Literature thread - What are you reading?

Books and literature in its many forms.
What are you reading? Need something to read? What are your favourites? I’m always down to talk books.

There are more than a couple of James Joyce disciples around here (including myself). I’m generally into a few well-known 20th century classics, a bit of 19th century; then more modern stuff like Hunter S. Thompson/Merry Pranksters, New Age, music writing in general, Stephen King, Phillip Pullman, my first obsession: Harry Potter - but I sometimes have ten books going at once, so who knows how much else too.

Just recently finished/finishing Jokes Over (Ralph Steadman’s bio of his relationship with Hunter Thompson), and Bob Dylan’s The Philosophy Of Modern Song, and starting The Philosophy of Andy Warhol.

I just finished reading First-Person Singular by Haruki Murakami. It’s a collection of short stories that seem to have a theme of people going through psychic breaks from their normal lives. That felt pretty fitting as I traveled to spend a couple weeks on the other side of the planet.

The next book I started is Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets. I’ve been meaning to read this for years, and now it feels more pressing because the book is showing its age being written in the early 2000’s. Scientific research has advanced quite a bit in the field of mycology since then. Just last summer I read Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake, which seems to have taken a lot of influence from Stamets’s work. No surprise there.

I’m also half-tempted to start Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love for a second read after finding a copy I left at my parents-in-law’s many years ago. The Murakami short stories gave me a taste for more of that genre and Carver’s pretty much the best.

I just finished reading First-Person Singular by Haruki Murakami. It’s a collection of short stories that seem to have a theme of people going through psychic breaks from their normal lives. That felt pretty fitting as I traveled to spend a couple weeks on the other side of the planet.

Ooh, I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle while I was in Japan in April and I was shocked at all the reflections it had from my life and circumstance with this same theme (main one was being away from our cat for the first time :frowning: ). I was inspired and picked this and Norwegian Wood up on my way home but haven’t got to them yet.

Wind-Up Bird is great, isn’t it? The Elephant Vanishes is the first of his books I read and it left a huge impression. I’d never read anyone who could wind the supernatural into the commonplace so seamlessly. Norwegian Wood is one I read as part of a book club (my suggestion) but was a little disappointed that it wasn’t as zany as his other books. Still a good read, but I’d been hoping for more of the wilderness.

Stephen King can be really great at weaving supernatural elements like that, but it was very clear that it’s a big strength for Murakami just from my first read.
Actually the first Japanese author I’ve read I think, felt like a bit of insight into other media that I was missing.
I loved the music references too! I figured Norwegian Wood was going to be a Beatles reference right? If so it will suit me very well if it’s a bit more simple.

I am currently on book 11 of The Wheel of Time.

I read all the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, and decided I better pick a complete series to read. When I chose WoT I told myself that by the time I finished it, “Winds of Winter” would be out. I started WoT in 2016.

Well, only 3.5 books to go for me and it’s not looking promising.

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Big Stephen King fan here, favorites include 'Salems Lot, The Shining, The Stand, Eyes of the Dragon, the Dark Tower series, and any of his short story collections.

For obscure stuff, my dad was a huge 50’s - 60’s sci-fi fan and Mark Clifton is my favorite author that I’ve found in his collection. They’d Rather Be Right and Eight Keys to Eden are absolute classics (as long as you can look past a few outdated gender norms). For me a good story transcends the prejudices of the author though. See also HP Lovecraft…

Also a big fan of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Memnoch the Devil probably my favorite, but The Vampire Lestat > Queen of the Damned is a close second.

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Have you read How to Change Your Mind? There’s a whole section on mycology (mostly as it relates to psychedelics, but not entirely), very interesting.

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a friend of mine’s grandparents bequeathed him like an entire garden shed’s worth of vintage sci-fi books and magazines, including a bunch of asimov, clifton, ursula leguin et al… he actually gave me his old dune books (same editions as seen in the pic below, though my copy of chapterhouse is from a different set iirc) because he was looking to downsize it a little.

Sweet. Yeah I love the Dark Tower, and some other favourites are It, The Stand, Revival, Duma Key, Carrie, Misery, Gerald’s Game, Desperation… but I think I’ve only read about half of his books. Are you still keeping up with the new stuff? I did like the Mr Mercedes trilogy too, and more recently I read Billy Summers and Fairytale, but I think he is starting to get a little stale.

Also cannot recommend How to Change Your Mind enough to @AlteredBeef or anyone else remotely interested in psychedelics or mental health research. I truly believe that book is at the root of kicking off this kind of research that we’ve seen in the last few years after a 50 year pause, and for very good reason. I also read This Is Your Mind On Plants from Pollan, which is good too, a bit more simple and broken into distinct topics: Coffee, Opium, and Mescaline.

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That’s dope. My dad passed ten years ago and I still haven’t read my way through all his books. His favorite was Heinlein so there’s tons of that, but every once in a while I’ll just grab something at random and be blown away that a guy who never did drugs was into books that are basically using alternate terms to describe the psychedelic experience…

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I haven’t kept up obsessively like I did when I was younger, but yeah, I do feel like he’s lost the consistency that he used to have. I liked 11/22/63 and Doctor Sleep, Duma Key was good but dragged at times I thought, and The Institute I thought had a good buildup but didn’t pay off. The one that really made me realize that I didn’t have to follow as closely was Cell, though. Don’t even remember why but that one just didn’t do it for me.

Ah yeah 11/22/63 was amazing, forgot about that one. Something that seems to set apart some of the newer books is if they were based on a really old idea that he never finished, Revival was similar. He’s such a Luddite and his newer ideas starting with Cell really expose how he’s a bit stuck in his ways. He eventually got there incorporating computers, smart phones, and social media into his stories but it is often still very clunky. Haven’t read The Institute, but The Outsider is exactly the same, he has a few instances where theres a big reveal or plot change right in the middle that sometimes works (Fairytale). but otherwise puts the whole thing in a tailspin.
I just love how American it all is. Pretty much my entire perception of what the US is like through literature comes from King. Would dearly love to do a rough tour of the areas that are significant to his writing one day, New England, Colorado and maybe a bit of Nevada.

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Yep, I’ve read How To Change Your Mind. I’d read several of his books on food before (and even had students read one), so I was pretty excited when I heard he was writing that book.


Yeah dude like The Omnivores Dilemma? I read that in high school but I hardly remember it now. This Is Your Mind On Plants has a lot of his passion and thinking on gardening and food, I’d be very curious now to see how the former one aged.

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Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation

by Alexei Yurchak

Found a hardcover copy of Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew at a thrift store the other day. So many bangers in this one. The Mist, The Monkey, The Jaunt…just to name a few.

The Mist with the real ending not that movie bullshit that fucked the whole thing up btw…

How Music Works by David Byrne. Highly recommend it!

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I seriously was thinking that we need a topic like this!!

I am on my second read of this:


Kinda rare for me to read a book twice. This was just soooo good. I started a different Tchaikovsky book and it just made me want to to re-read CoT. I’m almost finished and I’ll probably read the next book in the series after.