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Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » What Are You Reading?
What Are You Reading?
WatsisnameDate: Friday, 12.12.2014, 22:46 | Message # 1
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We have a thread for sharing favorite sci-fi books, but I figure a general thread would be nice for people to share what they are reading right now, or recently read or still on the todo list. smile

Recently Completed:
Echopraxia by Peter Watts. Sequel to Blindsight, which I'd consider required reading first. Blindsight is a very imaginative, dark, and hard sci-fi tale about humanity's first contact with an alien species, but at its heart is actually a brilliant and deep musing on the nature of sentience / self-awareness. Echopraxia I thought was not quite as good, but it still had some amazing moments. It is also basically about "free-will". 3.5/5, while Blindsight I rate 5/5.

The Martian by Andy Weir. Excellent story of an astronaut who, by highly unfortunate circumstances, becomes stranded and assumed dead on Mars and must figure out a way to survive and somehow be discovered and rescued. Very good science in this book and impressive problem solving skills. 4.5/5

Contact by Carl Sagan and thematically the polar opposite of Blindsight. I'd seen the film many years ago and loved it, and finally got around to the book, which naturally is even better. 5/5

Adrift by Steven Callahan. The true story of the man who survived 76 days alone at sea on a life raft. If you like survival stories, you will surely enjoy this one. Highly emotional and I was blown away by his skill and sheer resolve. 5/5

Currently Reading:
Black Holes and Time Warps by Kip Thorne. Popular-level book about all things general relativity related by the great theoretical physicist. IMO most interesting for its historical anecdotes.

Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich. Documenting the author's time raising young ravens and investigating their remarkable level of intelligence and social habits.

On the todo list: (which, despite my best efforts, always seems to grow larger instead of smaller with time)
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan -- story of the American Dustbowl years.
Geology of the San Juan Islands by Ned Brown, geologist specializing in this region.
This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin -- psychology meets music theory.
Music of the Sun by William Chaplin -- detailing the development of Helioseismology.
Planetary Surface Processes by H. Jay Melosh -- part of the Cambridge planetary science series.
Martian Summer by Andrew Kessler -- a look inside the Pheonix mission.





 
SpaceEngineerDate: Friday, 12.12.2014, 22:56 | Message # 2
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I'm reading Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep" series, today completed the third book, one left.




 
MosfetDate: Saturday, 13.12.2014, 13:08 | Message # 3
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Foundation's fear, Gregory Benford. I don't think I'll make it 'til the end, though.




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AerospacefagDate: Saturday, 13.12.2014, 18:32 | Message # 4
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Quote SpaceEngineer ()
today completed the third book, one left.

I would like to read the last one too, just culdn't find anywhere (except online stores), it's the latest one.
Vernor Vinge is one of my favorite writers of recent time - before it was Clifford Simac.

Recently I've finished reading "Diamond age" by Neal Stephenson. I'm not nearly as impressed as for "Snowcrash", and the basic concept of new forms of government and "tribes" isn't really something too rational. But instead of solving these difficulties, narrative goes deep into the strangeness of the author's representation of the world, strange projects and customs, until, at the end of the book, it cuts abruptly at some moment of justice. The ideas of floating defense grids and "conventional" nanotechnological warfare is the only things that can possibly be interesting.

Ah, and I'm reading in original language without much problems (although Stephenson's vocabulary is a little bit broad to grasp), and pick my books only from free sources, of course.
 
VladVoivodeDate: Friday, 19.12.2014, 16:26 | Message # 5
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I'm still in the grad student habit of reading multiple books at a time. Currently I am revisiting all of Douglas Adams' work, A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, and The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson. Plus, I am a sleight of hand artist magician researching the literature for an e-book I am planning to write so there is always a stack of professional magic books and periodicals at hand.

I really want to get the new deGrasse Tyson book but, believe it or not, in a city of almost one million people, there is not a bookstore that carries it but other cities like Amsterdam and The Hague do.
 
Destructor1701Date: Friday, 19.12.2014, 21:45 | Message # 6
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I'm gradually dragging myself towards the end of Blue Mars, the third bool in Kim Stanley Robinson's trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars).

I'm finding it difficult to get through - each of these books increases the amount of time their characters devote to deep scientific, philosophical, psychological, and socio-potlitical musing. Between that and the incredibly voluminous (but evocative, convincing, and immersive) landscape descriptions, the plot moves at a snail's pace.

Well, I say plot. It's written in a very literature veritè style - things happen with little or no meaning, characters languish in depression or innefectual situations for decades at a time, and events transpire with no single grouping really benefiting. In short, it's a clusterf*ck of things happening, and people - often the people who shaped the events - being swept up in it.

It's very much like real life, in that way, which makes it incredibly believable... It really feels like this is how the colonisation of Mars will happen - or at least, this is the fashion that it will happen after. That's not an altogether pleasing prospect - the events of the books are far from utopian, but they're still a phenomenal, if difficult, read.

Other books awaiting my eyes are "The Martian" by Mark Weir, "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury, "The Martians" by Kim Stanley Robinson (sensing a theme?), and Physics, Geology, and Psychology For Dummies.







Edited by Destructor1701 - Friday, 19.12.2014, 21:47
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Friday, 19.12.2014, 23:38 | Message # 7
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Quote Destructor1701 ()
I'm finding it difficult to get through

I had the exact same reaction to it. In fact, I never finished it. By contrast, I found Green Mars to be the most enjoyable of the series.





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WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 20.12.2014, 06:47 | Message # 8
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Blue Mars was the slowest read for me as well, and I didn't find the climax or resolution particularly memorable. The series as a whole is pretty great, but most of my enjoyment came out of Red and Green.

Added:
I also read his other books 2312, Shaman, and Ice Henge, all of which I thought were good to okay. Shaman is perhaps his most unique work.





 
laiodDate: Saturday, 20.12.2014, 16:25 | Message # 9
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I am reading Beowulf.




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midtskogenDate: Saturday, 20.12.2014, 18:35 | Message # 10
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I have so little time for reading books these days. The book I'm having the most progress with is in the bathroom. It's Winfred P. Lehmann's "A Gothic etymological dictionary".




NIL DIFFICILE VOLENTI
 
SlimunkeyDate: Sunday, 11.01.2015, 00:58 | Message # 11
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I'm currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo, really glad my English Teacher suggested it. I'm also reading 2010: Second Odyssey for the third time. biggrin




must....take....more.....SCREENSHOTS!
 
kaue4arp10Date: Tuesday, 20.01.2015, 23:51 | Message # 12
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Quote Slimunkey ()
I'm also reading 2010: Second Odyssey for the third time.


Is it good? because i read 2001 and found it awesome.
Also, i'm reading The house of cards.
 
WatsisnameDate: Thursday, 22.01.2015, 04:45 | Message # 13
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Finished Black Holes & Time Warps. I was already familiar with Kip's writing on a scientific level, but didn't know how good he is at also explaining it on a more basic level. He did a great job here and I thought his review of the history of black hole research was fascinating. 5/5.

Added to the TODO pile: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.





 
FireintheholeDate: Thursday, 22.01.2015, 10:25 | Message # 14
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The Seven Greatest Scientific Discoveries in History and the People Who Made Them. Very interesting book indeed!




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letaxDate: Friday, 23.01.2015, 13:47 | Message # 15
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I am currently reading The Extended Phenotype. I haven't been able to finish it yet (in half a yer!), because I usually end up spending my free time gaming and browsing the internet. I hate myself for that :/
I am already planning on reading a couple more books, like A Demon Haunted World, Death by Black Hole, God is not Great, The Bible (maybe even Qu'ran) in its entirety, Classical Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum, and some other. It is piling up biggrin


Edited by letax - Friday, 23.01.2015, 13:51
 
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