What are you reading?

Another transplant from the SUSD forums - one from which I’ve picked up many a recommendation.

I’m currently reading The Land Beyond The Sea by Sharon Penman. I’ve been a big fan of historical fiction for a long time and I think Sharon Penman is one of the best. Its the story of the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Think Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven - except actually mostly historically accurate…

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I started a couple of actual books the other day! Not that far through either of them.

Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan - Retellings of fairytales. Well written, but so far doesn’t hold a candle to a similar book by Emma Donoghue.

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams - Big fat fantasy novel. Challenging myself to take my time and try and work through something like this. Not sure what’s happening with the plot yet, but the characters are interesting.

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Ooh I like this thread. I don’t read as much as I’d like. At the moment I’m struggling to commit to anything that doesn’t have pictures. So recently I re-read Watchmen which is still an impressive work. Next up is Maus, which I tried once before but bounced off of due to the heavy subject. Hopefully I’ll be in the right mood this time.

Oh, and I’m also “reading”/listening to the Game of Thrones audiobook. Mostly because I ordered the board game before lockdown and now I have no one to play it with. Wonderful world to spend time in although the in-depth intimate scenes are not improved by having an old man whisper into your ears about the intimate details…


My ability to read is limited by half my library being in boxes. I just indulged myself in three titles for Kindle: Deep Roots (second in a series about the post-WWII fate of the Innsmouth hybrids), The Flight of the Nightingale (two novellas set in the 1632 universe), and Lifelode (an original by Jo Walton from a few years back). I started with Flight because it looks to be the easiest to read while I was copy editing scientific journal articles. . . .

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As promised back on the old forum, I am now reading Sword of Destiny, which is the second collection of short stories in the Witcher series, and takes place before the novels.
Of course, here in America, they were released after the novels, whereas they were published first in the author’s native Poland. So unless you look this up, you get confused when you start reading the book that is called the first novel in the Witcher series, Blood of Elves and characters that the author expects you to know keep getting thrown at you. Thank God I had watched the Netflix series.

So after this, I will have read both short story collections and three of the novels.

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I just finished GameTek by Geoff Engelstein which was really, really interesting, even if you only have a passing interest in games, probability and anything remotely related.

I listen to loads on Audible, and if you haven’t read or listened to any I’d recommend the Threshold series by Peter Clines. There are four books so far: 14, The Fold, Dead Moon and Terminus. It’s sci-fi, but not spaceships and lasers. The first three are loosely connected, then Terminus really pulls it all together.

My other recent read was Other Minds which is a fascinating comparison between the evolution of human and octopus intelligence.

For now I’m re-reading Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett because it’s cosy and familiar.

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I’m pretty sure I read that, and in fact I gave it to my Call of Cthulhu GM for Christmas, as she’s a big cephalopod fan.

Ooh, a delivery from Forbidden Planet has just dropped volume 3 of 3 different comic series into my lap: Trees by Warren Ellis, Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Life is Strange by Emma Vieceli (based on the games).

I shall likely devour them over the next few days.

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When lockdown started, I got hold of A Tale of Two Cities on Audible, thinking I’d have loads of listening time. Turns out that I now don’t commute and I don’t have time in the house doing washing up etc without other people around, and I don’t run either… so there’s barely any listening time at all. I’m a little over half way through and I’m not sure I know who is related to who or what happened at the beginning. Still, I’ve got over my teenage Dickens-phobia, and I can see what the fuss is about.


When I stopped commuting (about 15 years ago now) I suddenly didn’t have two hours a day of dedicated reading time. My reading rate has only recently recovered.


Just finished the 1st Witcher book last night, while I can appreciate it… I found it too meandering for my taste. I’d probably have loved it if I had read the series 15 or 20 years ago.

I now plan on following up with the recommendations for the Hugo novels starting with Charlie Jane Anders’ The City in the Middle of the Night and a second attempt at This Is How You Lose the Time War

I’m not trying to sound clever or anything, but I am genuinely reading Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy - something I’ve felt I should read for years but didn’t actually want to have the hassle of reading it. I was suprised to discover how readable it was. That said, instead of reading I spend most of my time playing TableTop Simulator, revising, and crying over my lost youth.


My own favorite book in that genre in Antony Flew’s An Introduction to Western Philosophy. Interesting discussion of central issues in different eras, and an enjoyable literary style.

For learning and smarts and whatnot I am reading Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson and Krazy by Michael Tisserand (a biography of George Herimman the creator of Krazy Kat).

For mind-numbing entertainment I’m re-reading all of the Jack McKinney Robotech novels.

For art’s sake I’m reading DC’s Starman and Power of SHAZAM! comic runs from the 1990’s chronologically in parallel with an emphasis on reading the letter columns.

To try to recover some sense of stability through the gaming medium I’m reading Rolemaster from the 1990 box set printing. (“If you have real problems, create a special table…” - Clausewitz [attribution is for laughs with a friend. Actually from the miscellaneous Q&A section of arms law.])

Watchmen is one of my favorite books ever. I should find my copy and read it again. I’ve only read Maus once, probably 10-plus years ago, but I still randomly think about it. It’s heavy, emotional stuff but worth reading.


That’s the one thing I miss working from home right now, time for audiobooks and podcasts. I’m hoping my job continues to key is work remote at least 3 days a week when everything settles, so I really should get into the habit of at least giving myself 60 minutes a day for listening.

It annoys the crap out of my wife that any 5 minute gaps I might have, doing the dishes, putting out the washing etc. I switch on a podcast or audiobook. She thinks I hate my thoughts so much I can’t be alone with them for 5 mins! Really, like you, I’m missing my commute for reading - although I work from home 100% now so wont be getting it back!

I read a lot of non-fiction. Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens and Homo Deus are probably next up

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Oh, I’d stongly recommend perservering with it - it’s very heavy and hard but also real, raw and human. Very, very good.


Speaking of graphic novels, C and I just got our copy of the Strangers in Paradise XXV omnibus yesterday, and both of us have read it. I was expecting it to be a fuller exploration of the Parker girls from the original series, but there’s a lot more in it than that. In some ways it reminds me of Alias—but unlike J.J. Abrams, Terry Moore can actually resolve a plot and tie his story elements together.

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I have my first ever Kurt Vonnegut book coming soon - I’ve gone for Cat’s Cradle. Let’s see what all the fuss is about!

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