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What Are You Reading Now?


I started reading Welcome to Marwencol. A photography / biography book that the film Welcome to Marwen is based on. I’m enjoying it so far about 25% in. I have a feeling that the film is going to stray a lot from the book. At least as far as I can tell from the trailer, but it definitely peaked my interest and got me to buy the book. I’m planning to watch the documentary on Amazon Prime when I’m done reading.


I’m about halfway through the first trade paperback of Tokyo Ghost. I’ve been really enjoying Rick Remender’s 7 to Eternity and decided to check out some of his other work. I’ll have to finish this first arch before I can make up my mind how much I like it.

The wife and I are currently celebrating our 10th with a trip to Portland, so of course we went to Powell’s. Picked up a copy of Dune because I’ve been wanting to revisit it and the copy I read ~15 years ago is falling apart. Also got Wonderbook, the Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction (just started it, but so far very good; very focused on World building) and Fantasy Art And RPG Maps (a book about drawing cool-looking maps of fantastic realms).

This is a bit of a tangent, but I’d be interested of anyone has recommendations for recent Sci-fi and Fantasy books that aren’t part of a series. I much prefer self-contained stories (read one too many dragged-out series that became repetitive and disappointing). I want to explore and support more contemporary writers, but every time I browse the genre sections it’s just a slough through rows and rows of " . . part IV of the 3rd cycle in the 9th volume of . . .", etc.


Have you read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke? It’s not super-recent (2004), but it’s recognisably fantasy, it’s not part of a series, and it’s (in my opinion) really good. I’m far from an expert on the genre, though, and I’ve never got into any of the long series myself.

For stand-alone sci-fi I’d recommend Never Let Me Go by Kasuo Ishiguro, though that is not really recognisably sci-fi. I absolutely loved it, but it’s not everyone’s thing, and I don’t really like most sci-fi, so take that recommendation with the appropriate seasoning. I also enjoyed The Martian by Andy Weir, for very different reasons - it’s really fun. And I enjoyed Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for the nostalgia and silliness.

I’m not sure I’ve helped with the mission to “explore and support more contemporary writers” - but someone else probably will.



My recommendation is Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Definitely a contemporary writer worth exploring (though I’ve never read anything else by him).

Embassytown by China Mieville is another bit of fantastic sci-fi.


All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders is very good.

And I’m not quite sure if they’d be strictly described as SFF, but I really enjoyed both The Supernatural Enhancements and Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero.


I finished Marwencol. It was pretty good. Like I said before, its mostly art, and its very stunning. It’s easy to forget these are photographs of dolls and not actual people. Mark’s story is sad, but he seems to be taking care of himself in the best way he can. I think the movie is going to stray very far away from reality. I haven’t had a chance to watch the documentary yet.

I’m still reading Storm of Swords and really enjoying it.


I am reading In the Heart of the Ocean, about the whaleship Essex, and its disastrous journey. Harrowing stuff, but very well written. Much better than Philbrick’s Atlantic–closer to his book about the Bounty.


I agree with @chrislear Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is excellent. Susanna Clarke also has a collection of short stories called The Ladies of Grace Adieu which is also really good.


I’d be interested of anyone has recommendations for recent Sci-fi and Fantasy books that aren’t part of a series.

The aforementioned Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time is a great one-off SF book. Full disclosure: The universe set up in the book would DEFINITELY be open for sequels, prequels, etc (you’ll know after you read it) but there aren’t any at the moment and the book ends completely and in a very satisfying way.

William Gibson’s The Peripheral is set in a stand-alone universe, unlike much of his earlier work, and I think it’s his most compelling book in decades.

If you scroll back up through this thread you’ll find a number of posts by myself and many others with some great ideas. I hesitate to recommend more because you’ve probably read through this thread by now. If not, get cracking!:slightly_smiling_face:


So The Shipping News turned out to be one I have mixed feelings about - i quite enjoyed the writing but the lack of plot was frustrating. I mean, the characters do grow and develop in interesting ways particularly toward the end, but sadly i think i’m the kind of reader that just needs a bit more plot to happen in a book to find it really satisfying.

Next up, a friend is loaning me a copy of Mort as my first real initiation into Terry Pratchett.

Plus wife and I are going on a cruise for our 5th wedding anniversary in a bit over a month, so I’ll be picking up some recommends from SUSD and this thread to enjoy, ideally sitting around a pool, cocktail in hand.

(Namely, The Fifth Season, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Rivers of London and Daughter of the Empire)


Weird Rivers of London Tangent…

Today I learnt that Ben Arronovitch wrote two classic Doctor Who Stories. Remembrance of the Daleks. (The One where they can levitate, and have special weapon Daleks) and Battlefield ( The One where it is heavily Implied The Doctor is Merlin.)


Along with all the RoL books, I’ve got the novelisation of Remembrance … signed by him, and he drew a Special Weapons Dalek in my copy of Behind the Sofa (which has been signed by various other Doctor Who people, including Colin Baker, Katy Manning, and Sarah Sutton).

Relevant to the thread: I recently read the newest RoL book, Lies Sleeping in two days while visiting my family for new year. Very much more of all the stuff I enjoy about the series. It’s the culmination of various stuff right from the first book onwards, so I’m interested to see where things will go from here.


Erebus by Michael Palin. A very interesting book about a most interesting ship. And Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Only just started but loving it so far


I’ve started Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series and so far it’s been fun. The first book is called ** A Study in Scarlet Women.**


Ooh, looks interesting. [yoink]


I’m reading all 6 volumes of Scott Pilgrim. Definitely get more info out of the comics than from watching the movie.


I’m reading all 6 volumes of Scott Pilgrim. Definitely get more info out of the comics than from watching the movie.

Make sure you read Seconds as well - i enjoyed it at least as much as Scott Pilgrim!


Nearly finished reading Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele which seems like a good, albeit fairly shallow, introduction to queer theory. Seems like an excellent reading list and starting point to pick up ideas to follow deeper.


I have that book lying around for years now…have to read it at some point.


I was, hmm, not impressed, but many people loved it so you probably shouldn’t rely on me.