Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

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BleuPanda
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Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by BleuPanda » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:25 pm

Since the pandemic began, I set a goal of reading 100 pages a day - this is after not really reading for fun for quite awhile until last year. While I'm busy revealing the results of our forum poll, I figured it could be nice to have a thread on our current reads and discussions - would there be any interest in an AMF book club?

Currently, I'm making my way through the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe - about halfway through the collection I have, having just finished The Tell-Tale Heart. I seem to finally be getting to the meat of things, but boy have there been some rough patches. Poe really wanted to be a satirist...

Next up will be The Fifth Season for my book club, the first book in the Broken Earth trilogy. All three books in the series managed to win the Hugo Award for best novel back to back, which is crazy impressive - the author, N.K. Jemisin is also the first African American to win that prize.

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styrofoamboots
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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by styrofoamboots » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:50 pm

I just finished reading Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Not for those who enjoy tight plot structure or fast-paced action, but I'd definitely recommend it-- it'll likely make my top 30-40 of all time in the next books poll.

I've been reading way less than I'd like. Looking forward to others' suggestions in this thread.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by DaveC » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:58 pm

Reading now: Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa: Enjoying so far.

Previous: Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson: Don't recommend it, The thriller aspect was lost on me as the story arc was obvious, and there were other problems. Would not read another book by him.

Before that: The Motion of the Body through Space by Lionel Shriver: I'm a fan, and I'm 65 (about the same age as the protagonists in this story), so I enjoyed this but it might not be for everyone.

I have read The Fifth Season and was underwhelmed (I am not a Sad Puppy).

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Listyguy
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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Listyguy » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:59 pm

I'm the opposite, the amount of time I've spent reading has gone way down this year. I used to read on my commute, which for the time being I don't have. However, I started reading The Sense of an Ending a few days ago, which I probably would've already finished if I was reading it on my commute. As it stands I'll probably finish it within a week or two.

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ordinaryperson
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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by ordinaryperson » Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:06 pm

Currently I'm reading two books (well listening to one.) The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick, is the first and the one I'm almost finished with. It's a sequel to VALIS, although none of the characters show up in the sequel it still takes place on the same world and the events of VALIS are referenced. PKD is not for everyone, especially the VALIS trilogy, but the quirkiness of his writing is something I enjoy and I love the really out there themes in this trilogy. I'm not sure if I'll jump into the Transmigration of Timothy Archer right after I finish the Divine Invasion, I might read something else in between those.

The second book is The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. I listen to the Librivox recordings of it usually while playing video games at night. It's very easy to follow while listening, sometimes with books as old as Tom Jones my mind wanders off whether listening or reading them. The novel is very fun and is an interesting look into Britain's culture in the mid-18th century. I've seen the 1963 film before but I don't really remember much from it. I started reading Tom Jones because I want to go through thegreatestbooks.org's top 100 of both fiction and non-fiction, ping-ponging back and forth between them.

I was thinking maybe after you're done posting the results of the book poll we could start a book club on the forum going from 1-200, or 200-1. It seems you're already in a book club so I could run it. I know I've already ran a couple of failed film and music clubs but a book club would be different as it requires a stricter schedule and me to actually post more than once a week.
I promise nothing and deliver less.

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styrofoamboots
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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by styrofoamboots » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:22 am

ordinaryperson wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:06 pm
I was thinking maybe after you're done posting the results of the book poll we could start a book club on the forum going from 1-200, or 200-1. It seems you're already in a book club so I could run it. I know I've already ran a couple of failed film and music clubs but a book club would be different as it requires a stricter schedule and me to actually post more than once a week.
I’d be down for this, especially if it was 1-200 (Although I might have to sit out the first few months because of college apps).

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by prosecutorgodot » Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:16 am

I started Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas audiobook. It's pretty good so far. I think I should try to move away from fiction, but haven't done so yet.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Pauler » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:24 am

I have never read as much as I am in 2020. In the beginning of the year, I set a target of reading 20 books. As the year progresses, I've adjusted the number to 30 and I'm on tracks to completing this challenge.

- Previous: "Less" by Andrew Sean Greer. Pulitzer Winner for Fiction in 2018. Readers usually don't associate Pulitzer winners with travelogue/almost romantic comedy genres so this being the winner is very surprising. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

- Current: "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead. Also a Pulitzer Winner for Fiction in 2017. So far so good. I really like "The Nickel Boys" and can't wait to see how the story will play out in this one.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Nick » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:46 pm

I'm reading Imperial by William T. Vollmann. It's a super long journalistic study of Imperial county, California. I'm liking it a decent amount, though it really could've used an editor. But sometimes I just need to read a super long book and get myself immersed in it and take it slow and not think about all the other books I wanna read, you know?

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Schüttelbirne » Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:21 pm

ordinaryperson wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:06 pm

I was thinking maybe after you're done posting the results of the book poll we could start a book club on the forum going from 1-200, or 200-1. It seems you're already in a book club so I could run it. I know I've already ran a couple of failed film and music clubs but a book club would be different as it requires a stricter schedule and me to actually post more than once a week.
I like that idea.
I think this may work very well for our (obvious) number 1, but once we would get to Infinite Jest or Anna Karenina (depending on which one is higher) it would be very hard to get through.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by BleuPanda » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:52 pm

Now that I've finished, my top 10 Edgar Allan Poe short stories:
1. The Masque of the Red Death
2. The Cask of Amontillado
3. The Tell-Tale Heart
4. The Pit and the Pendulum
5. The Black Cat
6. The Fall of the House of Usher
7. Hop-Frog
8. The Premature Burial
9. William Wilson
10. Berenice

I don't have as much of an ear for poetry, but here's a top 5?
1. The Bells
2. The Raven
3. The Conqueror Worm
4. Annabel Lee
5. A Dream Within a Dream

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BleuPanda
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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by BleuPanda » Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:36 am

Finished The Fifth Season - I'm a big fan of the world here, though the book very much feels like the first part of a planned trilogy in a way I've rarely experienced. Ended with a strong "and now the real story begins" vibe. Still, I really want to see what happens next!

But before that, I'm tackling the third book in Sanderson's monolithic Stormlight Archive series. The fourth book comes out in a couple months, and I realize I haven't tackled a book the day it came out since the final Harry Potter...

Stormlight Archive is kind of absurd - it is planned to consist of ten parts, and I believe the first three books are already longer than In Search of Lost Time. Massively different reading level, of course, but that's only 30 percent of the full thing and each book has been longer than the previous so far...

I should read more of Sanderson - his Mistborn series made our top 200 (and I think it's set in the same universe?). Stormlight Archive doesn't leave as much lasting impact as some of the other major fantasy series, few poignant insights on our world and all that jazz, but he's great at pushing stakes and filling his pages with tension. All three books are tomes, but the first two earned every page - I'll have to see if the third keeps it up.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by BleuPanda » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:39 am

For some reason I took a break from Oathbringer to read Machiavelli's The Prince. And by 'some reason' I mean I've been playing the Assassin's Creed series and wanted context for why Machiavelli was a central character. If nothing else, this was a better distraction than my high school friends who played BioShock and then decided to see what Rand herself had to say (Atlas Shrugged is about 20 times as long as The Prince...)

Though honestly, it is helpful as a fan of fantasies based around the politics of that era - there was even one chapter about mercenaries that will probably help me better articulate a line of dialogue in my own story. Machiavelli has a way of putting concepts in the most blunt and straightforward terms, and he appears to be largely correct about a lot of his observations - the most jarring thing is that he's not doing this to ruminate over the intrinsic evil of these systems but instead in support of them!

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by ShavonPaule » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:25 am

I love to read three kinds of books and novels. First is fantasy novels, second is motivational and third is geo-political and strategical ones. The Last Unicorn and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time are my damn favorite ones from fantasy niche. In this lockdown, I tried to complete The Black Swan but it is still pending.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Dexter » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:11 pm

For those looking for more recent novels below is the Booker Prize 2020 shortlist:

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook (Oneworld Publications)
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Faber & Faber)
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (Canongate Books)
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing)


Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body is the third and final installment in a trilogy that tells the story of Tambu, a woman navigating postcolonial Zimbabwe. (Dangarembga, who is Zimbabwean, was arrested in Harare, the nation’s capital, in July while protesting government corruption.) Mengiste’s The Shadow King is the Ethiopian American writer’s second novel. Set right before the second Italo-Ethiopian War, it tells the story of a woman who guards the titular “shadow king,” a man impersonating an exiled Ethiopian leader. (Her first, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was published back in 2010.)

The other four writers are all making their debuts: Diane Cook for her dystopian The New Wilderness; Douglas Stuart with Shuggie Bain, a portrait of a tumultuous childhood in 1980s Scotland marked by addiction and violence; Brandon Taylor’s Real Life, which chronicles a Black gay college student; and Avni Doshi for Burnt Sugar, a tale of a daughter and mother trying and struggling to make sense of each other.

source: vulture.com

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Nick » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:57 pm

ShavonPaule wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:25 am
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
I actually just watched the movie version of this. It was really good, if you're into anime I'd recommend it (and even if you're not I'd still recommend it, because hey, it was really good after all).

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by ShavonPaule » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:11 pm

Nick wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:57 pm
ShavonPaule wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:25 am
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
I actually just watched the movie version of this. It was really good, if you're into anime I'd recommend it (and even if you're not I'd still recommend it, because hey, it was really good after all).
Actually someone suggested me ti watch anime and that time I was watching Ghibli ones that's why I tried to read novel.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Rob » Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:14 pm

My reading time wavers immensily from month to month it seems. Since visiting Ireland last year I've become really fond of Irish literature. Something about their use of language in combination with a mischievous sense of humor clicks with me. Also, their myths are probably the strangest I have encountered yet. Penguin Classics collection 'Early Irish Myths and Saga's' contains some of the most bat-shit insane stuff conceived by men. Their own Illiad, named The Taín, is basically a darkly comic, hyper-violent, young-adult superhero myth. But between the irreverence, absurdity and blood-spilling there tends to be a strange tenderness and poetry. I love it.

And this has translated to later ages as well, in books as diverse as At Swim-Two-Birds (one of the most delirious meta novels ever conceived), Dubliners or the poetry of Yeats. And that's only the beginning of my journey into Irish writing.

Currently I'm reading Henry Glassie's collection of Irish Folktales, which are literal fireside stories collected over roughly 100 years and contains stories the Irish have told each other, usually as much in the words they used. Great stuff.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by BleuPanda » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:25 pm

I want to familiarize myself with more mythologies beyond the Abrahamic religions and Greco-Roman mythology but never know where to begin (and then there's finding time to do so...)

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Jackson » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:52 pm

I've been reading Steinbeck's East of Eden for the last couple of months. It's an incredible book, but very dense. It's taken me a lot longer to get through than many books with a similar page count.

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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by mileswide » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:26 pm

Nothing nearly as intelligent as much of the above on my part, mainly alternating between biogs at the minute, be they on The Stones, Johnny Cash, the making of London Calling and- most dubiously of all- the life and times of Shaun Ryder.

Light reading on the fiction front too, with One for My Baby by Tony Parsons currently on the go. It's soapy and very much typical of late 90s/early 00s British pop culture in its treatment of people of other nationalities (they're seen sort of as comic relief but Parsons always portrays them sympathetically in contrast to the novel's equally crudely drawn racists) but it expertly captures the mixture of emotions of expat life and the pacing is commendable.
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Rob
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Re: Hey AMF, Whatcha Reading?

Post by Rob » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:00 am

BleuPanda wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:25 pm
I want to familiarize myself with more mythologies beyond the Abrahamic religions and Greco-Roman mythology but never know where to begin (and then there's finding time to do so...)
I've read quite a few mythologies, folk tales and similar stuff from all over the world by now, but it's hard to say where to start. There isn't a real good entry point as they differ wildly from culture to culture. I like the Norse and Irish probably the most of all, but that is personal preference and all of them have merit. I would just start with something that caught your attention the most.

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