Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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THE PHANTOM OF MENACE: My Star Trek reading has hit a stall but I seem to be moving into a Star Wars phase. I read the first three books (that is, parts 4-6) of the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series, but none beyond that although I’d always planned to someday. That “someday” is now here. I’ll tell you, the author takes one liberty with the character of Jar-Jar Binks of which I wholeheartedly approve. First of all, his dialogue. It is written in “almost” iambic pentameter, but instead of ten syllables per line there are only nine, so it sounds a little “off.” Second (and more importantly), Jar-Jar of The Phantom of Menance only plays the fool; actually he is extremely competent, delivering many wise asides, and was exiled for his progressive ideas of uniting the Gungans and the Naboo, not for being “clumsy” (also, as in the movie, that is the excuse he gives).

THE CLONE ARMY ATTACKETH: The fifth book in the William Shakepeare’s Star Wars series (or the second, depending on your point of view). In this one, Anakin and Padme speak in rhyming quatrains (ABAB) when they are alone, as did Romeo and Juliet (or, for that matter, Han and Leia). Jango Fett speaks in prose rather than iambic pentameter. Furthermore, because he is “father” of the clones, every line he speaks begins and ends with the same letter. These are quick reads. I could probably finish one off in a single sitting if I put my mind to it, but I prefer the pace of one act per day.

WALT WHITMAN: I took a break in my “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” reading to observe Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday by re-reading Leaves of Grass (not the whole thing, but I did read “Song of Myself” and select others). It’s funny… when I was majoring in English in college and should have been into Whitman, I wasn’t really, but I’m connecting with him more now than ever before.

I'm currently reading Way Point by Clifford D Simak, I'm not too far into it yet, but it is about a Civil War veteran who comes back home, and he is visited by an alien who wants to make his house a way station (duh) for alien travelers. He is nearly immortal now. Some are curious why, others don't care. They just think he is a good neighbor.

I also recently finished Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik.  A lot of times it is hard to make a non-fiction book interesting, especially a science book. Which is essentially what this is. The author does a great job of mixing history and science into each chapter. It explorers such materials like glass, concrete, and chocolate. It was very interesting, and I really learned a lot. It helps that Mark Miodownik is a Professor of Materials. Highly recommended. 

This summer I attempted reading all four volumes of The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe.

I finished Shadow of the Torturer and The Sword of the Lictor and just lost steam/interest. 

I tried. I really did...

THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran:

Last week I bought a used HC for a buck and yesterday I read it over lunch (most of it, anyway; I left off with the section on Good and Evil. This is one of those books I have always heard about but never read. I'm glad I did (or soon will have). It's short and thought-provoking. It gives me me new appreciation of the first (hadwritten) chapter of Richard Bach's Illusions: the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.

Found my mother's old copy of My Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis. 

Just finished reading Doctor Who - The Target Storybook, by various authors, including the late Terrance Dicks, Colin Baker, Matthew Waterhouse and Vinay Patel.  The book consists of fifteen short stories mostly set begin, after or during TV stories.  I enjoyed it a lot, but I'd say you have to know the show's continuity well to get the most out of it.

I recently read "Communion" by Whitley Schreiber. This book was the talk of the town when it first came out; but, in spite of the subject matter, which at the time I found interesting, I never read it, back in the day. Now I know why.

Schreiber gets right to the point, describing his alledged abductions, making it a point to do his best to convince the reader that he is indeed completely sane. Of this, I have no doubt. It's his sincerity I doubt. His attempts to draw comparisons to other abduction stories, while personalizing his own, increasingly smacks of fiction as the narrative progresses. The supposed first hand accounts fall into repettitiveness less than half way through the book, at which point Schreiber begans to offer speculations that neatly fit his fatalistic, enviromental activist, views. I have no problem with heartfelt viewpoints; but, this is no way to call attention to them. Even worse, this book quickly dissolves into such fantasy, that reading it became a chore for me.

In closing, it doesn't surprize me in the least that the sequel, which I don't plan to read, was branded as fiction, as I understand it, much to the author's chagrin

I listened to an abridged audiobook of Communion years ago. I don't remember much of it, but the one thing that's stuck with me all these years is the reader, Roddy McDowell, grimly intoning the line, "Ever since I was a child, I had a terrible fear of Mister Peanut."* That freakin' killed me. It's something I still say, out of the blue, whenever I find a reason. (This rarely gets me anything but confused stares, or, in Kathy's case, rolled eyes.)

*Strieber suggests that his fear of the Planters spokesnut was due to his childhood abductions, and his brain translating the appearance of the gray aliens into something he could understand.

Oh, man, Jeff! I remember Illusions! I read that back in high school, and really enjoyed it. I wonder how I'd feel about it now, since I'm a little (okay, a lot) more jaded toward the spiritual journey bestseller genre.

I'll have to check out The Prophet. I've read sections of it, I'm sure, but never the whole thing. 

Currently I'm double-fisting science fiction. On paper is a relatively new one -- The Obelisk Gate, the second book in NK Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. The whole trilogy is highly acclaimed, winning three consecutive Hugo Awards for each book as it came out (the first and only time that's happened). It's set on a post-many-apocalypses era of Earth, as some people are born to have essentially a mutant power over the earth -- basically, geomancers. And at the start of the first book, a new apocalypse is upon them. Each book takes me a little while to get into, and then I start barreling through. 

On the other hand, I'm reading Dune Messiah on my Kindle. And I liked Dune a lot -- more than I expected to, since I was kind of indifferent to it when I first read it in high school -- but MAN, is this one a slog. I don't think I'll carry on with Children of Dune when I'm done with this one. But I'll happily watch the new movie, and if it's good, I'll watch sequel after sequel. 

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