What Are You Reading?

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Good grief! It’s summer again. And 2018. The 50-90 time of year seems to roll around quicker than ever.

What have you guys been reading over the past several months? Anything special you’d recommend, or that might inspire you to write a lyric or a song?

I’ve not done much reading (focusing more on art stuff lately), but I’m still being enthralled by ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ (by Yuval Noah Harari). It’s fascinating and thought-provoking. Am eager to get my hands on the follow-up book, ‘Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow’.

At the train station recently I bought ‘The Idiot Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head is Really Up To’ by Dean Burnett. Haven’t had time to read it yet, but a quick browse indicates it’s going to be amusing, informative, and probably very surprising. Wink

Any good crime thrillers you’d recommend? Last month I binge-read Sally Hawkins' ‘Into the Water’. Good stuff. It was as riveting as her ‘Girl On A Train’.

i'm a big fan of the science fiction series 'The Expanse', so have started reading the books it is based on. Currently on the first book 'Leviathan Wakes' - by James A. Corey.

I've read the Harari - he doesn't paint a particularly flattering picture of civilisation so I'm hoping the sequel is better!

If anyone's interested in what I've read recently, I'm on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38612248-chris-harris

Last week I read a book called The Book of Joe, which is an autobiographical book by my favourite actor, Vincent Price, about the animals in his life. Very cute and heartwarming.

Now reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, which is one of those "how have I not read this before?" books. Really enjoying it, lots of thought provoking and amusing stuff in there that may well bleed through into my songwriting.

funny i recently read the Idiot Brain and really enjoyed it Smile I always recommend Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth and I just finished another of his The Etymologicon, didn't like it as much as E of E but still interesting.

I’m feeling the desire for some classic Harlan Ellison.

"Famous Father Girl - A Memoir of Growing up Bernstein" - by Jamie Bernstein (Leonard's daughter)

I'm about to finish Laurie R King's "Island of the Mad," because I'm obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and I love her series. After that I have Christopher Moore's "Noir" out from the library. I have a half finished copy of Game of Thrones that I would like to complete this summer, and a whole stack of books including Quest Love's new book and Zen in the Art of Mixing.

@Vom Vorton - Years ago I read Breakfast of Champions by Vonnegut and loved it. I made a mental note to read more by him but never did. I have a copy of Palm Sunday on the shelf - maybe I'll get to that one soon.
@Donna Devine - I just finished Mangrove Lightning by Randy Wayne White. He writes mystery thrillers set in the part of Florida where I live. I bought the book for my dad for Father's Day but read it myself first, careful to not break the spine. I'm going to re-read White's Night Moves next week on the plane back to Ohio to see my dad and give him both books. Also a bottle of hot sauce from White's restaurant here. Yes, a late gift, but a good one, I think.
Finally, I finished Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Rami - I started in December and probably mentioned it in the FAWM "What are you reading?" thread. I re-read parts of it, pondered it deeply, and it affected me profoundly. I've read two other Gita commentaries and written a few songs about the Gita over the last couple of years.

@Donna Devine, @headfirstonly I am just halfway through Harari's book at this very moment -- came to recommend it! Smile

"The Sentient Machine", non fiction about what to expect for the future in Artificial Intelligence,Robots and stuff, how we are being targeted by marketers, by Amir Hussain.

The best book I've read so far this year is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. A cracking good read - well written, intelligent but not at all heavy. Her first book Everything I Never Told You is excellent too.
I'm currently reading Alan Hollinghurst's "The Sparsholt Affair". So far, like all his books I've read, it's top drawer.

@Chip Withrow my first Vonnegut was Slaughterhouse 5 earlier this year, he seems to have had a wonderful gift of being able to write wittily about incredibly bleak topics. I finished Cat's Cradle today and I'll definitely be back for more. But I shall dip into something else first to keep things interesting!

I'm in the middle of rereading The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall, a "Reeves and Worcester steampunk mystery" by Chris Dolley. They're like Wodehouse's books about Jeeves and Wooster, except the valet is an automaton and the gentleman is a private detective with a very active suffragette for a fiancee. Mostly they solve mysteries involving automata and Prometheans (which are undead people, often stitched together like Frankenstein's monster), although there's also one about time travel. And they're about half as funny as the original Wodehouse stories, which means they're still funnier than just about anything else.

I just finished reading Steve Barden's "Writing Production Music for TV" for the second time. I'll probably read it again in a few months just to soak even more in ! I know Steve and he really knows his stuff on the subject.
Not sure what I'll read next, but @Vom Vorton 's reads sound like something I might like.

Ugh. Harari just made a huge philosophical blunder in his analysis of the myth of unalienable rights in the USA Declaration of Independence. :/ Bummer.

Hope you like 'em if you do, @Amanda West!

Today I started Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel which I *think* was a recommendation from @owl ages ago. Only a couple of chapters in but I'm already hooked.

My wife wanted us to only read Black, American authors this year, so I’ve read some Toni Morrison (Jazz, Beloved), just finishing up “Sick Life” by T-Boz of TLC, and starting on some sci-fi by N.K. Jemeson soon. It’s tough for me to balance books and music, but I’m trying!

Fortress of solitude. brief history of 7 killings, novel with cocaine(not really about cocaine)..shock of the fall,... and reread Hesse steppenwolf (from dark to light) , Watchmen

In "Island of the Mad" Sherlock Holmes and his wife teamed up with Cole Porter to fight fascists. Satisfying and timely!

I just bought Madame Bovary. Haven't read it yet. But now I got it. It's a classic. It's in my bookshelf. Does it count? It should.

But what I'm reading right now is "Marvel Comics - The Untold Story" by Sean Howe. Smile

Just finished That Was a Shiver and Other Stories by James Kelman. Kelman's very good.
Just started Live Wires: A History of Electronic Music by Daniel Warner.

I'm reading 'Census' by Jesse Ball - both the idea and the narrative voice are proving very interesting.

"Lifeshocks and how to love them" by Sophie Sabbage

Just finished City of Thieves by David Benioff. Very entertaining novel set during the Siege of Leningrad in World War II, as incongruous as that sounds.

@rorowe If you want to read something a bit different by an African-American author, I recommend Kindred by Octavia Butler.

...or anything by Samuel Delany, @rorowe.

I am reading Marvin Minsky's 'The Society Of Mind', which I am loving so far, but the fact that I only ever read non-fiction doesn't really help my with my lyric writing too much.

@Trendall; I once wrote a song about the discovery of phosphorus in 1660 after reading about it in a science book, so non-fiction can still be a lyric inspiration!

Recently finished The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin. It's good.

Recently started Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism by L.A. Kauffman.

No one has read anything in two weeks??

Has anyone ever read a Yoko Ono biography? She's had an interesting life and I'd like to know more about her.

Just finished Experimental Music Since 1970 by Jennie Gottschalk. Interesting.

Next up: Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook by Mark Bray.

Now it's Judge Hunter by Chris Buckley. Samuel Pepys' brother in law ends up in America looking for the last remaining regicides of Charles I. He traipses incompetently all over New England and New Amsterdam, navigating puritans, quakers, natives, and the Dutch just as, unbeknownst to him, England is preparing for aggression with the Dutch. It's way more entertaining than it sounds, especially to someone who has read parts of Pepys' diary for research.

Well, currently i'm reading this fine internet forum thread.

Right now I am reading student essays on the trial and execution of Socrates. Or, more accurately, I should be, since I need to get them done by tomorrow, but it's more fun to check 5090 stuff. Smile OK, back to the salt mines...

Every time I read that name I want to pronounce it "So-crates". Thanks, Bill & Ted.

i'm reading a lot lately, for me anyway! right now it's slaughterhouse-five, which is my first vonnegut book... very good ah! also, a book called 'the timeless way of building' by christopher alexander.... it's really something! nominally about architecture and design but it feels like it hits some deeper resonances, and has a contagious passion and spirit that spills out of every page...

I'm reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

50/90 lyrics xD

Just finished "Calypso" by David Sedaris

i am reading a very boring book. i am 30% through. i will probably keep reading it cos it has the odd glimmer of a bit interesting on the odd occasion. but mostly it is quite boring. it is a mix of travel around north wales and england and language and accents etc which is up my street but it is a bit too much travel and history and not enough fascinating language stuff. and he is just a bit too rambly and tangental... there have been some interesting things but i wouldnt bother... i will finish it though... called By Hook or By Crook by some bloke who could make it a bit more fun. i prefer mark Forsyth in this kinda thing. i feel a bit mean to say that though cos there are interesting bits too. he hasnt got a lot of spark though oh well i was just reading it and was inspired to post this instead.. back to reading

Whenever I read the word 'carbohydrates', I always want to say it so that it rhymes with 'Socrates'.

The Book Thief by whoever wrote it. Reading it in one hour sessions twice a week and I'm about half way done. I like it so far.

Also what @Peter Arvidson and @MichaelEpic said.

Darn it, @Trendall, now I'm going to be pronouncing "carbohydrates" like that for the rest of my life. Sad

that reminds me of one of my poet friend's poem. i don't know if you have "araldite" a two- part epoxy glue that you mix to activate, anyway he has a poem about two burly men stuck in a hug unable to separate and the payoff rhymes with aphrodite the god...... araldite, the god of male bonding Smile

sorry for the spoiler but if you wanna see the whole routine... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pHRmsUfIs0

@wobbie wobbit, if you're interested in "fascinating language stuff" you should read "Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue" by John McWhorter. A really good exploration of the roots of the English language.

Black Hole Blues by Patrick Wensink. Kind of fun little novel, quick read, featuring "Nashville's Shakespeare," the great washed-up country singer J. Claude Caruthers. And a black hole.

Hope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer. It's a quick read. It's like the best beach read ever written. It's a harlequin bromance for disgruntled lefties like me. Biden and Obama team up to solve a mystery in classic noir fashion.

Last year I had vertigo so often I virtually gave up reading, which was like not really being alive, for me. But I'm back reading mostly stuff by my writing group and writer friends, except of course for Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic prequel, The Rules of Magic.

For my songwriter’s workshop, they assigned “so you want to write?” As the reading material. I also ordered “bird by bird” and “art and fear” and read those. When I got home, white surgery, I ordered “Hemingway on writing,” so I will have time to peruse that here in my recovery home recovering from triple bypass. It is a week since the surgery, so now I get 3 weeks or so of convalescence, therapy and rehab to try to get some lyrics done and read the Hemingway. And listen and comment on some folks’ stuff now that my WiFi connection should allow listening. I’ll see y’all around!

Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It by Shane Burley.

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