This is just a place where I'll list the books that I've read in a table. I might put little comments on or something.
|English Fairy Tales
|Anonymous (many,) collected by Joseph Jacobs
|Read in a rush before my Changeling: The Lost session 0 on Friday. A fun collection of stories, some a bit sillier than others. There are definitely a few which I'm missing cultural context for but a sweet read overall. It's kinda fun to see the English forms of a lot of the tales that we now know only through the French and especially German tellings.
|Architectural Styles And The Design Of Network-Based Software Architectures
|Probably the best text on software engineering I've read. It's the doctoral thesis which first tried to nail down REST architecture from an observational point of view. It's wild how radically different (and more interesting) REST as described and intended in the 90's is compared to what it means now. Worth digging up his blog posts from later years explaining it as well, especially in contrast with modern web work. There might be a page trying to synthesize what I've read soon.
|Irving Finkel and Jonathan Taylor
|A nice little museum book on cuneiform. It's almost all dedicated to the history of it, but it has a neat little section at the back with some of the syllabary. I'd like to see how the books in the suggested reading section work, but I'm not quite there yet.
|The Epic Of Gilgamesh
|Anonymous, Edited/Translated by Andrew George
|Oops, forgot to upload this one! Part victim of big book disease (I'm halfway through The Two Towers,) part victim of distractions. The epic is as far as I know the oldest story we have? Damn good first attempt too. This edition had a lot of footnotes, some of which were good, and some were not like: x the goddess, wife of y and then the note at the end of the book is just like "x: a goddess, y's wife." If you're not used to how racy real mythology can be it can be quite a shock, though it's nowhere near the most lurid story you'll find in Akkadian. Well worth the time, and probably due for another reread soon.
|Arkady & amp; Boris Strugatsky
|I don't really want to go into the details since it's rather worth reading. The book feels so heavy, slow in a good way. It doesn't feel like it dwells too long on anything, though. My roommate asked to have it next, so I might put his thoughts in after he's done as well.
|The Fellowship Of The Ring
|I read The Hobbit when I was a kid and liked it enough. Of course (it pains me to write this for posterity since it makes me feel old, but,) I was also a kid during peak Tolkien. I first read that book a couple years after Peter Jackson's movies won every award and brought in more money than any other at that point except Titanic. Naturally I'd spent a lot of time watching those movies on DVD too. A lot of people talk about the tonal disconnect between LotR and The Hobbit, but I think that's largely a product of the vision of the movies. LotR is definitely more serious, but it has its silly and lightheartedness. I liked the book a lot, probably more than the movies even. It's a lot slower, a lot more thoughtful, sometimes it dedicates entire pages to a song which, while it fills in some of the world, has nothing to do with the momentary plot. It's really charming and actually not very much like the generic fantasy you'd think it was from what it inspired.
|Otherside Picnic Omnibus 1
|It's so good, it was so good. It took me a long time to finish it since it was often my backup book but I love Toriko and Sorawo, I love the creepypasta and urban legends covered, I love the supporting cast. Also check out the anime and manga, they're all a great time if you like modern Japanese mythology and cute lesbians.
|An Introduction To Medieval Institutions
|My first book repair! A set of pages fell out and I had to glue them back in, which was interesting. It's an old textbook from the 70's, markings are still in there. I had a good time, though I had the minor complaint that in some parts it portrayed the feudal relationship as being a bit more consensual than it actually was.
|Zhuangzi, translated by Burton Watson
|I'm liking the Daoist streak. Before I made the mistake of picking an annotated version which bloated it by over 4x. I liked this one; might make reading these 3 texts a sort of rotation when I'm feeling contemplative. Feels the most solid read on the first pass (Dao De Jing suffers some in the later sections, and it feels a bit heftier than Awakening.)
|The Mothman Prophecies
|This is less of a book than a collage of general weirdness in the late 60's. There's no real through-line (or rather, the one which exists it a bit too broad to really call one.) There's much less mothman than you'd think, no notable investigation into him in the physical sense, but rather it's largely a collection of what people he interviewed said, plus weird experiences in his own life. Kinda cool, honestly.
|The Little Buddhist Monk/The Proof
|First off: I want to reread the former. I feel like the point is to read it twice, I just didn't before posting this. I got Buddhist Monk less, but it was a fun read if...weird. The Proof was just cool though. Who doesn't like lesbian punks going on murder sprees. The protagonist got pretty lost, but I tink it'd make more sense when going back to it? I had a good time.
|Beej's Guide to Network Programming
|This one's a technical classic. Beej's Guide has been the go-to tutorial for network programming for years. Good, well explained examples, a tiny bit of dry humor, and as a bonus it includes a bunch of relevant man pages at the back. Definitely worth buying to kick Beej a few dollars.
|Fuck me, no wonder it took me to long to add the current entry since this weighs in at over 1,300 pages. Fun historical fiction centered around the doomed Franklin Expedition in the 1800's. I had a good time with it, liked it more than the TV series. I can't comment on the authenticity of the indigenous portrayals in the book, but nothing jumped out at my (incredibly limited,) knowledge. There was one part I thought was a biiit iffy, but I think it works when you read it as a metaphor? I've been contemporaneously reading omnibus 1 of Otherside Picnic, so keep an eye out for that one soonish.
|Howl's Moving Castle
|Diana Wynne Jones
|A nice fairy tale. I think I've complained before about how Neil Gaiman is one of the few authors around who doesn't get too caught up in the sort of tolkienesque fantasy tropes but Diana did a good job of it. The notion that all spells worth knowing have a lie in them to make sure you're paying attention really stuck with me too, loved that. It has nothing at all to do with the movie, so even if you've seen that a lot it ought to be fresh for you.
|An "I feel bad" buy at a witchy shop in a tiny town (the sort of town where nothing bothers opening on Sundays until noon at least, when church lets out.) Solid stories, good geographical and story variety. The author even goes as far as to try and verify some of the ghost claims and includes a handy guide to ghost hunting in the back. This was a good one. I felt less bad for the store when I got it home and saw that it'd been sold for double its MSRP.
|Shadows In Bronze
|Not so much a gap as a series of unfortunate events as I kept bouncing between a series of dying Kobos and paper. I think I liked this better than Silver Pigs, though it was less of a mystery. I don't have a ton to say on it, it was a good time and a fun mystery.
|V.I.: Viral Intelligence
|While I was on vacation I found a nice book store. I grabbed one book I knew I'd be interested in (Equal Rites,) and one wild card: this one. It's deeply weird: sort of cyberpunk-ish but set in the far future to the point where the main protagonists are both aliens. Its cyber portions feel more superhighway than web, weird since it came out in 2000. The characters were cool and varied, the threat was a little....stupid, though with enough papering over to accept while reading it. At times it got a bit too busy to follow easily, though I didn't feel like I actually got lost at any point.
|Whew, this one was a weird jump. It's the last pre-voice discworld novel and it shows. Apparently Terry himself recommended people start with Sourcery, which in a lot of ways acts (in my memory at least) as a sort of redo of this book, I'd probably say to read that one over this. It's unpolished but it sort of feels like the first novel in the series playing with the concepts rather than just writing a funny fantasy story, so it's worth going to for that. Just don't make it your first. It also probably has my favorite ending of the books. Not the book I expected to review, but Zhuangzi is on hold until I fix the Kobo and that was slow work which kept me tied up in the meantime.
|Developed Pratchett, gave me a bit more of a look at Vimes, since I'd only had Snuff before (not yet finished, probably when I get to that point in the story.) Some of the humor fell flat, mostly because I noticed it being a bit more flatly referential and that tends to put me off. Still solid, shame my Kobo randomly died on the way to the hotel.
|It wasn't a Neuromanceer, but it was good. A lot flashier, a lot bloodier. It leaned more into the humor but some of that didn't age so well thanks to the cyberpunkification of society I mentioned before: it's less funny for Hiro to be The Deliverator when The Baconator has been a fast food staple for over a decade at this point. Other parts, of course, are more alive than ever: Second Life was so thoroughly lifted straight from the book it's almost funny, and I feel lik my time there enhanced my experience here; the main distinction is that the real life Metaverse, somehow, is even hornier than Neal imagined.
|Awakening To The Tao
|Liu I-ming (Translated by Thomas Cleary)
|I started this one when the e-book to Dao De Jing was misbehaving (re-converting it in Calibre helped, for what it's worth.) This one was more approachable than the Dao De Jing, with the author trying to draw our aspects of the Way which appear in everyday life. There was also a nice section of an old man yelling at clouds (I believe he was in his 60's when he started writing it, with many opinions on contemporary practitioners.)
|Dao De Jing: A Minimalist Translation
|Laozi (Translated by Bruce Linnell)
|Suffered from another bout of me picking up a bunch of books and not finishing them; expect a few more books soonish. I'm not qualified to evaluate the content really, nor the translation. I appreciate the thoroughness of it from the outside: each chapter consists of it in Chinese, then in English on its opposite face, then the same chapter in annotated English providing providence markers and possible alternative word choices, then notes and cross-references. The notes in particularly helped immensely: with some other similar texts I've often read the content and felt like I didn't understand it specifically because I was missing some element of the translation, be it some sort of pun, missing cultural context, etc. I don't think I ran into that so much here, it was all just struggling with the text itself, but in a good sense..
|The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
|I like it a lot. The front cover calls it a puzzler, I don't think that's quite accurate. It was the author's first book and at every point of the "mysteries" I was well ahead of the protagonist, to the point where I was practically screaming at her several times. That is essentially my only complaint. It might depend on your mood, but I think the highest level description might tell you what you need to know: what if the Salem witch trials were to be taken at face value? That is, that there were witches (as the people at the time knew and understood them,) in and around Salem. Not fantastical storybook witches we think of now. Interject a woman whose PhD thesis ends up hingeing on this with plenty of time spent lost in libraries and research.
|The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
|When I was in 4th grade, the school system made me read a book called Because of Winn-Dixie. In that book a candy was described, something called Melancholy Drops, if I remember right. This book reads like those candies taste.
|It's been a while, hasn't it? For some reason my reading always drops off in Summer, but now a good, chill wind is blowing, the leaves are changing, and I'm back to making tea in my spare time (I think the issue may be that I often read with hot tea.) It's a Pratchett book, the sequel to Going Postal. As with all of his books, it's wonderful and more than worth your time. I don't even feel the need to write descriptions of his works, they're all well worth reading. Next up is a bit of Gaiman.
|Another no-finish. I always have a hard time reading words which are truly, deeply meant to be spoken. Reading aloud only gets you so far.
|The Coming of Conan The Cimmerian
|Robert E. Howard
|Well, this one took forever, not least because I lost it while moving. I'll just get it out of the way: I fucking love Conan and all sorts of pulp adventure stuff. The stories varied in quality but so many of them were just fantastic. These printings also include a lot of goodies like drafts, maps he drew, some commentaries, etc. It's not like anyone isn't aware of it by this point, but my only serious reservation is that R.E.H. had some views on race. Stygians (dark-skinned African stand-ins,) are inherently evil and superstitious, the fall of great kingdoms is a product of decadence and "race-mixing", that sort of thing. It's rarely present as an enormous plot point but it is a nasty reminder every so often.
|Haunted Watauga County, North Carolina
|My attention's been a bit split lately; The Iliad's been slow reading. I picked this book up a while ago, no matter where you go there's always one in a drug store and they're normally harmless, just collections of stories. This one is fucking unhinged and I have no clue how to even tackle it. You'll get a title like "The Ghost Pilot" and it'll start with "Oh if you go on this mountain sometimes you'll hear a plane" and then it totally goes off the rails into 3 pages of rambling about how the ghost used to know the author and how this one time they both stood by a smoking farmer as he talked about his daughter being in a cult. One isn't even a ghost story, it's literally just the author's thoughts on the topic of suicide. Most of the stories are like this. I'm not sure whether it's intentional, meant to evoke a quiet night with an elderly relative whose mind has been slipping telling stories before they doze off or if it's just bad writing, but it's kind of fascinating.
|The Song of Achilles
|I quite liked it. Strange that I'd be into a fantasy story with this setting. It's fan fiction of The Iliad, not tied completely to the poembut it tells a good story. It also got me to check out a copy of The Iliad itself, which I haven't read since middle school or so, I think.
|Memorial: A Version Of Homer's Iliad
|Well, I lost the Conan book in the shuffle of the move. Oops. Memorial was inconsistent. The premise is intriguing: a list of hundreds of names, then poetry not of the narrative of the Iliad but of their deaths. Mostly. At its best (Pedaeus,) it effortlessly achieves what it intends to be: a translation of the feeling of hearing the poem on a starlit night from an orator underlit by fire and driven half-mad by the stories swirling in his head. There are many more whose fates are reduced to their name. No tales, just "And LAOGONUS." Many of the poems are followed by similes, which I got the impression was a borrowed practice, but so many of them feel utterly disconnected to the man being memorialized. I haven't read the source material in the better part of 2 decades so maybe they would make more sense were it fresh, but it was odd to read. She also had a tendency to bring in modern features, a simile described being "caught in headlights", another used a lift door in a way neither I nor my partner could make any sense of even in context, both ripped me immediately away from any atmosphere I had built.
|Every Word You Never Said
|Picked this up from the author at an arts sale, since he was local. I'm not really in a position to evaluate romance books, since this is the first I ever read, but I really felt for the main couple and they were absolutely adorable. I'd definitely pick up more of his if I ran into them.
|The Silver Pigs
|Bit of a gap, I think there may be a missing book in there but mostly I've been reading a Conan anthology. It's a bit hard to judge this one since I've never really read a detective novel before, but the little details (which I'm not qualified to verify, but an ex-archaeologist friend recommended the Falco series so surely it can't be that bad,) of living in the Roman Empire were fantastic. The book felt a bit longer than its length, but not necessarily in a bad way. I had a good time, and I get the feeling the author went up from here; I snagged the sequel the same time I bought this one.
|That was a bit of a pick-me-up after the last one. I'm inclined to agree that it's one of the best Discworld novels. Pratchett just had a great knack for writing books that feel like an old blanket even if you didn't grow up with him; I didn't pick up a Discworld book until I was in university, this book had almost no characters I know well, and it still drew me in without a second thought.
|All Quiet On The Western Front
|Erich Marie Remarque
|Fuck. This one doesn't get comments. It's a stunning depiction of the horror and the helplessness of war. Don't read this one if you're already down.
|The fact that this was written in the 1980's blows my mind in both good and bad ways. It's fantastic and hardly shows its age at all (only in that telephones sometimes make an appearance really.) Much of the time foundational works in a genre will be lost on you precisely because they were so huge and influential, but hat's not the case here. The sad part is that every other piece of cyberpunk literature I've read feels so derivative of Neuromancer that I get the impression that the genre's hardly grown in 40 years.
|The Princess Bride
|You already know the story, almost certainly. Every bit as good as the movie, if not better. The metanarrative is way more fun than in the movie and (although it's been a few years since I've watched,) it fleshed out the backstories and little details of the narrative in ways that I thought elevated the whole thing. If you read current printings you also get a "teaser" of the next book that Goldman would've abridged if Stephen King hadn't stolen the rights from him.
|What I read was fine, but I didn't finish it on the first borrow. I hadn't read it at all after 2 weeks of renewal, so I brought it back to the library. Just didn't grab me.
|Night Of The Mannequins
|Stephen Graham Jones
|Pretty creepy, left a bad taste in my mouth because at the end the author makes it really clear that he thinks you're a 1st grader by creating an enormous story contrivance to explain something a child could pick up on.
|Coraline finally went through on Halloween Week. I'd seen the movie before, but never the book. It felt like it went by incredibly quickly, though it never really felt rushed so much as efficient. Not too scary, definitely creepier than the movie though.
|The Taking of Jake Livingstone
|I got tired of waiting on Coraline's loan to go through and read this in the span of a day. It was good, the horror parts had a good feeling of dread to them. It's also a YA novel, so just be prepared for all the trappings that come with that. I don't normally do the content warning thing on here (I mean it's implied with Clive Barker really,) but a significant portion of the book is dedicated to being the fictional diary of a school shooter, so fair warning about that.
|The Scarlet Gospels
|This one was a good time. Awful gore and depravity in all the detail you could want, fun story with a solid mythos to it, largely good characters. Literally my only complaint (though not a small one) is that Barker literally introduced a trans character just to be shitty. Like, introduced (I don't think she appeared in any of the previous books) as a healer, she tries to kill the main character. The main character tells her off, her old friends turn on her, some misgendering is done. We later learn she was decapitated in a throwaway line several chapters later. At least that was all out of the way early on.
|Terry Pratchett & amp; Neil Gaiman
|I'm not even going to bother. It's a Terry Pratchett book. I could probably say as much for Gaiman but it's the first book of his I've read.
|Occult Features of Anarchism: With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples
|Disappointing is the word for this one. If you're into the aesthetics of questionable undergrad theses you might be into it. The author compulsively self-cites, has footnotes which regularly span from a quarter to a third of the page, and never really delved into the history with any satisfying depth, largely things like "Oh, the circled A. That's a plumb and square. Like the freemasons" and leaving it at that.
|The Guns of the South
|South African nazis go back in time to ensure the Confederacy wins the civil war so that it can ally with Germany during WWII, making it politically viable for the Afrikaaners to do so as well. Well written but it really could've used some camp. Its....questionable historical basis bothers a modern reader but I can somewhat forgive that since Lost Cause historiography was (I think?) still the mainstream when the book was written. Probably could've done without the spelled out minstrel show accents for black characters too. I'd hardly give it a glowing recommendation.
|Working Class History: Everyday Acts of Resistance and Rebellion
|Working Class History
|Another history book, presenting important events in the history of the working class in a calendar format, 2 events per day for a whole year. Neat, light read. Enormous bibliography (it's the size of a chapter in its own right.)
|Charles C Mann
|A one-step-above-pop-history book with a broad view over the history of the western hemisphere, especially focusing on how developed the Americas actually were before Europe fucked it up.