What are you reading right now?

Well, not right now, since that’s obviously this thread. But a more generalized, “right now”, as opposed to last year, or something you’ll read next week if you get to it…

After taking part in the SDMB book swap, I’ve been enjoying reading the book reviews by the others who have swapped books. I did get to thinking that seeing some different titles talked about by different people would give a good variety to look for next time I’m at the book store.

How about mentioning the author and title, and saying something about the book, but don’t feel compelled to give a full book report if you don’t want to.

And the nice thing about this type of thread is that even if it’s been done before, it will be different books this time.

So come on and tell us:
[Voiceover from Capital One commercials:]What’s on your nightstand?[/voiceover]

I’ll even start.

I’ve picked up The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers. Set in the 1500s, Powers mixes mythology and an idiosyncratic type of magic into a historic setting. Along the way, he seriously abuses the main character (an Irishman turned mercenary), as Powers so often does. But even as the main character learns the truth about the Fisher King, he may have to learn something new about himself as well. (I’m about a third of the way through it.)

Object of My Affection, the book the movie was based on. A friend of mine was recommending the movie. Another friend interjected that the book was better, so I rented one and bought the other to compare. The book is, as usual, better - at least so far. But I must say Howard was cast precisely as described in the book.

Just read Liverpool Fantasy by Larry Kirwan. It’s a speculative novel in which the Beatles broke up after the modest success of their first single. The story picks up 25 years later in a Britain troubled by the ascent of the Fascist National Front, when Vegas lounge entertainer Paul Montana (né McCartney) returns to Liverpool to visit his erstwhile bandmates.

Lake Wobegon, Garrison Keillor. I’ve been reading it since January. (It’s a long book, and I really only have time to read before I fall asleep. I read about 4 or 5 pages a night.) Despite the length of time, I am really enjoying the story.

About 2/3 through Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz. The author travels through the US South to explore local attitudes/rememberances/etc of the War Between the States. On his travels, he meets with a “hardcore” reinactor, a Scarlett O’Hara impersonator and many other interesting characters. Being a Yankee, I found this book to be an interesting exploration of what I considered “ancient history”.

Am also 1 chapter into Towing Jehovah by James Morrow - the angel Gabriel has approached a former oil tanker captain -whose previous carelesness caused a major oil spill - and asked/told him that God has died, and he must tow His body to the Arctic. It appears to be a magical realism-type story and has sucked me in already…

The Alienist Normally I avoid bestsellers like the plague and this was one of them until I found it for a quarter. However, if I had known it was about a serial killer AND Teddy Roosevelt I’d’ve been all over it years ago. It’s not the best book I’ve read but it is keeping my interest better than, say, Hannibal did.

dropzone, that sounds like something my wife might enjoy. Who is it by? Also, does the title imply space aliens, or does it mean something else?

Prozac Nation, by Elizabeth Wurtzel. I’ve read it several times, but for lack of anything new, I’m re-reading all my books and that’s one that I like very much.

Also Three Men in a Boat, another one which I’ve read before but I’m reading it as antidote to Prozac Nation. It’s the only book that can make me cry laughing.

I’m reading Master and Commander, by Patrick O’Brian. I feel guilty because I haven’t read a line in 2 weeks, despite thoroughly enjoying it so far. But I will make an effort to finish it in the next week. I had just finished reading Watership Down before taking up this book; I liked it, but didn’t consider it to be a timeless classic.

The 100 Greatest Disasters of All Time

doesn’t include acts of war. Mostly natural disaster and “acts of God”. Very Interesting and I can read it in chapters at Lunch.

Caleb Carr. And “alienist” was a late-19th-century term for a psychiatrist. It’s set in 1896. TR is NYC police commisioner, not yet president. He, the protagonist (a newsman), and the title character investigate a series of grisly murders of boy prostitutes.

Sarum by Edward Rutherford. It’s historical fiction, set in Salisbury Plain. It begins with the end of the ice age and drops in periodically to show what’s happening in the area. Each era is described in a novella that’s completely absorbing by itself. As a whole, the book is very impressive so far (I’m a little over half way through).

Scarabus by Karen Koehler. It is only “ok” so far. I am not hating it but will probably not recommend it.

The English Patient. Started it last night.

I always read more than one book at a time.

Right now I’m reading:

No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs which is an autobiography of Johnny Rotten, the lead singer of the Sex Pistols. He varies between amusing me–he can be pretty witty at times–and annoying me with his inflated ego.

I recently went through most of Melissa Scott’s bibliography and am currently reading Night Sky Mine. She is an excellent science fiction writer whose books vary from space opera to cyberpunk to stuff dealing with gender issues. Practically all of her characters are gay and she’s won numerous Lambda awards. I would also recommend Shadow Man (dealing with gender/sexuality in an interesting society) and the Pointsman series she’s written with Lisa Barnett (which are fantasy-mystery in a society where astrology really works.)

Also The Chosen by Ricardo Pinto. I’m not sure if I’m ever going to finish it, because I sensed the main character walking into a trap and I hate waiting for the other shoe to drop. Nonetheless, it’s a well written book in the Great Big Fat Fantasy Epic tradition. I think it’s the first part of a trilogy. Takes place in an extremely unpleasant and very brutal society, so make sure you have a strong stomach if you read it.

The Power of Babel by linguist John McWhorter. It’s a pretty good romp through languages, how they are evolving and how new languages come into being.

i’m plowing through “at dawn we slept,” “heaven in my hands,” and “blue and gold.”

ne texas, i will second “the alienist” mr carr describes nyc so well that you are a bit surprized that you are in the 21st century when you take a breather.

Sandman – the entire run of the comic. I had forgotten how great it was; one of the few comic books that can be considered literature. And the fact that it held up for over 70 issues is amazing. Most really great comics (Watchmen, Maus) were short-term graphic novels. It’s great seeing all the connections and noticing things I hadn’t when I was reading the original run (and I came to it just over halfway in).

Politzania – I also enjoyed Confederates in the Attic – the author has a nice touch, I thought; he managed not to get snide about people whose values he didn’t necessarily share.

I’ve been sick the last few days, and have found People Magazine too challenging, so I’m stalled out with both of the books I’m about 25 pages in on: Kevin Murphy, A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey and Philip Lieberman, Eve Spoke: Human Language and Human Evolution. Let me get back to you on these.

Most recently completed book: James C. Simmons, Star-Spangled Eden: 19th Century America through the Eyes of Dickens, Wilde, Frances Trollope, Frank Harris, and Other British Travelers. Very interesting – good on social history and the social context of the specific time that the author visitor and the expectations he or she brought with him or her, and how they affected his or her reactions.

Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe.

White Noise by Don DeLillo.

About 1/3 of the way thru both books.