Books that you are currently (or were) reading?



I’m a massive Murakami fan , have been since my teens when first had my mind blown by “The wind up bird chronicle”. But I admit I havent delved into his more recent books yet.

Have you tried “1Q84” yet ?

Personally I’ve heard some mixed reviews on it , some seem to love it but theres more than a few longtime fans who really hate it , which has sort of put me off reading it.


I am going to eventually check out that book you mention about the silk roads as I just finished reading Marco Polo and am also interested in the role that it had on the spread of the Black Death.

Never heard of Robert Jordan before , but I’m going to have to admit I like the name as its also the name of the partisan protagonist of Hemmingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” one of my favourite books.


I should admit I’m not at all a fan of Lucy Cooke’s on screen presenting / personna style from what I’ve seen in her documentaries.

I guess that just reflects a personal preference as I much prefer the old school Nature documentary narration of naturalists like David Attenborough , Jaques Cousteau , Desmond Morris and Feliz Rodriguez De La Fuente.

Having said that I do have a lot of respect for Cooke’s work in conservation and scientific outreach which is an absolutely critical component for success in conservation IMO.


i actually enjoyed iq84 although wind up bird chronicle remains my all time favorite. i have heard mixed reviews of this latest so i’m going into it knowing i might not be as dazzled as with his other works. embarking on a murakami novel is both a project and an undertaking because of the sheer length and winding roads of the storylines, but i find that if you stick with him, you’re usually rewarded with great storytelling and unparalleled creativity if you allow yourself to be carried along by the plot.


Totally agree with the “stick with it” message , I think some of the best fiction authors can be the most challenging to get into at first but once you get into the flow are intoxicating.

I think most magical realist authors can be a bit disorientating at first for readers used to more conventional plots. But they are worth persisting with because a master author of the genre can shake up a readers perception of reality like an earthquake (bit of an intentional Murakamian metaphor there) and totally reassemble it / transform their aesthetical taste. I think its a bit like experimentation with an entheogen , at first it can be terrifying and totally bewildering experience but that feeling of delirium and hallucinatory state of mind can be liberating , addictive and damn right pleasurable. We all need to have our perceptions of the world and ourselves rattled around and shaken up sometimes , I guess.

Writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez , Haruki Murakami , Jorge Luis Borges , Juan Rulfo , Julio Cortazar and Clarice Lispector ( I’m not sure if she can be accurately defined as magical realist but she has a literary witchcraft ability for sure) have an almost occult / witchcraft like ability to do this in my experience. I know that particularly with Murakami , whenever I have read one of his earlier books I get this weird sort of feeling , pleasant but unsettling , as if I have been hypnotized or am touching base after a psilocybin trip , there was a time when I was addicted to reading him.


Ha! Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite authors, and I apologize to his spirit for restricting his name. I also had the pleasure of writing this piece about his unwritten final novel a few years back.


I will definitely check out your article on him as he is an author which really fascinates me , but If I’m honest he also really disturbs me too.

I havent read that many of his books just “Man in the high castle” , “Do Androids dream of electric sheep” which I loved and then later “Through a scanner darkly”.

I thought “Through a scanner darkly” fascinating , especially the ending, but the whole paranoia thing really started to make me feel nauseaus / depressed and even more mistrustful of society. I actually had to stop reading it for a while , it was just so damn bleak.

I guess that ultimately is the mark of a great writer though to create an atmosphere and setting that is able to effect a reader like that. But I also think that in this particular book PKD’s schizophrenia was really shining through.

A while back , I watched this documentary about him , I have a feeling you might like it


Oh I’ll give that a look! And yeah, his books can be pretty bleak, although I think there’s definitely a thread of defiant hope in the face of a hostile universe that tend to shine through his best work. If you’re looking to check out some of his best unsung greats, I’d recommend Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said and Clans of the Alphane Moon!


My favourite is “Do androids dream of electric sheep” , I’m also a big “Bladerunner” fan both films.

There is this passage from that book , that struck me as one of the most romantic quotes I’d ever read, but also admittedly one of the most bizarre.

I guess its the sudden expression emotion sentiment given that a lot of Phillip K ***** novels are written in this style that is so detached and clinical. It’s when Rachael is talking to Deckard :

“I love you,’ Rachael said. 'If I entered a room and found a sofa covered with your skin I’d score very high on the Voigt-Kampff test.”

Saw Blade-runner before reading the book so when I finally read it I was kind of a bit disapointed that the film adaption didnt capture the depth of Deckard and Rachael’s relationship , not to mention , no damn Nubian goat ! , haha

Definitely going to check out " Flow my tears, the policeman said" at some point , its going on my reading list for sure.


I love Dystopian lit too, with that said I could never get past the first few chapters of 1984, but I love A Brave New World. I may be a victim of seeing the movie Brazil before reading 1984 and can’t separate the imagery…if that makes any sense lol


Haha , dont worry , makes perfect sense Jonathan and thank you for the reply

Its funny you mention that because most people either prefer “brave new world” or “1984” . Personally I prefer the latter but I think aspects of both Huxley and Orwells dystopias have come to pass and are deeply relevant more than ever in todays world.

I love Gilliam’s “Brazil” too , totally awesome movie IMO.


I think a concern specific to the Holmes structure might be that at the time when the relevant decisions were made, no one could say for sure that there were not other traps that were yet to be discovered, and could have harmed someone working on any theoretical restoration. Demolishing such a structure could be compared to disarming landmines.


Good point Lukert33,

I hadn’t considered that but it does makes sense. I think I remember reading / hearing in a podcast that he wired parts of the place up with traps.


I’m just about to finish the Three Body Problem trilogy by Liu Cixin. It’s been a pleasure to read Chinese science fiction of very recent vintage. Many of the scenes and plotlines are dervied from Chinese history (especially the Cultural Revolution) and it is very clearly authored from a Chinese-humanist worldview.

As someone who can only read English, I’ve been exposed to a very narrow set of non-Anglophone sci-fi. This is about as different in style from most of the big epics I’ve read as it can be, even though in terms of form it is very familiar (hard sci-fi about first contact with aliens).


If you enjoyed them, you should check out these:


As a simple gal whose go-to party conversations are the Dyaltov Pass Incident and whatever dog is in the room, I can’t believe it took me so long to find this book!

The perfect snowy read!?!?


So , is it based on an actual historical event or historical fiction or fiction ?

Sorry about my ignorance on this , but I’ve never heard of the Dyaltov incident or if I did I cant recall it.


Based on an actual historical event! One of the greatest unsolved mysteries IMHO.


Ive read about this before, not this book but its a well-documented case. The fact they had signs of high exposures to radiation is extremely creepy.


Hmmmmmm , very interesting , I guess you’ve sold it to me , its made my reading list

In terms of themes and setting it reminds me of this bbc podcast that was on a couple of months ago. I forgot to add it to the podcast thread on AO , but it had me hooked from start to finish , had it on in the background while I was writing my dissertation , I reckon you might find it interesting too.