What books are you reading for pleasure these days?


betwixt and between
Up until recently, recently being the last 8 months or so, I've been on a fiction kick - specifically mysteries.

For quite a few years I'd been reading almost nothing but nonfiction - quite a few books on Afghanistan (two of my favorites were written by Rory Stewart), a book called "Justice" based on a course taught with the same name in a well known law school... But then I got hooked into reading the Stieg Larrson trilogy "The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo", etc. I really didn't want to read them but once I started I couldn't stop! Some extreme violence, and more...but also very interesting, and well written. I had forgotten how enjoyable a good mystery can be - as long as you can't figure things out easily. It's like going to the movies...but you can sit anywhere.:D

Right now, I am on my second Henning Mankell book - one of his Kurt Wallander series. This one is, I believe, the most recent "The Troubled Man". I got turned on to the character of Kurt Wallander thanks to a BBC series BBC - Press Office - Kenneth Branagh stars in Wallander for BBC One and will most likely read my way through all of them.

What about you all - what are you reading for pleasure these days?
Well BB you and my better half would get on famously, as she loves the thrillers/crime genre. Her favourite used to be Barbara Vine (who is Ruth Rendell) because of the deep psychological angle, but she says her latest stuff just isn't as good. She loved Stieg Larsson.

I'm a nerd and stick with my photobooks. Beside my bed at present is Galen Rowell's "Inner Game of Outdoor Photography" - this book is great for beside the bed as it's in little bite-sized chunks (I think they're a collection of his Outdoor Photographer articles). The words might not be many but the content is very very dense. I'm really warming to this guy. Otherwise, when the eyes get tired from scanning words I spend the last 15 minutes looking at Magnum Magnum. I am blown away every single time....though it does make for some interesting dreams :cloud-9-039:

If I can tear myself away then my fiction is very very varied. A book I enjoyed recently was Charles Bukowski's "Post Office", and Daniel Keye's "Flowersfor Algernon" also enjoyed re-reading (again) The Confederacy of Dunces...the story is a riot, though the story of the author is awful and so sad. Otherwise, I'm a fan of Murakami and....oh goodness I could be here all day. Also enjoy my environmental literature such as Farley Mowat, Aldo Leopold, Muir, William Lines, etc....If it's a rainy Sunday I also love sitting doen and digesting anything by Philip K. Dick. Oh Man!

What can I say, I'm eclectic :blush:
Well, to be perfectly honest....
I'm almost finished my 7th time reading the Bible.
I figure that if I'm going to spend time reading, this is a great book to read.
It's the Old Testament.
Wow Don I have a different image of you now. Leica, Sigma or Nex around the neck and the Good Book in hand. Now that's not what I'd want to encounter next time I'm walking down the street ;)
I love to read, even more than perusing photo blogs. Just finished with Iain Pears "Stones Fall" which was great. My wife said it sucked her brain out (meaning that she didn't want to do anything else until she was done). The Larsson trilogy was also great.
Wow Don I have a different image of you now. Leica, Sigma or Nex around the neck and the Good Book in hand. Now that's not what I'd want to encounter next time I'm walking down the street ;)

Without getting into the area of Religion....
I am a Spiritualist. If I wasn't, after Nam... I couldn't have survived.
Now, off this area....
Mark, I've read a bunch of books by a number of those authors you've mentioned. Back in my college days, my brother-in-law introduced me to Charles Bukowski. I really got into him then, but I'm not sure that I could handle him now. 99% sure I read Confederacy of Dunces.;) Ruth Rendell - yes, I've read some of her early books. That "Inner Game of Outdoor Photography" sounds like a book my father gave me many years ago called "Inner Tennis". I wonder if there's a parallel?

Don, I've read an awful lot of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments but never could say I'd read it all. I have my favorite parts - from Isaiah, Proverbs, Psalms, and quite a bit in the epistles and more.

sonomichelle, now you've peaked my interest with "Stones Fall", I'll be sure to check Ian Pears!
I have strange reading habits. When I first started reading I would get into grooves and only read one subject for intolerable lengths of time through many books. I realized I was putting myself in a rut. I decided to be come very disciplined and read in an orderly fashion. Now I read books from three areas, nonfiction, great fiction and trashy fictions and one always follows the other. Now to set the record straight by trashy fiction I mean books that were or are intended to be light. Oliver Twist would be fiction and The Maltese Falcon would be trashy fiction, not that it is trashy but it is light. Presently I am rereading the Bond series with two books in between each one of Fleming's fluff.

Don for what it is worth I have through the bible twice and the new testament an extra two times, and I am not at all religious.
What a good idea, Grant - all that discipline and order. I am still very much like your former self...for example when I discovered Farley Mowat, I had to read everything...maybe not everything one right after another but almost that extreme.

I understand what you mean about light fiction vs non-light. I'm also a Dickens fan.
Don for what it is worth I have through the bible twice and the new testament an extra two times, and I am not at all religious.

I'm finishing 7th time, the 8th probably starts around October. I started reading it at around age 13. I take meds for this kind of thing.... don't worry....

I do know that it's much easier to just watch the movie....but it's a better cast in the book.
I haven't been reading as much fiction as I used to, and I miss it. It's also important for my work (Creative Director). I recently started reading a collection of Stephen King stuff that has been used as a basis for movies, one example being the Shawshank Redemption ( one of my top picks for a movie).

I had not considered things in the orderly fashion that Grant expresses so well, but I think I do a similar thing: read 'serious' fiction and then more popular stuff. I would like to re-read The Bourne Identity, which I last read perhaps 20 years ago. I recently started re-reading Shakespeare. So good. Over the years I have been working through Garcia Marquez. What a guy.

About two years ago I discovered Cormac McCarthy. Wonderful writing. Just wonderful.

My current non-fiction is:
The Second World War : 6 volumes by Churchill. My third reading. So very, very good.
The Jesuit Guide to (almost) everything
The War of Art
Photography and the Art of Seeing (yet again...)

Looks like a lot, but many of these can be left for a few days and then picked up again.

Then there are the many professional daily blogs I read for my work. Should be a chore, but it's a real pleasure (thanks to Net News Wire).

I have cut down on TV to create more reading time. I never was a big TV person, but now I choose more carefully (love PVRs) and am enjoying my books.

I want to read Keith Richard's biography.

Great thread.

Oh - and I read the Bible pretty much every day, in various versions.
I'm a big science fiction fan, so I am always heads-down reading the Hugo nominees I haven't read so I can vote.

Currently reading Carrie Vaughn's Amaryllis, which is a short story, but I have novels left to read, too.
I used to read 'serious fiction' until I discovered the joys of crime fiction and the police procedural.

The BBC Wallander was excellent but there is also a Swedish version which I've been watching (courtesy of the BBC). Very different mood and a very different character but excellent in a different way.

BB, if you are enjoying Scandinavian crime fiction these days I can highly recommend Jo Nesbo and Karin Fossum. Also, did you know that Rory Stewart is a Member of the British Parliament these days?

Books I've read recently (in addition to crime) - Chris Patten, Not Quite the Diplomat; Roy Moxham, Tea; Ross King, Brunelleschi's Dome; Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Another Bible reader here too - I studies Theology for four years followed by another two years on Philosophy of Religion. In some ways that was quite off-putting - nothing like academia for killing your interest - but now that I've forgotten most of what I learned it's much better.
Wow Olli, we've got a pretty similar sounding tertiary education. Four years here too, with a double extended major in Philosophy and Comparative Religion with the balance of my minors in Political Science. Good to know mate.

Not sure about killing your interest, because prescribed reading took me down some very interesting roads that I still go down and visit regularly....

Back to topic.

Don: hope no offence was taken mate. It was just a visual of that street photographer stalking with the Book in hand.
BB: Funny that seminal US authors are not mainstream here...well except Steinbeck, Salinger, Twain et. al. Our schools stuck more to the English classics...well back in my day...when they had blackboards you know with chalk...and overhead projectors were all the rage when I was on my way out. :blush:
Pelao: When you say "Photography and the Art of Seeing" are you talking Freeman Patterson? If so, greta book mate. Loved it, though need to do more practicals. You might like the Galen Rowell book I mentioned earlier mate....similar principles as Freeman Patterson and Bryan Peterson. Is it a coincidence that their names are so similar? Hmmm...
I also did Conflict Resolution later on which covers a lot of political science so even more similar still.

Maybe I'm being unfair but certainly in the first year or two endless classes examining the key text of German 'higher criticism' were pretty wearing.

An example: Ernst Kasemann was a famous German NT scholar who wrote a lot about the letters written by St Paul. We studies his work at length - it was hard going. Later, when I was working in the field of Conflict Resolution looking at religion and conflict I discovered that Kasemann had been an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime in his public speaking and in his writing. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo and sacrificed his career and risked his and his family's life. This was a far more interesting and significant fact about his life and I was left wondering why it was never mentioned when I was studying.
Thank you all - I've got a long list growing!

Olli, I will check out both the Swedish Wallander series, as well as those writers... And no I didn't know Rory Stewart was in Parliament now! I'd better update myself!

Although I did not major in religion or philosophy, I, too, have read some very thought provoking books...and I know what you mean, Olli, about knowing about the lives of those who we read and study. Something similar happened to me but the other way around with Dietrich Bonhoeffer - first I read a novel about him Saints and Villains, which I loved...and then having been thus inspired, I read more about him and by him.

Pelao, that "Jesuit Guide to (almost) Everything" sound very interesting.

So many books to read - that's what I like to do when I go on vacation to the beach...swim in the ocean and read in the shade.

Deidre, have you ever read the Philip Pullman trilogy? You must have - "His Dark Materials"? I couldn't put them down - fascinating. Loved each one.
Hey All,

So much variety in what people read!

Mysteries - in my opinion there is no better set of mysteries than those written by Tony Hillerman. Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Navajo policeman that solve mysteries that mix environmental considerations with Navajo and Hopi Indian myth and legend as well as just plain old human avarice and greed. Highly recommended for those into mysteries. Also if you have ever heard of Douglas Adam's Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy series - well forget em because his Dirk Gently Holistic Detective series is way better.

The Bible hmm unless you believe organized human religion is the salvation of mankind - consider Deism especially if your into just spiritualism. Many of America's founders were Deists. My belief is if it was good enough for Jefferson - my personal favorite founder of America - it's good enough for me.

As for me I most love to read westerns.

That said I read a wide variety of "stuff" and usually have 3 or 4 or more books "on the go" at the same time. Right now a book on globalization, Galen Rowell's book already mentioned, a book about flying arond the Artic in a piper cub and of course a western - one of the Mountain man series by William Johnstone. Been thinking about rereading Clarence E Mulford's Bar 20 series written in the 30s and 40s as I recall. You can never go wrong with Louis L'amour as a western author.

Pelao: When you say "Photography and the Art of Seeing" are you talking Freeman Patterson? If so, greta book mate. Loved it, though need to do more practicals. You might like the Galen Rowell book I mentioned earlier mate....similar principles as Freeman Patterson and Bryan Peterson. Is it a coincidence that their names are so similar? Hmmm...

Yes, that's the one. I read it about a year ago, but did not run the exercises, and I am determined to do them now. It's part of my effort to push boundaries in my photography. Great book. Thanks for the Rowell recommendation - I have added it to my wish-list. Sounds like another one that will help me push things.

BBW: the Jesuit guide is very good. You do not have to be Christian to find it effective. it will challenge you, yet is written in a very open and relaxed style. Recommended.

The trouble with threads like this is that I realize how much great stuff there is to read, and I want it all...