What are you reading?

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At the moment, I'm reading a fascinating book about birds:'The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future' by Jim Robbins. Might even get a lyric or two out of this one.

Prior to that, I'd been binging on a few of Stephen King's books. His writing has sure improved over the last several years. (Either that or he has a better editor.) In any case, he's one darn good storyteller, and creates wonderful characters. When I've finished the bird book, I'll be jumping back to King. Plan to re-read 'The Stand', among others.

Any books you can recommend? Reading anything you feel might inspire a lyric or a song?

I'm presently in the middle of Bill Bryson's "One Summer", a 450 page history about the eventful summer of 1927.
Probably gonna write a song about Fordlandia, Henry Ford's totally insane attempt to build a fine upstanding American community in the middle of the Brazilian jungle.

@Donna Devine, I agree, King is a great storyteller and has a fantastic ear for dialogue.
I kinda burned out on him a while ago, though; too many substandard books, in my opinion.
What might you suggest I read of his recent stuff?

@tcelliott; smartass. Wink

Information about "Iron" Mike Tyson possibly coming out of retirement to the tune of 20 million dollars, yo.

Gordon Thomas and Greg Lewis - Defying Hitler.

So far, they appear to be in favour of doing so.

Just Finished Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore. It's the second in a series and the third just came out (Shakespeare for Squirrels) which I'll probably start tomorrow, but I realized that the second has been collecting dust on my shelf. In between I'm reading Othello because my brother suggested a song from Iago's perspective would be a good addition to my Shakespeare songs series. Damn straight too. I mean is the a better villain in all Shakespeare? I love the part in the beginning where Rodrigo is all sad and considering drowning himself and Iago is all "Why would you do that? That's what you do to cats and blind puppies."

@katpiercemusic; "Othello" is a damn fine play. Maybe my favorite Shakespeare. Iago is a bad bad boy.

The Plague by Albert Camus

Ever since I got my Kindle last September I am reading so much more! I currently have a bunch of books in progress! Below are some of them.
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If It Bleeds by Stephen King

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John Prine Beyond Words by John Prine

Mark Twain: The Complete Novels by Mark Twain

Otherland: City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (rereading for the 2nd time)

The Stand by Stephen King (rereading for the umpteenth time)

The 32nd Golden Age of Science Fiction by Frederik Pohl

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

I've been reading a bunch of books by Emily St John Mandel, she's really good at writing books about slightly broken people getting wrapped up in criminal activities. Although her best book is Station Eleven, which is about a pandemic, so I'm glad I read that one a while ago before it got too painfully topical, haha.

Have also read a couple of Ursula Le Guin novels for the first time this year, very much enjoyed those (The Dispossessed and The Lathe of Heaven).

Reading a little collection of 17th century Chinese ghost stories now as a palate cleanser (Wailing Ghosts by Pu Songling) and then I'll start something new.

@Fuzzy, I'll have to check my Kindle for the latest King books I've been reading. One of them, though, is a fantastic book of four short stories called 'If It Bleeds'.

Another one is 'The Outsider'. And 'The Institute'. I'll get back to you with the others. Oh, just remembered: 'Mr Mercedes', plus the two follow-up books.

I agree about 'Othello'. Probably my favourite, next to 'Macbeth'.

@Vom Vorton I love Ursula LeGuin. Be sure to read 'Left Hand of Darkness'.

Funnily enough, last week I re-read the Alice books. I've recently retired, and was so used to scanning/skimming brief descriptions of medical claims, that I'm not accustomed to reading full length novels as yet. I plan to go back and re-read some of my books first - like those by Bill Bryson that I have in the house (since libraries are currently closed). And some books in the house I've yet to read!

Recently read "Book of Dust" volumes 1 and 2 by Philip Pullman and, given where the second one ended, am now looking forward to the third being released. Also read 'Sapiens' by Yuval Noah Harari and 'Subliminal' by Leonard Mlodinow - both books that make you think.

Trying to decide what I'm going to read next - I've still got '1Q84' by Haruki Murakami to read, so as it's time for some fiction again, that's looking likely.

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle. Read it years ago but happened to stumble across a copy. Almost done. @atitlan, I love Philip Pullman -- I have a YA book of his ready to read (The Broken Bridge). I really know him for the His Dark Materials trilogy -- amazingly creative!

Also earlier this year read Grit by Angela Duckworth and Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. Highly recommended reads for the science and sociology of success.

@Fuzzy I had a hard time not reading it like a comedy. The irony is so heavy handed. "Oh thank goodness you are such a good and honest friend, Iago. Imagine what terrible things would befall me if you were deceitful. Haha! You're such a good guy!"

A friend of mine gave me "Our Mutual Friend" by Charles Dickens. Eventually I will go back to it. It's funny, but it's super dense.

dzd's picture
winnerdzd

Reading that King "If it bleeds" as well, also enjoyed his last series Mr. Mercedes, and most stuff he's written last 10ish years, haven't read The Outsider yet, but he did seem to step his work up a bit. Hard to bash someone with that large a body of writing though Smile There's bound to be some duds.

@atitlan I really liked that IQ84, I have the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle of his as well i need to finish.

@crisp1 - The Book of Dust trilogy fits around 'His Dark Materials' - Book 1 is a prequel; Book 2 follows Lyra into her 20s.

@dzd - I've read quite a few of Murakami's books - he has a great talent for taking a story from banal normality to somewhere surreal with you hardly noticing it happen. I can recommend most of them, but I'll highlight 'Norwegian Wood' and 'Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World' (the latter sounds like the title of a hideously overblown 70s prog album!)

dzd's picture
winnerdzd

@atitlan that's a great description of his work! He came highly recommended from a gal I've always talked books with, I might of stopped reading a few chapters in had I not been told I'd love his stuff, and she's never been wrong. It was that 70s prog album liner notes I read first hahah, will check out Norwegian Wood, he was someone who slipped my radar for a long time, been playing catch-up last couple years(big sci-fi fan).

Yesterday I read "Heavenly Breakfast" by Samuel R. Delany.
It's a slightly fictionalized memoir of his time spent in a New York City commune during the winter of 1967/68.
If you've read his magnum opus "Dhalgren", this is a perfect companion piece; it reveals how many of the ideas and themes of that novel came to be.
A highly recommended read for anyone interested in communal living situations or anyone interested in an alternate take on the late 1960's.

dzd's picture
winnerdzd

@Fuzzy I read "Dhalgren" quite some time back, probably worth another read....I just remember it made no damn sense, but I loved it hahah. Thanks! I had even forgotten about it....I'll add Heavenly Breakfast to a super long list of stuff I'll probably never get to Wink

Yeah, @dzd, those are my thoughts about Dhalgren as well; "it made no damn sense but I loved it." Almost 800 pages of experimental literature. Both frustrating and wonderful in equal measure.

The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton

Just downloaded (and ordered two signed hard back copies) of Derek Siver's new boog on pre-order. I guess it pays to be on his email list.

I'm about a quarter of the way through "The Autobiography Of A Super-Tramp" by W H Davies, first published in 1908. (Yes, the band got its name from this book)
It's the true story of an Englishman's travels around the United States and Canada as a homeless beggar.
Filled with that wonderful deadpan, dry humour found only in English literature of a certain vintage.
My favourite story so far concerns a judge (holding court in the back room of a saloon) who fines Davies three dollars for riding the trains illegally, and then goes up front to the bar and orders drinks for everyone and pays with the fine money.

dzd's picture
winnerdzd

@Fuzzy ah, a simpler time when everyone benefited, the judge didn't just have to pay hush money, or pay off his benefactors for getting him appointed to the bench in the first place, or go invest it in some hedge-fund Smile , but I digress(and will add that one to the list as well)....sounds interesting, and hadn't heard of it before.

Finished Kings newest one, was pretty good. Started 'Dhalgren" again this morning. Will see if my opinion changed in the probably 15years since I first read it.

@billwhite51. I will be starting Bolton’s book this week.

I've been reading "Hamilton:the revolution" a deep dive (with complete lyrics, annotated, back stories, etc) of the Lin Manuel-Miranda musical "Hamilton".

really incredible stuff. I saw the original cast on Broadway back in about 2016. They filmed the play back around then with the original cast, which was not going to be shown until 2021, but with the pandemic, its going to be shown on the disney plus channel streaming starting this coming weekend.

Edward Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul
Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance
(re-reading) Anne LaMott - Bird By Bird

I'm presently in the middle of "London - The Biography" by Peter Ackroyd, an immense 800 page history of that city, which I'm finding really interesting.
Just today I picked up a comprehensive history of the Tudors, as well as a copy of "Northanger Abbey", as surprisingly I have never read any Jane Austen.

I tend to read in the bathtub to relax (thanks, waterproof Kindle!). Traditionally I read a lot of sci-fi / horror / superhero / humorous work (what might be considered "genre" fiction), but lately I find myself reading a lot of Young Adult romance and humorous novels, the kinds of things where the problems aren't that significant and a happy -- or at least not tragic -- ending is guaranteed. Can't imagine why I'm gravitating towards such material these days, even though I'm someone who hasn't been a "young" adult for quite a long while. Wink And in all honesty, a lot of these books are very fun and enjoyable, if often formulaic. I've started venturing into adult "chick-lit" (sorry to use that term) too; not "romance" in the sense of Harlequin (not that there's anything wrong with that), but books with a strong light-hearted, fun, relationship angle.

IA's picture
DonatedIA

I don't really ever read novels. Currently in the middle of How To Win Friends and Influence People... oh and Power of Now, tho I've read that before.

Hey @OdilonGreen, have you read "Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits" by David Wong? Might be right up your alley. Superheroes, humour, sci fi. Really cartoony. Same guy who wrote "John Dies At The End".

@Fuzzy, I haven’t read Futuristic Violence yet, but it’s on my (long) to-read list, as I’m a huge fan of the John Dies trilogy!

I’m reading a group of books on racism. I live just outside the twin cities so have been touched by local events. I’ve finished “How to be an Anti-racist” and “White Fragility”, and am now listening to “The New Jim Crow”. I’m also reading “The Secret Life of Trees” and making my way through the “Wheel of Time” series- on book six. It’s a mix of paper, kindle, and audio.

I'm also doing some reading on racism. Currently reading "White Fragility", which I checked out as an ebook from the library. It's due tomorrow and I'm probably not going to finish, so I will have to revisit that one. My husband and I both accidentally each ordered "How to be an Antiracist", so that is next.

I'm also reading "The Modern Herbal Dispensatory" to go along with an herbal medicine course I'm taking.

@darcistrutt I've been meaning to read "The Secret Life of Trees" for awhile, and I know several folks here have read it and recommended it. I don't find much time for reading in my day, so not sure when/if I will ever get to that one Sad

@pfoo our library is opening all these books up. Maybe you can extend. Trees is amazing, and it’s this type of thread that inspired me to read it.

After 10 years of this thread on FAWM, I can finally participate (what i can say, I am not well read in the slightest...)

I've nearly finished the Switched on Pop book, based on the podcast, that delves into some deep analysis of various pop songs, looking at various components that make a good pop song. It's a really good read, and I recommend the podcast.

After this I'll be moving onto Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

i'm far too practical. i'm reading "mixing secrets for the small syudio, second edition."
i don't read as much fiction as i used to. i'm still reading ted gioia's "music: a subversive history."

I’m reading “How to Write Trap Music” and “The Latin Hit Maker: From Cuban Refugee to World-Renowned Record Producer/Songwriter.“ Also trying various fiction samples looking for something to hook me. So hard to focus for long these days. hoping 50/90 will help.

@Fuzzy I read his London Under a while back and enjoyed it very much.

I just read Walden for the first time. Thoreau is quite full of himself ("I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors") and advocates his spartan lifestyle without being aware of his own privilege, but he also provides lots of interesting and enlightening meditations on society, nature, solitude, etc. I found it even more interesting to learn about his life, upbringing, and the events leading up to his experiment (e.g. his brother's death, as well as accidentally setting a forest fire that burned 300 acres of woods outside Concord, MA).

Also just finished Eat the Beetles! by David Waltner-Toews, which is an excellent, even-handed exploration of the history and potential future of entomophagy, as well as humanity's complicated relationship with the insect world. Culture, biology, socio-economics, and modern agriculture all play a part. Beatles puns throughout are an added bonus!

In the fictional realm, I've been reading Octavia E. Butler's fabulous Xenogenesis trilogy, which centers on an alien species "saving" humanity by interbreeding--lots of moral and ethical ambiguity, with pointed observations on human nature. Also reading the Mavin Manyshaped series by Sheri S. Tepper, one of my absolute favorite science fiction & fantasy authors. She always creates incredibly unique worlds, and often employs feminist and environmentalist themes in her work (oh, and she's often critical of religion, too. Basically the perfect storm of controversy--see The Gate to Women's Country).

I'm not sure if this will have anything to do with songwriting, unless I write about shape-shifting transcendentalists eating crickets on a space ship.

P.S. @Fuzzy -- Please, oh please write a song about Fordlandia!

@pfoo, if you read nothing else in your life, please read 'The Secret Life of Trees'. Smile

@cleanshoes, thank you for recommending books by Octavia E. Butler and by Sheri S. Tepper. Sounds like they're right up my alley in terms of themes. Smile

@adforperu I might give that 'Switched on Pop' book a shot as well.

@Donna Devine If you're interested in Tepper, Shadow's End is a good one! Beauty is another I liked--took a few chapters for me to warm up to it, but blends fairy tales and sci-fi. And you just can't go wrong with Octavia Butler.

dzd's picture
winnerdzd

@OdilonGreen that one is probably my favorite of his, and I did really enjoy The John Dies series.

finished Dhalgren again, felt about the same hahah gonna have to chew on it a while....but really want to know where his other sandal went Smile

Finally starting for the 2nd or 3rd time "Record of a Spaceborn Few" by Becky Chambers I really enjoyed her first two, just get sidetracked everytime I pick this one up.

Having read Normal People last year, I'm currently reading Sally Rooney's debut - Conversations With Friends

PS - the BBC adaptation of Normal People was very good

Glad you asked! I am reading through the entire run of All-Star Comics from 3 up to 57. I have got all the hardback books (eleven volumes) and have read them over the years as i got them, but don't think i've ever read them in order. No hurry, they represent ten years of comics from the 1940s, so i will no doubt read other stuff in between (like i recently read The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff and i think i am about to read it again it was so nice). I also got a book the other day which is volume two of the Steve Ditko Spider-Man run. I am already quite familiar with the first year or so of that run, but i suspect most of the ones after that i've rarely read, if ever, so i'm looking forward to that, Steve Ditko was a unique guy.

Gonna bump this thread a bit by talking about a few books.

A few days ago I finished "Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen, written in 1795.

Surprisingly, I've never read any Austen, and it turned out to be exactly as I expected it to be.
It was interesting reading about the social mores and expectations of the time (single people dancing with the same person for two dances in a row?!? What a scandal!!).
I found it an amusing light read, although I was often frustrated with the naivete (verging on outright stupidity and ignorance) of the heroine.
I'm gonna pick up a few more of her books (and why not? Fifty cents each at the local second-hand store).

I'm perhaps a quarter of the way through "The Tudors" by G.J. Meyer.

This is a totally interesting history detailing the antics of one of England's most famous dynasties.
Meyer clearly explains the very complex and involved goings-on of the 16th and early 17th centuries.
If you are at all interested in the history of the Tudors or English history in general then I highly recommend this book.

Although the cover looks a bit like a romance novel.
I actually had to flip through it before I bought it to make sure it was in fact a history as opposed to trashy fiction.

I don't usually get political, but I'm seeing a lot of parallels between Henry VIII and Donald Trump.

Currently I'm reading "The Secrets We Kept." I love nonfiction about history, politics, culture, etc. and I almost never read fiction, but this year I've been making an effort to read more of it, especially popular contemporary stuff. I like historical fiction more than I thought I would, knowing it's not real and there are usually a lot of historical inaccuracies. I'm somehow able to enjoy the stories of it - who woulda thought?

@Fuzzy I enjoyed your description of that historical novel. Makes me want to read it as well. Wink

Meanwhile, I'm in the final stretch of Stephen King's 'Needful Things'. What a great storyteller! So good with characterisation and dialogue.
And he's still a dab hand at depicting evil. Wink

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