General Reading / Book Thread for 2019

Have you read A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers? It’s much lighter stuff in terms of the writing style, but I absolutely love the world it built and the way she approaches sexualities and just how open and warm her descriptions are. So I’d suggest that, given the particular aspects you mentioned about LeGuin’s writing.


I’ve heard his novels are really good. I nearly read For Whom The Bell Tolls when I went on holiday to Spain the other year. I have noticed that his novels can be quite expensive to buy for some reason though. I got AMF for a pound off Amazon though so I’ll probably just donate it to Oxfam

Definitely read Old Man if nothing else, it’s very short and packs in a lot of imagery in that time, without being dense.

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Finished reading ‘On Liberty’, have to admit it kind of caught me by surprise by the end since I don’t think Mill was the free market advocate all the modern “classic liberals” seem to think he was and on that specific note I actually found myself agreeing with a lot of what he was saying.

Amazingly AEI probably one of the worlds premier think free-trade think tanks picked up on this (although they didn’t think it was a good thing natch)

Currently reading ‘Dreams of Leaving and Remaining’ which I’m really enjoying, kind of thought it was going to be a book about Brexit but if anything it says more about how economic and social inequality map onto (or rather don’t map onto) the current political landscape.

I can’t remember who I heard say this but they said that ‘On Liberty’ would be better titled ‘On Responsibility’ for this very reason (i.e. that it isn’t a treatise advocating unregulated freedom in a libertarian sense - J.S. Mill was a utilitarian after all).

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This pretty much, I mean I still think he more or less failed to predict that it wasn’t necessarily government oversight people would be most concerned about in the 21st century but the influence of private capital but his idea of liberty and the benefits of it seem to centre human flourishing beyond accumulation and trade which at most he seems to see as necessary evils.

He’s also,perhaps surprisingly, very feminist particularly for the time period. Doesn’t excuse him being a bit of a racist but it’s interesting many of his ideas have clearly been used to justify things they were never intended to.

Seems to me that both of those paragraphs (minus the racism part) could have been written about Adam Smith too!

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Reading Kitchen Confidential for the first time. It’s such fun. I miss that man :frowning:

Also got Shirley Jackson’s Dark Tales on the go for night time spoops. Seem to be more misses than hits in this collection?

Ah don’t tell me that, that’s one of the books I’ve brought on holiday with me!

I think what’s more likely is that she is a very subtle writer and I am a very stupid reader

Still on Vineland, which I’m really enjoying still. Don’t think I’d realised at first just how much of this novel is flashback. It’s a bit of a precursor to the framing device of Mason & Dixon in a way, which is maybe why I found it a bit more disorienting at first.

I’m also reading Stuart David’s Belle & Sebastian book on the train. The story of their origins is crazy and totally alien from today’s perspective.

Just finished Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant as I’m having a mermaid phase. For someone quite terrified of the sea it just didn’t really scare me like the reviews suggested, could definitely picture it as a film though, and the mermaids were suitably creepy. Felt like it dragged out a fair bit then the end came too soon. Not sure if that’s because she might have a sequel lined up but it definitely could do with a bit more detail about the captive mermaid and coming back to shore. Felt like she’s maybe a writer of a different genre trying her hand at something scary but she couldn’t articulate that fear.

Still, I enjoyed it well enough based on the concept alone.

‘There is no roseability …’ Sorry could not help it! :smiley:

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I’m just about to read the second instalment in the series - ‘A Close and Common Orbit’ - I’m hoping it is as good. :slight_smile:


Just finished The Dispossessed, loved it. Now reading It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s by Lisa Blower, which is really good so far


Argh you know when you just can’t get in to anything? Nearly halfway through Home Fire but it’s just making me sad and not in a good way.
90 pages into The Wheel of Time and I’m just getting anxious about how long the whole series is and whether it will be worth it, if it does a GoT at the end of 12 books or however many it is I’d be furious.
Just not feeling anything at the moment :confused: need to read something really enjoyable to get me out of this reading slump.

I read Home Fire recently. Not madly into it, felt somehow all too easy but also so difficult.

I’m going to finish it because I’m past my personally imposed threshold for quitting and its a short one anyway but it’s just bumming me out and I feel like I know what a certain character is doing and I don’t like it and it’s further bumming me out…

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Been like this for about 3 weeks now but I forced myself to finish that last book. Don’t think Its helped my slump much but usually I read trashy thrillers that I can put no thought into and keep doing that until my brain is ready for something more challenging.

Think I’m currently feeling demotivated because I liked Circe so much that I feel like I’ll struggle to find another book like that for a good while.