It's the wasp's elbows

Join a laid-back, close-knit community of mixed interests Get a free account!

What are you reading?

  1. #609232013-07-14 21:52:57AlphaHikari_1A14 said:

    Over the summer, I've been reading the Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series. Right now, I'm on book two of Mortal Instruments, City of Ashes. I love how the male lead characters are always cocky, sarcastic, and conceited because they are handsome. The female leads always start off each series and are drawn into a world they had no idea existed right in front of them. The books are full of love triangles and twisted plots. The fights are interesting too.

    My favorite author has to be Cassandra Clare. She wrote the Infernal Devices and Mortal Instrument series plus another series focused around a warlock, Magnus Bane, that makes appearances in both prior series. Also, the quotes she includes in her books were another perk for me when I decided to purchase her books.

  2. #609422013-07-15 06:15:03DarkChaplain said:

    Finished Skarsnik a few days ago, quick-reviewed it here
    Great novel.

    A Chaos Space Marine Sorcerer seeks the power of the godsAll is dust... Spurned by his former brothers and his father Magnus the Red, Ahriman is a wanderer, a sorcerer of Tzeentch whose actions condemned an entire Legion to an eternity of damnation. Once a vaunted servant of the Thousand Sons, he is now an outcast, a renegade who resides in the Eye of Terror. Ever scheming, he plots his return to power and the destruction of his enemies, an architect of fate and master of the warp.

    Now I'm reading Ahriman: Exile, part 1 done, aka slightly more than 100 pages in. Very much what I expected and hoped for, continuing on from a LOT of other novels and short stories on the Thousand Sons and Ahriman in particular. John French managed to link his novel into the heavily praised A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill from the Horus Heresy series and Chris Wraight's Battle of the Fang, which is great and makes me feel right at home.

    It is definitely setting the stage for sequels, though, that much I know already, and appreciate. Ahriman's a very, very intriguing character who has to come a LOOOONG way still, travelling the galaxy in pursuit of knowledge, trying to atone for his sins and make things right - not that he's gonna be able to fully hold on to his own purity of purpose, though.

    Some authors have completely taken the piss out of Ahriman in the past, chief among them C.S.Goto with his atrocious writing, but I must say that between McNeill and French, he is being treated right, without the stupid mustache-twirling evilness.

  3. #609522013-07-15 08:10:56 *johan_5179 said:

    Inside the Third Reich is a memoir written by Albert Speer, the Nazi Minister of Armaments from 1942 to 1945, serving as Hitler's main architect before this period. It is considered to be one of the most detailed descriptions of the inner workings and leadership of Nazi Germany.

    The book gives details on the lives and personalities of various Nazi leaders, since being a neutral observer, Speer had a lot of people confiding in him. He also paints a rather bleak picture of Hitler's own functioning, calling him an 'artistically tempered bohemian' rather than a decisive and intelligent leader. His descriptions of inner party hierarchies makes it clear that all the benefits of centralized authority vanish because of the personal power struggles and intrigues which various leaders engage in.

    However, I am not sure if I believe Speer when he claims he had no knowledge whatsoever of Nazi racial policy. Because although Speer's work takes a lot of inspiration from ancient non-Aryan empires, not once does he mention this fact when talking about his influences, claiming that his architecture is more of a homage to Greek/Doric architecture. Similarly, I don't trust him when he says he was innocent of all knowledge regarding the use of slave labour in the armament factories under his ministry.

    200 pages in, I can say that the book is very interesting and remains one of the closest inside looks one can have at the Nazi party and the leaders themselves. I think I will be done with it in a few days.

  4. #611132013-07-18 12:26:58johan_5179 said:

    Done with this.

    The first 200 pages were nothing, since the real tale unfolds in the last 350 pages of the book. I am left with rather conflicting feelings for Speer, because while I can see that he did all that he could for the people who had placed their trust in the government (such as opposing Hitler's scorched earth policy ), he did so more out of his horror for destruction than out of any moral considerations he might have had. To be fair though, Speer himself acknowledges that it was the technician inside of him that motivated him to oppose Hitler directly and through trickery. And he also says that he only understood his feelings when he finally found some time for himself, free from his duties. Unfortunately for him, he only got that time in prison.

    Reading this, I did feel a huge sense of waste. Because had Speer been born in another era, he could have become one hell of a man for all the talent he displayed, which in his time only led to the prolonging of the war by many months.

    For all my doubts, and all my confusions, this is a highly recommended book.

    And now I have to find another book for myself... maybe pyramids this time.

  5. #609842013-07-16 00:18:41Alex_ said:

    Books from The Witcher saga,I've just bought the 5th part (the last one that's been translated from Polish to Serbian), so I've got a bit re-reading to do -Baptism of Fire

    And while reading that, from time to time I jump back to Stephen King's Dark Tower, the 7th and the last book, but I kinda don't want to get to the end, so I'm reading it slow as fuck

  6. #610222013-07-16 15:33:15Dec said:

    I'm reading the hungry caterpillar, its so emotional and inspiring to eat.

    Its moral of eating everything to become pretty is great, must read it!

  7. #611142013-07-18 12:43:01DarkChaplain said:

    Halfway through Ahriman: Exile from above, now finally got a hold of Helsreach by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

    When the world of Armageddon is attacked by orks, the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter are amongst those sent to liberate it. Chaplain Grimaldus and a band of Black Templars are charged with the defence of Hive Helsreach from the xenos invaders in one of the many battlezones. But as the orks numbers grow and the Space Marines dwindle, Grimaldus faces a desperate last stand in an Imperial temple. Determined to sell their lives dearly, will the Black Templars hold on long enough to be reinforced, or will their sacrifice ultimately be in vain.

    Now I can play Civilization V and co without feeling bad...

  8. #611152013-07-18 12:45:22 *Kirn said:

    Red "The Thirty-Nine Steps" yesterday.

    The novel is set during May and June 1914; Europe is close to war and spies are everywhere. Richard Hannay has just returned to London from Rhodesia in order to begin a new life, when a freelance spy called Franklin P. Scudder calls on him to ask for help. Scudder reveals to Hannay that he has uncovered a German plot to murder the Greek Premier and steal British plans for the outbreak of war. Scudder claims to be following a ring of German spies called the Black Stone.
    A few days later, Hannay returns to his flat to find Scudder murdered. If Hannay goes to the police, he will be arrested for Scudder’s murder. Hannay decides to continue Scudder’s work and his adventure begins. He escapes from the German spies watching the house and makes his way to Scotland, pursued both by the spies and by the police.
    The mysterious phrase Thirty-Nine Steps first mentioned by Scudder becomes the title of the novel and the solution to its meaning is a thread that runs through the whole story.

    This is pretty much a spy novel, but very old one. Plot is pretty simple, there is some action, but not as much as you would expect. The thing was written in 1915. However, despite being quite simple, the book is entertaining and allows you to pass some time. Also, there are people from Scotland there and they talk damn funny )

  9. #611412013-07-19 01:26:03Maryam said:

    Finished Looking for Alaska by John Green

    It certainly is not one of my favorites and I rather detested it but it was highly entertaining. There were some really interesting characters and as well written as the narration is, the main character doesn't relate to the reader at all. Angsty teenager in search of a new, exciting life? Sure! Angsty teenager who is shallow and kind of a dickbag to everyone but the girl he likes? Eh. Recommendable but only so that I'll have someone to talk about it with, not so that they experience reading a great book.

    The love interest also got categorized into the overused and rather annoying manic-pixie girl personality, which is certainly not what I signed up for. I was looking for something more like Green's previous novel, The Fault in Our Stars but I received something completely different, yet somehow mildly likable. Some personalities seemed so bluntly put and even forced onto the reader. There was no discovering what type of person a character really was.

    The book is thought-provoking and exciting but the main character and love interest didn't rise up to match it. On the fence, very much so on the fence.

  10. #613792013-07-23 15:50:01Decae said:

    I would like to mention that The Fault in Our Stars is Green's most recent novel, so obviously that is the best one.

    Green's an average author, but he relies too much on themes from other people. Looking Alaska had Rabeleis' "great perhaps" and Bolivar's "labyrinth" as it's primary themes. Paper Towns had Whitman. The Fault in Our Stars is an obvious reference to Shakespeare. When this man is talented enough to come up with his own amazing themes (or, rather, being able to explain them without relying on the words of others), then he might be a little better than just average. That being said, I'm glad he made a little progress with his latest novel by ditching the bland characters he loves to use and reuse.

  11. #612032013-07-20 14:40:31 *johan_5179 said:

    I needed some light reading after Memoirs of Albert Speer, so I picked up The Pyramids of Egypt by I.E.S. Edwards. Old book first printed in 1955 tracing the historical development of Pyramids in Egypt, and the religious beliefs associated with them etc. First printed in 1955, it remains a classic and an authoritative work on pyramids. My own copy is from 1978.

    But just as I was about to start on this, I picked up another book. On impulse. And I read through its 350 pages in a day, was great fun.

    IACOCCA - An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca (with William Novak)

    He’s an American legend, a straight-shooting businessman who brought Chrysler back from the brink and in the process became a media celebrity, newsmaker, and a man many had urged to run for president.

    The son of Italian immigrants, Lee Iacocca rose spectacularly through the ranks of Ford Motor Company to become its president, only to be toppled eight years later in a power play that should have shattered him. But Lee Iacocca didn’t get mad, he got even. He led a battle for Chrysler’s survival that made his name a symbol of integrity, know-how, and guts for millions of Americans.

    In his classic hard-hitting style, he tells us how he changed the automobile industry in the 1960s by creating the phenomenal Mustang. He goes behind the scenes for a look at Henry Ford’s reign of intimidation and manipulation. He recounts the miraculous rebirth of Chrysler from near bankruptcy to repayment of its $1.2 billion government loan so early that Washington didn’t know how to cash the check.

    Entertaining. Very very Entertaining. It does not matter what your views on Big Business are, if you read this book, you will admire this man for his skill, his tenacity, his genius and most importantly, his guts. This man had above average balls. And used every inch he had to achieve success at whatever he did.

    "... The defense budget is $300 billion. I'm a businessman. Believe me, I can cut 5% out of anything and you'll never know I did it. In fact, I've been doing it all my life."

    Now for The Pyramids of Egypt, I'm 75 pages in and its evidently very well researched. The writing style is lucid and easy to understand, and the man really knows what he is writing about. The Introduction really is a proper guide to everything that the book will cover, and those illustrations. 57 of them in a 296-page book. All highly detailed.

    The pyramids of Egypt, like the identities of homer and Shakespeare,have always been considered fair game for the theories of amateurs and cranks.Standing solid and enormous in the desert west of the Nile,their eerie grandeur has caused men to marvel for thousands of years.

    Dr Edwards draws both on his research and on the work of many archaeologists who have dug in Egypt. Surveying 1000 years of pyramid-building, he charts the rise and decline of the pyramids as funerary monuments, from the mastabas of the first and second dynasties and the step pyramids to the archaic and backward-looking efforts of the Middle Kingdom, and discusses the famous group at Giza. His final chapter, dealing with their construction and purpose, puts the pyramids into the perspective of ancient Egyptian society.

    I am going to enjoy this.

  12. #612992013-07-22 09:46:29johan_5179 said:

    And yeah, finished The Pyramids of Egypt yesterday. Everything is presented very meticulously and I would really call this the go-to book if you want some knowledge on pyramids.

  13. #612982013-07-22 09:42:32johan_5179 said:

    I just finished this.

    Thank you for Smoking - Christopher Buckley

    Nobody blows smoke like Nick Naylor. He’s a spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies–in other words, a flack for cigarette companies, paid to promote their product on talk and news shows. The problem? He’s so good at his job, so effortlessly unethical, that he’s become a target for both anti-tobacco terrorists and for the FBI. In a country where half the people want to outlaw pleasure and the other want to sell you a disease, what will become of the original Puff Daddy?

    This is one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book. Much much better. The book does have more of the delicious dialogue which made the movie so brilliant but the story is not something I liked. Not really recommended if you've seen the film.

  14. #616472013-07-25 16:13:55 *johan_5179 said:


    After 1Q84, i was positively lusting for more Murakami. I forced a friend to buy this so that I could borrow this and told him he could expect it back....NEVER. I am just 15 pages in, and I can see this will go well. Preconceptions? Just read the fucking description, you will know it too.

    Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. As their parallel odysseys unravel, cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghost-like pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since World War II. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle - one of many which combine to create an elegant and dreamlike masterpiece.

    Now that college has started, I will be with this book a while. But, this is one book I don't mind being stuck with. It does help that I read all my texts and a lot of essays in the vacations. Gives me free time which my teachers hope I'll use making notes and shit. Well, I have a much better use.

    shhh... they can never know
  15. #620972013-08-04 08:26:50 *johan_5179 said:

    Done with this.

    I tried to keep my post simple. My post about how this book, like everything Murakami writes, is so great. But the complexity of this book defeats any attempt in that direction.

    The great Russian critic M.M. Bakhtin once defined the novel as a work which is characterized by its ‘polyphony and unfinalizability’. Simply speaking, a novel is a form which allows a writer to speak in many voices, or at least many forms of the same voice, and is a work which has no binding moral code or sense of finality, even as you finish the story it tells. Each character can then be seen as a symbol for an idea, and even though his story comes to an end, when seen through Bakhtin’s lens the end will be ‘forced’ since what the symbol stands for is an edifice which has no ending in normal human terms. While one may be tempted to say that the same is true for all forms of writing, Bakhtin (very successfully) contrasts the free-flowing novel with the fixed nature of the epic with its rigid morals.

    Why was this verbal diarrhoea important? Because Murakami, in his infinite wisdom, manages to bring together these two forms with all their trappings to flesh out tales of a calm vibrancy which is expansive in scope but yet intensely personal. He plays around with concepts of reality, morality, the supernatural and what-not and still manages to keep it close enough so that you, dear reader, will never feel left out. Which is something I cant do in one small post. And i'm not even that profound :(

    I think that studying his background can help me understand his writings better, but irl stuff stops me. And yes, 1Q84 is the better book, don't ask me why, I just feel it.

    With this, my goal for next months book fair is decided. I am going to buy some more of Murakami. Happy reading!

  16. #616632013-07-25 18:34:46DarkChaplain said:

    Finished Ahriman: Exile yesterday or so, was up far too long, but I wanted to finish it before sleeping.

    Great novel, met my expectations and developed the character of Ahriman in believable and intriguing ways, building veeeery effectively on the foundation laid by other authors.
    Ahriman coming to terms with his guilt, but rejecting fate as absolute, was a blast to read, and I cannot wait to read what else is planned for this series, and which Paths of Lies the exile will need to walk before he turns his eyes towards the Black Library of the Eldar.

    Worse authors have somehow made Ahriman appear like a mustache-twirling fool with a god complex, but that is not the case at all. Ahriman is arrogant, and his arrogance was his, and his Legion's ruin. That realization put him into a very dangerous spot, and John French managed to depict that very well in Exile. Ahriman tries to run away from his past, from his guilt, hiding his identity, joining warbands out of necessity. Heck, he even closed away his incredible psychic potential out of fear and denial. Only when fate comes round at last is he forced to face his past and discover his former, broken Legion's uncertain future.

    The book leaves a few plotlines dangling, which is good, and created a few very interesting characters. The atmosphere also radiates hopelessness, the feeling of having been forsaken by everybody but themselves, which serves very well for the supporting characters, three Astartes of a defunct Chapter, due to Inquisitorial edict, and their own development. They are reluctant to accept their fate as outcasts, as the last survivors of an eradicated thousand, but they believe that while their old oaths are rendered void, they need to hold on to the oaths they gave to each other, and to Ahriman. While these Marines and Ahriman did not start out as friends in any way, their growing brotherhood pivotal point of the novel, and serves to balance out the sense of abandonment.

    I like John French. This was his first full-length novel for Black Library, but what short stories, novellas and audio dramas I've experienced so far were very solid. He's got his themes in order, knows what he wants to convey, and thus does a very solid job at structuring his work. His Fateweaver novella in Architect of Fate was probably my favorite of the 4 included stories, and The Crimson Fist was a fantastic contribution to the Horus Heresy, developing the Imperial Fists, Sigismund, Rogal Dorn and the Iron Warriors, despite only being a novella.
    Good author, one to look out for.

    Aside from that, I am now reading/listening to Fallen Angels, which has its issues (mainly being inconsistent with other material about the Dark Angels and involved characters) but is still strangely compelling. Helsreach is halfway done, but I've taken a break on that, in favor of Fallen Angels and short stories.

  17. #616642013-07-25 19:06:33newbNead said:

    I'm deciding to read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Unabridged by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Stand by Stephen King (which I stopped with at chapter 5. Hehe). I'm just starting to read again so, yeah. Though my favorite book is The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger. A Salinger fan here I guess. :)

  18. #618452013-07-31 12:02:04 *Taro_Tanako said:

    Just finished reading Enders Shadow by Orson Scott Card. It was really enjoyable, if a little preachy in places. Gives a good alternate view of Enders Game and how some things pieced together in the background.

    Turns out I have lots of reading time in my stupid summer job since it's mostly sitting around and watching people so I'm gonna read the next one now.

  19. #618472013-07-31 12:29:43DarkChaplain said:

    Currently reading/listening to:

    Helsreach still, because Emperor beware I fuckin' finish it first before jumping into others...

    Vulkan Lives

    In the wake of the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvan V, the survivors of the Salamanders Legion searched long and hard for their fallen primarch, but to no avail. Little did they know that while Vulkan might have wished himself dead, he lives still. As the war continues without him, all eyes turn to Ultramar and Guilliman’s new empire there, and Vulkan’s sons are drawn into an insidious plot to end the Heresy by the most underhand means imaginable.


    In the depths of Calth’s arcology network, the Underworld War has raged for years. Aeonid Thiel, previously an honoured sergeant of the Ultramarines, once again finds himself in trouble – pitted against the daemonic forces of the Word Bearers, he has no choice but to venture back to the ravaged surface and brave the deadly solar flares that have scoured all life from this world. With a lowly Imperial Army trooper as his only companion, it falls to him to drive the maniacal Dark Apostle Kurtha Sedd and his warband from the overrun XIII Legion stronghold.

    Thiel was a pretty cool character in Know No Fear, so I've got to listen to this new audio drama today. They just released it early via their website, with the CD version still a few months out.

  20. #618592013-07-31 22:00:32DarkChaplain said:

    They do both audiobooks and audio dramas. The Horus Heresy series had the opening trilogy as abridged audios, sadly, which cut whole plotlines to fit onto 4 CDs each, iirc, and every single new book since #15 has gotten an unabridged audio. They've since re-released the first 6 plus #11 as hardback collector's editions, with #4-6 and #11 getting unabridged audios as well.
    They're re-releasing the rest as time moves on, and hopefully there will be unabridged audios for the first three at some point.

    Additionally, there's an unabridged audio for one of their novellas, and more than a dozen of audio dramas.

    And that is just the Horus Heresy series. There are another two dozen audio dramas for 40k and Fantasy, and there's a Helsreach unabridged audio now as well.

    So yeah, shit's great.

  21. #618612013-07-31 22:14:36DarkChaplain said:

    I'd recommend getting your hands on something outside the Horus Heresy series first, though. Read the Eisenhorn trilogy, for example. Great introduction to the franchise (also has an audio drama available, two discs, but the second is a tie-in to the sequel trilogy, and thus full of spoilers. The first CD's got two stories, both pretty good).

    Also stuff like Ciaphas Cain, for a more humorous spin on the Imperial Guard.

    Also Space Marine Battles, though they might be a bit hit and miss. Rather, go with the Space Marine Omnibus; collecting three short story anthologies, 30+ stories included, coming September.

    Also the two Hammer & Bolter anthologies (2nd one) - shitload of authors and factions, from both Fantasy and 40k. Good to find authors you enjoy and factions to follow more closely.

  22. #621202013-08-04 16:16:28Kirn said:

    Suddenly started reading a new book... which is an old book... and it is a scientific book called "A Brief History of Time".

    The book is written by Stephen Hawking (google him, he's worth it) and it was published back in the 1988. This is the book written by an actual real physicist with proper titles and scientific degrees galore, and the book tells you about the Universe - about theories about it, about how it was created, about how all matter works together... And, which is the main part, the book is written in a way that is easy to understand for most people.
    I haven't finished reading this yet, but I enjoy this greatly. The language is good, the explanations are easy enough, and it is a chance for a common person to actually look into the world of theoretical physics. This is a great way to pick up interesting facts. Fuck, after reading part of this book I now know that Church at some point supported the Big Bang theory!
    So yeah, this is really worth a read. Not fiction. Science!

  23. #622262013-08-06 13:14:46johan_5179 said:

    The End of the Third Reich by V.I. Chuikov

    Chuikov was present at the last days of the Third Reich and tells the tale. "In the closing stages of the war, the 8th Army spearheaded the Soviet's main effort. It took part in the liberation of Poland, crashed through a series of formidable German defense lines on the eastern approaches to Berlin, and finally stormed the capital of Nazi Germany. This book describes the closing of the war in vivid detail.

    Vasili Chuikov was the field commander of the 8th Guards Army, and later the Supreme Commander of Soviet Land Forces.

    I have read about 50 pages up till now, and while I must say that the book is greatly detailed, I find that what I read here is not consistent with what I have read before, namely the strength of the German lines in Russia. My previous read, 'Memoirs of Albert Speer' told me that by 1944 German lines in the east were nearly incapable of functioning the way Chuikov says they were since weapon production was hit hard around this time due to allied air strikes and everyone knew there was a huge Allied offensive coming up West. Yet Chuikov presents a very robust and cunning opponent which did not need commands from their higher-ups since 'the German soldiers, fearing retribution, fought with fanatical determination and stubbornness'. I do not wish to call BS since I have not read the entire book, but this does not tally with what I read earlier, and Chuikov is a military man writing inside the Soviet Union. (Book published in 1965, I have the edition printed in 1985)

    Still, great detailing w.r.t. tactics, and it has been an enjoyable read so far. I'll write more about what I think once I'm done.

  24. #623462013-08-08 21:28:21megumi-tan said:

    This is the best book I have read this year. Plus, not only did it get a good movie, it even got a decent remake. I would recommend this book if you like strong female protagonists, mystery, and crime. Maybe you like none if these thing. That's ok, but read it anyway. It was extremely well writen by Stieg Larsson, who sadly past away in 2004. I could not put it down once I started reading it. It is the first book in the Millennium series and one out of three. I don't think I will really include anything like what the book is about or its contents other than the fact its great, cause I feel books are at their best when you know nothing about them when reading it for the first time.