What have you been reading? - Book Discussion Thread

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#101 Posted by Carville (18 posts) -

I've been reading the Witcher books close to finishing the Sword of Destiny but man the end of the chapter with Essi was some of the grimmest things I have read in a while but i can't put it down. If you like the Witcher read these books.

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#102 Edited by Shadow (5356 posts) -

Wheel of Time


I really like the story being told and the fact that it takes forever to tell it doesn't really bug me so much now that I have all the audiobooks available and can just move to the next without waiting 3 years between entries

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#103 Posted by Aarny91 (3961 posts) -

@carville: I finished The Last Wish early Jan. Was a great read; being a short story collection it felt just like TW3 with the different quests.

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#104 Edited by forkboy (1650 posts) -

Much like the OP, I'm making an effort to read more, and am keeping track of what I read on Goodreads. My initial aim was one book every fortnight, because I often read quite big, dense, non-fiction books, and I can never read those as quickly as fiction stuff. Mainly because I've got stacks of books I've just never read lying about and I need to do something about that so I can stick them in a charity shop or something. So far I've got through 7 books, which Goodreads says is 4 books ahead of schedule so that's nice.

Anyway, my current read is Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner, a journalist. It came out over a decade ago, and it does what you expect, it covers from the agency's foundations during WW2 in OSS up to the Iraq War I presume. I'm only into the Kennedy section but it's already hugely enlightening. The CIA were complete knuckleheads. Useless, incompetent, obsessed with flashy covert ops instead of establishing solid intel gathering. The book is really darkly funny in parts as they move from one farce to another: insisting the Chinese wouldn't intervene in the Korean War even as they get reports of Chinese troops massing on the Korean border, parachuting hundreds (or possibly thousands, I forget) of agents behind enemy lines in Korea only for them all to get caught and executed as soon as they landed because one of the recruiting team was a double agent and they didn't get all suspicious. Similar event also happened in China. Bay of Pigs, the obsession with killing Castro, numerous investigations into CIA failings which immediately get covered up because "oh shit, our incompetence makes us look really incompetent".

It's really interesting, tragic, anger inducing. I highly recommend it. Especially to any screenplay writers out there, there's a dark farcical comedy ala Dr Strangelove in there on those first 20 years of incompetence.

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#105 Posted by impartialgecko (1941 posts) -

I'm reading Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. Really tight little thriller with its own view on money and how it affects people. After that it's going be John Darnielle's new book: Universal Harvester which I'm really looking forward to as big fan of both his music and his last book.

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#106 Edited by jadegl (1413 posts) -

I've been reading through Armada by Ernest Cline. Ready Player One was much better, imo. This feels kind of like a retread that's not as charming. I mean, Ready Player One wasn't a masterpiece, but it kept you reading and was fun. Armada just feels like the same stuff, and not as clever. Maybe when I finish it I will have my mind changed, but I am not feeling this one right now.

I am also reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which is fantastic. The way that she uses words to create these images in her novel, they're startling and beautiful, but also almost offensive (I mean that I feel like she is actively trying to push buttons and boundaries, not that I am actually offended by here writing). It's not what I expected. I almost expect a poet to have prose that is lyrical and... I guess poetic? But Sylvia Plath just writes about things like concrete and vomit and it's so real feeling but also gorgeous and poetic in a different way. I am astounded when I read her.

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#107 Posted by miser (97 posts) -

I started reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris as per Drew's recommendation in his mindfulness/meditation post. I have spent time practicing mindfulness and really wanted to get back to making this a habit. The book is really enjoyable thus far and I certainly look forward to the next chapter.

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#108 Posted by alphasquid (135 posts) -

I'm not far enough in to have a ton of detailed opinions but Lincoln in The Bardo by George Saunders is really bizarre and simultaneously really excellent so far.

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#109 Edited by Carville (18 posts) -

@aarny91: Sword of Destiny is more of the same it even has the full story of the doppler quest from TW3. It also introduces Ciri for the first time and how she and Geralt met, definitely recommend it.

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#110 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

Taking a break from Discworld after reading the first ten books in a row. Pratchett is great, but tackling all ~40 books without something else in between is a bit much.

Instead, I'm reading Daniel Suarez' Daemon and Freedom duology. I read Daemon in two days and am halfway through Freedom another two days later. These books are modern, science-fiction, techno-thriller, action movie crack. All of the ridiculousness of a Michael Bay film, but with great characterization and a tightly-woven plot that makes sense! Very much movie material. Only, you just know they'll ruin it all by handing it to someone like Michael Bay.

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#111 Posted by Captain_Insano (3531 posts) -

Currently reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman which has a pretty sweet cover. It's a pretty basic retelling of the Norse myths, but Gaiman writes in his usual compelling style. Next on my list is Dan's book - The Dumbest Kid in Gifted Class, which has a cover that is not quite as compelling.

No Caption Provided

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#112 Edited by vikingdeath1 (1307 posts) -

I hope this counts, I am someone who NEVER reads, But i've been reading Jojo's Bizarre Adventure this past year, and i've enjoyed it so incredibly much!

I started reading it partway through the Part 4 anime last year, I just couldn't wait to see what happened that I decided to try reding the manga. and boy howdy am I glad I did! I've been enjoying the manga far more than I've enjoyed the anime (And hot damn is that a great anime series) and i'm in the middle of part 7 Steel Ball Run and it is SO CRAZY I LOVE IT OMG!

(Again, I hope my manga selection counts towards the spirit of this thread. This is the first book-like thing i've chosen to read for my own enjoyment since.... like, maybe the 90s? so I wanted to share!)


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#113 Posted by AcidPops91 (110 posts) -

I'm about to read The Devil's Candy by Julie Salamon. It's about the production of the film The Bonfire of the Vanities and why it was a big fuck up.

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#114 Posted by Aquablak (274 posts) -

Currently reading The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, by Dr. Michael Heiser. So, so good. I've been reading piles of books in the last 6 months or so. I'm also just starting book 2 of the Misborn series, The Well of Ascension. I'll likely get through that one much slower, although that series is excellent.

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#115 Edited by lylebot (137 posts) -

Just finished re-reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time in, I don't know, 20 years. Two thoughts:

- it is a very positive, optimistic story in many ways. Refreshing after the relentless pessimism of A Song of Ice and Fire (which I love also, and which I had finished re-reading before I started LotR again).

- it made me appreciate Peter Jackson's film versions even more than I already did. I don't like every change he made, but it is amazing how many little details he could've easily dropped that he made room for (and in some cases even expanded on). There are things in the books that I easily would've missed if I hadn't seen the movies so many times.

Next up is one of the following (haven't decided yet): re-read of Dune (Herbert), finish Titus Groan (Peake), start Wolf Hall (Mantel), or start The Road to Perdition (Mieville).

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#116 Edited by baka_shinji17 (1468 posts) -

The Well of Ascension aka The Book Where Characters Raise Their Eyebrows A Lot by Brandon Sanderson. It's more video gamey fantasy, but I'm enjoying it.

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#117 Posted by jeffgoldblum (3930 posts) -

I'm almost finished with Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and hoo boy that book is fucked up. If you like senseless murder, existential dread, and beautiful prose about empty deserts you should check it out.

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#118 Edited by Aarny91 (3961 posts) -

@carville: I was gonna go with Blood of Elves next, but I did hear Sword introduces a lot of the side characters involved in the main series so I'll check that out next.

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#119 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

Finished Suarez' Daemon and Freedom and started re-reading Peter Watts' Starfish. Watts is an amazing author and lets you download his entire back catalog totally free under the creative commons license. I read Starfish a few years back, but never got around to the sequels. I'm now going to rectify that.

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#120 Edited by Humanity (18942 posts) -

A Little Life

It's very long and increasingly more tragic and at times discomforting to read.

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#121 Posted by billmcneal (1266 posts) -

I am in between books, but I have been reading internet articles and magazines

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#122 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7649 posts) -

I'm still working my way through various "Honorverse" book by David Weber. I have just switched ontop reading the first book in the Saganami Island series, The Shadow of Saganami. I find David Weber's 'pop sci-fi' very relaxing to listen to doing housework or commuting on a bus or boat. I can just kick-back and listen to the stories.

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#123 Posted by SSully (5635 posts) -

Going between "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis and "The Eyes of the Dragon" by Stephen King.

Hoping to finish both of those this weekend. Just picked up "Civil Warland in Bad Decline" by George Saunders, which I plan to start next.

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#124 Posted by Busto1299 (251 posts) -

Just finished "FDR" by Jean Edward Smith. It is a good biography of the 32nd U.S president and it provides a fairly fleshed out summary of his life.

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#125 Posted by frytup (1344 posts) -

Switching between Quarantine by Greg Egan and Six Frigates by Ian Toll. This is my first Egan book and it's scratching my hard SciFi itch. Lots of people seem to think his stuff is a bit too dense, but it's very readable to me. Will definitely be continuing through through his other novels, so we'll see.

The Toll book I can thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in naval history.

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#126 Posted by miserywizard (50 posts) -

I'm reading the Painted Bird right now. Intense!

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#127 Posted by pyromagnestir (4505 posts) -

So I finished 14 a couple weeks back, it ended up getting much creepier in the second half and also mixing in some stuff that had me saying to myself "oh it's going to do that is it? Interesting!" It was very good and I recommend it.

Then on Friday I finished a book called Ha'Penny, the second book in an alternate history trilogy where the idea is the U.S. didn't get involved in WWII, Hitler and the British fought to a standstill and made a treaty, the nazis control the continent, and Britain starts to emulate some of the nazi prejudices and slides slowly into fascism as well.
The plots of the books are actually more along the lines of crime mysteries, the first book, Farthing, which I read last summer, is about a murder in the home of prominent members of the British government who negotiated the peace with the nazis, it switches back and forth between the detective investigating the crime and a daughter of the family who is a suspect in the crime. The second book takes place right after the first, and switches back and forth the same detective, now looking into a plot to kill some prominent members of the British government along with Hitler himself, and a young actress who ends up caught up in the plot.
Both were quite good. Though perhaps now is not the best time for me to be reading about this sort of concept. I more than once found myself laughing sarcastically as I said "well I'm glad this sort of thing could really never happen in real life!" and then getting rather upset. But still, I'll pick up the final book in the series soon and probably finish it sometime this year.

Next up for fiction I'm gonna start Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, I know next to nothing about it except that it takes place in a post apocalyptic world and focuses on a group of people who travel around the great lakes region putting on plays or something? That description made me curious enough to check it out. I'll start it some time today.

As for non fiction, I continue to make progress in Che Guevara A Revolutionary Life. Now I'm up to the start of the Cuban missile crisis. The book is very interesting. I should finish it before the month is up.

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#128 Posted by ShaggE (9300 posts) -

I decided to *finally* read Ready Player One, honestly just to get it out of the damn way after hearing about it for so long.

I nearly noped right out during the opening chapters, as it read like a Family Guy joke in book form. "Hey, remember thing? That's... that's all. Remember thing."

Thankfully I stuck with it, as underneath the periodic salvos of "REMEMBER THING!", there's a compelling, if simple, story to be had. I'm still not sure why it became the minor sensation that it did, but I really enjoyed it.

Next up: Futuristic Violence And Fancy Suits by David Wong. I've been putting it off because I actually don't read much sci-fi, and I was disappointed that the new Wong book wasn't horror, but I'm fiending for his style of humor right now.

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#129 Posted by thomasnash (1106 posts) -

I recently finished Neuromancer because I felt like it's the sort of thing I should try once. I can sort of see why it's such a cult favourite, but I din't enjoy it all that much. It has some great ideas, but then also frequently devolves into sections of "isn't this cool, this guys a ninja!" sort of stuff which just felt really adolescent, for lack of a better word. It's world building is obviously its greatest strength but even in this I sometimes felt like a little bit too much had been thrown at the wall. Maybe around the time we were introduced to the space rasta, was where I felt that there was a little too much going on. It was an enjoyable enough read but I think at the end of the day I'd rather read the hard boiled novels that it's consciously cribbing its style from, or a Philip K Dick book for the sci-fi stuff.

Immediately afterwards I started The City and The City by China Mieville. For some reason I've avoided reading anything by him, I've just had an aversion to him, but I often hear people say he's a cut above so thought I should give him a go. I'm enjoying it a lot so far. This high concept stuff can often come off feeling a little silly, and this runs it close sometimes, but I think it's creating an engaging mystery out of it's more out there elements. The characters are refreshingly well drawn, I think, with no one being too perfect or too perfectly nasty. They all seem to have motivations etc. I was expecting something more Noirish (in the vein of Neuromancer) but it's more of a straight murder mystery novel than that. So far it's been good at piling on a lot of detail that seems to support a central theme, beyond just the narrative, but I think sometimes it seems a little too clever-clever; for example a small aside about the confusion between different uses of the same word in English and American. It was a nice thing as a reader to pick up on and absorb into my reading, but also seemed a bit like making a connection for the sake of it?

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#130 Posted by Briony88 (10 posts) -

I just finished a book called Baby Doll by Hollie Overton. Ever since reading Gone Girl, I can't get enough of these twisty, tense kind of thrillers. Really enjoyed it and got through it fairly quickly but, as is often the case, I found the ending somewhat underwhelming.

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#131 Edited by pyromagnestir (4505 posts) -

Finished a couple books yesterday.

Finally finished Che Guevara. It was quite interesting. The guy certainly did not have a boring life.

Also finished Station Eleven. I liked it, but I didn't like it as much as I hoped. It had an odd structure, it jumped around a split story line that had some parts taking place before a super flu kills most of the people on earth and another that takes place in the dystopian world after, and I think my biggest problem was I didn't quite see the point of the pre flu story line. Now I'm a very shallow reader, so I didn't really try to dig too deep for any sort of message or meaning to it, but even if it did have some meaning it just wasn't as interesting as the stuff that happened after and the way it mixed both stories together by jumping around the timeline quite frequently made the pacing of the story a bit off in my opinion.

Now on the fiction front I'm gonna start a novel called Under the Udala Trees, which apparently is about a young girl who is a Nigerian refugee sent away during a civil war who meets and falls in love with another girl. The past couple years I've been trying to read more that falls outside my usual comfort zone of fantasy/sci fi/historical fiction/horror/some combination thereof and this book certainly isn't just another one of those books, so now I'll give it a shot.

And for nonfiction I'm waiting for my library to send me a copy of Hero of the Empire about Winston Churchill during the Boer war.

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#132 Edited by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

Nick Drake: Remembered For A While

I'm a big fan of Nick Drake and was obsessively listening to his music at one point in time, and it's what got me into learning to play finger-style guitar myself. I bought this book as part of the signature box collection a few years ago but only now getting around to fully reading it. It's a pretty comprehensive biography as it is mainly done by Nick's sister Gabrielle, but also includes written accounts from several musicians and childhood friends of Nick. It also provides info on how much exposure his music actually got back then, and touring dates and such.

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#133 Posted by sagesebas (2465 posts) -

I am about 200 pages into Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World. It's the second Murakami novel I've read, the other one being, The Windup Bird Chronicles. So far it's really good!

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#134 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1405 posts) -

I started listening to The Name of the Wind. I'm just a few hours in, but I like it so far. I'm still not 100% sold on the narrator, but he's growing on me.

For nonfiction, I finished I Am Malala. I cannot recommend it enough.

My next nonfiction is going to be The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

I picked up the first issue of the new American Gods comic, and it's a pretty faithful retelling of the book so far.

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#135 Edited by SloppyDetective (1618 posts) -

I broke my reading streak of 2 months, but I'm back at it. I just finished The Time of Contempt (the second book in the Witcher series; fourth book overall). Man it took me a long ass time to finish this; I think it had been about 2 months since I last read it, with less than 100 pages left. There are parts I really like about these books and parts that bore me to death. Whenever the book focuses on one or two characters I find it really compelling, but when it goes into the politics of the world and has many moving parts, with names I pronounce differently every time, I loose most interest and momentum. This is why I devoured the first book of short stories, while slogging through the 3 serialized books in fits and starts. I was going to read the other short stories book next, but this book ended with some really compelling Ciri stuff, and left her in a place that I want to read more of.

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#136 Edited by feive_vz (93 posts) -

I've just started reading The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology by Slavoj Zizek. I've only read articles and seen lectures that he has given, so I thought I should try one of his (many) books. If there are any other lovers of philosophy in here, I'd love to talk to you all.

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#137 Posted by Nick (1041 posts) -

Only read about 5 or 6 books (finished off Wheel of Time and read a few Game of Thrones books) in the last 5 years and decided to get back into reading. I'm following a booklist and have read these since January:

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
The Next 100 Years by George Friedman
The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Friedman by Richard Friedman
Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman (currently reading)

They have all been enjoyable and interesting so far.

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#138 Posted by lkpower (456 posts) -

I just started reading\listening to In Broad Daylight As per Dan's recommendation. It's really intriguing.

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#139 Edited by sparky_buzzsaw (8927 posts) -

I'm wrapping up Jonathan Mayberry's King of Plagues. He writes some fun summer read-type thrillers with some slight future tech stuff thrown in (genetic mutation by design, etc.). Good fun stuff, well researched, and usually a bit schlocky, which I like.

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#140 Posted by Creme (318 posts) -

I bought Solaris after stopping reading it early on years ago. I plan on reading The Bible too someday, if I can handle it all.

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#141 Posted by chango (1093 posts) -

Just finished Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh. Really enjoyed. Absolutely adored some of the stories. Just one of those times you read or see something and feel like this person totally gets you.

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#142 Posted by buttle826 (282 posts) -

I just started reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and I really like that book! I'm not even 100 pages in yet, but I'm excited to see where it goes.

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#143 Posted by Fredchuckdave (10824 posts) -

Three Kingdoms, for like the 5th time; also about to do work that motivates me to read some more so 6th time coming soon.

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#144 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

@creme said:

I plan on reading The Bible too someday, if I can handle it all.

I couldn't get past all the begats in the old testament. Not to mention the multiple chapters extolling the virtues of circumcision. It's probably best to just skip ahead to the newer stuff.

I just finished Peter Watts' Rifter's Trilogy. Great stuff. Dark. Very dark. Violent, apocalyptic science fiction featuring damaged and sometimes downright unlikable characters. Not an uplifting read but hard to put down. Watts has a knack for dealing with morals, neurology and molecular biology that's disturbingly compelling. The ending was a bit of a disappointment though. I ended up trying to find another copy because I thought my ebook was incomplete. (Free on the author's webpage.) Nope, it just ends very abruptly.

Continuing my descent into science fiction darkness, I'm starting Richard Paul Russo's Ship of Fools. I'm only a chapter in, but so far the imagery is great. Russo knows how to paint an ominous picture.

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#145 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7649 posts) -

As I said in post #122, I'm working my way through various "Honorverse" book by David Weber. I;m reading the Saganami Island series, I have made it through the first two books ( The Shadow of Saganami and Storm from the Shadows ) and started the third, Shadow of Freedom. They are nice accompaniment to the main line series, but because the books cover the same history they do tend retread information.

I love pop-scifi in audiobook form, it very easy to digest while doing other things.

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#146 Posted by SmallStep (12 posts) -

Getting Things Done - On a second look, reading this book ironically keeps me from doing stuff, but theoretically it should help me in the future getting more things done...

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#147 Posted by JPPT1974 (125 posts) -

Small Step I think I would love to borrow that book. As you could indeed get things done. But then again like you said, it would prevent me from doing the stuff I need.

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#148 Posted by Colonel_Pockets (1315 posts) -

I'm reading Kingdom Come for like the 15th time. That book is so good. DC is killing it with their comics currently. Hopefully Warner Brothers can get the movies to this standard.

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#149 Posted by pyromagnestir (4505 posts) -

I finished Under the Udala Trees last week or so, it was a really good emotionally touching story.

After finishing it I decided to go with something that would be more potentially along the lines of dumb fun, so I picked a book called Beneath the Dark Ice. It's a story about a rescue team sent to Antarctica only they find much more than they planned. Now that I'm nearly done I'm not sure it fit either the dumb or fun end of things. I wouldn't call it dumb, instead I'd say it's lacking any subtlety at all with anything it's doing and it's full of cliched and overused tropes, like "humans only use a small percent of the brain so what'd happen if we could use more?" And because it's not subtle and also relying on well worn cliches and tropes and not really doing anything surprising or particularly interesting with them it hasn't been as fun as I thought it sounded. It just feels sorta by the numbers.

Having said that I'm a sucker for a "lost in the cold and shit goes bad" sorta story so I'm still into it, just not as into it as I hoped.

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#150 Posted by Slaps2 (638 posts) -

I'm reading Lone Survivor. I can't stand the guy's politics, but reading about what he went through is incredibly compelling. It's a real page turner, even when he is just talking about his initial SEAL training.