Time for another installment of . . . "So, whatcha reading?"

Read any good books lately? What’s everyone reading this summer, on the beaches and in the parks and in their (hopefully air-conditioned) homes and apartments?

I am currently reading “Change Me Into Zeus’s Daughter” (a memoir) which I had heard was fabbo and which I’m frankly not finding as riveting as I’d hoped, though maybe I just need to get into it further. I just finished “Speak,” a very well done Young Adult book about a girl enduring her first year of high school after something Very Bad happened to her over the summer. Next up is “The Unruly Queen,” a biography of Caroline, the wife of George II.

So, whatcha reading?

I am currently reading Volume 1 of Shelby Foote’s three volume opus The Civil War: A Narrative It is the second time I wll be reading these three books. I just finished The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer, which taught me that Bart is not the Nietzschian ideal of the ubermensch.

As a preface, I read voraciously–sometimes a book every 2 days or so. It’s what I do instead of T.V.

For my book club, I just finished Waiting by Ha Jin. I had also read Red Azelea and Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min earlier in the summer, so it was a big Cultural Revolution Theme. Anyway. I liked Waiting, although it was disquieting.

For fun, I just finished White Light by Rudy Rucker. Sci Fi. Very good also. I liked it more than Philip K. Dick’s Valus (sp?) or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, although it shares themes with both.

For trash, I just finished Lee Child’s Running Blind. It was good and fairly mindless. Good action. Good plot. Told a story etc.

What’s everybody else reading?

Recuperating from knee surgery here…just finished up Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Quite different from the earlier PI series, but a good read.

Next up: Word Freaks by Steffan Fatsis (sp?) about competitive Scrabble players.

Bunch o’ stuff

The Origin of Language by Merrit Ruhlin
The Onion: Our Dumb Century
The Thomas Paine Reader
Last Refuge of Scoundrels by Paul Lussier
Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography by Jack Hurst (before we get into yet another NBF debate, I’d like to point out that NBF isn’t a personal hero by any means, but I do find him intriguing)

Most of my reading has been focused on the first two. I haven’t picked up the other three in quite a while.

My bus book: Malaria Capers by Robert S. Desowitz,
My bed book: Voodoo Science by Robert Park,
My gym book: Kingdoms of Light by Alan Dean Foster.

I also travel around with two small books by Peter Novobatzky & Ammon Shea: Insulting English & Depraved English. I read a bit from these each day.

The back of my cereal box.

The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives by Carole Hillenbrand, and

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, courtesy of Fenris’ “the well-read SF fan” thread.

  • Tamerlane

WB, Jodi! Believe it or not, I’ve missed you around these parts.

I just finished reading Close to Shore, a history of the 1916 shark attacks off the Jersey shore.

Currently, I’m reading The Golden Compass, the first volume of a science-fiction trilogy I’ve always meant to read and never have.

After that, I’ll be reading Mauve: How One Man Invented A Color That Changed The World, which is pretty much what it sounds like.

pldennison, I honestly hope you have The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass to hand. If you like Pullman, it’s a good bet that you’ll end up outside some bookstore at 6:00 am, pacing the pavement and glaring at your watch.

I forgot one: I’m re-reading Plauges and Peoples by William H. MacNeil. It’s my other bed book.

The Informant” by Kurt Eichenwald, about the ADM Price-Fixing Case. A surprising page-turner.

Windows NT Shell Scripting” by Tim Hill (a re-read, actually). Arcane SysAd stuff.

Textbooks. Specifically, my Chemistry, Honours English I, World History, and Geometry books. Fascinating stuff therein.

My commuting (bus/subway) book is Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. I’d recently rented (and loved) the film, and bought the book to read.

My bedtime book is Is My Armor Straight? by Richard Berendzhen, a diary of a year in the life of a university president. He was my astronomy professor at American University and used to be the president there, too. The book is his diary of the '83-'84 academic year, as he struggled to raise the money to build the student/athletic center that I graduated AU in in 1995.

At this moment, The Vicar of Bullhampton, by Anthony Trollope, but I’ll probably finish it by the end of the week. I’ve read it before, but Trollope makes great light subway reading.

Best book so far this summer was Passage, by Connie Willis, with The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan coming in second (both birthday gifts - thanks, Mom!). While not as powerful as The Doomsday Book, Passage was excellent, and I would recommend it to SF and non-SF readers alike.

Books I’ve read in the last month:

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Hugger Mugger by Robert B. Parker
Esperanza Rising, the best children’s book of 2000 (not that the Newberry or National Book Award people paid any attention)
Holes, the best children’s book of the 90’s.
Old Yeller
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, the best children’s book of the 70’s.
Jacob Have I Loved, the best children’s book of the 80’s.
Maniac Magee, second best children’s book of the 90’s.
Sounder, best children’s book of the 60’s

Guess who’s been getting ready for the new school year.

A few things, as usual.

The Rhetorics of Reason and Desire in Vergil, Augustine, and the Troubadours by Sarah Spence. Although it comes highly reviewed and several of my former teachers edited chapters, I am finding it quite thoroughly disappointing.

I am perpetually trying to finish my translation of Seneca’s Thyestes.

Commodify Your Dissent: Salvos from the Baffler are some charmingly polemic essays against corporate consumer culture. Much, much fun.

I perpetually go back to chapters in Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy. Depression reading par excellence.


Oh, me too, me too. :wink:

Just today finished “Seabiscuit…” It is a wonderful book. One of the best reads in years for me. I highly recommend this book.

I just started the latest Sue Grafton novel. Seems good and solid. She draws a nice word picture.

The other day at a used bookstore I picked up a history of the musical comedy written in the 1960s called, “The World of the Musical Comedy”. Nice read, if dated.

I am also rereading Frank DeFord’s biography of Bill Tilden, “Big Bill Tilden”. I never cease to be impressed by DeFord’s ability to write.

Am also reading Edward Abbey’s “Fire on the Mountain”. I am enjoying his writing also.


I’m about halfway through the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events. The first one was amusing, the second one was the one that really hooked me, as it was both amusing and unexpectedly profound. I’m curious to know if any Doper has children who read and like Lemony Snicket, as I enjoy the books very much now, but I suspect that if I read them as a child, they would have freaked me out six ways to Sunday. Plus: the books themselves are very attractive, with unique covers and design, and illustrations that are Gorey-esque. Minus: I think they’re seriously overpriced.

My commute book is Traveller by Richard Adams, which is a Civil War story told from the point of view of General Lee’s horse, fer cryin out loud. I keep picking up Richard Adams books because I so dearly love Watership Down, but so far it seems that he hit on something with the bunnies that is missing from his other work.

On vacation, I read a very engaging mystery series by Barbara Hambly, the first one is called A Free Man of Color, which is (hold on to your hats) about a free man of color in New Orleans (we went to N.O. on vacation) in the 1830s who solves crimes that he happens to stumble across. I would recommend these to mystery fans, with the warning that some of the descriptions of violent crimes are quite graphic. Very good vacation reading – the plots are lightweight, but the author does a great job of setting the scene and creating interesting characters that present the complex relationships between free persons of color, slaves, creoles, whites, French, and Americans.

I’m at the part where the messenger describes Atreus’ sacrificial murder of Thyestes’ children, one of the most chilling descriptions of absolute evil in perhaps the history of western literature. Let me know how you construe the passage, m’kay? :wink: