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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STARRY MESSENGER by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

I just finished Starry Messenger and I liked it every bit as much as his previous book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry... probably more. Whereas AfPiaH is largely (but not entirely!) about a single topic (astrophysics), Starry Messenger is about everything... well, maybe not everything, but a multiplicity of topics ranging from Truth & Beauty, Exploration & Discovery, Earth & Moon, Conflict & Resolution, Risk & Reward, Meatarians & Vegetarians, Gender & Identity, Color & Race, Law & Order, and Body & Mind (to copy from the table of contents). The introduction is about Science & Society, and the epilogue Life & Death. 

I remember recommending Astrophysics for People in a Hurry to a learned friend of mine back in 2017 but he rejected it on the basis, "I already know all that stuff." I tried to convince him it's not what Tyson says, but the way he says it that makes it entertaining as well as educational. What Tyson does in Starry Messenger is to apply scientific principles to the vast array of topics mentioned above. It's Tyson's point of view as much as the facts he presents that make both books so informative. In other words, even if one does "already know all that stuff" (which I doubt), both books are still well worth one's time. I'm going to recommend Starry Messenger to my friend, too. I'm curious what his response will be. 

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I just started Our Artists at War from TwoMorrows. It focuses one the American war comics. This came out last fall, and the sole reason I bought it is because my LCS bought a copy, but he didn't know who ordered it. He thought it was me or another dude, but neither one of us did. Thus, he sold it to me at a decent discount.

I finished this a 2-3 weeks ago, and overall I enjoyed it. I do think it got to much into the minutiae of describing in detail some of the stories. I also wish it had a full interview or two. I realize, most of the people spotlighted are dead, but I would have loved to have seen an interview with Garth Ennis or Don Lomax.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I just started Our Artists at War from TwoMorrows. It focuses one the American war comics. This came out last fall, and the sole reason I bought it is because my LCS bought a copy, but he didn't know who ordered it. He thought it was me or another dude, but neither one of us did. Thus, he sold it to me at a decent discount.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I finished this a 2-3 weeks ago, and overall I enjoyed it. I do think it got to much into the minutiae of describing in detail some of the stories. I also wish it had a full interview or two. I realize, most of the people spotlighted are dead, but I would have loved to have seen an interview with Garth Ennis or Don Lomax.

I got this for Christmas. I was a bit surprised that it went for Enemy Ace over Sgt. Rock as one of the best war titles, but hey, I wasn't the author. 

STARDUST: A couple of weeks ago, my niece contacted me about the Sandman TV show and comic book. I took that opportunity to send three books written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess: Stardust for her; Instructions for her little boy; and Blueberry Girl for her little girl. I also took the time to reread Stardust myself for the first time in over 20 years. I almost gave it to her when she was a little girl, but some sections are somewhat "adult" in nature. most of it came back to me as I was reading, but I couldn't quite remember the whole of the ending. It's a really well-written story (Tracy likes it, too), and I'm glad my niece will have the opportunity to read it herself at last. 



ClarkKent_DC said:

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I just started Our Artists at War from TwoMorrows. It focuses one the American war comics. This came out last fall, and the sole reason I bought it is because my LCS bought a copy, but he didn't know who ordered it. He thought it was me or another dude, but neither one of us did. Thus, he sold it to me at a decent discount.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I finished this a 2-3 weeks ago, and overall I enjoyed it. I do think it got to much into the minutiae of describing in detail some of the stories. I also wish it had a full interview or two. I realize, most of the people spotlighted are dead, but I would have loved to have seen an interview with Garth Ennis or Don Lomax.

I got this for Christmas. I was a bit surprised that it went for Enemy Ace over Sgt. Rock as one of the best war titles, but hey, I wasn't the author. 

They do explain why they didn't choose Sgt. Rock, though. It was also, supposed to be out American artists, and they did a whole chapter on Garth Ennis

Eric Choi's Just Like Being There-- Hard SF from the award-winning author and aerospace engineer. I'll write a more developed review later. His characters are always credible, if sometimes underdeveloped, but his commitment to writing SF grounded in verifiable science (mostly near future or alt-history) has me in awe and his best pieces are profoundly moving. He accompanies each with discussions of the relevant science and his inspirations, with citations.

Full disclosure: yeah, I know Eric, but my commentary remains honest.

I'm just starting Sisters of the Extreme, an anthology of women writing on drug experiences. The editors, Cynthia Palmer and Michael Horowitz make some acrobatic leaps in their commentary, but their selections are solid, if from a limited range within the spectrum of global writings. I'm told this is the edited and revised version of Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady, reputedly a superior book but difficult to find.

I'm reading the appendices at the back of J.R.R. Tolkien's Return of the King. I read somewhere that this is where all the storylines for Rings of Power were gleaned. The Silmarillion, it appears, is the story of the First Age of Middle-earth; the appendices are all about the Second Age, which was summed up in the prologue to Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring.

I skipped all that when I read the books (twice) in high school, as it was little more than gibberish. (Or worse, read like the parts of the Bible that just listed all the kings of a long-forgotten kingdom or contained long lists of who begat whom.) It's still not riveting reading, but I stumble across names I know now (Elendil! Isildur!), and can start piecing together a chronology. Or, I guess, I can let the show do it for me.

Stan Lee - A Marvelous Life by Danny Fingeroth. I have read several books about Stan Lee and/or Marvel and Fingeroth's is the most insightful and even-handed telling of who Stan was and what made Marvel so successful in the Sixties. If you are going to read a book about Stan Lee, this is the one.

RETRO PULP TALES: I walked into Half Price Books yesterday and spotted the unmistakable style of Timothy Truman's dustjacket art on a display across the room. I was also close enough to make out the title: Retro Pulp Tales. "I'll bet that's either written or edited by Joe R. Lansdale," I thought to myself. I haven't started reading it yet (just the introduction), but it's a 2006 anthology of 12 stories. 

CHUCK LORRE VANITY CARDS: I also finished reading all of Chuck Lorre's vanity cards online. (That counts because it's not a comic book.) 

I stopped reading the appendices to J.R.R. Tolkein's The Return of The King. I got about halfway through on sheer cussedness, but I can go no further. It's even more boring than the Bible.

Those things are for guys like me who enjoy the hardcore "world-building" stuff.    If I was writing those kinds of  books, I'd have notebooks full of that kind of stuff, most of which would never see print. For example, if I was writing The Epic Adventures of Alberich the Near-Sighted, I'd know when Alberich's mother's birthday, and what the name of his best buddy Geiserich Lack-Shield's  swordfightiong tutor was, but none f that stuff would make it into a book unless it was germane to a story.

Captain Comics said:

I stopped reading the appendices to J.R.R. Tolkein's The Return of The King. I got about halfway through on sheer cussedness, but I can go no further. It's even more boring than the Bible.

WHAT IF? 2 - Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions: I was highly entertained by Randall Munroe's 2014 original and fully expect to be similarly entertained by the sequel. 

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