What Are You Reading? Yeah, You!

Either gaming news has withered lately or I've become apathetic as warm spring weather has started to hit Baltimore. (Just to let you know, the uncapitalized "spring" is brought to you by rule #1 on this site I just Googled. I only checked the one source. After all, if it's on the Web it has to be true.) When the front page begins to look a little weak, I like to resort to a community-fostering group project like this article. Let's begin with a question. What are you reading and has your choice been influenced at all by the war?

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I just finished William Gibson's new novel Pattern Recognition. (The italicized title was brought to you by this other site I just Googled.) I have to start this with a little disclaimer since Neuromancer was one of those defining books for me. You know the kind. When it feels like the author wrote the book just for you? Ahh...good times.

So there wasn't much hesitation when I saw his shiny new hardcover sitting on display. I'm about to reveal basic information about the book...nothing spoily. This is his first book that takes place in the present. I almost put the book back down as soon as I noticed this. After all, the whole reason I read his books is because of the brilliant futures he paints. However I kept reading because the language still felt right. He talks about things that are very familiar to us. He mentions the Apple Macintosh Cube, and uses Google as a verb, and even talks about the sociology of Web forums. He talks about these things with complete confidence and an intimate (or very well researched) knowledge. I'm sure we have all cringed at a TV show, movie or book that touches on something technical but gets it all wrong. For me it's like in The Sopranos' first season when Tony was playing Mario Kart with his son and was holding the N64 controller in one hand like a remote control. I held my breath a few times while reading the book, waiting for the same thing to happen, but it never did. Gibson clearly understands his subject matter.

I can't really write a detailed review of the book. I never know how much to tell, and I actually hate to tell anything at all. One of the joys of reading a book is that, if it's a good one, it's unpredictable. The story is engaging because it's unfamiliar to you. Even if I tell you that a book concerns the death of a shipping magnate and the resulting manhunt, I've probably already given too much away. Note: Pattern Recognition does not concern the death of a shipping magnate or resulting manhunt.

Gibson's talent with the English language gives very non-fiction topics a sci-fi aura that should be comforting to the fans of his earlier books. He approaches subjects like September 11th, high fashion and branding, and even jet lag as if he was learning about them for the first time, uninfluenced by anything known about them before. It is this fresh perspective on contemporary life permeating an already intriguing storyline that made this book such a great read for me. I'm ready for his next.

Comments

Im tempted to dig into "The Federalist Papers" for some peculiar reason 

I'm currently reading the latest issue of the U.S. version of Shonen Jump. It's packed with the coolest little manga stories. Sure it's marketed towards kids, but that just means I don't have to worry about naughty tentacles making any cameos. My wife, not normally a manga fan, is actually devouring the mags. Color me subscribed! Also, that magazine just fires up my drawing adrenaline. I love it.

I'm reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Excellent book so far, though it did take a while to finally get off of the ground. It's a very unique blend of historical accuracy with regards to medieval lifestyles and government, while throwing in almost mythology-like fantasy elements. I'm liking it.

I just finished reading "Mercy Among the Children" by David Adams Richards. The book is outstanding, and I highly recommend it. I've been focusing of late on Canadian authors (including all of the works of Wayne Johnston and greatly enjoyed them). Being Canadian, I certainly appreciate that there is such a varierty of incredibly talented writers from Canada. I read a lot of books and I'm trying to sample more from different countries in the world as opposed to exclusively US authors.

varierty? Me write'm reel guud, yah.

George R.R. Martin is great and I've really enjoyed the series of which Game of Thrones is part of, but he takes too damned long to release his subsequent books. They'll inhabit Jupiter sooner than he'll finish his series.

I stopped reading several books when I managed to forget to take any of them to the airport for a recent trip.  With only a few minutes before boarding began I rushed to the Airport bookstore and picked up a Complete Hitch Hiker's Guide to The Galaxy (all 5 books in 1).  I'd read the first long ago, loved it and never moved on to the next.  Boy did I miss out.  What an amazingly witty and intelligent series.  Makes me wish Douglas Adams was still around to write more. 

Damn, so funny.  If you've never picked up Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and you have any sense of humor whatsoever then you must run, I said run Mister!, to the bookstore and buy his work.

Do it now!

- Elysium

Currently reading books about videogames. Screenplay edited by Geoff King, and Game Over about nintendo.

HHGTG is very funny -- especially the first two books. After that it trails off a bit. If you like Douglas Adams (RIP), I'm a bigger fan of the Dirk Gentley's series. Highly recommended. And of course, in that veign, the absolutely hilarious Discworld series by Terry Pratchet cannot be recommended highly enough.

The Skrayling Tree by Michael Moorcock.
What If? 2
The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire (Vol 1 of 6) by Gibbon.

Wow, Michael Moorcock. I haven't read any of his books in ages. I still have a full Elric collection of the old books (hadn't realized there were any newer ones) and the Chronicles of Corum packed away in boxes somewhere. That and the Stormbringer RPG (wicked art!) too.

I've just started reading A Storm of Swords and it's pretty good thus far. The books may be coming out every 2-3 years or so, but at least the really move along. All I can think of is how much nothing I read of Wheel of Time for the past 6 books.

I'm reading Throy by Jack Vance. Any self-respectng connoisseur of Science Fiction or Fantasy must read Jack Vance. No "ifs," "ands," or "buts!" I mean it!

I'm reading Zelda: Wind Waker by Shigeru Miyamoto. 

 

Actually I picked up a couple books last weekend while I was sick:

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk.  Haven't cracked it open yet, but I liked Fight Club (both the movie and the book) and this one is supposedly even better.

While I was sick I tore through An Askew View:  The Films of Kevin Smith by John Kenneth Muir.  Nice little biography with interviews with friends, family, and people he's worked with.  No interview material from Kevin himself, but pleanty of quotes of course.

And along the same line I picked up My First Movie:  Twenty Celebrated Directors talk about their first film edited by Stephen Lowenstein.  I've been thinking about going back to school and getting a degree in film, and this book has has interviews with several directors I admire (Coen Brothers, Barry Levinson, Kevin Smith, Ang Lee, Steve Buscemi, and Oliver Stone amongst others).  So far it's been highly successful in convincing me that only insane people would ever try to make a film.  Perhaps the interviewees are just protecting their turf?

 

Sway, I'm reading my newly-arrived "Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind" perfect collection. Best graphic novel/manga never. 1000+ pages.

I'm currently reading "The History of Surrealism"

I'm finally wrapping up Lone Wolf & Cub, just one more book to go. It's great and has been picking up speed something fierce towards the end.

On the night stand I have Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, which is all kinds of eye-opening. Next in line is K J Parker's Devices and Desires (Engineer Trilogy, part one), which I picked up on someone's recommendation in here. I'm also reading Howard's sword and sorcery stuff as a bedtime story for my wife, can't remember what the (Finnish) collection is called. There's Conan a plenty.

Wow...a 6 1/2 year old thread revival - is that some sort of record?

On topic, I'm still trying to get through The Whisperer in Darkness: Collected Stories Vol. 1 (H.P. Lovecraft), and I've been halfway through Sophie's World for ages now.

What are you reading and has your choice been influenced at all by the war?

Seriously, this is an old article.

(I'm reading Steven Jones' The Meaning Of Video Games: Gaming And Textual Studies.) I took a break from it over the summer, but I'm a pretty big fan.

I just finished Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant. In my opinion, it wasn't as good as the first book. I'm currently reading The Highwayman, and I plan to read Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead next.

PG9 wrote:

I'm currently reading "The History of Surrealism"

Why again were you banned?

So, what was up with Pyroman basically having conversations with himself?

Incidentally I'm also rereading George R.R. Martin's Fire and Ice series in preparation for the fifth book coming out in the next three years (it's been almost four already folks, it's coming soon!).

garion333 wrote:

Incidentally I'm also rereading George R.R. Martin's Fire and Ice series in preparation for the fifth book coming out in the next three years (it's been almost four already folks, it's coming soon!).

Same here, after all the love for the books on this forum. It was not misplaced; I have read them all back to back. I'm also reading 100 Bullets (comics in trade form), and am now up to volume 6. I've read 1 to 10 before.

garion333 wrote:

Incidentally I'm also rereading George R.R. Martin's Fire and Ice series in preparation for the fifth book coming out in the next three years (it's been almost four already folks, it's coming soon!).

Does it look like he's winding the series up any time soon, or is he still gathering steam? I probably shouldn't have read the first two books. The third installment ended up being so long that he had to break it into two books! Robert Jordan should have taught me to wait until the series is finished before reading it. I hate being left hanging.

BraveOne wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Incidentally I'm also rereading George R.R. Martin's Fire and Ice series in preparation for the fifth book coming out in the next three years (it's been almost four already folks, it's coming soon!).

Does it look like he's winding the series up any time soon, or is he still gathering steam?

His original conception started as a trilogy, so all should be taken with some salt, but after splitting book four into two parts (supposedly so we would get the next one sooner . . . right) he is still swearing that there will only be seven books (that is after it was going to be a six book series).

You'll have to wait another decade to see the end of these books, but no, he's not ramping things up larger and larger like Robert Jordan did, though many of us would argue he did go rather Robert Jordan in the fourth book (ie. nothing happened).

I'm reading a book called "Drood" by Dan Simmons. He writes alternative history/horror stories set in Victorian times. Drood is about the last years of Charles Dickens life with a supernatural twist. In real life, Dickens was involved in a horrible train crash towards the end of his life, which caused him to have post-traumatic stress. He started to really plummet afterwards, getting mixed up in the London underworld and opium scene. Simmons takes this one step further by having Dickens meet a mysterious Egyptian named Drood who may be a criminal mastermind and mass murderer, or just a figment of Dickens' imagination. So far the book has done a good job of keeping me guessing about what's real and what's not.

Just finished a great book called "Where Wizards Stay up Late: The Origins of the Internet" detailing the story of the conception of computer networking through Arpa (now Darpa) and it's subsequent evolution into the series of tubes we all know and love. It's a great read for any techie geek that want's a firmer view on how the inception of such things as Email, FTP, Newsgroups, TCP/IP, routers, Ethernet, Domains, etc, changed the face of Computer Science. It's told mostly from the perspective of the people who invented these disparate technologies, it's good stuff..

jdzappa wrote:

I'm reading a book called "Drood" by Dan Simmons. He writes alternative history/horror stories set in Victorian times. Drood is about the last years of Charles Dickens life with a supernatural twist. In real life, Dickens was involved in a horrible train crash towards the end of his life, which caused him to have post-traumatic stress. He started to really plummet afterwards, getting mixed up in the London underworld and opium scene. Simmons takes this one step further by having Dickens meet a mysterious Egyptian named Drood who may be a criminal mastermind and mass murderer, or just a figment of Dickens' imagination. So far the book has done a good job of keeping me guessing about what's real and what's not.

He also writes far-future sci-fi / space opera. I just finished Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion which I thought were pretty good (more thoughts here, last paragraph and first comment).

Coming up next . . . probably On Blue's Waters by Gene Wolfe; I think he's my favorite SF writer right now.

grobstein wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

I'm reading a book called "Drood" by Dan Simmons.

He also writes far-future sci-fi / space opera. I just finished Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion which I thought were pretty good (more thoughts here, last paragraph and first comment).

That's weird, I also just finished the first two. I'm told the subsequent books aren't worth it and I can see that the sequel is already much less impressive than the first book. I do rate the original in my "top five" novels, though. What a great story, even though one without an ending.

jlaakso wrote:

That's weird, I also just finished the first two. I'm told the subsequent books aren't worth it and I can see that the sequel is already much less impressive than the first book. I do rate the original in my "top five" novels, though. What a great story, even though one without an ending.

I'd disagree and would recommend reading Endymion and Rise of Endymion. While I agree that Hyperion is the pinnacle of his writing, the latter two books are still very good reading and I'd go so far as to say better than Fall of Hyperion.

Elycion wrote:

I'd disagree and would recommend reading Endymion and Rise of Endymion. While I agree that Hyperion is the pinnacle of his writing, the latter two books are still very good reading and I'd go so far as to say better than Fall of Hyperion.

I'll take you up on your word and buy those two pronto.