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 Amber Spyglass. 

As I've mentioned before, the "theme" for my reading project for this year is (roughly translated) Things I've Been Meaning to Read One Day.  Mostly, that's meant classics (Sherlock Holmes, H. Rider Haggard), but I bent the rules a little because I was in the mood for fantasy and I really have been thinking about getting around to His Dark Materials for some time.  I'm glad I did. What a great combination of intricate worldbuilding, Big Ideas, engaging characters and page-turning action.  I love a book where it feels like every page pays off on a premise set up 200 pages earlier, and drops a new seed that will pay off 200 pages later.

Oddly enough, right before this I (finally) read The Chronicles of Narnia.  Part of me likes to imagine Lewis and Pullman getting into a fistfight. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I'm reading three works of nonfiction: a collection of essays, a book of philosophy and a reference book. I'll post more about each when I have finished

I am still reading the three works of nonfiction I was a month ago, or rather, I have just finished the first. I chose these books to read at the same time because they are all "easy to pick up and to put down," but maybe a little too much of the latter. I'm not getting the same sense of accomplishment from these books, even three at a time, as I was from the nonfiction leading up to it.

A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC by Aldo Leopold: I've written about this book in this forum before. When I was teaching, my mentor recommended it to me. I was pretty much a "city boy" then, although I was living in the country. Now I feel the the situation has reversed. I forced myself to finish it that first time, but I really wasn't "into" it and retained little from it. A few years ago, I started it a second time and found myself really enjoying it, but I drifted away from it before finishing it and I really don't remember why.

This time through I not only finished it, but I enjoyed it (for the most part). I can think of no other author whom I agree with so completely, yet also disagree so vehemently. I plan to make a gift of this book to a friend I see only at Thanksgiving. I missed him last year, and probably will this year as well. 2022 maybe? 

V.E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (2020) A genre-bending fantasy about a woman who makes a deal with an ancient, dark god. You know how these things tend to go. Well written. “Ideas," quoth Addie, "are so much wilder than memories.”

Some literary neo-Westerns:

The Sisters Brothers (2011) by Patrick deWitt (2011): well-written and amusing, a fascinating take on western tropes, but slightly overrated. People wrote about it like it was the best thing since the Gatling Gun.

The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu (2021) by Tom Lin: Chinese-American railway worker heads across a magic realist west seeking revenge and hoping to recover his wife from whom he has been separated. Intriguing read. I'm about forty pages away from the conclusion.

Finally, the first two eps of the series Chapelwaite led me to reread "Jerusalem's Lot," and so now I'm rereading Salem's Lot. If you've never read it, imagine Dracula and Peyton's Place had a a baby It doesn't connect, however, to the story in any meaningful way. Even the two histories of the town named Jerusalem's Lot don't really jibe (though King's epilogue, "One for the Road," is in strict continuity with the novel, and an excellent traditional horror tale on its own). SL, King's first novel (though the second published), SL was the first King I ever read, when I was, I think, thirteen, and it left a huge impression. Rereading I can see the template for much of his later work. The novel It is effectively Salem's Lot 2.0.

I enjoyed The Invisible Life a lot (I have an Advance Reader's Copy). My book club is discussing it this month, so I will be revisiting it.

JD DeLuzio said:

V.E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (2020) A genre-bending fantasy about a woman who makes a deal with an ancient, dark god. You know how these things tend to go. Well written. “Ideas," quoth Addie, "are so much wilder than memories.”

Whenever I'm experiencing "reader's block" (as I am now), I usually read a bit of fluff to get me back in the habit. More often than not, that "fluff" has been a Star Trek book, which brings me to...

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MR. SPOCK: I read The Autobiography of James T. Kirk in 2015 and loved it. that led to The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard in 2017, but I wasn't in the mood for it at the time and didn't finish it. what I was in the mood for was The Autobiography of Mr. Spock, which has been pushed back so many times over the years I didn't think it was ever going to come out. But it's out now and I just finished it.

What I liked about the Kirk one was that it smoothed out the antecedent action of the original series, with the series itself and the movies and what happened in between into one smoothly flowing narrative. The Spock one does the same, but it incorporates backstory from the Star Trek: Discovery series which I have not seen. Beyond that, the section dealing with Spock's early years on Vulcan includes his betrothal to T'Pring and the events of the animated episode "Yesteryear." My favorite part of this section, however, was the story of Sarek's first wife, Sybok's mother.

Spock's service aboard Pike's Enterprise is largely glossed over, except as it relates to Discovery and "The Cage." A good deal of background detail is provided for Saavik and Valeris, and Saavik remains an important character in Spock's life into the 24th century. Events between The Undiscovered  Country and "Reunification" are dealt with perfunctorily, but what happen between "Reunification" and Spock's disappearance on the Romulan border are dealt with in more detail. I was disappointed that the throwaway line from "Sarek" (that Picard met the Sarek briefly at the wedding of the ambassador's son) was completely ignored. 

The book was "edited" by Una McCormick, who also wrote Picard: The Last Best Hope, which I was surprised to find just now, unread, on my shelf. (I had planned to read it immediately following Picard's autobiography, which I didn't finish). Spock's bridges the gap between Kirk's and Picard's, and I think I'm in the mood to read it now. Also, there's one for Kathryn Janeway. I had thought the publication delay in regard to the Spock one might have been due to writer's block, but so much of it ties to the events of Discovery that the publication date may have been pushed back to give the show the chance to "catch up." (Again, I don't know because I haven't seen the show beyond the first season, but I do have the first three on DVD waiting to be watched.)

As far as the book is concerned, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I were familiar with Discovery... if I like discovery. From what I have seen so far, however (i.e., season one), Discovery takes place in an alternate universe, despite the fact that the showrunners insist it takes place in the same continuity. I can't really recommend The Autobiography of Mr. Spock to anyone not familiar with Discovery, but if you are familiar with the show (and like it), you might want to give the book a try. 

Sounds interesting. For what it's worth, Discovery spends much of Season Two explaining how it fits in with continuity after all, though a few issues remain.

That's good to hear. I'll be watching all three seasons sooner rather than later. 

I contributed a review of the first three seasons to a local zine.
It may be of interest.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

That's good to hear. I'll be watching all three seasons sooner rather than later. 

I'll keep it in mind and will read it after I've watched the show myself. I'll probably post some thoughts as I go along, as I did with the other ST spinoffs. 

THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN by George Lowther (1942): I went from one piece of fluff to something even fluffier. This juvenile novel is short enough to be read in a single sitting, yet is interesting enough from an historical standpoint to be read multiple times. Every time I do, I am struck that every chapter would be a good outline for an issue of a comic book series, preferably one drawn by Jerry Ordway (and perhaps written by Roger Stern). The book is illustrated with six full-page b&w drawings and four full-color paintings, as well as numerous spot-illustrations of breakdowns rendered in charcoal and ink. Incidentally, I know the guy who owns the original paining of Superman brought the Old Man to the surface (page 80), or at least I knew the guy who owned it back in the '90s. 

Doctor Who -Scratchman, by Tom Baker, with James Goss

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I forgot to mention what I'm currently reading. Star Wars X-wing: Rogue Squadron. I've actually been looking for this for a few years now at every HPB I go to. I found this about a month ago at the one in Mesquite, honestly probably own Jeff knows about where I am talking about. This is the first book in the X-Wing series, so I'm glad to be reading it.

It took me almost as long to get through the last 75 pages or so as the first 300. I really liked it though. It was nice to get away from the Jedi/Sith stuff. You definitely get plenty of starfighter combat.

Now I'm reading The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais. Its about an ex-con who is on the search of his son's killer, who as a policeman, was ambushed on the job.

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