for a long while now. In fact, she leaves the day before a series of large explosions cripple London. The war is noticed by Daisy and the cousins only as a loss of electricity, phones, and as time wears on, food. What the movie of this book didn't quite get is it's the characters and the relationships this story is about, along with the roles of privation and plenty.

YA's not for everyone, I suppose, but I liked this one.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 23, 2016, 05:48:14 AM
Dracula by some unknown guy.  Brad Stokeman or something like that.

Damn is the pace slow.  Dozens of pages in before the first drop of blood gets spilled.  Think I may die of boredom before the plot gets moving  Seems like the sort of book ETR would like. ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: ericthered on February 23, 2016, 09:47:09 AM
It is the sort I would like. Unfortunately, the numerous hollywood adaptations has ruined this fantastic novel for people. It is meant to be slow. Dracula is hardly in it. The novel is about pretty much everything else than a vampire. It is trying to tackle things like science v. religion, women's rights, The New Woman, Atavism, fear of invasion, jingoism, British class system, the burgeoning popularity of Alienist (early term for psychology) just to mention a few themes.

I am currently reading "The Open Veins of Latin America" by Eduardo Galeano. Ripping good history book.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 30, 2016, 06:02:23 AM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c5/DSB_final_6_1.jpg/397px-DSB_final_6_1.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 30, 2016, 12:06:52 PM
(http://www.sffworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Three-Body-Problem-by-Cixin-Liu-616x975.jpg)

Weird, cold book. But honest-to-god hard scifi.  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on June 06, 2016, 10:08:59 AM
The Chinese Government is Setting Up Its Own Major Science Fiction Award (http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-chinese-government-is-setting-up-its-own-major-scie-1780570782)

This is pretty interesting: during the latest national congress of the China Association for Science and Technology, chairman Han Qide announced that the country would be setting up a program to promote science fiction and fantasy, including the creation of a new major award.

Throughout much of its genre’s history, China’s science fiction has had a legacy of usefulness, often promoted to educate readers in concepts relating to science and technology. This new award will be accompanied by an “international sci-fi festival” and other initiatives to promote the creation of new stories.

In the last couple of decades, China has enjoyed an unprecedented boom when it comes to science fiction. Since the 1990s, dozens of authors have broken out and written a number of high profile books, creating a viable community. Every year, Chinese science fiction magazine Science Fiction World issues its own major award, the Galaxy.

This is particularly exciting news, given the increases that we’ve seen in science fiction coming from China. Authors such as Liu Cixin, Chen Quifan, Xia Jia, and others have had their works translated into English frequently, while Liu Cixin’s novel The Three Body Problem earned the Hugo Award for Best Novel last year.

With more works coming to English readers this year, such as Death’s End - the concluding volume of the Three Body trilogy - and Ken Liu’s anthology of translated stories Invisible Planets, greater support for science fiction will hopefully translate into a wealth of new stories.

Given the quality of the stories that have been written already, this could be the start of a promising new wave of exciting new fiction for readers across the world.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on June 13, 2016, 11:55:02 AM
(http://images.macmillan.com/folio-assets/macmillan_us_frontbookcovers_1000H/9780765382900.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 17, 2016, 07:31:51 AM
(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/yv5p40fg5thomw8usqnc.jpg)

Almost too cute
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 18, 2016, 01:57:16 AM
Currently chewing my way through Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

The good news is that many of the worst chemicals she goes after got banned, others got tighter restrictions, and a few turned out to not be quite as horrific as early data suggested.  Still. it makes me shudder to see now many of the names I recognize as things sitting on a shelf in the garage when I was growing up.

Also makes me worry a bit about what some of my neighbors may be spraying in their gardens. aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: psd4fan on July 18, 2016, 01:06:10 PM
A Breath of Snow and Ashes. Book 6 of the Outlander series.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 20, 2016, 10:49:00 AM
This currently very buzzy book, The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, turns out to be an odd beast. It's possible to keep reading because it's chock full of novelty - gregarious lizard people, beautiful fish people, regular humans, space flight, weird tech, odd beasts, etc and so on - but there's only one conflict, how to be even more fluffy, loving and accepting. I want to call it tolerance porn. The entire universe is just so darn forgiving. Oh sure, there's war and weapons of mass destruction, but that's present as news headlines. The real "story" is just how these different people are being nice and accepting of each other on Serenity Wayfarer, and also visiting different planets to be nice and accepting to neighbours and old friends. And they're loving it over at Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22733729-the-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet) and io9 (http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet-is-this-year-s-mos-1730270921) and etc. It's not badly written. It's not terrible. It's a Kickstarter book. It'll probably be a tv show. Literature has ended.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 23, 2016, 12:11:15 AM
(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348442606l/237209.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: latefordinner on July 23, 2016, 02:27:02 AM
wow, it's been a long time since I followed this thread. Considerig I'm back in Canada (I think of it as the upper-middle kingdom, half way between the second-highest civilization on earth and heaven) though, it's time I started looking for some books to bring back to the muddled kingdom.
Some stuff I've already picked up for my Kobo:
Guns, Germs, and Steel: Jared Diamond
I've already gone through a brief history of the Ottoman Empire, and Nial Fergusen's Civilization: The West and the Rest, so I'm cautiously approaching history overload. Next week I'm at the cottage, I'll get through it then.
The Master and Margarita: Mikhail Bulgakov
I've read half of it already, and am taking a break before I hit the second half. A very imperfect book, but one that demands and rewards a slow patient digestion. (pun not originally intended, but on reflection I just have to leave it there) I might finish it at the cottage next week, but together with all the history I've been chewing on, that's a lot of heaviness
Therese and Isabelle Violette Leduc
Far from my usual reading, but while I was preparing material for one of my classes I did some background reading on Simone de Beauvoir and saw this. Something new
Mona Lisa Overdrive and The Peripheral: William Gibson
I'm saving these for later. My nephew hooked me onto Gisbson, and I like to savour each book individually.
The Shepard's Crown: Terry Pratchett
again, I'm saving the good stuff for later. I think (ICBW), this was the last of his discworld books. I've read most of his work, just catching up the tail end.
The Eight Katherine Neville
I know nothing about this, except it has been recommended to me by a chess-playing friend whose opinions I largely share. Again, something new.

I have about a week after I get back from the cottage before I get back to China. Looking for recomendations
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 23, 2016, 03:09:41 AM
Looking for recomendations

I'm literally only one prologue and a lengthy first chapter in, but the Dublin Murder Squad books (https://www.goodreads.com/series/51639-dublin-murder-squad) by Tana French (of which In The Woods is the first) seem like they're going to be entertaining.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 05, 2016, 09:43:09 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/712AYRgV0LL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 13, 2016, 04:41:22 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51D-oCnSWgL.jpg)

It's.... unusual.

I would have gone on to book 2 of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which reportedly is a lot better than book 1, but book 1 was a slog so maybe later
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 04, 2016, 02:13:52 AM
(http://i.imgur.com/6y0c8oR.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on September 10, 2016, 02:06:37 PM
This is f*@#*&g brilliant writing: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/10/o/497540/

I want to read on.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 13, 2016, 09:39:33 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/718T-JJoaLL.jpg)

Cracking yarns, the Aubrey/Maturin books, exceptionally easy to engage with and become entertained by. I read most of them as a young man, and on the spur of the moment I looked into this the first of them again, and now I'm three chapters in.

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: fishead on November 02, 2016, 06:55:48 AM
 The Lil Red Book by Mao Zedung. agagagagag
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 15, 2016, 11:22:09 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61okiEr8kTL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on November 17, 2016, 12:42:14 AM
The Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathy.

About 60% of the way through book 3, The Oath of the  Vayaputras.

The writing style reminds me a bit of Edgar Rice Burroughs, but with better character development.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 26, 2016, 04:21:56 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61vTxJTnOsL._SX371_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on December 31, 2016, 07:00:37 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/817iFfLhJ%2BL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 10, 2017, 06:19:17 AM
(http://murverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Lafferty_SixWakes_TP.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on March 28, 2017, 09:41:52 AM
Just finished "The Sympathizer" by Viet Thanh Nguyen. It won the Pulitzer for fiction and a bunch of other awards. It is simply amazing. Probably the best novel I've read in years.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 29, 2017, 08:33:20 AM
(https://corafoerstner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/campbell_hero.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on March 30, 2017, 02:37:15 AM
The Raven -Edgar Allen Poe (https://www.heise.de/ix/raven/Literature/Lore/TheRaven.html)

Why? you ask. Because this midmorn is dreary and I am pondering weak and weary over books of teaching theory and there has come a tapping, tapping at my apartment wall....

 llllllllll
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 28, 2017, 07:47:16 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/519by8d1hUL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

Killer first chapter. Don't know how the rest will go....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 02, 2017, 12:04:25 PM
Also

(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--SnsUZgtg--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/1865oxnlcm7xejpg.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on May 03, 2017, 02:48:26 AM
Rereading Fred Saberhagen's original Berserker, the first collection of his Berserker short stories.

As AI's get close to reality, I thought it was a good chance to see what my new job as a goodlife would be like.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 03, 2017, 04:18:31 AM
Rereading Fred Saberhagen's original Berserker, the first collection of his Berserker short stories.

As AI's get close to reality, I thought it was a good chance to see what my new job as a goodlife would be like.

Does it hold up, do you think?

I recall being much enamoured of the Saberhagen Berserkers, probably from reading that collection.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on May 04, 2017, 08:23:12 AM
Those stories are about as old as I am. bgbgbgbgbg  I'm please to say that although they are a little grey around the edges, for the most part they hold up fairly well (just like me ababababab).  A lot of SciFi looks laughable after only a few years, so it's good to see stories in the 50+ year range which are still well worth reading or re-reading.

Happily, my Saberhagan books were carefully packed early in the great "box up my library" event, so are nearly all in the same plastic bin instead of being scattered.  Maybe I'll nibble my way through all the rest of the Berserker short stories and novels I have in order of publication.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on June 26, 2017, 10:53:06 AM
(http://cdn3.thr.com/sites/default/files/2015/10/hack-slash_cover.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 04, 2017, 07:18:34 AM
What was I reading? I tried to read the official novelization of Alien: Covenant by Alan Dean Foster. Reportedly it is both faithful to the movie and features inner voices thus adding a valuable layer. However... and I don't know what it is... but there's just something missing. I did used to read Alan Dean Foster books. I know I've read some of his Alien novelizations before (notably, to my immediate recollection, his Alien 4 version), but this one... not working out for me. Sorry Alan.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 04, 2017, 07:22:14 AM
Currently essaying All Systems Red by Martha Wells

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41kA%2BJWjd9L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

because if a series called The Murderbot Diaries doesn't do it for me, nothing will.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: KeyserSoze on July 06, 2017, 12:36:03 AM
I am finally reading The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, by John Maynard Keynes. An excellent read. Highly recommended.

In other news, I'm flying home today. Yayyyyy!

 ababababab
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 07, 2017, 01:36:01 AM
What was I reading? I tried to read the official novelization of Alien: Covenant by Alan Dean Foster. Reportedly it is both faithful to the movie and features inner voices thus adding a valuable layer. However... and I don't know what it is... but there's just something missing. I did used to read Alan Dean Foster books. I know I've read some of his Alien novelizations before (notably, to my immediate recollection, his Alien 4 version), but this one... not working out for me. Sorry Alan.

I did like his novelization of Dark Star, but otherwise, I've never really been all that impressed with his writing.  I will admit I haven't ready too many of his other books, but somehow, those I read . . . I think I have to agree with "there's just something missing."
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 07, 2017, 01:38:02 AM
I am finally reading The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, by John Maynard Keynes. An excellent read. Highly recommended.

In other news, I'm flying home today. Yayyyyy!

 ababababab

Some people have a different concept of "a little light reading" than others. ahahahahah

Flying home as in back to where you came from or flying home as in coming back to China?
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: KeyserSoze on July 08, 2017, 03:47:37 PM
I am finally reading The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, by John Maynard Keynes. An excellent read. Highly recommended.

In other news, I'm flying home today. Yayyyyy!

 ababababab

Some people have a different concept of "a little light reading" than others. ahahahahah

Flying home as in back to where you came from or flying home as in coming back to China?

True, it's not light reading like Harry Potter, for example, but it is so much fun.

Home as in home, not as in China, where I work. Others' views may differ.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 10, 2017, 11:47:23 PM
Home as in home, not as in China, where I work. Others' views may differ.

Oh, as in Earth, as opposed to Planet China. ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: AMonk on July 11, 2017, 10:35:00 AM
Summer reading = Anne McCaffrey
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on July 13, 2017, 08:14:19 AM
Finished Alien: Covenant, the novelization. In book form, [spoiler]the ending is even less satisfactory[/spoiler]

Currently...

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51XOfeGLeJL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 18, 2017, 06:33:06 AM
Got distracted by Lovecraft's The Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward, but have returned to reading Fred Saberhagan's Berserkers in the order they were published.

Finished the 2nd book - Brother Assassin and am currently on Berserker's Planet.

Brother Assassin is unique in the books (unless there's something like this in one of the few stories I haven't read yet) by combining Berserkers with one of Saberhagan's other obsessions - Time travel.  It's got 3 main stories.  My only complaint is common to most SciFi writers of the period showing some other planet where humans had to work their way up from the stone age to modern technology. - When it's time to show some historical events, it's amazing just how painfully close they are to very specific incidents in Earth's history.  The names are changed, but the events and people are far far too close to the originals.  If this flaw in the book can be ignored, it's well worth reading.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on July 20, 2017, 05:54:14 AM
Finished Berserker's Planet.  Sadly, the one detail I remembered from reading this a very very long time ago was how the final victory at the end of the book was done.  Other than having remembered that massive spoiler, it was fun to read again. agagagagag

Just started reading Berserker Man.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 02, 2017, 12:57:04 AM
(https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9780670919963-uk.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on August 02, 2017, 01:38:31 AM
Berserker Man - Think I started reading this one a long time ago and got distracted.  The first chapter seemed familiar, but everything else seemed completely new.

If you want a classic legend of an abandoned child growing up to save the universe, you'll like this one.  Personally, it didn't grab me nearly as much as some of the short stories in the first Berserker book.  It's worth a read, but it's definitely not the best Berserker story that Fred Saberhagan wrote.

Planning to finish some HP Lovecraft short stories and will then dig into the library to find the next Berserker book.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 09, 2017, 04:54:39 AM
The Power by Naomi Alderman

Excellent book. I very much approve of the fact that the central conceit finally exists. It is an excellent idea generator, and the novel brings a very large number of those big ideas to the fore in actually entertaining and revelatory story form. I'll be suggesting this novel to everyone I meet.

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf



The Power by Naomi Alderman review – if girls ruled the world (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/02/the-power-naomi-alderman-review)

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on August 18, 2017, 09:02:39 AM
I recently finished reading Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth.  It turns out there's a music video version which covers all the major plotpoints in less than 2 minutes.

Fishmen - Something to give HP Lovecraft himself nightmares. ahahahahah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tTHn2tHhcI
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 26, 2017, 02:13:29 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51s-6NLVPDL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

Not reeeaaal sure about post-alien invasion apocalypse teenage girls still having their social anxiety about the hot jock but the story rips along anyway and seems right on in a number of other kid aspects so I liked it anyway.

 bfbfbfbfbf bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on August 28, 2017, 05:18:32 AM
The Berserker rampage continues.

Ultimate Enemy - Overall good, but some of the stories are a little hit or miss.  Some Events at the Templar Radiant stands out as one of the best.

Berserker Base - Saberhagan invited some friends to come and play in his universe.  Every other story is by Saberhagan, linking longer stories by other authors.  Sounds weird, but it works.  I've always had mixed feelings on Zelazny, but I read Itself Surprised in Omni before it took its place in this collection.  Itself Surprised is probably the most outstanding Berserker story not written by Saberhagan himself.

Currently, I'm about half way through The Berserker Throne.  Since Berserker stories range over a span of at least a thousand years, recurring characters are exceedingly rare and recurring locations (except as passing mentions) don't happen (note that the linking stories in Berserker Base are in the same location).  Seeing a location from a much older story pop up again was surprising.  This time, instead of a short story at the Templar Radiant, we've jumped ahead over 200 years for a full length novel exploring the Radiant and those who live there.  For me, this is even better, because somehow this book got misfiled a couple of decades back and was lucky to have been found in time to go in the same plastic bin as the rest of my Saberhagan collection when I moved here. - I've never read it.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on August 30, 2017, 08:42:45 AM
(https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1395351812l/16131484.jpg)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on September 01, 2017, 06:53:19 AM
Finished The Berserker Throne last night.  I had been a little worried that it would turn into an extended version of the previous short story taking place at the Templar Radiant.  There definitely were enough parallels that Saberhagan could easily have taken the easy way out in finishing the story.

Instead, WOW!, what an ending. agagagagag

Mild spoiler alert.

How many characters can mind bhbhbhbhbh each other in such a short time?  I'm still not sure exactly when one of main ones really knew the full picture.

Time to go down to the Lunatic Library and dig out some more.  Also, I need to see which ones I never got and get those ordered.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 08, 2017, 05:19:01 AM
(http://images.penguinrandomhouse.com/cover/9780142425879)

Cassie's a bit old by the third book to still be doing her Evan shtick, but the second book had a completely killer reveal that I did not see coming, so here I am, reading the last book in the trilogy. Woo!
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 17, 2017, 06:05:38 AM
(https://i.harperapps.com/covers/9780062662576/y450-293.jpg)

Started. Not sure yet. Right at the start it has that Chinese story thing where main characters avoid having a self by having an environment instead. I'll give it a few more pages....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 21, 2017, 07:42:57 AM
An Excess Male turns out to be much more romance novel than an examination of the dystopic elements of modern China. It's really about love and family and GAG ME WITH A SPOON  aaaaaaaaaa

But for people who do want to read that kind of thing with a Chinese spin, no doubt it's worth some of the rave reviews.


Meanwhile....
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 21, 2017, 07:46:25 AM
(https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1453113053l/26212641.jpg)

translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on September 26, 2017, 05:01:15 AM
Cthulhu Mythos and Kindred Horrors, by Robert E. Howard.

Not as good as HP Lovecraft's tales, but not bad either.  Does have one title Calach should appreciate - Pigeons From Hell ahahahahah
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on September 26, 2017, 10:34:39 AM
Cthulhu Mythos and Kindred Horrors, by Robert E. Howard.

Not as good as HP Lovecraft's tales, but not bad either.  Does have one title Calach should appreciate - Pigeons From Hell ahahahahah

Seems redundant. All pigeons are from hell, surely.

They are each one a tiny little, really dumb demonic entity. Sure, you think "demon" you think trickster and clever underminer of the faithful, but no, some demons fly into windows too.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on September 28, 2017, 02:32:32 AM
Evidently, I kept buying Berserker books even when I didn't have time to read them,

Berserker Lies - A collection of novellas and short stories.  All but The Machinery of Lies exist in previous books.  It's an excellent tale of what happens when too many lies are piled up on top of each other.

Berserker Kill  - Midway through the book, just as things were approaching a climax, the story suddenly jumps 300 years ahead with all new characters.  Eventually, it all comes together.  One tiny nit to pick.  The enemies that the Berserkers were originally built to fight were referred to as the "Red Race" in earlier stories.  This novel repeatedly says that there had never been any name of any sort assigned to those aliens.

Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: china-matt on October 31, 2017, 06:17:00 PM
Just finished "Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng. Definitely want to get her new book now. This would be a good book for high school kids or college freshmen.
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on May 10, 2018, 07:34:05 AM
(https://hforhistory.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/A-Hero-Born-Twitter-2.jpg)

Legend of the Condor Heroes I - A Hero Born - Jin Yong, Anna Holmwood (translator)
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: rattie on May 10, 2018, 08:29:05 AM
A book from Australia was posted to me as a gift, Silent Invasion - Clive Hamilton. A paranoid look at the influence of Chinese business and politics in Aus. Finished that, still thinking, yet to form an opinion, mainly because I agree with some of his opinions - but was informed that he is the voice of the right wing on Aus current affairs programs, thereby I'm a bit uncomfortable about it.

Have now picked up Dance Dance Dance - Haruki Murakami, Japanese author, bit trippy and easy to read, a great relief after the previous book.
Rx
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: old34 on May 10, 2018, 08:46:31 PM
I Met Jin Yong once while having dinner at the Shangri-La in Hangzhou. He was at the table next to mine and the two women with me recognized him but were two shy to approach him. I recognized his name and knew he was an honarary VP at my university so as a "fellow colleague, I went over and ontoduced myself and the two women to him. He spoke excellent English and told me he'd rather be sitting at my table than with the two stiffs he was with. Then he asked me to take sa picture of him with my two friends./FWIW
Title: Re: What Are You Reading??
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on August 10, 2018, 04:03:35 AM
Berserker Fury by Fred Saberhagan

This is the book I had so much trouble getting.  I was sent the wrong book and had to finally collect the correct one on my last trip to the US.

Sadly, I rate this as the weakest of the Berserker books so far.

SPOILER ALERT

The core of the novel is a space battle which parallels the Battle of Midway far to closely.  Some parallels would be OK, but, but carriers with fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers, plus ground based bombers (complete with the same crew positions as the WWII biombers) crosses the line from an interesting retelling to "Wow, I don't have to think too much to write this.  There's even a planet not to far away filling in for Hawaii recovering from the recent raid on Pearl Harbor (complete with a space based battleship partly sunk just off the coast of the coast of the base).

I have the feeling there was some sort of deadline issue with the novel.  Near the end, certain parts describing the battle become repetitive.  One section even starts off saying exactly how many carriers are about to be destroyed and then proceeds to the action showing it being done.  This is completely out of character for Saberhagan.

There's an additional storyline going on alongside the "Midway in SPAAAAAACE" part of the book which is of the quality Saberhagan usually delivers, up until then end when it wraps up far too suddenly.  I consider this more evidence for a looming "Finish it NOW" kind of deadline.

I suppose this is proof that even a great author has at least one book that stands out in a bad way.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the next novels are.  Several of the previous ones seemed to be loosely linked in foreshadowing some major developments in the Berserker universe.