Reading (rainbow optional)

So, outside of the Wonderful World Of Web Fiction...what are you lot reading right now? Any good books? Come on, spill the beans! If there's one thing I like talking about more than writing, it's reading.


Myself, I'm reading "Sword and Deviltry" by Fritz Leiber, "The Truth" by Terry Pratchett (for the umpteenth time) and "The Glass Dragon" by Irene Radford. I tend to read several books at once, as a rule. (Edit to Add: I forgot, I'm also reading "1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" by Captain Daniel Grose)


I'm really impressed by Fritz Leiber. I've read some of his other stuff, but never his fantasy work, and I'm really impressed. First, by the poetry of his language, the ability to write beautiful high fantasy sounding language...but at the same time, I'm REALLY impressed by his clarity. Beautiful language takes a backseat to clear and readable prose and a well-told story, and he balances them perfectly. So perfectly, I can't help but notice it now and again and go "wow..."


I'm reading "The Truth" by Pratchett, because I almost always have a Pratchett, or a Gaiman book going. They're relaxing and never grow old. And because I've read them so many times, they're like old familiar well-worn friends. With some of them, I just open them to the middle and start reading.


And I own a whole pile of Irene Radford books and have for years, but never had the urge to crack one open 'til now (that's how my library works, I have a split between "books I've read and will read again" and "books I haven't read and want to/don't want to yet."). I'm enjoying it. It's a good work of fantasy, although it's probably getting a bit of a bad comparison since I'm reading it alongside Fritz Leiber. But she handles dialogue wonderfully, and I'm waiting to see if the story, when it takes flight, really takes me away or not.


I'm also reading "1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" by Daniel Grose, and can't get enough of it. It's giving me a potential potty mouth across three centuries, and the lingo in it is amazing. Not only the words themselves, but sometimes the language used to DEFINE the words. It's just fantastic. I mean, the first thing I learned when I opened the book was the real, original definition of the phrase "nincumpoop" and, after telling my wife in delight, I was forbidden from using it in the house. It's filthy. (I'd share here, but I don't want to offend and thus, won't.) Terrific book. I just want to print out all the words and definitions and paste them all over my office. THAT would keep people terrified and away! :-D


...


There. That's me. What's on your plate?


I'm currently reading Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke. It's a series-based cozy mystery that's mostly horrible in terms of literary value. It's redeeming factor, though, is that it's:


a) holiday-based, and I'm in the mood for that.

b) good for mindless reading on car trips, which was when I started it.


Other than that, it's all about the web fiction. ^^


I've been rereading the Harry Potter series to see what I notice in the earlier books since having read the last book. I've just finished reading "Excession" by Ian Banks (recommended). Next up is "The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge".


We'll see what happens after that.


Vernor Vinge. *scratches brain for a moment* He wrote...Fire on the Deep? Right?


I want to say I read that book, but suddenly can't remember. I wonder what I own by him...


I've never read any of Ian Banks. Is Exession a good place to start...?


He did write "A Fire Upon the Deep." I haven't read it though. I hope to one of these days.


For more on Vernor Vinge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernor_Vinge


As for Excession... It's not a great place to start. It's a great second book by Banks. An awful lot of his stuff is set in his "Culture" universe and "Excession" works better if you're already familiar with it, I think. You're better off starting with "Look to Windward," "Player of Games," or "Consider Phlebas."


I recently read Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates. I am supposed to be reading A Wizard of Earthsea, but I left the book in my mom's car... so I'm currently reading an outdated book on how to write tales of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. XD.


I LOVE outdated books on how to write tales of etc. Who's it by? Robert Bloch? Damon Knight??


(My wife is a big fan of the EarthSea books; I haven't read Le Guin outside of "Left hand of darkness" which was quite good.)


I believe this book is a series of different articles/essays compiled by J.N. Williamson. Robert Bloch does appear in the first chapter. I don't believe Knight does.


I found the third one randomly at a book sale for 2 bucks and the name sounded familiar so I bought it. I didn't realize that two other books came before it, so I'll try to read through the first too.


I've got that book, too. "How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction."


I found it seems to focus a lot on Horror and somewhat on SF and F.


"Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy" by editors at Analog and Asimov's is another good one, but leans toward SF.


I've got Damon Knight's "Creating Short Fiction." Had that for a looooong time. My dad got it for me back when I was in 6th grade. Pretty good intro to fiction writing, I thought.


Damon Knight's book is a delight, I've got it around here somewhere. Ray Bradbury's is a classic, of course. Generally, I read how-to-write books not to learn how to write (I know how to write. You sit down. You write. Everything else is details mostly) but because I LOVE listening to these authors talk about writing and their lives. They're like little work-related biographies. Love 'em.


...


Update to me, I have finished Pratchett's "The Truth" and am now reading Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" which I've never read before.


I spend too much time writing to be able to read much.


Although, this is my reading list:


Mind OS by Dr Paul Dobransky

Idoru by William Gibson

Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

The Ships of Air by Martha Wells

Unlundun by China Mieville


Plus whatever I manage to pick up around Christmas.


Woo.


@PeeDee--Yeah, that's one reason I liked reading some of the "writing how-to" books. I enjoy learning how other writers work and how writing fits in their lives.


King's "On Writing" is a great example of this.


As for my reading plate:

"Magic Lost, Trouble Found" by Lisa Shearin

"Strangers In Paradise" by Terry Moore (the whoooole series)


@acetachyon & peedee: I have a lot of how to write books, I like using the techniques sometimes they are really helpful, especially if you need some encouragement.


Ray Bradbury came to our school sci-fi conference, but I couldn't make it because I got sick. I would have liked to have gone, because you can always learn something new even if it isn't in your genre of writing.


Ray Bradbury, speaking, is amazing. There's a number of clips of him speaking on Youtube (there's an hour video, and then a follow-up half an hour video somewhere on the 'net). He makes me ashamed of not being more prolific, makes me want to go stuff my eyes full of LIFE, and makes me want to sit down and write until my heart explodes. And that's just with an eighty-something-year-old Bradbury speaking to a crowd. Never mind what he WRITES...!


I got my hands on BIOS by Robert Charles Wilson, which is a brilliant (and short) Science Fiction epic that has a lot of common themes to play through.


I'm also working my way through a couple Steampunk anthology books. Extraordinary Engines is one of them.