I only read fanfics these days. Where else can I get a MCU/AoS Retail, Shopping Mall, Normal Life AU that has over 240 chapters and 880,000 words. (It’s called “connect the dots and draw a different picture up” by authors Shadowcrawler and unwindmyself)
Trying for the fourth or fifth time to get through Guns, Germs, and Steel. I’ve started that thing so many times now, but never gotten past the two-thirds mark or so. It’s not that it’s a bad book, but it’s just so damn repetitive that I tend to lose patience with it before I can finish. If I can finish it this time, I’ll consider my reading list completed and go back to reading whatever whenever.
I would love to read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series then watch the Game of Thrones series. I did this with Harry Potter and it was great. The problem is…the books aren’t done and may take another 20 years.
a summer reading list? no, i’m 35 but still bitter that all through school i busted my ass and got rewarded with ten tons of homework to do all summer while the kids that slacked off just got to enjoy their vacation.
but of course, i do like reading. right now i only have the attention span for comics (paper girls, descender, flavor, nancy drew, and bitch planet are some of my faves) but i saw somewhere recently someone doing just 15 minutes morning and night to help improve their attention span/reading time and i’m going to do the same. i do have a handful of books i want to get through!
@jerk_nugget I almost never read the books I was assigned in school.
After H.S., I started reading Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., based on rave recommendations from a couple of friends, and it was a revelation that reading could be a pleasure instead of work.
Started absolutely devouring books and haven’t stopped since.
@DennisG2014 yeah, a lot of what i read and enjoyed in my school years my dad gave me or i found at the library or book fairs (this was before google and widespread access to internet), not what was assigned. i slogged through miserable stuff like shakespeare, beowulf, king arthur, ethan frome, hemingway (all of which i know many people love! but i don’t) to get good grades.
@jerk_nugget I read “Great Expectations” some years ago, as I remembered it as one of the assigned books that I read like 10 pages of and then said, “fuck this” and bought the cliff notes.
I decided to read it as an adult to see if it lived up to its reputation as one of the classics.
Turns out, 17 y/o me was right, what a slog that was.
I’ve read quite a few other ‘classics’ out of some sense of obligation and/or curiosity and most of them were also slogs.
Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ is one that stands out in my memory as an utterly boring struggle that I gave up on about half way through - and I can count the number of books I’ve started but not finished on one hand.
Haven’t read any Hemingway yet, unless you count a screenplay adaptation of “The Killers”.
I always confuse Hemingway and Steinbeck, so I had to look to Google to remember which one wrote “Of Mice and Men” (Steinbeck), which I moderately enjoyed.
I did force myself to read through the collected works of Shakespeare; it was work, but I’m glad I did it.
I should add that there were a few school assigned books that I do remember reading and enjoying; The Outsiders (shortly before the movie came out), All Quiet on the Western Front and Red Badge of Courage (those two were for a ‘War Lit’ class in H.S. which was taught by a Viet Nam vet who was, of course, everyone’s idea of ‘the cool teacher’).
I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the two teachers who assigned those books were a couple of everyone’s favorite teachers.
@DennisG2014@jerk_nugget Similar experience reading the “classics” as well. The Romans thought Plato and Aristotle were “classics”, so who’s to say our “classics” today are a bunch of drivel tomorrow? Did my senior thesis on that premise. The teacher was not amused, but to her credit, gabe me the A it deserved by clearly demonstrating mastery of the class subject matter.
Then I decided to read Dante’s Inferno in the original Italian and it was a glorious, fantastic (and hilarious) masterpiece in comparison to Wuthering Heights and A Tale of Two Cities. No wonder the Pope was pissed.
For poetry, I chose to read Pablo Neruda instead of The Bard’s sonnets. Pablo got me laid more, tbh.
Then I read Heinlein, Asimov (Foundation), Niven (Ringworld), Bova, Tolkein, and stuck with the sci-fi after that.
@jerk_nugget Had the same experience: Hated reading books in high school because of the choices and/or having to analyze them so much. As soon as I got out of school I began reading a few books a week. When computers (and a child) came along I totally immersed myself in them and stopped reading books for about 15 years. Now I’m back to reading about a book a week.
Some of my online book club’s choices are classics or more serious which I wouldn’t choose for myself (Little Women, A Handmaid’s Tale, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End). While I definitely don’t enjoy these books as much, I am glad I read them.
I read every night in bed and every morning on the <TMI>.
So I always have a book going (on Kindle), every season, all year round.
I don’t have a list, I just shop for the next book when I finish the last one.
Always fiction, usually science fiction - the harder the better. (TWSS, OFC)
If anyone wants to trade recommendations for good, hard sci-fi, hit me up.
@moonhat The more an author sticks to scientific reality, the ‘harder’ the science fiction.
A good example of hard sci-fi is The Martian; even the most implausible moments, like his rescue in space, do not violate the laws of physics.
Hard Sci-Fi can incorporate some purely imaginary elements and still be ‘hard’, as long as those elements either don’t violate the laws of physics or can plausibly be explained by some imaginary, as yet undiscovered, science.
A pretty good example of that is The Expanse series.
It’s set ~250 years in the future, after humanity has ‘expanded’ beyond Earth and colonized the rest of the solar system.
There are some purely imaginary technologies but, despite not existing yet, they adhere to actual scientific principles and there’s no reason they couldn’t become reality in a couple hundred years.
The Expanse also has a dash of mysterious alien civilizations and technology, and that veers towards ‘fantasy’, but the authors do a pretty good job of making it scientifically plausible.
Hard Sci-Fi authors tend to like to sprinkle their stories liberally with actual science facts, as was done in The Martian, where the lead character does a lot of scientific exposition - explaining the science behind everything he does to survive.
I actually also like stories that blend science fiction and fantasy - a fantasy story can still retain a ‘sci-fi’ label as long as it adheres to some internal logic that differentiates the ‘science’ of the story’s ‘universe’ from just plain old ‘magic’.
I want to say Dune would fit in that category, but it’s been many, many years since I read it, so it might lean more towards fantasy.
Most people who care enough to differentiate consider Star Wars to be pure fantasy dressed up as sci-fi.
Star Trek may be a better example than Dune of something that straddles the line between sci-fi and fantasy. Things like the transporter and the warp drive are not possible within today’s understanding of science, but the franchise goes out of its way to invent plausible, if sometimes fanciful, scientific explanations.
@DennisG2014 Oh, there are so many. It depends a lot of what kind of SF stories you like. Two that require more thinking (usually) are Harlan Ellison (whom you’ve probably heard of – “A Boy and His Dog”, for instance – he also wrote scripts for such as Star Trek, Outer Limits, and Twilight Zone – though a lot of people consider him more “Speculative Fiction” than Science Fiction – see the Wikipedia article on him for some laughs) and Stanislaw Lem, whom you very well may not have heard of, but I find his stories quite interesting – there is usually good “hard” science behind the premises, but he takes them in socially unexpected ways. If you think HGWells “The War of the Worlds” book is dated, and not just still a good story, you might not like Lem, but if not-so-current scenarios don’t bother you, do try at least a couple of his – they are all pretty different from each other.
Both of these guys were really mavericks, each in their own way, and I find most of their works very entertaining.
FWIW, if you do a little searching, you can find free PDF versions of a lot of Lem’s works. (If you find a free PDF of one of Harlan’s, I’m sure he’ll rise from the grave to sue! – that’s the kind of guy he was.)
@phendrick Yes! “Children of Ruin” was actually released Tuesday.
I didn’t expect a sequel to “Children of Time” and I suspect it won’t be nearly as good as the first book, but I’ll read it anyway.
That’ll be the next thing I read, as soon as I finish “Red Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson.
It’s the first of a trilogy, and so far (about 50% through), I’m finding it a bit too ‘hard’.
It’s an excellent imagining of the science, politics, sociology and psychology of the colonization of Mars, but it’s kind of thin on plot - there’s a bit of intrigue/espionage shoehorned into what reads like a future-history, non-fiction work.
Adrian Tchaikovsky has quite a few well regarded novels. So far, the only other one I read was “Spiderlight”, which is basically a D&D campaign in novel form. Not the kind of thing I’m usually into, but it was a quick read and a nice diversion.
edit: “The Expert System’s Brother” is another Tchaikovsky book I’ve read. It was ok, had kind of a Twilight Zoney feel - a twist at the end that’s not too hard to see coming. Still, not a bad read though.
@DennisG2014 I see it’s 2.99 today for the Kindle version, so I sprung for it. It does have great reviews. Lately I have trouble putting in a lot of time reading, and see it has 640 (Kindle) pages, so it might be a while before I get it read.