The eternal question...wotcha readin'?

As 2002 exchanges her golden gown of autumn for her ermine robe of winter, I suspect that other Dopers are doing as I am: curling up on the sofa with a good book or three. I just finished the new Terry Pratchett novel, Night Watch. (and Snooks to you, Fenris :slight_smile: )

At the moment, I’m involved to varying degrees in reading

Ruled Britannia, Harry Turtledove’s latest alternate history. Set in 1597, it envisions an England ruled by Spain after a successful conquest by the Armada, and how a certain playwright, one W. Shakespeare, is recruited to write a patriotic play to inspire a revolution.

The Diligent, by Robert Harms. It’s a thoroughly absorbing history of the 18th-century slave trade as reconstructed from the journals of a junior officer aboard a French slaver.

Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation, by Olivia Judson. Disguised as a Dear Abby-like advice column that answers letters from animals worried about their sex lives, this guidebook to evolutionary biology is as hilarious as it is informative.

The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton. The movie, with Gillian Anderson’s knockout performance as the proud and foolish Lily Bart who is crushed by social and financial ruin in 1905 New York, inspired me to pick this up at the library.

And I’m on the waiting list for Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, and Sue Grafton’s Q is for Quarry.

Since it’s not worth starting my own thread, but it is something I’d like to recommend, I just finished a great true crime book:

DEVIL’S KNOT by Mara Leveritt- it’s the first really authoritative and documented (boy, is it documented) book on the West Memphis Three. If you don’t know who they are,

I also just reread several books by one of the greatest authors whose name isn’t well known, Conrad Richter (SEA OF GRASS, LIGHT IN THE FOREST, THE AWAKENING LAND TRILOGY) and I’m trying to get into Lemony Snicket but just can’t- I’ve met Harry Potter, and you sir are no Harry Potter.


Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, and if you don’t know who wrote this or what it’s about, forget it. :wink:

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, by Simon Wiesenthal. I apologize for invoking Godwin so early on in this thread (:smiley: ;)), but it’s about a dying Nazi asking for forgiveness from a Holocaust survivor, and the moral/ethical dilemma the survivor suffers. It also has essays from dozens of people (even the Dalai Lama), giving what they think they would do. And of course, you’re supposed to think about what you would do in that situation.

(and to further invoke Godwin’s Law, I just finished reading Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi)

And there’s a ton of books I have waiting to read (finishing the LOTR trilogy is first), I can’t wait until Christmas vacation!

Slight hijack, but really just needs a yes/no answer from a Tolkien fiend: At 36, I’m probably one of the oldest nerds never to have read THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Is it necessary to read THE HOBBIT first, or does the book make sense without it?

The Hobbit isn’t necessary to understand LotR, but it’s a good book in and of itself, and worth the read.

36, huh? If you have kids of the proper age, I highly recommend getting the Hobbit and reading it to them aloud - the book is designed for it. The language is musical, and it flows along quite nicely.

**Ruled Britannia, Harry Turtledove’s latest alternate history. Set in 1597, it envisions an England ruled by Spain after a successful conquest by the Armada, and how a certain playwright, one W. Shakespeare, is recruited to write a patriotic play to inspire a revolution. **

I saw that on the shelf, and I’m a fan of Turtledove’s WW2/Space Invader novels. Is it any good? (I didn’t like the one he wrote with Richard Dreyfuss [THE TWO GEORGES] as much, and I thought JUSTINIAN was a major rip-off of Gore Vidal’s JULIAN in style [and one of the last Byzantines I’d write a novel about when you have Michael IV, Romanus II, etc., all just begging to be written about].)

Setting up my couch cushions in a little fort to protect myself

I’m rereading the Wheel of Time series, in preparation for the release of Book 10 in January. It’s even better this time around, so nyah.

Gobear, I think you might be reading my mind, in addition to Terry Pratchett. I’ve been thinking about starting this thread.

Last weekend, I read 1984, just in time to hear someone defending Facism at a Games Night. I found it creepy, but enjoyable. I’ve just finished Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, but it was only all right. I’ve also been working my way through a box of mysteries by Dorothy Sayers, Lillian Jackson Braun, Ellis Peters, and Lindsey Davis which a friend who’s moving gave me (they belonged to his late brother). Drool with envy, mystery lovers – I think I’ve now got complete Lord Peter Wimsey, Brother Cadfael, and Cat Who series! :smiley:

Under non-fiction, I’ve got The Elizabethan Woman by Carroll Camden which is fascinating, Magic Words: 101 Ways to Talk Your Way Through Life’s Challenges by Howard Kaminsky and Alexandra Penney, and Marcia and Frederick Morton’s Chocolate: An Illustrated History, which is not to be read on an empty stomach!

I suppose it’s nice to have the time to read books I’ve always wanted to, but I’d much rather have a job. :frowning:


I just finished reading Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb and am currently rereading Soul Music. I’ve only been reading one book at a time for the past couple weeks, which is unusual for me.

Sounds promising, but I needs to know:

  1. How many main characters are there? Over twenty?
  2. Are there many of those trademark it-just-doesn’t-feel-quite-right Turtledovean sex scenes?
  3. Spanish are likely set up as baddies at least to some degree, but are they pathetically incompetent, a la Yankees in “How Few Remain” and Lizards in Worldwar and Colonization books?

Freedom & Necessity by Steven Brust & Emma Bull. It’s written as a Victorian epistolary, with Brust and Bull actually writing back and forth to each other. I haven’t gotten far in yet, but it looks very intriguing.

Anne Perry’s Monk and Thomas Pitt series, both set in Victorian England. There are a truly stunning number of these. They are becoming predictable, as almost all mystery series do eventually, and almost inevitably, the solution always involves some some shocking and scandulous solution - incest, homosexuality, child molestation, adultery, whatever. I think this is appropriate to the Victorian age. And despite all this, they’re quite well written, and easy to read. I enjoy them a lot.

Also, I just finished Kage Baker’s story collection, Black Projects, White Knights. (I believe, maybe the other way around?) It’s a collection of her Company stories (SF time travelling, and very very good, if you’re wondering) and was great. I especially enjoyed the stories about Alec. i hope she gets the next full length novel out soon; I’m practicallly dying of suspense!

I have Pratchett’s latest on hold at my local library; I got in first! I should have it soon, I hope.


That rung a bell! I read The Light In The Forest when I was in junior high. I liked it, but haven’t really thought about it since. It’s about a white boy who has been raised by Indians, right? Maybe I should check out Richter’s other novels.

Right now I am reading A Room With A View by E.M. Forster as well as Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. And I have the whole week of Thanksgiving off from work, so I’m stockpiling some books to read then. I can’t wait!

I’ve got a few books on the go right now. I just finished reading The Englishman’s Boy, a historical novel by Guy Vanderhaeghe. The story jumps between the Canadian/American frontier of the 1870’s and Hollywood in the 1920’s, and recounts the story of the Cypress Hills Massacre. I quite enjoyed it, in no small part because of the amazing attention to period details.

Also on the go is John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, and I’ve got The Day of the Triffids and Trouble with Lichen waiting in the wings after I finish.

Aside from those, I’m reading an anthology of Stephen Leacock’s humor, and I’ve just cracked open the first few pages of Stendahl’s Scarlett and Black.

Since I didn’t read it in High School, I am currently reading 1984 by George Orwell. I kept reading about how the Homeland Security was becoming more ‘Orwellian’ - now that I know what that is referring to, I am in agreement.

Next I plan to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury for the same reason - missed it in High School.

I’ve always got some non-fiction book going (there’s a “Math for Dummies” kind of book that I’m nursing along). But, currently, I am plowing through “Country Bride” by Debbie Macomber. It’s one of those cheap paperback romances. Yes, I am going through another Harlequin phase, I do this every few years. (I explain why I’m hittin’ the Harlequins so hard in this thread.)

Moscow Tram Stop, by Heinrich Haape and Dennis Henshaw. The war memoirs of Heinrich Haape, who served as a front line doctor in the Wehrmacht. A very interesting perspective on the battle for Moscow.

Roman Warfare by Adrian Goldsworthy and The Northern Crusades by Eric Christiansen. Both pretty self-explanatory.

Timeline by Michael Crichton. Time travel, archaeologists, and medieval battlefields - what more could you want?

Homer’s The Illiad - Research for a comedic novel set during the Trojan War I’ve been planning to write. Ask me for details.

Day of the Locust - Assigned reading for one of my college courses.

Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad - Rereading it for my own enjoyment.

Kevin “Tom Servo” Murphy’s A Year at the Movies.

Id like to pick up and finish From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life but that might have to wait till christmas.

I just finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (book blade runner based on) which was good. Though I had trouble imagining the subtle differences between the androids and the humans. Maybe thats the point.

But Ive been so mired in schoolwork that I havent gotten a chance to read much for fun lately.

I just finished The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and have just started Sue Grafton’s Q is for Quarry.

I have a list of about 5 or 6 books that I want Santa to bring me. I’ve been a good girl.
Actually, all I want for Christmas is a Barnes & Noble gift card. :smiley: