What non-Go book are you reading right now?

I am reading the Complete Chronicles of Conan, by Crom !

It is interesting to see how the book Conan is actually a very intelligent character, instead of the simpleton the movies would have him be … :slight_smile:

Same thing with Tarzan of the Apes. I approached the book expecting "me Tarzan, you Jane" but the character was actually highly intelligent and a natural gentleman.

cartoon is okay? :grin:
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I’m finishing up Abaddon’s Gate, book 3 of The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey


Damon Knight: Writing Short Fiction

Note: I’m not a writer, and I have no intention of writing “short fiction” in the near future (though I have a few ideas). But I’m a great fan of Knight’s SF writing, and this book seemed like it would teach me some about writing in general. I’m definitely learning something, but I don’t know yet what it is exactly :slight_smile: I do intend to write something as soon as I have liberated myself from the drudgery of my current job, but that will be non-fiction.

Next up on my reading stack: Lynn Margulis: The Symbiotic Planet

Lynn Margulis co-developed the Gaia Hypothesis together with James Lovelock, :

Before that I read Richard Bradshaw: Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet

Oh, and yes, an avid SF reader here also, since I began to read at age of five … several hundreds of books AT LEAST, many of the authors of the “Golden Era” you mention, and also quite a few “modern” ones.


Oh my, I can go on forever about books, As it happens, I am not reading any fiction at the moment. Currently reading Pascal’s Pensees, which is thought provoking even when I disagree with it, and the definitive biography of Winfield Scott Hancock (one of the best generals in the American Civil War and failed presidential candidate). Most recent fiction read was Shusaku Endo’s Silence (a Japanese classic) and Andy Weir’s Artemis (has plot holes, and I disliked the protagonist).

Like you, Xeldrak, I have been a big SF fan my whole life (except for 23 years when I gave it up, thereby missing the whole cyberpunk movement). I am particularly well-read in pre-Golden Age and Golden Age SF. I have been catching up with modern stuff via a book club (which led me to discover online go). Favorite SF novel, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. Other particular favorites: Bring the Jubilee, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Roadside Picnic, and Day of the Triffids Our book club read Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice a couple years ago, and I mostly liked it. The “modern” authors I like best are almost all dead, so I guess they are not that modern: D.G. Compton (the exemplar of SF as literature), the Strugatsky brothers, Stanislaw Lem, Jack Vance (the finest pure storyteller), Barrington J. Bayley, and Michael G. Coney.

I’m a huge Howard fan. I recommend the Solomon Kane stories (collected in a large Del Rey edition), which have a wonderful brooding quality. Also, his straight historical adventures are very good if you like that sort of story. But his pure horror stories may be best, especially the ill-named “Pigeons from Hell.”

My best friend has strongly touted that; I’ll have to look into it.

I do like his famous volume of reviews, In Search of Wonder, but haven’t read much of his fiction. However, I have great admiration for Kate Wilhelm’s work, especially the award-winning Where Late the Sweet Bird Sings.

Sigh, yes, I could go on and on and…


Very interesting readings in this thread, I like it :slight_smile:

I’m currently reading When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro, a detective novel and is quite interesting. On the sci-fi department I can recommend Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, which is the first book on a series but I’m still pending to read the rest.


Ah, I have fond memories of the first couple of song of ice and fire books. Is this your first read through? What do you think about it so far?

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Yes, I am reading this book for the first time. I really like. I did not watch the series and so far I do not even plan to do this.

Wow, pascal, as in pascal’s wager? That sound like hard to read stuff :wink: But, to be honest, I find almost all philosophy or sociology texts hard to read. Even the modern stuff. But you have my deepest respect for reading the source material yourself.

I really respect that. Being able to suspend our criticism until we have truly grasped the ideas we are presented with, so we can learn from them even if we end up disagreeing, is a useful skill to cultivate. As Leibniz said, "I approve almost everything that I read [...]. My temperament is naturally such that in the writings of others I prefer to seek out one's own benefit, rather than the other's defects."

Of course, life is short, we cannot read everything, nor would we want to, so we have to choose carefully what is worth our prolonged attention, and in The Revolt of the Masses, José Ortega y Gasset had this to say about ideas worth considering:

The man with the clear head is the man who frees himself from those fantastic “ideas” and looks life in the face, realizes that everything in it is problematic, and feels himself lost. As this is the simple truth—that to live is to feel oneself lost—he who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked, he will look around for something to which to cling, and that tragic, ruthless glance, absolutely sincere, because it is a question of his salvation, will cause him to bring order into the chaos of his life. These are the only genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce. He who does not really feel himself lost, is lost without remission; that is to say, he never finds himself, never comes up against his own reality.

Regardless of our personal affinities, works such as Boethius’ Consolation, written while the author, incarcerated, basically waited for his execution, and Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, recounting the author’s experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz, carry the full weight of being. And what are the Pensées if not Pascal’s last words?


Wow, what a powerful post! And you and I are remarkably sympatico in our readings. I have never met anyone else who had even heard of Ortega y Gasset, whose Revolt of the Masses had a tremendous impact on me when I was 20. That Leibnitz quote is especially interesting to me because it echos an idea behind a literary coincidence I discovered shortly after college. In Dickens’s Hard Times we read (I’m paraphrasing), “Make the best of men, not the worst” (which really sums up the theme), and in Confucius’ Analects, I found, “The proper man brings men’s excellence to focus, he does not focus their evil qualities; the mean man does the reverse” (12:16 in Pound translation). Now here is Leibnitz saying much the same in that splendid quote. And then you mention Boethius Consolation, my favorite book from my college philosophy class, and one that I’ve been meaning to reread. And in the spirit of your ending I would add Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison.

The mortal instruments!!! Example of sci-fi books - Ender’s game


@Conrad_Melville, I have known the Go community as a whole, and this forum in particular, for a short time, but if I had to choose a word to describe it, “simpatia” would be a happy choice—and your post is right there to prove it.

My money is for books. I rarely expend it on anything else, and when I do, it has to do with learning somehow—as in buying a kerosene lamp so I can read at night without electricity. I’ve lived by Erasmus’ words: “When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” I have… made some interesting financial/nutritional choices in order to expand my library.

So you can imagine how overjoyed I am when not only I find a fellow bibliophile, but he also mentions a book that I don’t remember having ever heard about. Thank you very much for pointing me to Bonhoeffer’s Letters. And you mention both Dickens and Confucius! That basically makes us brothers in my book.

I don’t think that I could recommend good fiction that you haven’t read yet in return, but how about Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude? As for the Analects, have you read the Dhammapada?

If I could go back in time, I would give my twelve-year-old self a copy of Ender’s Game and that would have been a sad day for the tobacco industry. Ender’s Shadow is pretty good too.


One Hundred Years of Solitude must be one of the best (and possibly the best) fiction books I’ve ever read.


An useful post where I can find some interesting books. I have read Sherlck HolmesVerne sci-fi storyPride and Prejudice and many Mark Twain’s short stories etc. However my favorite English friction which I can read at night without electricity is Jane Eyre. Don’t laugh, some people think It’s a feminism book,but what I like isn’t the part of women and romantic, are the feeling of reality and inspirations about love.At last Jane Eyre is an interesting book with Chinese feeling and writing style which usually lost in language gap.

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Read it long time ago, and every year since, know almost every page by heart, talking about Boethius and his Wheel of Fortune!
Based of a quote of Jonathan Swift:

Whenever a true genius appears in the world
You may know him by this sign
That the dunces are all in a confederacy against him…


Archeofuturism 2.0

by Guillaume Faye

Only started but so far the book is amazing. It does however paint a rather grim picture of the future.

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A few places in Pensees are difficult, but mostly not, because it is very epigrammatic in style. It is really a collection of his notes for a book that never got written. It was very popular among some high school friends 50 years ago, and it took me this long to get to it. A modern philosopher who is a delight to read, with a clear pungent style, is Eric Hoffer, whose landmark book, The True Believer, is crucial to understanding mass movements and modern terrorism.

@Hikaruakari: I love Ender’s Game. It is now a standard in the high school curriculum because of its powerful treatment of bullying and bildungsroman content.

Yes, my elective spending is almost all on books, and browsing hole-in-the-wall bookstores is a part of all my travels. However, it is coming to an end. I have about 8,000 books and have to dispose of my dying father’s library of about 8,000 (reduced from 12,000 by those he donated to a Latvian English language library founded by a friend of his). So I am cutting down, though there are still things I wold like to find, such as John Wyndham’s last, unfinished novel, Web, or Gogol’s letters. I have not read Marquez’s famous book because I understand it is Marxist oriented, but based on your recommendation, backed by Musash1, I will give it a try. I think I have Dhammapada from my father’s library, but haven’t read it.

This is an interesting perspective. Can you define some characteristics of Chinese writing. I have read a number of Japanese novels, but The Three-Body Problem is the only Chinese novel I’ve read.

@Misjamig: I’ve long thought about reading A Confederacy of Dunces, which created a great sensation when it was published, due to the heartbreaking story behind it. Prophetic, one might say.

@Pohjois-karjala: I don’t know the Faye book, but I’ll look into it. It may be something that would interest our SF book club.

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Describe chinese writing style in English is a hard topic.I will try it by an example.
There is a phrase '风花雪月’pronounced ‘feng hua xie yue’ in chinese. The meaning is like ‘romantic’ but its direct meaning is ‘wind flower snow moon’.this situation is a little like “ran cats and dogs” means “rain hard”.For some historic and culture reason some nouns(not only noun maybe all parts of speech)are combined together have specific meaning and this situation is especially common in Chinese. So when you want to understand chinese literature, you may need to have the same feeling with Chinese for some combined nouns. The another difference between chinese and English is there is only one syllable ending with an vowel in a chinese word. Maybe this is also why chinese speaker listen more noisy :grin:
In fact a good chinese literature would choose the easy word with close or opponent vowel in a sentence to make itself read like a rap song but its content is much better than rap because the most rubbish have been throwed away by history.
Jane Eyre is with Chinese style because its words are easy and it usually combine describing thinking with describing scenery, those combinations are common in chinese poems and literature.
Finally a Chinese song named"风花雪月"(‘wind flower snow moon’))whose content is explaining the meaning of “风花雪月”. Its theme is " 风花雪月” means romantic between me and the world".It contains a lot other chinese combinations maybe hard to understand for foreigners. However you can find the difference between chinese pronunciation and English.