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NBooth   

Reading "Unnatural Causes" by PD James. It's been awhile since I've wanted to read a novel. I've been in comic book mode lately.

My progress through James' oeuvre has been startlingly backwards; I'm nearing the end of The Murder Room (not to be confused with this book) right now, and it's...interesting. Nowhere near as strong as Death in Holy Orders and not as tight as The Lighthouse or The Private Patient. It takes a beautifully Golden Age idea (murders in a murder museum) and makes it, somehow, deadeningly realistic as opposed to surreal (imagine what Carr would have done with the idea! He came close at least twice). It's also disjointed in a way that I don't recall in anything else I've read by her.

Also on-track: Dick Taverne's The March of Unreason. Which is interesting in a whole 'nother way.

Edited by NBooth

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Recently finished:

Burning Chrome, the early short fiction collection of William Gibson. I love cyberpunk as much as the next guy, but was strangely disappointed with Neuromancer when I read it a few years back. Maybe I was just having an off week or something, but I absolutely, completely loved this. Every single story.

All for the Union, the collection of journal entries and letters from Elisha Hunt Rhodes. Rhodes was a Union soldier in the American Civil War, and his regiment was involved in basically every major battle over the course of the war. I can see why Civil War buffs like this: Rhodes is a no-frills writer, and the journal lacks some of the flowery sentimentalism that other writing from that period had. I was surprised at how funny the collection was, too (at least in spots).

Working on:

Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. For some reason the premise was small hurdle for me, but now I'm loving it. The book feels quite different from any of Stephenson's other works, and I can't put my finger on the why.

The Innocent Man, by John Grisham. Grisham's first work of non-fiction, and something I got as a freebie from Borders when I worked there years ago. I'm really interested in the story, but Grisham's writing is...bland. I've never read any of his other books, and I'm not sure I'll want to after this.

Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Another classic I missed, until now. This is a blast — Stoker's prose is much more nimble than I had imagined it would be, and the epistolary model is really cool.

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My bedstand overfloweth:

Milton, Paradise Lost. Currently on pause at Book IX for

Cullen, Columbine. Which when I'm not reading it it's becuase I'm slowly progressing through

Smith, A New Age Now Begins, where I'm at page 1234 and in year 1778. We should have taken Montreal, that's all I'm saying about this exhaustive (and exhausting) history of the American Revolution from 1976.

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Crow   

Recently finished:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Geeky gaming 80’s trivia fun, highly enjoyable.

The Chosen by John G. Hartness. Satircal religious humor in the vein of Good Omens or The Life of Brian. Adam and Eve as immortals in the modern world who get mixed up with the Father of Lies among Texas honky-tonks and the open road.

Getting ready to jump into:

The End of Baseball by Peter Schilling, Jr. It’s speculative baseball fiction, what would happen if Bill Veech had bought the Philadelphia A’s in 1944 and imported the stars from the Negro Leagues: Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and Cool Papa Bell. An intriguing premise.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson when I have more free time. Then again, I've been saying that for a few months now.

Edited by Crow

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Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson when I have more free time. Then again, I've been saying that for a few months now.

GET ON THIS STAT, JIM.

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Doug C   

Burning Chrome, the early short fiction collection of William Gibson. I love cyberpunk as much as the next guy, but was strangely disappointed with Neuromancer when I read it a few years back. Maybe I was just having an off week or something, but I absolutely, completely loved this. Every single story.

But especially "New Rose Hotel," right?

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Presently reading Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective by Ted Turnau, which is supposed to turn into a reviewish feature for Christ and Pop Culture.

Also working through Christian Smith's Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults.

As far as fiction goes, recently finished McEwan's On Chesil Beach.

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I just finished William Romanowski's Reforming Hollywood, reviewed here by CT. I thought I'd give up several times during the first 65 pages; the book wasn't what I was expecting, and while it was well researched, it read too much like a textbook. I felt like I was back in school, needing to slog through a text simply to be able to pass a test.

But something happened. By page 75 or 80, I was quite suddenly drawn into the book. Perhaps not coincidentally, the uptick occurred after I had left town and had begun a 5-day camping trip. Was it the mountain air? Maybe.

I'll probably start a thread on the book after I've had time to think a bit more about all the ground it covers.

Also, I knocked out a bit more of Volume 1 of American Fantastic Tales, which I started reading a couple of years ago. I've now cracked page 300. Applause, please!!

Edited by Christian

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But especially "New Rose Hotel," right?

It was one of my favorites. The ones Gibson co-wrote really stuck out for some reason, too. The protagonist in "Dogfight" was an awful, awful person, but I couldn't stop reading. "Red Star, Winter Orbit" was another co-written one I loved. The titular store, though, was the highlight. (I never realize how much The Matrix movies stole from this story.)

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M. Leary   

Jason, Mirrorshades is a 1986 cyberpunk anthology that is also well worth reading. Excepting Schismatrix, it was the early apex of Sterling's fiction career.

I would also recommend not watching Ferrara's adaptation of New Rose Hotel. Of all of Gibson's novels and stories, I think his last few lend themselves better to film adaptation.

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M. Leary   

I have read several things from this creative commons list this month just to see what sort of quality is out there in the cc license world. Being able to just save the pdf file is very handy.

Eastern Standard Tribe (Doctorow)

Gave this a second read because I thought it was fascinating earlier. It held up pretty well, but Doctorow never seems able to write a good conclusion. Every one of his books just kind of peters out in a few pages of finale.

Roo'd (Klein)

Enjoyed this a lot. A lot of well-developed characters and some decent post-human action thrown in.

Everyone in Silico(Munroe)

This is the first Munroe I have read. It snuck up on me and I ended up liking it.

Burn

Started this one and didn't finish it.

In the print world:

I have been alternating between Cloud Atlas and Moby Dick. Cloud Atlas really is a stunning book, that only reveals its treasures as you soldier through the first 65% or so. (Though now I find what it implies about history and identity less stirring than I thought it was. It is not as intellectually thick as its original reception made it out to be.) This time around with Moby Dick I may have been skimming the historical and technical digressions.

Edited by M. Leary

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Doug C   

[The titular store, though, was the highlight. (I never realize how much The Matrix movies stole from this story.)

Tell me about it! It's why The Matrix has always seemed redundant and old hat to me from day one.

I haven't seen Ferrara's adaptation, which has a critical following, purely on account of my love for Gibson's story (which I read 20+ years ago).

Edited by Doug C

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Tell me about it! It's why The Matrix has always seemed redundant and old hat to me from day one.

I remember seeing The Matrix on its release and thinking, "Man, they stole everything from Shadowrun!" Funny, since it wasn't until years later that I realized how much the Shadowrun pencil and paper game stole from Gibson (still love it, though).

Edited by Jason Panella

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Doug C   

Are you chomping at the bit for the Netrunner reboot?

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Are you chomping at the bit for the Netrunner reboot?

Absolutely, especially since FFG is tying it to their Android universe (Android is my favorite board game, period). This conversation might work better if it continues in the game section, though. :)

Edited by Jason Panella

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Ryan H. wrote:

: Of all the American authors I have ever encountered, Bradbury is by far the most humane.

Ha! (Did Bradbury, in fact, ever have anything to do with the Star Trek franchise?)

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CherylR   

Currently reading:

The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor

Building Fiction by Jessie Lee Kercheval

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Anders   

Now that I'm finished with my comprehensive exam readings and the candidacy exams are passed, I'm reading a novel (for fun!) this week before I delve back into dissertation proposal revisions.

A HEART SO WHITE by Javier Marías

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Reading for grad school has take over again, which usually (and thankfully) involves some good books.

Recently finished:

-A Sacred Voice is Calling, by John Neafsey, and Kingdom Calling, by Amy Sherman. Both deal with vocation in fairly different ways (Neafsey approaches it from a more mystical Catholic side, with a focus on understanding vocational calling and how other religions/traditions deal with it; Sherman is a little more practical, and comes from an explicitly Reformed Protestant slant). Both were good in different ways.

-Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Loved this, though the slew of monologues near the end kind dragged things down a bit.

Working on:

-Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. ALMOST DONE. Really enjoying this, and I honestly have no idea where Stephenson is going with it.

-Finding God Beyond Harvard, by Kelly Monroe Kullberg. A follow up to Finding God at Harvard, Kullberg talks about how the Veritas Forum was formed at various Ivy League schools and multiversities. It's a good read, overall, but Kullberg's tone comes off pompous more often than not. Plus, all of the stories Kullberg tells makes me think of Whit Stillman's Metropolitan, but not in complimentary way.

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The only Stephenson book I finished was Snow Crash, though I do have a giant hardback of Cryptonomicon sitting around if I can ever get back into it again...

Currently reading - From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury

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