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What are you reading? (& general book discussion)

PUBLIQclopAccountant
Non-Fungible Trixie -
Magical Inkwell - Wrote MLP fanfiction consisting of at least around 1.5k words, and has a verified link to the platform of their choice

collage🏴pirate
For being a longstanding community focused on a show with a book horse, I’m surprised there aren’t any threads about reading, books, or literature. Now there are a couple.
Discuss whatever you’re reading, be it poetry, fiction, non-fiction, cybertext, technical manuals, TV static, ergodic literature, Funko® POP!™s, or short stories.
Light meta-discussion about reading (such as discussion on the reliability of Amazon reviews, whether Goodreads is worthwhile, or your opinions on /r/bookscirclejerk vs. /r/TrueLit) is acceptable, too.

If you want to discuss fanfiction you’re reading, there’s a thread for that in the fanfiction forum

For this year, I’ve decided to limit myself to one fictional story and one nonfiction narrative at a time. Poetry, short story fanfiction, and technical manuals aren’t part of the count. The hope is that the singular focus will mean I actually start finishing books again instead of having two bookshelves full of half-finished books.
Fiction slot: If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
Nonfiction: Time Travel by James Gleick
On deck after Time Travel for the nonfiction slot are the remainder of Farewell to the Horse by Raulff Ulrich and then Ride the Right Horse by Yvonne Bartneau. I have not decided what my next fiction book will be after Winter’s night. Maybe more Calvino, maybe my Borges short story collection, quite possibly JS&MN or the Illuminatus! Trilogy.

Some recommendations pulled from turning around in my chair and looking at my bookshelf:
  • Danielewski, Mark: House of Leaves. The typical introduction to ergodic literature. I recommend reading the full Whalestoe Letters in addition, as it contains a few more letters than Appendix II-E.
  • Gleick, James: The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. James Geick is a writer who leaves you feeling smarter for merely having read his book. The four chapters of Farewell to the Horse I’ve read so far have the same energy.
  • Stoll, Cliff: The Cuckoo’s Egg.
  • Bök, Christian: Eunioa and Crystallography. Eunoia [beautiful thinking] is the shortest word in the English language containing all five vowels (oiseau [bird] is its French counterpart). Crystallography is a galaxy-brained melding of materials science and poetry.
  • Danielewski, Mark: The 50-Year Sword. It’s a Halloween ghost story in book form. In spite of its nearly 300-page length, its formatting tricks allow it to be easily read in under three hours.
  • The Big Book of Jerkcity as well as the Jerkcity-inspired poetry collections Leo the Lion and All those Prostitutes. They’re all highly NSFW and often in bad taste, but that’s exactly why you would love them.
  • (I can’t see the author’s name because the book is buried in storage) Exploding the Phone. A story of the phreaks who whistled their way into free long-distance calls and stumble upon classified military telephone systems. Steves Wozniak and Jobs make a guest appearance.
  • Hall, Stephen: The Raw Shark Texts. Eric Sanderson wakes up with no sense of self or any concrete memories of what happened before he woke up. Letters from the first Eric Sanderson guide him on a journey to discover the truth behind his amnesia.
Background Pony #78FA
I’ve been reading Spider-Man: Miles Morales - Wings of Fury, the prequel to the PS4/PS5 game of the same name.
AaronMk
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My Little Pony - 1992 Edition
The Magic of Friendship Grows - For helping others attend the 2020 Community Collab
Friendship, Art, and Magic (2020) - Took part in the 2020 Community Collab

Don'think ighly o'Sicily
I recently started Yukio Mishima’s Life for Sale. But given my tendency to be distracted and having a lot of other stuff to do I haven’t been very good at keeping up with a regular reading schedule. I used to have a habit of reading every day for an hour but not so much at the moment, a change in jobs and such easily broke that and I’m about to change jobs again.
I also have on my phone for a new attempt at reading Marx’s 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon to read on break or over lunch at work at what not.
Background Pony #78FA
Did you guys ever read that graphic novel that depicts World War II through anthropomorphic animals, like the Jews being mice, Nazis were cats and Americans were dogs? We had to read it in middle school, and now I’m hearing people are trying to get the book banned.
PUBLIQclopAccountant
Non-Fungible Trixie -
Magical Inkwell - Wrote MLP fanfiction consisting of at least around 1.5k words, and has a verified link to the platform of their choice

collage🏴pirate
@Background Pony #78FA
I have not. At least I don’t remember it if I did. Now I want to read it simply because I know it’s controversial.
  1. HoL is a book that you may need to read a little bit at a time. Not so far apart that you forgot what happened, but it can be overwhelming to try to read it in one contiguous week.
  2. The first assigned book that I enjoyed may be 1984. Actually, that teacher had unusually good taste in assigned reading.
@krikor41
You’re welcome. raritystarry
@AaronMk
I’m right there with you about not reading anywhere near as much as I used to (or would like to). I’m looking forward to my overtime months because I’m too busy to browse forums during downtime but still have plenty of micro-breaks for reading.
Litrojia
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Gonna necro this thread. Really wish there was more book talk around here. I’m no huge bookworm, but good discussion and recommendations can be hard to come by.
Anyway, I’m currently reading Dracula. So far I don’t think it’s the greatest book ever, but I think it’s getting me out of a reading slump I’ve been in over the past year (one book I read and left me disturbed, a few others I quickly gave up on, edit: and another I decently liked but apparently wasn’t too memorable).
AaronMk
Tree of Harmony - Drew someone's OC for the 2022 Community Collab
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Verified Pegasus - Show us your gorgeous wings!
Preenhub - We all know what you were up to this evening~
Philomena - For helping others attend the 2021 community collab
Twinkling Balloon - Took part in the 2021 community collab.
My Little Pony - 1992 Edition
The Magic of Friendship Grows - For helping others attend the 2020 Community Collab
Friendship, Art, and Magic (2020) - Took part in the 2020 Community Collab

Don'think ighly o'Sicily
Since this thread was necro’d I guess I’ll do an update:
Reading a book rn in the present status of Burma/Myanmar and how it got there. It’s OK, I don’t have much background on Myanmar so it at least gets to fill me in and catch me up and it’s relatively short. It’s not written as a serious and deep technical piece or even a theoretical analysis on Burma.
I will spoiler the rest for reasons of politics.
In brief the book is kind of written for the US DNC NGO types. People who might have voted for Clinton or something. It has pretensions of being radical but doesn’t actually get very deep into it. The entire spirit of its analysis can be summarized as saying it recounts a story of someone in the Myanmar NGO space giving the president or some prominent late Burmese leaders box sets for the West Wing to teach them about how democracy works which had me dying laughing because I always assumed such stories could only exist as a joke about ‘the Wonks’ who pour over the minutea of inter-party politics in Washington to do their own Kremlinology but for Capital Hill
Jade Kitsune
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OCs owned: 6
I’m going to start reading “Tale as Old as Time: A Twisted Tale” (aka Beauty and the Beast: What if Belle’s mother cursed the prince?)
Litrojia
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Elements of Harmony - Had an OC in the 2022 Community Collab
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Preenhub - We all know what you were up to this evening~
Philomena - For helping others attend the 2021 community collab

Got through three books lately.
First is the aforementioned Dracula by Bram Stoker. Some nice lil bits of adventure in there and of course a cool villain. Nothing mindblowing though. 6/10.
Second was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (translated to English). Had some neat moments but I don’t know if it’s what I expected. After all, it’s literally set over a hundred years, so a lot of it is dry and high-level family history. 4/10.
Most recently was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I felt obligated to read this after I read Dracula. Pretty short and sweet. The dynamic between Frankenstein and the monster was intriguing. 7/10.
Currently I’m reading Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, a modern sci-fi book that halfway through I quite like. Bit of a breath of fresh air after all the highbrow gothic stuff. Also pretty short. It loosely ties into and I think spoils another book by the same author though, so maybe take a look at that first if you’re interested.
I already have another book checked out from the library because I couldn’t decide between it and Sea. For personal reasons, not sure if I’ll hold onto it. Trying to keep the books kinda short for now because I’m using the library and also because I’m going through some shit in my personal life right now.
AaronMk
Tree of Harmony - Drew someone's OC for the 2022 Community Collab
Elements of Harmony - Had an OC in the 2022 Community Collab
Non-Fungible Trixie -
Verified Pegasus - Show us your gorgeous wings!
Preenhub - We all know what you were up to this evening~
Philomena - For helping others attend the 2021 community collab
Twinkling Balloon - Took part in the 2021 community collab.
My Little Pony - 1992 Edition
The Magic of Friendship Grows - For helping others attend the 2020 Community Collab
Friendship, Art, and Magic (2020) - Took part in the 2020 Community Collab

Don'think ighly o'Sicily
Ended up listening to Blitzed on audiobook format on YouTube to investigate a wild claim I heard about Hitler in an interview that was insane enough I needed to investigate. That being his personal doctor Morell injected him with human fecal matter from Bulgarian peasants for ??? reasons and I had to know more about this insane shit and confirm it. It didn’t come up or it simply came up when my attention lapsed which given that it was so well written and narrated that it was one of those books that absolutely had me glued while I did other things it really difficult to believe. However I did get a better sense of scale of German methamphetamine abuse during the war and instead took away Hitler was being injected with liquified liver for some reason and pig’s blood.
Second was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (translated to English). Had some neat moments but I don’t know if it’s what I expected. After all, it’s literally set over a hundred years, so a lot of it is dry and high-level family history. 4/10.
I actually found Hundred Years of Solitude a really great book and the terseness of it appropriate for the incredible time scale it takes place in, so it managed to do everything it can in that time for the length of the book. Lord knows there would be or are people who would set out to do a 100 year chronicle but insist on being personal to the characters knowing full well very few of them would survive the end and so produce a 1,000 or 2,000 page tome that just pisses everyone off.
Maybe there’s a factor too of being at least somewhat familiar with Colombian or [Northern] Latin American history since a lot of elements in the narrative run parallel with politics of the time that part of the book is set. So reading it without any familiarity can make things like the corpse train sequence sort of detached
PUBLIQclopAccountant
Non-Fungible Trixie -
Magical Inkwell - Wrote MLP fanfiction consisting of at least around 1.5k words, and has a verified link to the platform of their choice

collage🏴pirate
Finally got around to finishing up Index, A History of the. Funnily enough, its final chapter is an extended discussion of a metaphor from Calvino’s If on a winter’s night…
It’s one of the very few history books that doesn’t shit the bed in its last chapter. The need to derive modern relevancy makes most history books ruin themselves in their final chapter. Either they have a non-sequitur about the modern age, it’s five years outdated upon publication, or it makes you wonder what the author was smoking to jump to such absurd final conclusions. Often, the books would be better served if they acted like my US history class and pretended that history stopped after Bill Clinton was inaugurated and that everything more recent is current news that you should ask your parents about. Not so for this one. It was engaging right to the very end. In fact, it didn’t even suffer from a slow opening.
That all said, that final chapter inspired some programming for me. In the next week or two, I’ll work on making an essay of my analysis—not sure whether the original should be posted to my Fimfiction blog or Reddit—the form of Reddit is nice because it provides a way for me to include my extensive supplemental data in a format that’s easily collapsed. It’s a discussion on the hypothesis that
In a novel of fifty to one hundred thousand words, you can get a clear picture of the genre, tone, and themes by listing all the words that appear approximately 20 times in the text.
[The actual plot and wordplay, of course, will require actual reading]
So far, I have the following in my to-analyze pile. Suggestions to expand this list are welcome.
  • Fallout: Equestria
  • Project Horizons
  • Some shitty clop I wrote in 2013
  • Songs of the Spheres
  • Background Pony
  • Gadsby
  • The Great Gatsby
  • War & Peace
  • Crime & Punishment
  • Triptych (Estee)
  • Moby Dick
  • Paradise Lost
  • North & South
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • The 3 Musketeers
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Tom Sawyer
  • Silver Glow’s Journal
PUBLIQclopAccountant
Non-Fungible Trixie -
Magical Inkwell - Wrote MLP fanfiction consisting of at least around 1.5k words, and has a verified link to the platform of their choice

collage🏴pirate
Here’s a preview of what I’ve been working on. It’s one of the analysis summary tables. Yes, the words are in the order in which they are first encountered and not alphabetical if that gives you any hints. Take a guess which story this is.

[Title Removed] You guess the story

Attribute Value Related Description
Total Words [redacted] 75000 assumed length
Paragraphs 11570 11644 Lines
Avg ¶ Length 37
Unique Words 16174 410 Frequency Buckets
growth factor 5.55 1.23 stretch factor
2.53 Double Scale
Search Range 34±3 20±3 default
reading time 2.70 0.11 analysis time
Total Time 2.80

n=37 (30 words)

awkward, lingered, opposite, sleeves, showed, strumming, apartment, lucky, weeks, rested, project, rising, rolling, flower, below, jumped, ghost, girl, frightened, ice, birth, job, sweat, formed, hot, cracked, desolation, art, desire, parasprite

n=36 (28 words)

happens, gasp, enjoy, glad, small, bag, danced, hasnt, died, grinning, instruments, immortal, tall, hollow, willing, creature, prepared, shouting, madness, fresh, scared, strong, seemed, numb, hah, grow, bench, stones

n=35 (25 words)

earlier, gorgeous, hide, seems, respect, hello, trust, early, planted, colorful, laughter, entirely, edges, brown, happening, curled, ear, steps, bound, apples, proper, collapse, moved, watching, ball

n=34 (33 words)

smiles, daughter, someday, replied, heheh, advent, lavender, downtown, rose, palace, meeting, surely, brief, squatted, sunset, hit, warming, colors, hugging, neither, mmmm, stretched, mac, landed, breaking, tranquil, whether, flash, household, gala, breeze, bon, harpo

n=33 (33 words)

obviously, choice, indeed, equines, wh, foalhood, paper, gets, creatures, clear, forming, blossomforth, shhh, collapsing, equine, endless, spat, marching, melted, pathetic, autumn, eyebrow, chaotic, north, leaving, clouds, everfree, likes, t, twi, cover, divine, growled

n=32 (29 words)

wrote, positively, dinky, child, giggling, month, allowed, bridge, hug, setting, b, listened, frame, yanked, composition, rear, breathed, brushed, spot, y, colored, sheer, utter, shivered, c, follow, spheres, squeaked, landscape

n=31 (33 words)

disappeared, pretend, slumped, cheek, stepped, forehead, hidden, repeated, mana, whinniepeg, eh, dragged, carry, fluttered, wondering, sounded, concerned, gasping, aware, fought, giggles, n, muzzle, heheheh, levitating, courage, sheets, forsaken, fabric, limply, lady, galloping, throne
PUBLIQclopAccountant
Non-Fungible Trixie -
Magical Inkwell - Wrote MLP fanfiction consisting of at least around 1.5k words, and has a verified link to the platform of their choice

collage🏴pirate
@PUBLIQclopAccountant
After messing with my parameters, perhaps changing things so that a story of the length of FoE has a sweet spot of 45±5 is a more accurate portrayal than my initial guess, which gave 37±6. If you’re familiar with the story, which of the following gives a more accurate depiction?
If there is another horse story you’d like analyzed, please suggest it to me. I’m still trying to dial in the parameters.
@Background Pony #6A56
Poetry is one of my ignorant spots. Part of the blame is with a series of English teachers who taught poetry as something superior to “normal” literature but as middle/high schoolers, we lacked the life experience to consider it anything other than silly rhymes or pretentious puffery. If you consider his work to fall on the poetry side of the prose/poetry divide, Christian Bök is my favorite living poet.
Cosmas-the-Explorer
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Explorer in Training
Anyone getting into fanfiction would probably do well to read short stories. Well at least if they are one shots.
Are there any good fun short stories out there both contemporary and old?
Cosmas-the-Explorer
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Explorer in Training
@Cosmas-the-Explorer
For me I got an old book of short stories from my library. And a rather spooky story was by America’s first great author, Washington Irving himself. My parents used to read it to me as a child.
But not on the Headless Horseman this time. I have yet to read that.
It was Tom Walker and the Devil.
A fun but chilling story about a greedy SOB Tom and him selling his soul to the devil to become rich. I love the references to history like William Kidd and some details like Native burial grounds. But of course Tom didn’t want to be too bad to be a slave trader he just wanted to be a loan shark. So he’s totally fine right? He was not
I remember though as a kid reading him, and he always had fun stories to tell.
Although looking at the short stories, the early 1800s and later 1800s stories and comparing them, early 1800s writers loved the narrator and the characters seemed to not talk as much. Also the paragraphs were really long.
I’m sure in the modern day of brevity people prefer characters to speak and the narrator to not talk too much. And perhaps to show not tell more. But I still love these tales.
Cosmas-the-Explorer
Non-Fungible Trixie -
Notoriously Divine Tagger - Consistently uploads images above and beyond the minimum tag requirements. And/or additionally, bringing over the original description from the source if the image has one. Does NOT apply to the uploader adding several to a dozen tags after originally uploading with minimum to bare tagging.

Explorer in Training
When buying e books on your phone or tablet, which do you prefer? Kindle or Google Books?
I personally prefer Google Books. Maybe it’s because I never liked Kindle’s color scheme or I see Google Books as more comfortable to use
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