What Are You Reading?

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Faith mentioned reading as a necessary writing rule, and I absolutely agree. It’s the best way to understand how books are put together, how stories develop and what trends are popular. Besides, it’s just fun. I never go anywhere without a book in my bag. Some people have their security blankies, and books are mine. I carry one when I travel, when I go to work, when I plan to be standing in lines. I have a stack next to the bed, since I acquire books faster than I read them. When I go to speak to student groups, I’m always asked what I like to read, and the question makes me laugh, because the stack is always changing according to my whims and to what I’ve seen recommended in the trades and book sites. I’ve read some great things lately, and have more coming up, so I decided to share with you guys today. There’s no particular order – when I finish one book, I grab the next one that draws my attention.
Last week, I read two books with similar subjects, and both were good. The Map of Moments, by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, is the second in their Hidden Cities series. A heartbroken man returns to post-Katrina New Orleans to attend the funeral of the woman he loved, only to find himself deeply immersed in a magical struggle between two ancient forces vying for control of the city. It was an easy read, but it was layered and enthralling at the same time. The other book was Kate Griffin’s A Madness of Angels. Sorcerer Matthew Swift wakes up in naked in a bed in what used to be his home, back before he was murdered. Why has he been brought back, and what are the blue electric angels whose voices he hears in the reaches of his mind? I loved this book! Matthew is a city sorcerer, and draws his power from the rhythms and energy of downtown London. I forced myself to slow down with this one, because it was just that much fun, and I wanted it to continue.

Today I’m reading Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane. I like mysteries from time to time, and this one is supposed to have a twist ending, which I love. (Unfortunately I fear I’ve already figured it out, but I’m going to keep going and hope that Lehane surprises me.) No, I didn’t see the movie. I wanted to, and then I decided I’d rather experience the big twist in book form instead.

The rest of the stack is
War For The Oaks – Emma Bull
In The Serpent’s Coils – Tiffany Trent
The Repossession Mambo – Eric Garcia
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Ghost Ocean – SM Peters
The Mall of Cthulhu – Seamus Cooper (okay, this one’s actually on my Kindle, but I’m saving it for a trip later on this spring.)

So what’s in your stack?

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17 comments to What Are You Reading?

  • I’m reading Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, the brilliant and tragic Spitz Beatles biography (inspired by getting the remastered White Album for Christmas) and a whole bunch of stuff on HUAC and Hollywood in the fifties that I’m using for a chapter on Joe Mankiewicz’s 1953 Julius Caesar. Fun stuff.

  • Currently, I’m reading The Conqueror Worms by Brian Keene which is about the apocalypse (brought on by never-ending rain), giant worms, and apparently a cult that brought the Kraken back from the depths of the ocean. So far so good. On my upcoming list is The Ten-Cent Plague — non-fiction about the public fear of comic books in the early days of the medium, The City and The City — China Mieville’s well-received mystery/weirdness from last year, and Weavers at War — the final installment of David’s Winds of the Foreland series. Many others are waiting on the shelf, but those are the most likely next three.

  • I am on a thriller kick, with two non-fantasy books front and center.
    I am in the middle of AJ’s The Mask of Atreus. I thought I had it all figured out. Then he got all twisty on me. I’m liking it!
    I have a new one (for me) by Stuart Woods, Dead in the Water

    To be followed (Okay, I’m already in the middle of) 10 herbals donated by a friend, to help me with my own herbal garden, and to be used in the creation of a new character, new series — An earth witch. Or two.

  • Unfortunately, I am in the middle of reading nothing. I have an imaginary TBR stack, but until I get to the book store, it will remain in my head. I have the opposite problem from you Misty, in that I read far faster than I acquire. For reference, here’s a partial:

    The Wind-up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    Iron Council by China Mieville
    The City and The City by China Mieville
    Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
    The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
    Almost Transparent Blue by Ryuu Murakami
    The Forest of Hand and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
    The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia
    When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
    Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
    Wintergirls bu Laurie Halse Anderson
    Legend by David Gemmell
    Illusion by Paula Volsky
    The Etched City by K.J. Bishop

  • I probably already said that I’m currently reading Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. I like how he can weave the hard science in without going overboard and making me feel like a moron because I didn’t go to college for a sciences degree. I’m normally not big into a lot of hard science. I’ve always been a fan of tales like Star Wars. I don’t need to know how a hyperdrive works, I just need to know it does and gets them from place to place in some amount of time. As long as the basics of space physics are kept up with I can pretty much just assume everything else just works. I don’t need the why or how.

    He’s also done a good job of keeping me interested even when the action’s not there. I’ve been looking around for good, at least partially modern, sci-fi and having a hard time finding stories that don’t lose my interest quick or leave me going, “huh?” A lot of what they call the “new space opera” kinda falls flat with me, but Alastair’s done a good job.

    I found his short story, Minla’s Flowers, in an anthology of new space opera stories and read that it was one of three short stories dealing with the same main character (Hideaway, Minla’s Flowers, Merlin’s Gun). So I had to go out and find the other two. Even went so far as to email the author (who was very gracious, which is always nice) and he told me that the other two were in Zima Blue and Other Stories, his collected Anthology book. So I looked it up, read every story in there, loved ’em all. Even my least favorite was good. So now I’ll be buying everything I can of Revelation Space in the near future. He’s picked up another reader.

    Other things on my list of must soon read:
    Seeds of Betrayal (David’s Foreland’s book, of course)
    White Witch, Black Curse
    Black Magic Sanction

    And a few others. And, of course, waiting for the next Kestrel book and the next Yellowrock book, and David’s new series, which sounds awesome. 😉

  • Beatriz

    I’ve currently got my nose buried in only two books: The Dome by Stephen King and Hood by Stephen Lawhead.

    In the on deck cirle we have AJ’s Act of Will. The remaining lineup includes David Gemmel’s Shield of Thunder, Diana’s Bitter Night and *cough* my Captain’s book, whenever it gets finished. 🙂

  • Just finished a WONDERFUL book — David Liss’s A SPECTACLE OF CORRUPTION, which was a follow-up to A CONSPIRACY OF PAPER. I am about to begin a book by one Faith Hunter called SKINWALKER. After that, I have books by Paul Melko, Laura Anne Gilman, and Daniel Abraham on my list. I also have a stack of New Yorker Magazines on the floor of my office. I am WAY behind on those, and am working my way through a few, which is why I haven’t started Faith’s book yet.

  • Wolf Lahti

    2010 looks as though it’s going to be a reading year for me. I tend to read slowly (I prefer to think of it as savoring the text), but somehow this year I’ve managed to read all the following, and it’s only March:

    The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson
    Nurk, Ursula Vernon
    Dragonbreath, Ursula Vernon
    Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
    The Canine Kalevala, Mauri Kunnas
    The Quest for Kalevala, Don Rosa
    The Game of Wei-Chi, Pecorini and Shu
    Go for Beginners, Kaoru Iwamoto
    The Lord of the Rings, Jonathon Tolkien
    Through the Heart, Richard Grant
    No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty
    Town Mouse – Country Mouse, Jan Brett
    Wilderness Tips and Other Stories, Margaret Atwood
    Wrong About Japan, Peter Carey
    Our Only May Amelia, Jennifer Holm

    and I just started Bryson’s Shakespeare: the world as stage.

    There may have been a few other incidental ones. I know I started reading Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel but quit because I did not want to be reading such a downer at the time. I also tried Lindskold’s Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart, but the first few pages suffered from the same overblown, dreary descriptions of soap-opera relationships and interminable genealogies that plagued the first book in the series, and I gave up on it.

  • Thanks to Norman Spinrad, I am now adding Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu to my list.

  • I just finished reading Shutter Island and to my dismay, I had indeed guessed the twist. Dang it. I really hate when that happens.

    Oh well, moving on!

    Atsiko, have you ever read Megan Lindholm’s Ki and Vandien series? I found all four in a used bookshop a thousand years ago, and they remain some of my favorite books to this day.

  • I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never read anything by Megan Lindholm. Only Robin Hobb. It is my intention to correct this as swiftly as possible. 🙂

  • Mikaela

    I am reading Neptune Crossing by Jeffery A Carver. ( Or was it Jeremy?) Anyway, it is good. I rarely read Science fiction, so it is a nice change. Not to mention that it is available free on his webpage 🙂

  • Tom Gallier

    I just finished “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown and went straight into “The Lost Symbol” by the same author. I’m having a problem getting into the story, though. And I don’t know why.

    Next up, “Revamped” by JF Lewis, “Ill Wind” by Rachel Caine, and “The Tough Guide to Fantasyland” by Diane Wynne Jones.

    Of course the bulk of the TBR pile looms darkly above it all.

  • I just finished “The Blade Itself” by Joe Abercrombie. It has deliciously sarcastic and colorful characters. I just started “Before They Are Hanged” and after that will read “The Last Argument of Kings” to finish the trilogy.

    Then I’m not so sure. The top of the TBR pile is: Patricia Bray’s “Devlin Series,” James Barclay’s “Chronicles of the Raven,” Glen Cook’s “Black Company.”

    I prefer to read a series back to back for continuity, so there are others waiting until the entire series is in print before I start. Scott Lynch, James Enge, and Peter Brett.

    Of course, I’ve already nabbed Misty’s book, and looking for more adventure from other MW authors. There is simply not enough time.

  • Amy

    I’ve just started reading ‘The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms’ by N.K. Jemisin. I spotted it in a bookshop whilst on holiday and immediately snapped it up because I hadn’t realised it was going to be released in the UK at the same time as in the US.

    My pile of books To Be Read is so incredibly long (a shelf and a half on my bookshelf and a similar number of ebooks on my hard drive) that I’m not even going to attempt to list them here!

    Atsiko, I noticed you have The Etched City on your list. I highly recommend getting hold of a copy. It’s one of my absolute favourite books and one I recommend all the time because I’m always dismayed how few people seem to have heard of it, let alone read it.

  • Deb S

    Carol Berg’s new book, The Spirit Lens, is tops on my TBR list. She’s a fav. I have to buy the book first, of course.

  • At present I’m reading Harry Turtledove’s Between the River. Next? Whatever catches my eye.

    It’s my second go around with BtR and this time I’ve noticed something, the Giblut’s are Jewish. In a time before Jews and Judaism, in a world without Jews, Judaism, and Judaism’s God the people of the city of Gibil and the god Engibil are Jews. You’ll have to read the book yourselves to find out why I say that.

    Here I was wondering where the epic Jewish fantasies were — and it is an epic, or sorts — and I’d already read one.

    So now I’m reading it again.

    Having changed my mind on what I’m reading next, I’ve decided that it shall be A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe from Expeditious Retreat Press. A guide book on creating cities, town, and villages in a medieval milieu that uses magic.

    After that I’ll by assaying Gary Gygax’s Insidiae by Dan Cross. A guide to creating adventures, which can also be used for creating stories. (The tables on page 8 can suffice for a whole trilogy plus follow on epics. 🙂 )

    After that? All depends. Maybe by the time I’m done with these three I’ll have a new copy of Rich Baker’s World Builder’s Guidebook (lost my old copy) to study. (Is anybody seeing a pattern here?)