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Yes, we have no manosphere, we have no manosphere today

Joan Didion and car
Joan Didion and car

Taking a break from the Manosphere today. Instead, I’m reading the new biography of Joan Didion.

What are you all reading?

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Lady Mondegreen
Lady Mondegreen
4 years ago

@Qubrick

“Just finished reading The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro”

I love Ishiguro. Must.Read.The Buried Giant.Immediately.

Have you read Never Let Me Go?

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
4 years ago

Kat | November 15, 2015 at 5:37 pm

“I have meditated but I don’t do it often now. It’s great stuff. But it is difficult for me to keep up. My boyfriend has meditated for many years.

You might be right that meditation will save the world.

Other candidates: anti-domestic violence campaigns, feminism, environmental campaigns.”

– Only if coupled with a strong meditation practice 😉

SpleenyBaggage
SpleenyBaggage
4 years ago

I’m switching between Cixin Liu’s ‘The Three-Body Problem’ (on audiobook, for walking during my lunchbreak), ‘Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits’ by David Wong, and ‘Skin’ by Mo Hayder. On the bedside table waiting their turn: the excellent ‘The Natural Way of Things’ by Charlotte Wood (which the MRAs would absolutely hate), and Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’. Not nearly enough hours in the day.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@dhag85 – cute kittehhhhhs! 🙂

Lately I read Executor by Louise Carson, a mystery book by a local (Montreal-area) author. It did an incredible job (in my view) balancing a suspenseful plot with enough breathing room to describe the main character’s everyday life. Near the end, a villain makes a somewhat corny “Ha ha, I am confessing and here’s why I dunnit” speech, but overall it’s very good.

Oh oh, and another mystery novel, this time a funny one: Bimbos of the Death Star by Sharyn Crumb. Have people heard of this? It was written in the 1980s and it’s set at an imaginary sci-fi con. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that characters were frequently mocked for being fat (by other characters, granted, but the author could’ve toned that down). Anyway, there’s an insufferable author who creates a blond fantasy Viking called Tratyn Runewind. 🙂

I haven’t finished Mockingjay yet, though I read the other two Hunger Games books. The first two were very absorbing, but the third didn’t draw me in as much. It seemed that the series ending tried for a large-scale denouement, but in doing so sacrificed part of what made the first two books interesting – there’s more exposition in the third and things are more.. outline-y… if that makes any sense.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Edit: the Sharyn Crumb book is called Bimbos of the Death SUN, not Death STAR. I blame Star Wars for that error.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@Fruitloopsie – I love Dr. Seuss! Especially the way he rhymes. He doesn’t limit himself to rhyming real words – he just invents some creature with a funny name and PROBLEM SOLVED.

More poets should do that! For example:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
that floats on high oe’r vales and hills,
when all at once I saw a Vroud
with purple whiskers, snout, and gills.”

Isn’t that so much Vroudier than before? 😛

Also, I probably mentioned it before, but I’ve got ADHD too, and for some reason I have more trouble processing movies than books. I like watching films, but sometimes it’s hard for me to follow what’s going on. I can’t seem to interpret the visual cues as quickly as other people do. But maybe it’s just because I read more?

MovieBuff
4 years ago

I’m reading quite a lot, to be honest.
Although I am a fast reader, ultimately reading becomes a slow process for me because I can’t live without making detailed notes, highlighting, and interacting with the reading material in several other ways. I’m an A-to-Z reader!

Firstly, I am reading ‘Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself’ by Joe Dispenza. I’m big on self-improvement. Then, I wanna read ‘Mastery’ by Robert Greene and ‘Code Red’ by Lisa Lister.
Simultaneously, I am reading ‘The Secret Life of Pronouns’ by James W. Penneabeaker.

Also, I have to study all my text-books. So you can see, I’m all tied up at the moment!

Fabe
Fabe
4 years ago

liked Pern when I was 10. When I was 10 I thought it was brilliant. I kept reading with lessened interest til I was 15 or 16. I picked it up as an adult and it just didn’t hold up for me. There were some things that were very well thought out, some things that worked wonderfully, but they were mainly the concepts and conflicts that drove the plot, not the actual details of character and motivation or of writing. Since the concepts were no longer new (White Dragon was actually my favorite of the series and even though I don’t think the wordcraft reaches excellence, how it handles time travel is still as good as any time travel book I’ve ever read), it just couldn’t hold me. Nonetheless I still have respect for the imagination, background thought, and world-building.

I think that goes for a lot of us Pern fans. They’re great when we were young mid-teens or young but as we got older they lost a lot of their appeal. Still they were enjoyable and I’m still a part of the fan community over at annemccafferyfans.org

Robert
Robert
4 years ago

Epitome*, I have read “Bimbos of the Death Sun”! Also the sort of sequel, ” Zombies of the Gene Pool “, which, IMNSHO, was aimed more at hardcore SF fans. Definitely entertaining.

*If we may be on first noun basis.

Biot (on a different browser this time)
Biot (on a different browser this time)
4 years ago

For me, I’m reading “The City and the City” by China Miéville right now. The owner of my area’s last operating used bookshop recommended it to me when I went to her to ask about books to use in my honors creative thesis. The book doesn’t fit with the subject matter of my thesis, but she sold the book really well. (A worthwhile side note: she has two cats in the bookshop, and both of them are absolutely wonderful. Their names are Logan and Nierme, and they are some of the best shop cats I’ve ever met.)

A brief synopsis (so far): the story takes place in a fictional European city that is similar to Budapest–it was once two or three cities separated by a river, like Budapest was once Buda and Pest–but has joined up. What makes the setting distinctly strange is that people from one city aren’t supposed to be in the other city, but there is a liminal or transitory space near the river where the cities overlap. You sometimes see people from the other city, and you recognize them because they’re dressed or acting differently, but you have to unsee them. You’re not supposed to intrude or acknowledge that the interloper is there. If you seriously disrupt life in the city you don’t live in, then Breach gets you–just a secret police or security force that swoops in and disappears you.

The book itself is a murder mystery, but it’s complicated by the politics and dynamics of the two cities. It’s slow to get going, but Miéville has done a fantastic job in creating separate cities and cultures, along with a sense of what it’s like to live in a large European city where tourists are part of the order of the day.

Okay, so that wasn’t a brief synopsis. BUT: you’re free to ask questions about my thesis or the bookshop if you want.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@Robert, yes, epitome or eoi is fine 🙂

Thanks for the tip! My aunt has that one too. She has a large collection of quirky mystery novels (which seems a stereotypically aunt-like trait somehow).

@Biot – I am curious, what is your creative thesis about? And have you by any chance read Giorgio Agamben’s theory of the “state of exception”? (I was trying to describe it to a political science student whose paper I was editing, but I couldn’t remember enough of it to be very coherent.) Possibly it might be useful for your thesis, if the thesis is anything like the novel you’re describing.

ljy2008
4 years ago

‘Things Bogans Like’, it puts a smile on my face in these dark times.

Biot (on a different browser this time)
Biot (on a different browser this time)
4 years ago

@epitome, I’ve never heard of the “state of exception.” I’ll definitely look it up while I still have easy access to my university’s library.

My thesis is…strange, I think. It’s mostly about what I think a family’s life in my hometown could be like in fifteen years, with an eye toward how effects from climate change, particularly from a persistent drought, would impact their lower-middle-class lives. The story itself is told from the point of view of a wearable camera worn by the protagonist; footage is recorded in September to October 2030, and then put down in words and reflected upon by the protagonist in November.

I thought that I would be quivering in a corner from the sheer existential horror of things by the end of the thesis, but it actually hasn’t been that awful. I read seven works related to ecological dystopias and pre- or post-apocalyptic fiction (e.g. Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Year of the Flood”) to get an idea of what narrative conventions and tropes have been used. I didn’t do that much research in terms of climate change or urban planning and growth projections for our area, but I “played it safe” by underestimating some of the changes to my town and our climate.

The biggest difficulty I had writing the thesis was working out HOW to write it. I’ve never written a short story that was this long or this serious before, so I had to learn how to develop characters, build a plot, work through the implications of my narrative and plot choices, and make things sound realistic or at least plausible. I’ve written plenty of shorter assignments for my creative writing classes, but those feel like small potatoes compared to this work.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@Bioc – that sounds really cool! I love the camera idea. It sounds challenging but also fun – maybe not “fun,” given the subject matter, but definitely with some “scope for the imagination” as Anne of Green Gables might say!

You probably don’t have much extra reading time, but Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Three Californias” might be worthwhile to at least read about. Personally I find Atwood’s writing style more interesting than Robinson’s – more imaginative, with more humour/irony – but ecology and human impact on geography are major themes in his work. I should finish his book Antarctica (maybe I’ll save that for the summer when it’s 30-odd degrees).

Anyway, I should go to sleep since it’s ridiculously late here, but best of luck with your project! I did my undergrad at Concordia and I knew a couple of people that did their MA thesis in creative writing.

Bryce
Bryce
4 years ago

I’ve been punishing myself with Atlas Shrugged. Thought I may as well acquaint myself with the doyen of libertarianism. Dead prose, characterizations in place of characters, endless exposition. Even the audiobook’s a struggle.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Gah, I’m being very Canadian tonight. Explanations if you need them:

-30 degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit!
-Anne of Green Gables is a kids’ book (and book series) that was an early Canadian classic, and the main character is a red-haired orphan (like Little Orphan Annie from the musical – sort of!)
-Concordia is near McGill University – they’re the two English universities in Montreal. Roughly speaking, McGil is better known for sciences and Concordia for arts.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
4 years ago

@epitome

I, too, have read Bimbos of the Death Sun. I have not read Zombies of the Gene Pool.

The despised author character of BotDS reminds me quite a lot of Piers Anthony and I was thinking of BotDS when I was writing about Anthony above. Although I never frequented the convention scene and don’t know for sure that Anthony was the inspiration for the despicable character in BotDS, reading BotDS made me rethink of all the things that as a baby-feminist annoyed me but didn’t stop me from reading his books. Such rethinking resulted in a shift from, “Mindless fun with some annoying spots,” to something rather less upbeat.

Still, I have to say that the story about him and the runaway masculine-gendered white teen certainly showed him as empathetic and caring and kind and generous to the people he could most easily relate to…and gave me a picture of him as someone who at least had the capacity to learn from past sexist mistakes. I didn’t bother to actually try to find out if his writing of women characters had changed, but after that it was easy to see him as good-hearted but to in himself to get the perspectives of oppressed folks without a concentrated education that he hadn’t had. [I hadn’t assumed he was bad hearted before that, but I considered whether or not he was good-hearted very much open to question.]

Anyway, the point is that BotDS kicks a lot of butt. I’ve known about ZotGP ever since I finished BotDS, but I never actually got hold of a copy, so I haven’t read it.

Zolnier
Zolnier
4 years ago

Well, I’m reading the House of Night books, which are awful, and mocking them on the Spacebattles forums. I linked the riff in the standing cat personal thread.

brian
4 years ago

@Biot:
Have you read other Mieville novels? He’s one of my favorite authors. Personally, my favorite book of his is probably “Embassytown.”

setaian
4 years ago

Have a few books I’m reading at the moment.

Hollie Porter Builds a Raft (by Eliza Gordon)
Truth or Beard (by Penny Reid)
and
Born at Midnight (by C.C. Hunter)

LordCrowstaff
LordCrowstaff
4 years ago

I’ve just finished Master and Margerita by Bulgakov, since I was travelling to Moscow for a week, and am now reading Gogol’s Dead Souls, so I can be pretentious around the uneducated masses.

But seriously, both books are very good, and a prime example of Russian rogueish humor and social satire.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@epitome of incomprehensibility
I’m in the USA, but I know “Anne of Green Gables.” My teacher read it to our sixth-grade class. The one red-haired girl in the class wanted to put it on as a play. I had to wonder who would be the star, ha, ha. I also read the book that year and the next one in the series, “Anne of Avonlea.” I recall the puffed-sleeve craze from the first book and how they became so wide that some women (allegedly) had trouble navigating through doorways. Later, I found out that orphan trains were a real thing. Wikipedia praises the US version of orphan trains; it was the best that could be done at the time.

@Robert
I read a lot of Sinclair Lewis when I was 14 and 15, but I don’t think I read “It Can’t Happen Here.” My town’s library happened to have a lot of his books, and I just loved him. He seemed to actually like and respect women, particularly bohemian and literary women. I think that Lewis helped to get me into college — I wrote my admission essay about him.

@dhag85
I love the photos of your beautiful kitty family. Also, that black-and-white floor is very cool.

I’m reading “Season of the Witch,” a history of San Francisco from the 1960s to the 1980s. David Talbot is the author, and he also founded salon.com.

Matthew Field
4 years ago

I’m reading a hard-back copy of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” I bought in a second-hand bookstore

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
4 years ago

I read The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, and enjoyed it, so I got Oryx and Crake, which is filling in a lot of the backstory for the other book.

I think I like Margaret Atwood, but I find a lot of her word-play a bit distractingly clunky in places (like all the proper names of the businesses like CorpSeCorps security and some of the slang phrases her characters use that sound too stilted to be organic).

I also find it really hard to settle into a good book these days if I’m not on a long train journey. I think it just puts me in the right brain-space for immersive reading if I’m in a sparse environment with nothing to do but sit and wait – otherwise I just get the nagging feeling that I should be doing something else.

autosoma
4 years ago

I’ve finished Someone Else’s Drinking and Anger, Rage and Relationships.

I’ve started the introductions of Fearless by Arianba Huffington and art of the start by Guy Kawasaki.

I’m considering re-reading Larry Durrell’s Alexandria Quartette as I found his Use of English to be fantastic, especially his evocation of the Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt/Cairo.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
4 years ago

@Matthew Field:

I’m reading a hard-back copy of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” I bought in a second-hand bookstore

yeah, I found The Decameron to be funnier.

And? Less religious piety.

And? More sex.

Yeah, Dante wrote his first, but when you tell your kids that you’ve read the two most important authors of 14th century Italian literature and while you can see why the pre-Hobbesian European powers would promote one, actually you find the witty skewering of the powerful throughout the writing of the other to be more valuable today …well, you can shorten the bedtime process by a good 20 minutes. I tell you, that’s worth it’s weight in iPhones.

mistressoflarry
4 years ago

“Welcome to Nightvale” in on my shelf, just waiting for me to stop knitting so I can pick it up.

“A Legal History of Michigan” which is actually well written and pretty engrossing. It starts with how the territory became a state and the struggle between farmers and capitalists as the economy switch from subsistence based to cash based. And it includes all the drama, infighting and sniping that makes history great to read while explaining the legal machinations behind it.

“people of the Earth” on audiobook written by two archeologist, I really enjoy thier “North Americas Forgotten Past” series, and each book is its own story, you don’t have to read them in order.

HDB
HDB
4 years ago

Non-fiction: The Dog Who Saved My Life, a collection of five true stories about dogs in war. Fiction: various. Dun Lady’s Jess, about a horse turned into a woman, is proving entertaining so far.

Biot (on a different browser this time)
Biot (on a different browser this time)
4 years ago

@epitome, that series was mentioned in one of the secondary sources that I read for my thesis. I learned about the series too late to read it, but I’m going to look around for it.

@brian, this is my first Miéville novel. I had a mind of reading “Perdido Street Station” for inclusion in my thesis, but I didn’t put enough effort into looking for it.

brian
4 years ago

@Biot:
Well, if you enjoy The City & the City, I’d recommend giving Embassytown or Kraken a read. The Bas-Lag books (Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council) are good too, but be prepared for a really weird, grim fantasy world, almost aggressively sad endings (especially with Perdido), kind of imbalanced pacing (again, especially Perdido), and a rather baroque writing style. I still love them, personally, but they’re not what I’d call particularly accessible.

brian
4 years ago

Oh, and somehow Railsea and UnLunDun completely slipped my mind in that post. Those are his two YA novels. Those are fun too, especially UnLunDun. They have a lot less in the way of big, weird ideas for the most part though UnLunDun does have the fun premise of “What if the chosen one of prophecy can’t step up and the one who’s supposed to be the sidekick does it all instead?”

Falconer
4 years ago

I’m visiting my old friend, Miles Vorkosigan, and his extended and rather hectic family.

Falconer
4 years ago

Ha, I thought “Castle Otranto? Is that the one with the helmet?” so at least some of my education took.

Lanariel
Lanariel
4 years ago

The Serpentwar saga: Raymond E Feist
The Crippled God: Steven Erikson

I like High Fantasy, and I especially likes Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, a ten book epic about the importance of humility and compassion, and the dangers of righteous anger and harsh judgements.

Robert
Robert
4 years ago

I read Atlas Shrugged a number of years ago. That is a very powerful book – I’ve since described it as the Necronomicon of political fiction – full of ancient secrets* and prone to driving its readers mad. It. . . did strange things to my mind, and I was a grown adult when I read it. At least now when I mock it online, I have a comeback for the Randroids who demand, “But have you READ it?!” I even read every word of the goes on forever ‘Your minds – your stupid, stupid minds!’ speech. And yes, that’s a Plan 9 from Outer Space reference.

*That should have remained secret.

katz
katz
4 years ago

Robert: The only book that truly deserves the World Fantasy Award.

brian
4 years ago

I changed to a different psychologist in part because my previous one told me that one of his favorite books was Atlas Shrugged and after that I kept thinking “I’m not sure I can trust anything this man says ever again…”

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

I’ve been reading the diaries of Adam de Gurowski, which are awesome. Nineteenth-century Polish emigres are a pretty badass breed in general, but he’s just something else altogether. De Gurowski understands politics and war very well, and has an intuitive grasp of realities that other people miss. What makes him truly great, however, is the fact that he bucks the trend of people who think that “realistic” means “cynical.” De Gurowski is deeply idealistic and genuinely believes in a better future, which he writes in a splendidly flamboyant nineteenth century fashion. I would highly recommend it, especially to Americans.

I’ve also been doing NaNoWriMo. I’m badly behind on my word count, but if anyone wants to cast an eye over some early drafts I’d be very grateful. It’s a historical novel set amidst the people who orbited Joseph Stalin, in the years 1929-1937, and aimed at people who liked Hunger Games but thought it was just a little too immature.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

I’m rereading one of my favourite series, Obernewtyn, because after finally seeing Mad Max I’m in the mood for more Aussie-flavoured post-apocalyptic feminist fantasy. Hell yes.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@brian

I changed to a different psychologist in part because my previous one told me that one of his favorite books was Atlas Shrugged and after that I kept thinking “I’m not sure I can trust anything this man says ever again…”

Good call!

bluecatbabe
bluecatbabe
4 years ago

@ brian – South Park got Atlas Shrugged right (the one about the chicken lover).

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ SFHC

Aussie-flavoured post-apocalyptic feminist fantasy.

Tank Girl? (The comics perhaps rather than the mess of a film. Although they do get the tank right)

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

Would it be fair to call Tank Girl feminist? I don’t know, I haven’t read it recently enough. I’d be interested to read a scholarly analysis. Or an angry fangirl rant. Either works.

brian
4 years ago

@EJ:
I did NaNoWriMo for four years in a row (2011-2014) but decided not to this year because I think I’ve gotten all I can get out of it for now and had started to actually use it as an excuse to not do other things… Instead this month I’m trying to write or otherwise work on a different kind of creative project every single day, without any particular word count or other goal. More attempting to establish the habit of writing/working on a frequent, regular basis moving forward… hopefully it works!
But good luck with NaNo! I found it fun (in a work-y sort of way) and satisfying to “win” even if (as is to be expected) the novel isn’t very good. The first year I did it, I used a book, sent to me by one of my older brothers, by the guy who started it called “No Plot? No Problem!” which is basically tips for how to do NaNo… But I’ll tell you the tip that I think he had in the Week 3 section that I’d wish I’d read waaaay earlier. It works really well for me, though you might be different.
I had a lot of trouble when I said, like “Okay, I’m going to write for two hours now.” I’d sit down at the computer, but I’d end up screwing around a lot, looking things up online, checking email, all that. Well, the book suggested you take a block of time and split it up like this: 30 minutes writing, 10 minute break, 30 writing, 10 break, 30 more writing. I found that SUPER useful for me. It was much easier to focus on JUST writing if I knew I was only doing it for 30 minutes before a short break, so for the rest of that first year, and all of the next 3 I did it, my writing speed got way more consistent. Maybe that will help you too.
Good luck!

Uncivilized Elk
Uncivilized Elk
4 years ago

Just posting to say I am extremely infuriated and sad over the anti-refugee hate that’s running rampant. And it’s all the more pathetic because no matter what people try to hide it behind, it’s almost always based on the ridiculous fear of taking in terrorists.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
4 years ago

@EJ

Would it be fair to call Tank Girl feminist? I don’t know, I haven’t read it recently enough. I’d be interested to read a scholarly analysis. Or an angry fangirl rant. Either works.

I wouldn’t call it feminist. I would say that it’s relatively non-sexist, but not really anti-sexist.

It’s been a long time since I read it, but I did and so did several of the Lesbian Avengers I was hanging out with at the time. I think one of us didn’t like it b/c violence and yes, there is gratuitous skin showing. But in the comic book, Tank Girl and Jet Girl have a relationship (unlike in the movie, where they both fuck Kangaroo Men so that the big studios didn’t have to show unnatural human woman to human woman attraction), which was pretty progressive for the time to have that depicted at all.

I think the main points that it was feminist were that relationship and the points we give out to the few authors willing to put multiple women in powerful and central positions in their books. Other than that, it’s wasn’t feminist per se. It just avoided a good deal of the sexist mistakes of other comic books of that (and even this) era.

So if you want to read a comic book, that one won’t offend you on most feminist grounds (though, gee! all the characters are so skinny! and the starring ones are so white!). But don’t read it because you think you’re going to get some awesome feminism.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

@brian:
Thanks for that! I’m not following any sort of established NaNoWriMo lore or writing scheme, I’m just using it as an excuse to get a first draft done. I have a long commute every day and it’s a good opportunity to pound out about 1500-2000 words. Some days I even succeed.

@Crip Dyke:
I suppose a lot of it is to do with context. Tank Girl emerged from a market hypersaturated with ultramasculine power fantasies, compared to which its message of female participation came across as empowering, even subversive (even if, as you point out, it was skinny white female empowerment.)

I should probably reread it. I don’t read or view enough Australian content these days. I think I’ve seen two Australian films (The Babadook and Mad Max Fury Road) in the last two years, and couldn’t name any interesting new Australian musicians.

bandaloopdeloop
bandaloopdeloop
4 years ago

These days I’m reading Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, which the movie Master and Commander was based on.