What are you reading?

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It's that time of the summer again. Wink

I'm always eager for new suggestions for good books to track down.

What interesting fiction or non-fiction have you folks been enjoying over the past couple of months?

Anything that's inspired you to write a song or lyric on the basis of a story or characters? Or the title?

At the moment, I'm plodding through a series of quite reasonable crime/thriller novels by Laura Lippman. Just finished a few good ones by Mick Herron (a very good writer, with delightful turns of phrase that often had me laughing out loud). Lovely dry humour even amidst the murder and mayhem. I've also recently finished a few of John Le Carre's books. Another excellent storyteller.

On the literature front, I love 'History of the Rain' by Niall Williams. Wonderful writing.
Also, 'We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves' by Karen Joy Fowler.
And 'Then We Came to the End' by Joshua Ferris.
As well as 'A Fraction of the Whole' by Steve Toltz.
Not to forget 'Etta and Otto and Russell and James'. Lovely book by the Canadian writer Emma Hooper.

I'm reading some shadowrun... never deal with a dragon.

It's interesting and has a lot of weird vocabulary I'm not familiar with. Smile

Currently reading 'The Bricks that Built the Houses' by the multi-talented Kate Tempest. The book takes the characters she created for her album 'Everybody Down' and expands their stories into a novel - a pretty good novel.

After that it'll either be Doris Lessing's 'The Marriages Between Zones 3,4 and 5' or Paul Mason's 'Postcapitalism' - depending on whether I can face political non-fiction when I finish Kate Tempest's book.

@Donna Devine a couple of years ago I went on a month long Laura Lippman feast...read a bunch of her books...enjoyed them immensely!

Love John Le Carre! The Constant Gardener, The Tailor of Panama, and The Night Manager etc. Currently I am reading 'Outlier' by Malcom Gladwell of whom I am mildly interested. I am currently in need of a Summer sci-fi thriller now that the Juno mission is pretty much confirmng A.C. Clark's take on Jupiter.

@JamKar - I was a big Gladwell fan but haven't read anything of his in a few years. My favorite piece by him is an article he wrote (maybe for the New Yorker?) about why drafting a quarterback for the NFL is such a crap-shoot.
I read way too much political stuff online - it's like a car wreck I keep looking at again and again. But I'm also reading The Hobbit (daughter and I saw all the movies) and the Yoga Sutra (I try to do a sutra a day). And I have a stack of magazines (Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Discover, Yoga Journal) that I'm working my way through.

A book by a new author: Sweet Secrets by Stephanie Wieppert. It's an easy read, fantasy story about magic spells that are confections... Lovely little book!

Well Donna, I'm surely glad you asked. Currently I'm reading Art as Experience by John Dewey (about aesthetics) and Dickens' classic David Copperfield. And when I say I'm reading them I mean they are firmly placed on my nightstand...and they stay there. Smile

What I'm actually reading is Ira Gershwin - the Art of a Lyricist by Philip Furia.

Just finished The Polysyllabic Spree, a collection of Nick Hornby articles about what books he bought and read, month by month. Before that, The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. Parker, my first mystery by Parker but it definitely won't be my last as I'm about to start the second. Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert which was a bit dry and list-y at times, but pretty life affirming and fun when he gets into all the real characters he knew in his newspaper and movie gigs.

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (been reading this loooong book for a looong time)
The Poisoner's Handbook about early forensic medicine
Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs by fawmer Erik Didriksen!!!

I've been on an Alexander McCall Smith kick, and have finished up reading all the "The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency" Series. Now I've moved on to some of his other novels.

Also just finished Bill Bryson's "The Road to Little Dribbling"

Or winter in the South, @Donna Devine Smile I actually read much more during to colder months, and the library system of South Australia makes a joke of my old rural Utah library. I've read so much in the last few months it might be my excuse for a slow start to 50/90. I have to finish "Green Mars" by Kim Stanley Robinson today, so I can return it to the library before we leave for the USA. His Mars trilogy is seriously epic. I've also recently read Suzanne Collins' 'Gregor the Overlander' series with my son, 'Villa Incognito' by Tom Robbins, the first two 'Tearling' novels by Erika Johansen, 'One Man's Wilderness' by Sam Keith, and the 'Leviathan' series by Scott Westerfeld... I read more when it's cold and wet outside.

Right now I just started "The Book of Speculation" by Erika Swyler. So far it seems pretty good. I just finished rereading "Something Wicked This Way comes" by Bradbury, with the idea that I might want to write a song about it. I'm also halfway through "The Life of Elves" by Muriel Barbery, but it's on hold for the moment. I really liked Elegance of a Hedgehog, but this one is much more dreamy, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I will definitely finish it this summer though.

Just read two novels by Katie Schuermann -"House of Living Stones" and "The Choir Immortal", fun little slice-of-life-in-the-Midwest Christian-themed novels. @corinne54 I'm starting into Alexander McCall Smith's "Trains and Lovers" now. Also have to finish Notre Dame of Paris by Victor Hugo (about 1/3 through) and I have some Jasper Fforde on my to-read stack. My reading interests are a little on the eclectic side.

I been reading David Stubbs book Future Days - Krautrock And The Building Of Modern Germany, probably finish it this weekend. Good read. Plan to read Musicophila by Oliver Sacks next, together with some novels in Norwegian I got for Christmas and had forgotten about. Always like to read nonfiction and fiction parallel, can swap when one of them bores me.

Currently reading Much Ado,About MacBeth by Randy McCharles. It's a nominee for a Best Novel Prix Aurora Award and I need to vote in the next two weeks. Might win. Best completed reading this year 5th Season by N K Jemison - creative and compelling. Next up Naomi Novik's Uprooted which has been beating out 5th Season for top awards. Already a fan from her Temeraire series.

Not exactly reading, but... I'm listening to the audiobook version of 'The Daily Adventures Of Mixerman'. This is my third time listening, and I've also read the book a couple of times too.

If you like the film Spinal Tap, you might like this. It's a (kind of) fictional diary of a recording engineer who starts an album session with a band who are on a major label. The audiobook version is really well done... various people playing the different characters, sound effects, songs, etc, and it's great to hear characters like 'Dumb Ass' brought to life

Mixerman was outed a few years back, as a guy called Eric Sarafin. He's recorded various big name artists like Ben Harper and Lifehouse. He claims that the book isn't about any band in particular, but more a bunch of things that he's experienced over the years.

"Perdido Street Station" by China Miéville. He's the author I hadn't read who's been most consistently recommended to me over the last few years, and it hasn't disappointed. I'm going to hit a few more of his this summer. Not great for inspirational subject matter (at least for my style of lyrics), but his use of language and vocabulary has kicked off a number of ideas.

@PeteMurphy, I've come across "Daily Adventures of a Mixerman" a few times, but never pulled the trigger. I'll officially add it to the list.

Also just finished "As You Wish", Cary Elwes' recollection of the making of The Princess Z Bride. Light reading, but stories about Andre the Giant are always fun.

Just started "Looking Around", a collection of short essays about architecture by Witold Rybczynski. Actually a lot more interesting than it sounds. He also wrote"One Good Turn" about the history of the screwdriver, and "Home", an exploration of the concept of "home" throughout history. Fascinating stuff.

@metalfoot I just finished "Trains and Lovers" recently and am now reading "La's Orchestra Saves the World" Smile

I'm currently reading the complete works of Mark Twain, after reading "Connecticut Yankee" and realising just how relevant it is today.

I am still reading a lot of SF; I heartily recommend the "Ack-Ack Macaque" trilogy (Ack-Ack Macaque, Hive Monkey and Macaque Attack) by Gareth Powell, and I'm not just saying that 'cos he's a mate. Smile If you prefer fantasy, try "The Pagan Night" by Tim Akers. @john_a China's follow-up New Crobuzon books are well worth getting (Iron Council, The Scar) and I liked some of his other stuff (Kraken is bonkers) and when he's on form, he's unbeatable but some of his recent stuff has left me cold.

As I said last year, if you're into SF, you need to read Jeff Vandermeer's "Area X" trilogy. It's a landmark work. Annihilation is currently being filmed and the locations look incredible.

Oh, and @Donna Devine, @JamKar if you like Le Carré you might be interested in his son's stuff; Nick Harkaway is *brilliant*. Tigerman is probably his most mainstream work but The Gone-Away World absolutely floored me. And Angelmaker is fascinating. Recommended, all.

Donna, I loved "We are all..." - great book!

I'm on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/headfirstonly (the username should come as no surprise) should anyone be interested...

The Complete Singer-Songwriter - Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers
Chocteau Creek, A Sioux Reminisence - Joseph Iron Eye Dudley
The Art of Art Therapy - Judith Rubin
Wonderbook, The Illustrated Guide To Creating Imaginative Fiction - Jeff VanDerMeer @headfirstonly have you read that one?

@AndyGetch I have indeed - I recommended it last year!

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Impolite Conversations - Cora Daniels and John L. Jackson, Jr.
Feminism Unfinished - Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, Astrid Henry
Fast Girl - Suzy Favor Hamilton
The Genius of Michael Jackson - Steve Knopper

All very interesting reads...well, Fast Girl is a tad pedestrian, but interesting.

Currently: Hiroshima by John Hersey.

Especially good things from recent months:
A Power Stronger Than Itself by George E. Lewis
Improvisation by Derek Bailey
Erasure by Percival Everett
I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett
Percival Everett by Virgil Russell by Percival Everett

I just finished "The Rainbow Comes and Goes" by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. I'm working through "The King's Speech" on audio for about the 4th time. I recently finished Oprah's "What I Know for Sure" which has many pearls of wisdom in it.

I tend to go for non-fiction. I just loaded Diane Rehm's book "On My Own" and am looking forward to digging into that.

The Piano Lesson by August Wilson.

Currently reading "Preston Tucker and his battle to build the car of tomorrow" by Steve Lehto (who @TomS knows). Really good so far and I have always loved that story (and the movie). Smile

Currently reading "A Walk In The Woods" by Bill Bryson. It's about walking the Appalachian Trail. You might call it somewhat pedestrian. "Dear Theo", a collection of letters by Vincent Van Gogh to his brother, inspired my recent "A Painter's Heart".

I'm reading "Life of Pi" for fun. Also a very interesting book about the diversity of Islam in the U.S., "Journey Into America," by sociologist Akbar Ahmed, for a reading group.

King Hedley II by August Wilson.

The Assassination of Fred Hampton by Jeffery Haas.

Just finished Elvis Costello's memoir "Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink" which was a struggle. Very long. Elvis, my man, it could have been half the length! But there are tons of amazing stories and interesting tidbits about how he writes. Worth it in the end. And it made me order both seasons of his TV show, which I had been unaware of, where he interviews and plays with a selection of genius musicians every week.

@ZeCoop, Steve will be absolutely tickled! My oldest friend, going all the way back to high school and the time of New Wave music. Biggrin

Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami.

A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block.

Seven Guitars by August Wilson.

I just started reading "Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories" by Rob Brotherton. I'm only about a hundred pages in, but so far, there are some fascinating insights about the psychology of conspiracy theories and how they're a predictable product of how our brains work.

Nile Rogers Le Freak, Nile Rogers,
- and many text type books, always going through

What find interesting is how he writes, as a person, person, his "stuff". He does it so well, I, for some reason, or that reason, can relate to him, just, so well. We have nothing in common, and everything in common. There are not many I'd call a musical genius, but, I'd say that about him.

An anecdote, concerning tenacity, -- he's self taught (in great, great depth, self taught) on "guitar" ... and, at the young age he started, yet, confused, still trying, trying to "get it right"... --then one day someone tuned it for him, correctly. Gestalt... ! One can be so disconnected and "poor", yet, want something so much... How many would have given up on their self, for the Chords not sounding correct.

King Suckerman by George Pelecanos.

Just finished Nothing More than Murder by Jim Thompson, now starting The Sweet Forever by George Pelecanos.

Also recently looked at (except for the introduction there's no text) A Journey by Si Lewen. It's pretty remarkable. You can see it and more of Si Lewen's work here: http://www.silewen.com/new/contents.html (The images in the book version of A Journey are larger than those online, so if you can get your hands on that I recommend it. Maybe your library has it. Mine did.)

Just picked up Robot Gilbraith's Something about a clock tower. That thing was engaged at the library forever! So only just got the opportunity now. I like to check out what the ole j/k peeps up to.
Also, just got a book by Reinhold Neibuhr - who I'd never heard of - author of the serenity prayer, and other books which, I understand, are popular where I'm not around.

Kate tempester. Not overly familiar but supposed to be interesting. Let us know more sober Smile @atitlan

Also, another popular book I'm interested in reading, and like to hear from otters who have read it - The War of Art. A shell fish book for people with creative ambitions.

Shame the Devil by George Pelecanos.

Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (comic books). Highly recommended for both men and women. You WILL be inspired, and most likely you will both laugh and cry.

16th century logic texts. Smile

Lethal Injection by Jim Nisbet.

The Infernal by Mark Doten.

"Are We Born Racist? New Insights From Neuroscience and Positive Psychology" by various authors.


"James Madison" by Richard Brookhiser.

The Gateless Gate. It's kicking my butt too!

Snitch World by Jim Nisbet.