What books are you reading for pleasure these days?

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
There are a few series I haven't read in quite a while that would be fun to dig into now. The Harry Potter series; Terry Brooks' vast Shannara line-up; all 586 books of Isaac Asimov's Spacer/Robots/Foundation timeline, although the Third Foundation books that were commissioned by his estate after his death were awful. If I ever take a pause in filling my basement with wood shavings, I might go that route.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
Classic Asimov has been a longtime favorite as has been Ursula Leguin, despite the wild difference in styles. I admit I’ve gotten hooked on a few urban fantasy series in recent years, probably because there is enough selection now to allow for taste and quality. I’m generally a fan of SF, fantasy, or the occasional classic. Right now I’m beginning to work my way through Herman Hesse again. I won’t talk about my forbidden dabblings in graphic novels. FYI, I’m a hardcore electronic reader at this point, Kindle or iPad.
 
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kyteflyer

~@¿@~
Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
I’ve been through the Asimov phase, and these days find his writing quaint (recently re-read the Robot series but not yet Foundation and I dont like the one that were commissioned either, could not get into them). Arthur C. Clarke was another favourite. Poul Anderson, A.E. Van Vogt, Edmund Cooper, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, together and separately. Many others. Try Stephen Baxter for alternate history and scifi, love his writing, he and Ben Bova are current favourites, and I recently finished Matthew Mather’s Nomad series, having previously read his Atopia Chronicles. Too many books and running out of time.
 

donlaw

Hall of Famer
Sep 14, 2012
Texas
Don
Since the movies of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings came along, I've realised that it's unlikely that I will read the books again. Possible, but unlikely.

-R
I started rereading the Tolkien books. They are so much richer than the movies. I do enjoy the movies. But always get annoyed when Peter Jackson changes or omits plot lines.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
Since the movies of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings came along, I've realised that it's unlikely that I will read the books again. Possible, but unlikely.

-R
While the LOTR movies are almost impossibly good (seriously, I was a teenager who had already read the books three or four times before the movies came along, and I was nowhere near optimistic enough at first, till being blown away by The Fellowship of the Ring opening weekend!), they are not a replacement for Tolkien's prose. Seriously, the way his long descriptive passages flow is pure poetry. Just finished The Silmarillion last year - audiobook this time, and it was every bit as good as I remember it.
 

Richard

All-Pro
Feb 1, 2013
Marlow, UK
While the LOTR movies are almost impossibly good (seriously, I was a teenager who had already read the books three or four times before the movies came along, and I was nowhere near optimistic enough at first, till being blown away by The Fellowship of the Ring opening weekend!), they are not a replacement for Tolkien's prose. Seriously, the way his long descriptive passages flow is pure poetry.
That was exactly my experience of reading the books (several times) followed by watching the movies. But I must admit that I haven't yet completed the circle by returning to the books. Maybe one day, when I have more time (!)

With regard to science fiction, as a teenager I devoured the works of Jules Verne, Arthur C Clarke, HG Wells, John Wyndham and others. I re-read the War of the Worlds a few years ago and thought it was a terrific read, likewise 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, so I think a revisit of that genre is definitely up ahead for me.

-R
 

Harry Cutts

Veteran
Jun 6, 2017
Huddersfield UK
Harry
I have read The Hobbit and LOTRs 2 or 3 times then Harry Potter and a childrens series of books by Derek Landy about a skeleton detective called Skulddugary Pleasant. I have not read the latest ones but must get round to it.
In between these there was a set of books by Stephen Donanldson called the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant which were very good and worth a read. I have only read the first three and there are ten in the series, must get back into them.
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Jan 7, 2013
Cheshire, England
Martin Connolly
I’ve recently finished The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel. It seemed a bit of a slog compared to the first two Cromwell books, but it was undoubtedly A Good Book. Just before that I’d re-read The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, (and finally understood some baffling plot points) so I needed some light relief afterwards! I moved onto the ninth Wallander book by Henning Mankell, and currently I’m much enjoying Case Histories by Kate Atkinson ( the first Jackson Brodie novel). I have no idea what to read next. I bought a new copy of the Earthsea trilogy a while back and it looks at me accusingly from the bookshelves, so perhaps I’ll give that a go again.
 

pictogramax

All-Pro
Aug 18, 2011
Zemun, Serbia
I recently finished "Une année folle" (A Crazy Year) by Sylvie Yvert and I liked it a lot. I bought it last summer in Paris, but, by chance (or by premonition?) started reading it just a few days before the lock-down. Even if it's about Napoleon's come-back after his abdication, the battle of Waterloo and the consequences of it all for France, like any good book it remains relevant: difficult times, oppressive crisis, and behaving of people in demanding situations... Today that period in history is known as "The Hundred Days"; was it another premonition?
PICTOGRAMAX - 2020 - UNE ANNEE FOLLE.jpg
 
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agentlossing

Top Veteran
yea, that and the way Saruman was killed... and don't get me started on what PJ did to the Hobbit!
The same kind deity that made sure LOTR was great was supposed to watch over The Hobbit and the original choice of director, Guillermo Del Toro (seriously, seen Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy 2? His aesthetic would have been AMAZING for Hobbit!). But then Money stepped in, and the studio got greedy and wouldn't take a risk. PJ wasn't supposed to do Hobbit. And I think he knew it. He certainly didn't have artistic vision.

I’m still mad he omitted the battle in the Shire at the end.
My coworker, an LOTR movie fan (and fantasy geek) finally read the books a couple months ago. I was able to gloat vocally when he said he was getting near the end of Return of the King and he thought he knew how it ended. No one had ever spoiled it for him!
 

Richard

All-Pro
Feb 1, 2013
Marlow, UK
I enjoyed the movie version of the Hobbit, but I thought it was too long.

If the three volumes of LOTR (each of which is longer than the Hobbit) came to the screen as three movies, why did the single volume of the Hobbit need three long movies too? Two movies would have been plenty.

I can only conclude that it was made as three for commercial reasons.

-R
 

M. Valdemar

Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
New York City
Somewhere, I have a WHOLE CARTON of original square blue WWII Steichen books published by the Navy. I have to dig them out. I bought them years ago.

 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
This is not so much reading related (aside from the quintessentially Kerouac-esque introduction) but book related: I finally got The Americans (Amazon has it in stock again around $30). Man, that book is so good. I just love Frank's composition, so much less staid and formal than others of his generation, yet so content-rich and effective. Real work of genius.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
I've just finished books one and two of the Earthsea trilogy, by Ursula LeGuin. Never read her work before, but it's very good. Lots of cultural/ideological clashing in a really authentic way that fits the world she created. I find myself wishing the strong emotional connection with certain characters would pay off, but (much as with life) the world keeps moving and it appears that main character Ged is one of the only through lines in the series.
 

Richard

All-Pro
Feb 1, 2013
Marlow, UK
Having worked my way through all the volumes of Clive James’ autobiography, I’m now doing the same with Spike Milligan’s war memoirs. I’ve just finished number four, which finishes with him being wounded in action while fighting in Italy. That was effectively the end of the war for him.

I read all of Milligan’s books a couple of times as a teenager and young adult, and I can see now that I wasn’t really paying attention to where he was and what he was doing in the wider context of the Second World War, I was too busy enjoying all the barrack room humour and the practical jokes. So this time I’m making an effort to look up all the places he mentions (thank you, Google maps) and the history of who was fighting who, and what happened (thank you, Wikipedia).

I’ve found out, for example, that when Milligan was fighting in North Africa, he came in towards the end of that campaign, when Axis forces were being squeezed out of Algeria and Tunisia. I hadn’t previously realised that the fall of Tunis to Allied forces was a sort of German version of Dunkirk, minus the miraculous escape. Over 250,000 German and Italian troops were taken as prisoners of war in the Battle of Tunisia, including most of the Afrika Korps.

In Italy, Milligan was fighting not far from the infamous battle for Monte Cassino, as the Allies fought their way from the beach landings at Salerno, up towards Rome.

I’ve also been paying more attention to what he was actually doing (when he wasn’t playing the trumpet and infuriating the officers). As a signaller in the Royal Artillery he was running telephone cables from control positions to where the heavy guns were positioned and up to observation posts sometimes miles away on remote hillsides. At other times he was relaying messages from observers back to the gun positions, by telephone and with wireless equipment - while being shelled and dive-bombed by Germans.

At the end of the fourth book Milligan was injured while trying to carry replacement batteries up the side of a hill to an observation position. He was hit by fragments from an enemy mortar shell, which left him shell-shocked and unable to continue fighting. Not so funny.

I’m going to read something else for a bit and then carry on with volume five in a few days.

-R
 

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