What are you reading?
  • I've not had the time to delve deep into Don Quixote, but the little I've read thus far I've been enjoying. I knew it was a satire, but I had no idea just how over the top this book could be. It's a very different reading experience than what I was expecting.

    I've also started reading the second deluxe edition of DMZ by Brian Wood. DMZ was one of those Vertigo series that I had heard about but never read, and now I'm finally getting my opportunity. I read the first deluxe edition sometime last year and really liked it, so now I have the second and third and I'm hoping it all continues to go smoothly. The premise is simple: Manhattan has become a demilitarized zone and a civil war has broken out in America. It has some similarities with Frank Miller's "Give Me Liberty" series, and I like it almost as much. It's an angry book and everybody in the book is an immoral asshole. Even the best person in the book is a prick made evil by the ongoing war. In this world corporations are bad, the government is bad, the military is bad, and the media is completely untrustworthy. Our protagonist is supposed to be the last good man in a shit world, but he to is becoming a product of his environment. It's a great read (thus far), and very cathartic.
  • Ooops, didn't notice that this thread had been stickied, so I thought people had lost interest in it and it had dropped off the page.  Should've known better of the erudite, well-read NT crowd...

    I finished off A Memory of Light (last book in the WoT series) - it was pleasing to wrap up a storyline that I first started reading about a decade ago buuuuuuuut, I dunno.  The way some of the plot threads were wrapped up were a bit, well, sudden.  And as for the final climactic battle between the Number One Goodie and the Number One Baddie - it seemed to be presenting itself as a massive surprise but kind of went the only way it possibly could.

    As for the next reading project, ever since my parents had a big clearout and I ended up with all my original Gen1 Transformers comics (the UK storylines, which were slightly different from and only occasionally overlapped with the US comics) I've had an idea in my head to go back through and re-read those for the first time in nearly 25 years.  That might be fun...? 
  • Reading old comics can be dissapointing.  I went through a bunch of old stuff a few years back and found much of it was just bad.  The two things that really held up, or were even better than I remembered were Nexus and Excalibur.  Excalibur (especially the first half of the 125 run) is the absolute peak for my man, Nightcrawler.  Nexus is a stunning comic that just got forgotten.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • Finished the second deluxe edition of DMZ. If you're following current events and live in the States, then this book will frighten you. It's a much bleaker version of what's been going on. 

    I'm going to start the 3rd deluxe edition later tonight, and then hopefully get back on track with Don Quixote. I've got an ever growing backlog of books and comics, and I don't have the self control to stop buying, so I need to be more vigilant and start reading more consistently. 
  • I decided for some lighter reading and am reading the 2nd collection of Drizzt Do'Urden books that I have, which I never got around to, the first collection being a rather exemplary example of D&D writing, as RA Salvatore is both good at creating worlds, and, in the context of D&D's rather rigid morality, infusing them with gray areas and difficult decisions. It also doesn't hurt that Drizzt is a terribly interesting character, although I will be curious to see if he becomes too powerful or wish-fulfillment-based as the series goes on; if I recall correctly, he now has some 12+ books about him, and I am still on the early half of the series.
  • Last book I read had to be Ready Player One which I grabbed from a Barns and Noble buy 2 get one for free table with most of the books around 50% off. It's still the only book I read from my selection.

    Ready Player One is a interesting book in the sense that it covers a lot of the releases of every media format that happen around the 80's. From Video games, movies, TV shows, and more it talks about the current world and the horrible state that it's in. Take for example that welding together RV's into tall towers is a good living choice. Also the fact that everything major is done by the method of a Virtual Internet world. There is hardly any major reason to travel very far when you can cross the web as your own avatar.

    The major goal of the characters in RP1 is to figure out the creator of this Virtual Internet world treasure hunt. He was born in the correct time to love and enjoy the 80's so he released this long final will and testament. If you are able to figure out the clues that he hands out in this video you'll start down a quest for the ultimate prize of ownership and CEO of his company. For many years this area of high scorers remains blank, because no one has found even the starting point. By the way, all tech and media from the 80's and beyond are kept online in full detail. So everyone is basically sinking them self's into the 1980s and its around 2040's or so in the book. Also there is some major risk to a few of these hunters.

    If you ever see Ready Player One by Ernest Cline with a cover full of RV towers, pick it up. It has everything from Anime to Video Game references.

    Stay Healthy People.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • Ready Player One is great. I read that two years ago and absolutely loved it.

    I've been going through DMZ deluxe book 3, and I'm not sure how I feel about it so far. The first two books had Matt Roth becoming the hearts of the city; the guy who told the truth and refrained from spinning things to his perspective. So far in this edition he's met a guy named Delgato who is essentially his generations Che. He's a "man of the people" espousing rhetoric that clearly lambastes corporations, governments, and white supremacy. Like most other "man of the people" candidates there's just something perfidious about him and Matt's adoration is simply too easy and far to uncharacteristic. This book is also becoming far more left leaning and heavy handed in its critique of the political right. Conservatives aren't people with a different perspective, they're every asshole who's trying to kill their fellow man. Matt was always left leaning, but it was played in a way that he appeared far more objective in his views; unclouded by politics. This looks like it might change and I'm not liking it. 
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • I finished DMZ deluxe book 3 at the end of last week, and while I don't like Matt's current character progression, I still enjoyed the story overall. There was a particular tale of a man at the end of the book who lost his family at the start of the war right before Manhattan become a DMZ. In this short tale we see this man as part of a group of clinically depressed and depraved men who have lost everything and become some kind of fringe underground that wants to share their pain with the world. They lost everything so they go around killing and destroying those who have some semblance of a life intact. The man we follow feels completely empty and loses faith in the group he is part of, and has a desire to find a real end to his pain. In the end his goal is to join his family, something he wishes he had done from the very beginning.

    I'm still chugging through Don Quixote and with a couple days off in the near future I'm hoping to sit down and finally finish it.

    I've also started the second omnibus in a series called "The Secret History." In short it's a retelling of real world events from the dawn of time to present day, but the twist is that all major events are set in motion by four sibling's known as "Archons" who carry rune stones of enormous power. It's a series that is somewhat hit and miss for me, with the premise being the main thing that keeps me involved. There's a cohesive story that constantly shifts between the foreground and the background which taints my overall interest. There's one more omnibus left, so I will finish this and give the last book a try, hoping it wraps up in a way I can appreciate. 
  • Goodnight Darth Vader

    My daughter loves her new bedtime book. My wife sometimes regrets her life choices. Thanks to The Brave and the Bold, her Batman knowledge is far beyond the average three year olds.
  • I finished "Er ist wieder da" and it was pretty bog standard imo. The concept was interesting, and there are some clever moments, but overall it didn't really grab me.

    I also read a big book of HP Lovecraft short stories because Bloodborne put me in the mood. Damn that man was a talented writer.

    I also reread "The Global Minotaur" which was updated recently. It's by Yanis Varoufakis whose name should sound familiar if you follow the news regarding Greece. The update didn't add much to be honest, suffice to say the man hasn't changed his views. To a casual reader the book will probably make a lot of sense and a lot of his solutions may sound reasonable, but if you have knowledge of economic thought beyond college economics 101 you can start to pick at this guy's tapestry until the whole thing unravels. Long story short, I enjoyed the book, but Greece is fucked. It's also a beautiful example of the disconnect between capitalist thought and Marxism. The free market versus the planned economy. Worth a look if that kind of thing interests you.
  • Just started reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Really interesting world setting. It's like The Good The Bad and The Ugly with magic, set closer to current time but in that same desert, desolate world. The main character is a Clint Eastwood style gunslinger, the main villain is a sorcerer referred to as "the man in black", a classic Good/Bad/Ugly trope. And then you hear people singing "Hey Jude".
  • I'm reading Game Of Thrones.

    I've been watching the television show since it started and figured it was probably time I gave the books a chance too.
  • Masters of Doom

    It's the rise of Id software. Four dudes, one ambitious, one the genius of graphics for a decade, building a company with "borrowed" computers and no money. Carmack remains revered and I remember how Wolfenstein 3D and Doom ruled the universe. So many great decisions followed by so many bad decisions. They had Doom on more machines than windows 95, but never made anything like the money you would expect. Valve and Unreal just came along and ate their lunch. Is there any arena where it is harder to maintain a lead than software?
  • I forget who wrote it but I read a book last week about narcissistic personality disorder which was a mixed bag of good and bad, mainly bad. The book was called "How to deal with a narcissist" iirc and the info on the actual disorder itself was rather interesting, but the stuff on how to deal with such people had a lot of no shit Sherlock facepalming moments.

    Now reading "The Bell Curve" which is interesting but haven't read enough to really say much about it yet.

    I also read Stefan Molyneux's book about "UPB". Stefan Molyneux is a YouTube personality who does a philosophy show that talks about all kinds of topics with listener call-ins and debates/interviews, things like that. He basically pushes for an anarchist/pacifist utopia. People seem to either love him or hate him. UPB -Universally Preferable Behavior- is his thesis that morality/ethics is not subjective but rather objective, and logically provable. It's an interesting idea, but a failure in my opinion. It actually fails for the same reason a lot of economic theory fails imo, by making oversimplified suppositions at the micro/macro level and then inflating them to cover the entire world. Like the economics textbooks that have 2 guys on an island; 1 selling bananas and the other cookies, UPB has 2 guys in a room, questioning whether they should murder or rape each other.
  • image
    I found these at a thrift store and now reading!
  • Studies in Pessimism by Arthur Schopenhauer. 

    I often forget that the structure of these philosophical essays are rooted in repetition, not because the author has little to say, but because they intend to drill their points into the mind of the reader. 

    Regarding the actual content of the book, I find myself in complete agreement with him regarding his views of education, religion, and suicide; it's everything else I question. He gives a bleak portrayal of the world, and maybe I've become somewhat of an optimist over the years, but the content goes beyond pointing out the ills of the world. Schopenhauer seems to be under the impression that humanities sole purpose is to suffer and that we spend our entire lives fighting our destiny. I'm going to delve deeper into his work to better understand his overall views of existence. 

    Note: His views on women are abhorrent and reprehensible. They are by definition antiquated, and I'd argue that he'd say feminism has made women manly. For a man that argues against narrow mindedness, he's incredibly obtuse when it comes to those lacking a Y chromosome. 

    I've also been reading Nietzsche, and need to get my hands on some Kant. 
  • I haven't read much Schopenhauer. I knew he was pessimistic, but many philosophers are branded that.

    Nietzsche is great. I enjoyed everything I read of his. Kant is good for completely different reasons too. Aristotle is a must if you've never read anything of his.

    As for me, read a book on r/K selection in humans which was interesting. It attempted to prove that the modern split found just about everywhere between liberal and conservative mindsets is connected to r/K.

    I also read some more Bell Curve which is pretty interesting. It focuses on the US but a lot of the arguments put forth could be applied to any first world nation.

    I'm currently also reading "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis which is all about morality, instincts, and those kinds of themes. It's good so far.
  • Outside of textbooks, I've never been pushed in my life to go and read books that are actually interesting, educational and informative, so I've had no idea where to start really. This thread has been very informative in that regard! Great thread, thanks to everyone. :) I will tackle the newly found backlog at some point.
  • Huh, I've never heard of r/K being applied to political opinion, although admittedly the last time I read anything about it was during an Evolutionary Biology course at Uni...

    Currently working my way through the backlog of EVO magazines that had built up while I was finishing off Wheel of Time.  Yes, I still have a magazine subscription in the year of our lord 2015.
    Noobied by 18drawt
  • I tend to listen to a lot of Podcasts when I am out and about, mainly science such Evolutionary Biology but not in a while i havent really been out that much. Cool you did that course @littleg I intend to do something similar at uni in the near future. Love my Bio and I suppose chem and adv physics stuff (but i love Bio the Most), i am well out of practice though because I have been really ill, but it is really cool that you did evo bio which i do intend to do at some point.

  • @FirLocke

    Sadly, school has a tendency to turn people away from reading with a bunch of stuff that is, well, boring for kids. I'll fully admit that I hated reading a lot of the books I had to read for class over the years. If you want to start getting into it, just pick out what you like in other mediums. Like sci-fi video games? Maybe find some of the classic sci-fi novels to start with. Like watching crime TV shows? Look for some crime books. Etc. Book stores and/or libraries are good places to start because if you have some time to burn you can just grab a book and start reading it before you decide to check it out or purchase it.
  • Ok so.... last week sometime? Finally, FINALLY read World War Z.

    I know, I know.... *gives back nerd card* but I had this thing called life and I've been reading nothing but electronics manuals and Game of Thrones books until recently. That series was all consuming.

    Anyway... WWZ.
    It was a surprisingly great read. I loved, particularly (and being a bit of a history nerd myself), that it was written in the form of interviews, where people were speaking about their own personal experiences. This really reminded me of books I used for research when writing a paper on Napoleon's campaign in Russia, where the books were a collection of letters. It was a much more personal read than I thought it'd be. And then you get the socioeconomic picture. I think that's why a lot of people found the book so interesting. There's the epidemic, the zompocalypse, but then! What follows is a strategic harvesting of available resources by groups in a way to maximize both human survival and slaughter of zombies! Fuck, man. I wish there was a way to melt down useless tools and create lobotomizers in State of Decay! There's also the whole flipping of society on its head, things like reeducation programs making hollywood film directors janitors in the new world where only true skills are useful really perked up my attention. I think I burned through this book in 3 days, it's not a heavy read but if you find the topic interesting the way I do it's definitely worth a checking.

    Now reading the accompanying Zombie Survival Guide. It's dry as fuck in comparison, having a hard time getting into it.

    Also been trying for ages to get into Player of Games by Iain M. Banks, it's got promise but it's starting slow and I'm having trouble. Lots of early character development. Dry as clean-picked fishbones in the sun.

    Love this topic, hope to get more suggestions, Good Sir Flibble sounds like he hit a good thing there. Will check back!
  • Ah, thank you for the help @GoodEnoughForMe . Ideally, the books I'd like to read would have some unique perspectives so that I can learn something from them. It could be on any topic really, be it fictional or real. I'm very interested in understanding other people's understandings...if that makes any sense. Psychology by example, kind of. Someone like Schopenhauer that lapham and Flibble mentioned seems interesting to me. Maybe philosophers are actually what I'm looking for. I can't find it in myself to go to books to be entertained like I would for games and TV shows. Unless it's comedy.
  • The Problems of Philosophy, by Bertrand Russel, is a decent philosophy intro, as long as you understand that Russel is a dick. Think, by Simon Blackburn is also good. I know some people found The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb, accessible and interesting, but I couldn't get past his arrogance and reliance on anecdotes to finish it.
  • Reflections on War and Death by Sigmund Freud

    I've read bits and pieces of his work, but this will have been the first time I've gone through an entire collections of his thoughts. I found this really interesting following my reading of Schopenhauer's Studies in Pessimism as they take a similar approach but come to slightly different conclusions. Schopenhauer argues that our entire purpose in life is to experience pain. It's a joyless existence that we attempt to put pleasure into in order to avoid the natural occurrence of suffering we come across in life. Freud on the other hand argues that our entire existence is not predicated on a pain but rather an obsession with death. The things we mistake as lust for life are actually part of our struggle with our inevitable oblivion. In a way Freud argues that the joys we experience are a natural part of life and a reason we don't accrue more of it is because of our obsession with death. He even begins to associate war and death in a way that implies that war is not a real conflict between ruling powers but instead a competition to see who can overcome death and all its horrors. These are at least my interpretations of what Freud was ultimately stating.

    Perpetual Peace by Immanuel Kant

    I found this essay to be confounding. The man spends the vast majority of his time speaking on the importance of autonomy, individuality, and the need for a representative state in order for there to ever truly be peace. He also speaks out against despotic regimes, aristocracies, and even democracy pointing out the inherent evils of each form of Government and how they're not only repressive to their citizenry but also constructs that will lead to perpetual war. Now he has the foundation for peace and an understanding of inalienable rights, so why does he inadvertently conclude the need for a police state in order for there to ever really be peace. Initially it appears that he's arguing for what would eventually become the United Nations, but ultimately he argues for an individual super power that can be the sole protector and overseer of the world; it's absolutely absurd.

    The things I find even more reprehensible is that he speaks on the importance of a representative government and the need for a judicial system in order to establish truth, honesty, and integrity while still speaking on the need for an singular superpower. He goes on to speak against spies and truce's as they're inclined to start wars later on, and speaks on the dangers of oligarch's and dictator's. He explain's that ruler's who lack a connection to the citizenry will not care for their well being and will send them off to their impending doom in order to achieve their goals without remorse or empathy for the lives of others. He understands all of this, and yet he never seems to conclude that an individual power would effectively be the exact same thing, just on a larger scale. 

    Kant has optimism and faith in the greater role of humanity and our ability to overcome our narcissism, nihilism, and all other ills that appear to be inherent in us. He's one of the few philosophers who has a semblance of faith in humanity. For that I will continue to read and try to understand his greater views on metaphysics and our general purpose. With that said he has some contradictory views and understanding when it comes to politics. He has understands the need for integrity and nobility in order to obtain Peace, yet sadly he unintentionally argues for something that would lead to perpetual war(as we've all seen).

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