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26 September 2013

What are we reading these days? [More:]I'm doing a lot of reading for school, of course. Mostly on the history of healthcare policy and form. I just started the assigned chapters from this book this morning, and I think it's going to be a great read. I think anyone interested in the history of healthcare policy and the Presidency might find it accessible.

I also finished Craig Ferguson's memoir this weekend, and found it very enjoyable. Glad it was good, it might be my last library read for awhile.
TPS, the healthcare policy book looks really interesting. I may try and get it from the library.

I'm reading mostly fantasy/fluff books. I just finished Rae Carson's series (probably YA) and it was fun. Also read the new Yasmine Galenorn book (paranormal romance, really) - I liked it, but thought that the action didn't progress very far in this one.

Other than that, I'm taking an introduction to financial accounting class through coursera, so that is what is occupying my time. (So I'm bouncing between fae/fantasy and debits and credits!)
posted by needlegrrl 26 September | 07:31
I'm on the second book of Robert Caro's LBJ biography series. It's truly gripping stuff. I'm reading the books super slowly though, because I was so busy all of last year that it was hard enough keeping up with my two magazine subscriptions. Getting back into reading now.
posted by gaspode 26 September | 07:33
I just finished the last installment of Wool aka the Silo Saga. I'm not much of a sci-fi reader but I really enjoyed it.

posted by mullacc 26 September | 07:49
I'm reading Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. It's very interesting, but my high stress level is really dictating that I read something a bit more fluffy, or at least less intellectual. Not sure what, though. Suggestions welcome. The last book that really sucked me in was Gone Girl. I read Gillian Flynn's other two books, but didn't like either nearly as much.
posted by amro 26 September | 08:17
I just started For the Term of His Natural Life, a fictionalized account of the early years of Australia as a penal colony. An Aussie friend picked it off of his mother's book shelf on his last trip back home, and has just raved about it.
I recently read Wave, which is heartbreaking but very well done.
I also read Gone Girl earlier this year and got a much bigger kick out of it than I expected.
posted by msali 26 September | 08:35
The upside to having a baby who will only nap in his sling or stroller is that I get a lot of reading done while he sleeps. Just finished the Mulberry Empire by Philip Hensher, now halfway through the Cider House Rules (which I'm galloping through). I don't understand enough about British colonial history to fully appreciate the former, but I'm enjoying the latter a lot.
posted by altolinguistic 26 September | 09:33
The quality of September sunlight always makes me want to read Halloween-ish books. I was on a Sarah Waters kick, and reread all five of her novels. Which has put me in a modern Victoriana mood, so now I'm rereading The Meaning of Night, mainly because I want to then reread its sequel.

(When I tried to put links to Amazon in this comment, I got an error message saying "invalid URLs." Help?)
posted by occhiblu 26 September | 10:00
I'm trying to read things that will make me laugh. Not having much luck -- suggestions?
posted by JanetLand 26 September | 10:17
I was trying to choose between two books for my nephew's eleventh birthday present -- Shi Nai'an's Water Margin or Yoshikawa Eiji's Musashi -- so I picked up the former to read a little and remind myself whether it was age appropriate. I'm glad I did: though Water Margin's generally right up his alley (probably half of all Shaw Brothers kung fu movies are based on stories from it) there are certain passages depicting punishment of women for adultery and other acts of violent outlawry that require more of a grounding in Chinese cultural history and relative morality than the boy probably has, and is thus not age-appropriate. I sent him the Musashi book instead, which I think he'll really enjoy.

Anyway, after starting Water Margin I'm bound to finish it because it's a hell of a ride (and I like to bring something episodic to read on the can).

I recently finished a somewhat problematic book written in the 1960's, mostly about white English experience in post-colonial Kenya, Uhuru by Robert Ruark. It was gripping and had the ring of truth to it, but seeing that struggle from the perspective of embittered ex-colonials takes some getting used to and left a bad taste in my mouth. It's a thrilling story, but not for everyone.

I've been taking a long time with Peter Stothard's Spartacus Road -- I keep forgetting it in my backpack -- but I'm always happy when I find it again and read a little more. It's quite rewarding and scratches my classicist itch.

I am slowly making my way through collections of essays by Orwell, Montaigne, and Didion, and I am about to start Intizar Husain's Basti, a novel of the establishment of Pakistan.

I've probably mentioned Inoue Yasushi's Tun-Huang, a masterpiece of speculative historical fiction. My brother gave it to me in May, and I've read it three times since then. It's excellent subway reading, really puts you into a different place and time. You risk missing your stop, though.

I indulge myself by reading relatively mindless pulp fantasy series while watching sports. I recently finished Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire trilogy, which started with promise but became somewhat tedious by the end. I found the same to be true of Matthew Stover's Acts of Caine books: really great up front, but the last book in particular was a letdown.

Right now my junk fix is satisfied by Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series, which is pretty good so far. I'm in the middle of the fifth book, which is a bit of a departure from the first four, but so far it holds my attention and continues to introduce characters and concepts worthy of attention. I burn through a book in a day or two, depending on how compelling the footie in the background is.

Not bad at all.
posted by Hugh Janus 26 September | 10:24
The best book I've read this year is A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. It's been longlisted for the National Book Award. About the Chechen wars in the 90s, so it's not a light read, but I found it compelling.

I've also been reading crime fiction by Adrian McKinty. He has written two trilogies with strong main characters from Northern Ireland in which the dialogue is witty and the action is riveting. The Dead Trilogy (Michael Forsythe) and the Troubles Trilogy (Sean Duffy; the third book is out in March).

I'm currently reading We, the Drowned, by Carsten Jensen. It's a Danish novel with a nautical theme.
posted by initapplette 26 September | 10:35
I really enjoyed We, the Drowned.
posted by Hugh Janus 26 September | 10:40
I'm reading two at the moment, because one makes me really uncomfortable. I think it's important that I read it but I have to take breaks from it.

The uncomfortable book is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. It discusses, well, eating animals, from all kinds of perspectives including animal welfare, factory farming, hunting and the environment. I have tried very hard not to examine my behavior in this regard and this book is forcing me to look in the mirror.

The other book I'm reading now is Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker. I think I'll have to read it again to really make sense of it; like The Gone-Away World the plot starts out kinda all over the place. It's pretty promising, though.
posted by workerant 26 September | 10:57
Y'all read such fancy books. I'm re-reading Arrow's Flight for the millionth time, while also in the middle of Fairy Magick and Supreme Splendor. And I'm still slowly slogging my way through The Myth of the Goddess, which is basically a textbook. A very good textbook, but dry and textbook-y nonetheless.
posted by sperose 26 September | 11:58
I was recreating my personal library as it was when I graduated high school, but then the US Postal Service pissed me off, and I am again boycotting ebay sellers who use them.
posted by Ardiril 26 September | 14:16
Maddaddam and the music writer Marc Spitz's memoir.
posted by brujita 26 September | 15:27
Sperose - yes! I can't tell you how many times I've reread the valdemar series..

Janetland - are you a fan of the bloggess? Because if you are, her book made me laugh out loud. So does her blog, though.
posted by needlegrrl 26 September | 15:43
I'll give it a try, thanks needlegrrl.
posted by JanetLand 26 September | 18:45
I've had Beautiful Ruins and Are You My Mother? by the bed with stacks of half perused old New Yorkers and Vanity Fair.

The latest David Sedaris had me laughing aloud with the bits I hadn't read elsewhere, and then recounting part to a friend, I could barely stop laughing. I haven't read many books that make me laugh in a long time, but it's weird what will make me laugh.
I've been wanting to read Gone Girl and things fluffy without being boring-- that's a very thin line.
I wish we could just do book swaps.
I have stuff waiting for the right time and denser things, but then there are maybe three books I will consume as soon as they are out in a month or two.

I will never get this reading on the can thing. I guess guys sometimes sit and wait for things to happen(?) instead of getting in and out?
It's not a good place to be for lengths of time. It makes me think of Danny Glover's legs going dead in Lethal Weapon or my first day in a medical office which started with the business of someone having died on the toilet. That's not uncommon.

Having to read badly written things I'd rather not has really changed my reading habits, not to mention time. Without a doubt, most of my reading is online.
posted by ethylene 26 September | 19:04
I wish we could just do book swaps.

Oh my goodness, I would *love* a MeCha book swap. Assuming anyone still reads paper books. I have no idea how that would work -- random swap? some sort of system? -- but I'd be down for participating and/or organizing.
posted by occhiblu 26 September | 19:12
It's kind of cost prohibitive. I thought about it and it's almost the same as someone getting a used copy. Factor in the lack of follow through and lots of other things make more sense.
posted by ethylene 26 September | 20:26
I will never get this reading on the can thing. I guess guys sometimes sit and wait for things to happen(?) instead of getting in and out?

There are two things driving it. One is my bad guts. Things just don't come out quickly for me. I usually bring a bottle of water in with me, and after the initial push, I drink half the bottle, which seems to displace the next rush, and then after a bit I straighten up and drink the second half. Third time's a charm: it's usually mostly liquid, but it's nice to get those final squirts out of there.

Of course, all this water drinking means I'll have to piss a few times within the next twenty minutes but when that's all done, I feel completely empty and ready for anything. I like to read during this whole process. There are only so many secrets to be gleaned from the tile pattern on the bathroom floor.

The other half of the story has to do with my childhood. Doors weren't really for closing in my house, and if I did choose to close my bedroom door, it could be opened at any point with or without a knock by either of my parents, usually checking to make sure I was doing whatever I was supposed to be doing. So if I wanted to dawdle on my homework and read comic books instead, there was only one room in the house where I could be guaranteed my privacy: the bathroom.

Whether I was procrastinating during homework or slacking during violin practice, I'd take some reading material in there and sit on the john. Sometimes my folks would call upstairs to ask what I was doing, or stand outside the bathroom door and ask if everything was alright. The magic words were, "I'm making a stinky!"

Of course after I crapped, I'd wipe my ass, pull up my pants, and sit on the closed lid so that the poop wouldn't dry on my tushy. Of utmost importance was waiting to flush until I was ready to leave the bathroom, keeping the smell fresh so nobody would think I was just hanging around in there after I'd finished my business.

So perhaps reading in the bathroom also gives me a sense of security and relaxation that dates from childhood. It's my oasis of calm, my walled garden, my sanctum sanctorum, my fortress of solitude.
posted by Hugh Janus 26 September | 20:33
Common And Control, the big new book on nuclear weapon near misses.

It's ...not a comforting read.
posted by The Whelk 26 September | 23:15
I've been re-reading the Sue Grafton Alphabet series, which I have on my Kindle in its entirety (at least up until the last one, she's not quite reached the end of the alphabet. I like the Kinsey Millhone character and I'm enjoying following how her life develops in each novel. I'm up to "M is for Malice" right now.

In the bathroom I have a computer magazine and a homeware catalogue.
posted by Senyar 27 September | 01:43
Listening to The Storyteller (when I drive) and Beauitful Ruin (when I walk.)

Reading on my Kindle Dick Francis' Gamble and Blood of Dragons

Reading in actual book form Lone Wolf and The Sandcastle Girls and A World on Fire and (at a glacial pace) Finnegan's Wake

posted by bearwife 02 October | 12:49
But do I go back to class? And am I overthinking this. || George HW Bush signed the marriage license for a lesbian couple.