What're you readin'


(also that he never, ever rewrote a sentence)


she’s a keeper, Alveric!


@u_u if George H. W. Bush had a secret bonus career as a specialist in ancient Chinese alchemy under a v. dubious alias you have to tell us


Homer Dubs is a real person w a ridiculous name


Homer Hasenpflug Dubs


Peter S. Beagle’s Summerlong is another “gods of an ancient pantheon in the modern world” book and I’m going to be honest it squanders a lot of its build up, a lot of the pathos feels unearned.


I’ve started reading The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

It reminds me of the Water Margin, but it is a lighter easier read.
I think this is exactly what I want right now.


I read this book and the sequel over this last month. The second book is a significant improvement over the first, so its well worth picking up. Not quite as good as just reading a survey of chinese philosophy but still very enjoyable. Probably a good deal more accessible, too. It doesn’t actually remind me of the Water Margin as much as it does of, well, other military fantasy books. There are shades of The Black Company and Jack Vance’s Lyonesse in there (though it is not a work of cynicism the way The Black Company is, its focus on battles and history-as-war certainly makes them brothers-in-literary-arms)


The only Le Guinn I have read, is Left Hand of Darkness. I thought it was good! I should try more of her books, because I usually like books by female authors.


Her Earthsea books are wonderful


I read The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. I was interested in this book after reading those excerpts in Deus Ex, and I got another recommendation for it here, so I decided to give it a try.

Well it was definitely well written. What a weird, convoluted novel. I’d known the plot summary beforehand, which almost gave me the wrong impression of it.

ending discussion

I’d thought that with Chesterton being a Christian apologetics writer, that the book would end in sort of a ‘good wins’ handwave that would make the build up to there frivolous. And it sort of does that, but not how I expected.

The image of God here seems influenced by the ‘lawless anarchists’ that Chesterton was setting himself up against. It has a dark, ambiguous, nonsensical side to it. Which is ultimately affirmed in the ending, in that nobody there can ‘drink the cup’ of God.

So I feel like that’s how the characters of the Days are to be understood. They represent the advances in truth and understanding in the humanities, the sciences, the ruling class, Russian pessimism (and, I wasn’t sure what the Secretary was supposed to represent, law maybe?) that contradict the orthodox image of God. I think that’s the meaning of why the whole town comes against them near the ending. So they are something of anarchists, but underneath they’re detectives. This isn’t explicitly stated, but I feel like this makes the most sense. This means that the conflicts are serious, and not frivolous ‘gotcha’ moments.

So that makes four levels of sincerity. They’re openly anarchist, as a facetious cover for being serious anarchists, when really they’re detective informants, but actually they do have a sort of nihilism that comes from piety. So yeah, convoluted.

I’d never read anything by Chesterton, and it was pretty darn complicated. It was a well written novel, certainly.


In 1997, Robby Knievel was present at a Scholastic book fair in my school. So, I have his autograph in a copy of The Grey King.

“Lucky Landings”


Tehanu has stuck with me maybe more than any book ever


i watched Annihilation and loved it, so i’ve been reading the Southern Reach trilogy of books, and i just finished Authority today. i think i kinda prefer the movie so far but i like that it’s at least as different from its source material as Stalker was from Roadside Picnic, considering the heavy influence it owes. and it’s neat how the first book is this brisk tense atmospheric little thing and the second is like, bureaucratic spy drama. let’s see how #3 goes. ppl talked about this already right?


I read all three right before the movie and was super into all of them. Weirdly I think the third most closely matches the tone of the movie (although the plot is very different), which is strange because I don’t think the director or screenwriter read the other two books (that is their excuse for mixing up the races of several characters).

The movie is definitely its own thing, but I think the entire trilogy would be amazing if directly adapted into a slow burn netflix series or something. The strangest part about it is Oscar Isaac would be perfect casting for the protagonist of the second book.

The third is definitely the most surreal, but it could be because by that point in the trilogy I was expecting closure but just got more mystery. Although some long-running mysteries in the series are wrapped up very clearly in it. And it is written in such a way that it seems like it should be possible to connect all the dots and work out what is actually going on, yet something makes me feel like that’s not actually possible.

Apparently there’s a fourth book coming soon which may or may not be a prequel.


yeah i was thinking they had read the trilogy and this was deliberate


well, I did it – no thanks to any of you lot

I can barely breathe


the next step is to devote your life to writing oblique Proust pastiche that no one could possibly ever care about or even recognize


you know I could think of worse things to do


Today I finished my reread of the whole Animorphs series, and I have to say that these books on the whole were way more subtle and impactful than they ever needed to be. The final book is largely a quiet meditation on grief and the ways that individuals and societies are changed by war. It’s a deeply sad finale that caps off with a sudden ridiculous yet thematically appropriate cliffhanger that reminds you of how well the series can do pulp space opera too.

You have to see this totally uncompromising letter that KA Applegate wrote to fans who were disappointed by the lack of a happy ending, it’s extraordinary. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a creator deliver such tough love to her fans.

Dear Animorphs Readers:

Quite a number of people seem to be annoyed by the final chapter in the Animorphs story. There are a lot of complaints that I let Rachel die. That I let Visser Three/One live. That Cassie and Jake broke up. That Tobias seems to have been reduced to unexpressed grief. That there was no grand, final fight-to-end-all-fights. That there was no happy celebration. And everyone is mad about the cliffhanger ending.

So I thought I’d respond.

Animorphs was always a war story. Wars don’t end happily. Not ever. Often relationships that were central during war, dissolve during peace. Some people who were brave and fearless in war are unable to handle peace, feel disconnected and confused. Other times people in war make the move to peace very easily. Always people die in wars. And always people are left shattered by the loss of loved ones.

That’s what happens, so that’s what I wrote. Jake and Cassie were in love during the war, and end up going their separate ways afterward. Jake, who was so brave and capable during the war is adrift during the peace. Marco and Ax, on the other hand, move easily past the war and even manage to use their experience to good effect. Rachel dies, and Tobias will never get over it. That doesn’t by any means cover everything that happens in a war, but it’s a start.

Here’s what doesn’t happen in war: there are no wondrous, climactic battles that leave the good guys standing tall and the bad guys lying in the dirt. Life isn’t a World Wrestling Federation Smackdown. Even the people who win a war, who survive and come out the other side with the conviction that they have done something brave and necessary, don’t do a lot of celebrating. There’s very little chanting of ‘we’re number one’ among people who’ve personally experienced war.

I’m just a writer, and my main goal was always to entertain. But I’ve never let Animorphs turn into just another painless video game version of war, and I wasn’t going to do it at the end. I’ve spent 60 books telling a strange, fanciful war story, sometimes very seriously, sometimes more tongue-in-cheek. I’ve written a lot of action and a lot of humor and a lot of sheer nonsense. But I have also, again and again, challenged readers to think about what they were reading. To think about the right and wrong, not just the who-beat-who. And to tell you the truth I’m a little shocked that so many readers seemed to believe I’d wrap it all up with a lot of high-fiving and backslapping. Wars very often end, sad to say, just as ours did: with a nearly seamless transition to another war.

So, you don’t like the way our little fictional war came out? You don’t like Rachel dead and Tobias shattered and Jake guilt-ridden? You don’t like that one war simply led to another? Fine. Pretty soon you’ll all be of voting age, and of draft age. So when someone proposes a war, remember that even the most necessary wars, even the rare wars where the lines of good and evil are clear and clean, end with a lot of people dead, a lot of people crippled, and a lot of orphans, widows and grieving parents.

If you’re mad at me because that’s what you have to take away from Animorphs, too bad. I couldn’t have written it any other way and remained true to the respect I have always felt for Animorphs readers.

K.A. Applegate