What're you readin'


There wasn’t really such a thread on old SB, and it’s the medium I most partake in, so…

Lately, I finished reading the Mabinogion, including the Arthurian Romances (Welsh Arthur is by far the weirdest and funniest and most pagan of the versions of Arthur)

I’m stalled out on the middle of a bunch of books, but most recently, I was reading Tanith Lee’s Death’s Master which I quite enjoy. It’s got that thickly poetic quality but with efficient storytelling that I expect of Lord Dunsany, such that each chapter is effectively self contained (though it is not a fix-up novel as far as I am aware)


Girl Waits With Gun and The Sisters Brothers


I’ve been reading lots of “classic literature” because it’s easy to find for free for the Fire tablet I inherited a while ago. I finished up Moby Dick a few weeks ago, then plowed through a few Oscar Wilde pieces. I just started reading Allan Quatermain but apparently it’s part of a series (I did not know this) and I’m not sure if I’ve jumped in at the wrong point or if it even matters. Or if I’ll just get tired of it and abandon it for something else anyway.

I’m open to suggestions if there’s something better. I liked Frankenstein, if that helps.


I’m currently nearing the end of Endymion and then I am not sure what my next book will be.


@parker I haven’t heard of either of those.

@Mikey probably the most interesting of H. Rider Haggard’s novels (though I haven’t read more than a description of it thus far) is When the World Shook

You should definitely check out the short stories of Lord Dunsany if you’re going through public domain lit, though. Almost everything he wrote is great, and most of it is in the public domain now.

@boojiboy7 I still haven’t read any Dan Simmons, mostly because I’ve heard some mixed comments about his work. Tell me more.


I just started The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal which promises lesbian initiatian rites, attempted poisonings, and heresy.

I’ve also been working through the James Bond novels after watching all of the movies (for the first time on most of them) over the course of the year. It’s been kind of neat to see how scenes not included in one book’s adaptation can show up in another movie later; Felix Leiter getting tore up by a shark was cut from Live and Let Die, but shows up in License to Kill years later.


I recently ploughed through Jean-Patrick Manchette’s Fatale and The Prone Gunman.

The latter especially is about the figure of a hyper-competent lone hitperson being reduced to a childish, emasculated pawn so v. #shrugpunk.

I’m home sick from work so I’m off the kindle and alternating between Patrick R. McNaughton’s The Mande Blacksmiths (in which I learn I am a wizard?!) and Joanna Bourke’s An Intimate History of Killing.

Thrilling wonder stories.


The best blacksmith wizard is definitely Ilmarinen from the Kalevala

You are not yet wizard enough to match Ilmarinen


Tulpa look the road of iron wizard is complex and difficult you can’t hold what’s in your books against me. :expressionless:

Regarded as the possessor of great magical powers, held at the same time in veneration and contempt, entrusted with duties unrelated to his craft or to his inferior social status, that make him the performer of circumcision rites, healer, exorcist, peace-maker, arbiter, counselor, or head of a cult, his figure in what may be called the “blacksmith complex,” presents a mass of contradictions.


I’ve been going through public domain stuff too, finding it hard to justify buying books when there are so many good old things freely available. I just finished and really enjoyed the count of monte cristo, trying to decide on something shorter now.


@Tulpa the biggest problem for Simmons in this series is that Hyperion (the first book) was fucking great, and everything after it has just been decent. I’ll finish out the series, no doubt, but the first book is just so good compared to the rest. There’s a major obsession with Catholicism in the books, and certain poets (Keats) that is a little weird, but they are interesting nonetheless, and I don’t mind those areas of obsession,but some people understandably might.

It’s not the greatest Sci Fi, but its better than a lot of stuff I have read.


Just finished Beloved, that little-known Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. It’s great and harrowing, and a pretty quick read if you can stomach all of it at once. I could not. It took 3 months. The weird thing is, after I picked it back up the horrific details all sort of fell into the background, it became more poetic, and in relatively short order, it ended.

In between I had read a bunch of comics. Vol 1 of Saga of the Swamp Thing, Rat Queens, Sex Criminals, Hawkeye, and Ms Marvel. They were all great. I might need to track down more Sex Criminals, not sure how much there is now. Still waiting on more Swamp Thing, it is in pretty high demand in my library network.

Next up: George Saunders, Joe Sacco, and a medieval Arabian fantasy compendium.

Oh, and I grabbed the Drawn & Quarterly Hot Potatoe collection because I flipped it open and thought “dang, this looks like a catamites game map”, and I wanted to scan some of it. Kind of reminds me of a way gentler Dal Tokyo, although it’s been so long since I read that. Here’s their excerpt: https://www.drawnandquarterly.com/sites/default/files/docs/samples/webexcerptHOTPOT.pdf


For the public domain readers
blind recommending Saki based on T. recommending it.

regular recommending:
William Morris especially for The Well at the World’s End, though I think T.'s favorite was W.M.'s version of The Story of the Volsungs.
Jonathan Swift for self evident reasons. I’m sure most people have read him but why not read him again?
All of this Celtic Literature though I recommend picking up a more contemporary translation of the Mabinogion than what is offered here (Guest’s translation was heavily censored)
The Fitzgerald translation of the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. Probably my favorite book of verse.
Orlando Furioso an Italian epic poem, an extremely imaginative work.
George MacDonald who gets unfortunately underrated more than he deserved.
G.K. Chesterton with whom I don’t often agree, but I love his prose. The Man Who Was Thursday is his best work, by far.

This is just barely scratching the surface


It’s on like it’s third arc now. I think the last issue I read was #13?


Though I totally want to talk about Sex Criminals, I’d prefer if comics talk spun off into its own thread (for arbitrary reasons, but mainly because comics talk is likely to drown out regular lit)

@boojiboy7 given that I’m recommending GK Chesterton and George MacDonald, and I’m a huge fan of Gene Wolfe, I don’t think that “Too Catholic” is a problem category in my ontology of writers.

Edit: actually that’s a lie. I hated the last third of A Canticle for Leibowitz


[quote=“The Sisters Brothers”]
‘I’m done talking about your horse, Eli.’
‘If you think it will not come up again, you are mistaken.’
‘Then I’m done talking about your horse today. Now, let us divide the money.’
‘This is your killing. You keep it.’
‘I killed these men to free you from the cursed shack,’ he complained. But I would not accept the coins and he said, ‘Don’t think I’m going to force it on you. I am overdue for some new clothes anyway. Do you think your mangled, brainless horse can make it to the next town without hurtling itself off a cliff? What’s that? You’re not smiling, are you? We’re in a quarrel and you mustn’t under any circumstances smile.’ I was not smiling, but then began to, slightly. ‘No,’ said Charlie, ‘you mustn’t smile when quarreling. It’s wrong, and I dare say you know it’s wrong. You must stew and hate and revisit all the slights I offered you in childhood.’[/quote]

I was thinking about how the author of the Revenant isn’t able to do interviews with the movie coming out because he works for the state department. and I was thinking how people sometimes rip off peoples tumblr text posts or twitter posts or whatnot, to write paid gawker think piece things, making money off of the freely offered works of others. and I thought what if some NSA voyeur is a would be novelist using peoples lives as fodder for his writings. what if one of them is spying on my brother and I and the book they wrote is The Sisters Brothers.

Girl Waits With Gun is a historical fiction book about the first female sheriff, Constance Kopp. She and her sisters get their automobile wrecked into by a rich misogynist factory owner prick who won’t won’t pay up.

I’m looking forward to reading Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s new book about Mycroft Holmes next I think


i’ve been telling myself i need to read moby dick, the writing is just extremely powerful to me and i plowed through quite a bit of it earlier this semester (up through the part where ahab ceases to be this onlooking figure and starts to get involved) but i have yet to pick it back up


@parker I’ve been meaning to pick up The Sisters Brothers and now I’m looking forward to it even moreso.


@Tulpa fair enough. I didn’t mind any of Canticle, tbh. I figured with your love of Wolfe, the Catholic thing wouldn’t be a problem. In the time jump between books 2 and 3 of the Simmons series, the Church becomes a weird military dictatorship powered by endless resurrections of humanity, so it’s not like the series is super Pro-Catholicism, but I could imagine someone with no knowledge of the Church finding it a bit weird and disorienting to read

@gary oh man Beloved is so good. I don’t know anyone that makes it through their first time relatively quickly. There’s a lot of dense stuff there, even if it doesn’t always seem like it.


@Mikey I read Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines a couple of years ago and was really surprised at how light and fun it was for a novel of that time

@jahoolopy Fleming’s James Bond novels are great and exciting until he loses interest around Dr. No.

I wish I had discovered Moorcock at 15 and Zelazny at 25 instead of the other way around, but here I am unable to read anything but Eternal Champion novels with the occasional bit of Mack Bolan thrown in for good measure