Forum Thread: What Are People Reading?

I'm curious...4 questions for all members of this world:

1. What are you currently reading?

2. Are you into fiction or non-fiction?

3. What's the last great book you read?

4. What are you planning on reading next?

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9 Responses

(and my answers)

1. NOW: The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall—though there are similarities to the television series Big Love, the emotional/relationship issues probably don't vary too much from polygamist family to family, story to story. Enjoying very much so far.

2. Both. But I tend to read more fiction.

3. LAST: The last great book I read was a re-read, an "old" classic: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. What a fantastic book! I can't wait until his new one comes out this fall.

I also read The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten (food critic at Vogue). It had some really interesting sections—particularly the essay on extremely professional waiters—but also some sections I didn't enjoy as much (Steingarten is predictably plagued by weight issues and so there was endless pontification on this topic). 

4. NEXT: Decoded by Jay Z, stories of the rapper's life. I'm fascinated by Jay Z's success, talent. We'll see if he's a compelling storyteller as well. 

1. The Autobiography of Mark Twain

If there was ever a reason to own the kindle version of something this is it. It's huge, like bigger than most babies huge.  It's a great book but needs lots of concentration, otherwise you'll be left wondering what the last page was about. When you realize that Twain lived through the Civil War and the turn of the century and all the events that happened in between, it was a really interesting period to live in. Lots of great tidbits about slavery and of important people of the day.

2. Both are fine but I've started to read the classics I didn't get to in college. The Count of Monte Cristo, Les Miserables, Great Expectations, etc..

3. Last great book? The 3 Musketeers. Dumas simply has the gift. His characters are so engaging that it's hard to stop reading. What makes his characters appealing is that they appear human, with human faults and desires, and are not glamorized or perfect.

4. Next? Hmm.. Would love to read a decent biography of Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Alexander Pope along with some of their writings. Most people might remember Oscar Wilde by his play The Trouble of Being Earnest (it's an average play I think), but I remember being amused by some of the essays he wrote on writing (sadly I can't remember their titles). For Swift, besides writing the amazing Gulliver's Travels, he led an interesting life and towards the end of his life there were reports that he was suffering from dementia and madness. Pope lived in the same time frame as Swift, and find the few items that he has written (An essay on criticism and the rape of the lock) interesting so I'm going to look more things up.

I forgot about the autobiography of Mark Twain. That's definitely on my list. So amazing he told his publishers that they couldn't publish it until 100 years after his death.

Yes, and even crazier that 100 years have already passed. Good thing he didn't say 500 years.

  1. Currently reading: Roger Ebert's Awake In The Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert - has his interviews and movie reviews, spanning decades. I love Roger Ebert, and actually used to make a point of watching his show. I was so sad when they ended it. Loved Ebert, hated Roeper. 
  2. I used to be heavily into fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy, but lately my tastes have been running towards non-fiction. I've also picked up a whole slew of parenting/how-to books for obvious reasons.
  3. Last great book: Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block. Okay, here I'm totally indulging my inner teenager. Dangerous Angels is actually a set of young adult novellas about a very special family who lives in a magical mystical Los Angeles. It's really really girly. Oh and also, Go The Fuck To Sleep, the viral parent's book. If you Google, you can find the PDF.
  4. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua, because I want to see what all the fuss is about.

yes, i'm curious about the Tiger Mom, too.

Rachel, I read the Amazon sample, and apparently Tiger Mom's idea of rebellion was applying and getting accepted into Harvard instead of going to UC Berkeley like her dad wanted. 

Her daughter's now got a blog.

1. Currently reading: Immortality - How Science is Extending your Life Span - and Changing the World by Ben Bova. Many probably know of Bova's large body of science fiction but this one's non-fiction. It talks about how we age, speculation into why we age, deceases related to genetics and approaches to living longer. I knew a lot about this before but this book's shown me even more. Mostly the book is at the cellular and genetic level. I'm just starting the second half which switches to talking about the ethics and issues involved, thus far about organ generation. I'll definately blog about this one when I'm done, but I'm not reading too fast these days.

2. I read both fiction, almost exclusively sci-fi, and non-fiction. Like toastykitten, I'm more into non-fiction these days.

3. Last great book: Floating to Space - The Airship to Orbit Program by John M. Powell. All about Powell's ongoing program for getting to Earth's orbit using airships instead of rockets. This is real hardware... the last launch was past weekend.

4. Reading next: Hard to say. My unread-bookcase is full of good stuff. I'll have to see what I feel like on the day. My temptation is to read Lost Cities of North & Central America by David Hatcher Childress. These are mainly travel books as he journeys to locations with evidence of ancient civilizations, his Lost Cities series. I've read a half dozen of them so far.

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