What books are you reading for pleasure these days?

Hey Bastian, I'm curious-- what IS the newest Murderbot book called?
I'm asking because I thought I'd read them all... but if there is a new one out, it's going to go on my list of books-to-read-and-enjoy soon!
It's System Collapse, released November 14 2023. Goodreads is a good site for checking book series and release dates.
 
I'm rereading a book I bought some time ago, in Mexico, written in Spanish - an illustrated children's book which is for adults just as much as children. It's called 'Migrar' (Amazon sells it under the title 'Migrants') - written by José Manuel Mateo, with amazing illustrations by Javier Martínez Pedro - with a rather timeless and heartbreaking story of two young siblings who must accompany their mother on a scary trip to El Norte aka the U.S. aka Gringolandia, both to find their missing father and so that their mother can escape the poverty of their village and find a job. An old story, but told in a movingly simple way and, really, the extraordinary illustrations (all in one long fold-out panel) are what make this book very, very special.

Here it is opened up, showing two pages, with some text--

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And here is a detail of the page--

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I'm guessing it would be hard to find a copy, either in Mexico or the U.S., or anywhere else for that matter, as I believe it was a limited edition; but it's inspired me to track down other work by both the writer and the illustrator.
 
For any Iain Banks / Culture fans out there - collected drawings/sketches.
Bezos' Amazon was almost going to do a 'Consider Phlebas' tv-series and Space-X named some sea-based landing platforms after his space-ships. Sadly neither billionaire seems to have grasped the anarchist/humanist/liberal message in his novels.

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T. C. Boyles, Blue Skies
Great novel depicting life in climate change without pointing a finger or moralizing, just contrasting different lifestyles and the way people suffer from the effects of these changes.

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I just got a hardcover edition of this book. I read the first few chapters of the eBook and decided I wanted to keep reading it when I have to return it (to a waiting list). I made some dives with the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory folks so I know the people involved and the operations. Incredible, dedicated people. Susan Casey described them very well. A fascinating world accessible to relatively few people. Image borrowed from Amazon.

2nd photo is me inside HURL's Pisces IV.
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My experience with HURL made the Titan submersible disaster feel even more tragic. A tragedy sadly destined to happen.
 
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I am currently reading a German book about Zeppelins, by Wolfgang Kleinheins: "Die Großen Zeppeline: Geschichte des Luftschiffbaus". Half the book is reprints of technical reports of the original lead engineers who worked on the Zeppelins.

There are myriad fascinating details about Zeppelin construction, like how their gas bags were made from animal intestines, or how they reclaimed water from engine exhaust to prevent losing weight while burning fuel. And it's especially fascinating to read about these things from people to whom this was the pinnacle of technology, and juxtapose our modern perspective.

An English alternative is "Slide Rule" by Nevill Shute. Far better written, but not quite as deep in nerdy detail, that book was a fun read as well.
 
It's been a while. I keep forgetting this thread is here.

To relax and gain an insight into the man:
"We Need To Talk..." - Kevin Bridges' autobiography (2014).

Because I think I need to be better informed:
"How To Prevent Dementia", Dr. Richard Restock.
 
Latest purchase in my accidental collection of aviation books:

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I bought this one because I’ve read and enjoyed other books by Rowland White (particularly “Vulcan 607”, which is terrific) and I’ve always been interested in the de Havilland Mosquito and its exploits.

I’m about halfway through “Mosquito” and while it’s another good read, there’s as much about the struggles of the Danish resistance in WWII and the actions of the British SOE as there is about the aircraft itself, which is slightly disappointing. The book is working its way up to the RAF attack on the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, but I haven’t read that far yet.

In case you don’t know, the Mossie was an extraordinary aircraft. Built largely of wood to avoid competition for materials and factory capacity with contemporary aircraft like the Spitfire, it was originally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber - so fast that it could outrun most fighter aircraft of the day. But as the war went on it was also used as a fighter-bomber, pathfinder, intruder, and photo-reconnaissance aircraft. It was brilliant in all of those roles and more, including as a fast transport plane to carry small, high-value cargo to and from neutral countries through enemy-controlled airspace. On one occasion that cargo was the eminent Danish physicist Niels Bohr, spirited away from Sweden in the bomb bay of a Mosquito on his way to the US to contribute to the Manhattan Project.

The Mosquito was the bane of Hermann Göring, not least because while the head of the Luftwaffe was delivering a morning speech in Berlin to mark the 10th anniversary of the Nazis gaining power, a Mosquito attack knocked out the radio station and took him off air. A second sortie in the afternoon did the same thing to Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

There’s a famous quote from Göring: “It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set – then at least I'll own something that works.”

He was quite right about the piano factories. Parts of the Mosquito were made in furniture factories too, including some near where I live in Buckinghamshire. If a furniture business could make a wardrobe or a drinks cabinet, it could make the wing or fuselage of a Mosquito.

So, a good book, but I would have preferred a bit more about the Wooden Wonder and a bit less about the Danish resistance.

-R
 
Finished Count Zero by William Gibson last week. I read most of it on vacation, took out a good chunk of it on the airplane back to Seattle from Athens. Starting Mona Lisa Overdrive, the third installment in the Sprawl Trilogy.

They are good books, but not quite Neuromancer, and are not that closely related to that novel.
 
Re-reading "No Mercy: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo" by Redmond O'Hanlon.

--- "Lit with humor, full of African birdsong and told with great narrative force, No Mercy is the magnum opus of "probably the finest writer of travel books in the English language," as Bill Bryson wrote in Outside, "and certainly the most daring."

Redmond O'Hanlon has journeyed among headhunters in deepest Borneo with the poet James Fenton, and amid the most reticent, imperilled and violent tribe in the Amazon Basin with a night-club manager. This, however, is his boldest journey yet. Accompanied by Lary Shaffer--an American friend and animal behaviorist, a man of imperfect health and brave decency--he enters the unmapped swamp-forests of the People's Republic of the Congo, in search of a dinosaur rumored to have survived in a remote prehistoric lake.

The flora and fauna of the Congo are unrivalled, and with matchless passion O'Hanlon describes scores of rare and fascinating animals: eagles and parrots, gorillas and chimpanzees, swamp antelope and forest elephants. But as he was repeatedly warned, the night belongs to Africa, and threats both natural (cobras, crocodiles, lethal insects) and supernatural (from all-powerful sorcerers to Samalé, a beast whose three-clawed hands rip you across the back) make this a saga of much fear and trembling. Omnipresent too are ecological depredations, political and tribal brutality, terrible illness and unnecessary suffering among the forest pygmies, and an appalling waste of human life throughout this little-explored region.

An elegant, disturbing and deeply compassionate evocation of a vanishing world, extraordinary in its depth, scope and range of characters, No Mercy is destined to become a landmark work of travel, adventure and natural history. A quest for the meaning of magic and the purpose of religion, and a celebration of the comforts and mysteries of science, it is also--and above all--a powerful guide to the humanity that prevails even in the very heart of darkness." (Amazon.com)

 
Latest purchase in my accidental collection of aviation books:

View attachment 448457

I bought this one because I’ve read and enjoyed other books by Rowland White (particularly “Vulcan 607”, which is terrific) and I’ve always been interested in the de Havilland Mosquito and its exploits.

I’m about halfway through “Mosquito” and while it’s another good read, there’s as much about the struggles of the Danish resistance in WWII and the actions of the British SOE as there is about the aircraft itself, which is slightly disappointing. The book is working its way up to the RAF attack on the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, but I haven’t read that far yet.

In case you don’t know, the Mossie was an extraordinary aircraft. Built largely of wood to avoid competition for materials and factory capacity with contemporary aircraft like the Spitfire, it was originally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber - so fast that it could outrun most fighter aircraft of the day. But as the war went on it was also used as a fighter-bomber, pathfinder, intruder, and photo-reconnaissance aircraft. It was brilliant in all of those roles and more, including as a fast transport plane to carry small, high-value cargo to and from neutral countries through enemy-controlled airspace. On one occasion that cargo was the eminent Danish physicist Niels Bohr, spirited away from Sweden in the bomb bay of a Mosquito on his way to the US to contribute to the Manhattan Project.

The Mosquito was the bane of Hermann Göring, not least because while the head of the Luftwaffe was delivering a morning speech in Berlin to mark the 10th anniversary of the Nazis gaining power, a Mosquito attack knocked out the radio station and took him off air. A second sortie in the afternoon did the same thing to Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

There’s a famous quote from Göring: “It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set – then at least I'll own something that works.”

He was quite right about the piano factories. Parts of the Mosquito were made in furniture factories too, including some near where I live in Buckinghamshire. If a furniture business could make a wardrobe or a drinks cabinet, it could make the wing or fuselage of a Mosquito.

So, a good book, but I would have preferred a bit more about the Wooden Wonder and a bit less about the Danish resistance.

-R
I remember reading about the Mosquito in Commando comics. It fast became my favourite plane, beating the Spitfire, in my mind at least. Book added to Amazon wish list. Thanks @Richard! Anyway.........

I’m trying to stay true to one of my New Year’s resolutions: to cut down on TV and read proper books. Despite having a pile of books of my own over 4 feet high (I’m not kidding) I checked out four books from the local library, all comedian’s autobiographies.

"We Need To Talk About... Kevin Bridges" = dull. 30 odd chapter chapters about his childhood. Definitely needed a firmer editor. Love the guy's performances though.
"Believe Me: A Memoir Of Love, Death And Jazz Chickens" - Eddie Izzard = drones on, much like his act which works as the spoken word but not when written.
"Before and Laughter: A Life Changing Book" - Jimmy Carr = typically Jimmy Carr.
"Best Foot Forward" - Adam Hills. Interesting, informative and bl**dy hilarious. Haven’t read anything funnier in a long, long time. Tails off a bit at the end and becomes a bit show business luvvy, luvvy but the majority of the book is worth the effort.

On the iPhone
The Mammoth Book of Best New Science Fiction 28" - Edited by Gardner Dubois (Kindle)
Cheap for what you get: a stonkingly good, eclectic collection of sometimes challenging stories from the best authors around. I have most of the series but this is one of the best so far.

On the iPad
Chew Vol.1 : Taster's Choice (Kindle) - John Layman & Rob Guilty
I've got the whole series in paperback but vol 1 is free on Amazon Prime (in the UK at least). A highly imaginative set of graphic novels (OK, comics). If you like your humour quirky and oddly dark, this is for you.
 
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