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lainchan archive - /lit/ - 24

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I really enjoyed reading the old /lit/ thread, both to find suggestions for books to read, as well getting some indication as to what Lainons are reading & where their interests lay.

ITT: Share what you're currently reading, what you've read, and/or what you'd like to read (especially when another Lain has it in the former two categories.)

Also ITT: General discussion of books, especially those that are mentioned in this thread. Feel free to request recommendations or solicit opinions, or bring up a relevant topic of discussion.


>curretnly reading
H.P. Lovecraft The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales
The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles -Really liking this book so far. I'm currently almost done with the first project. I am a first year (technically sophomore due to AP classes and a short summer semester) EE student and I've always wanted to know how to build a basic computer from scratch. It's a godsend.

>what you'd like to read

I'll probably read Brave New World after finishing Lovecraft. I've read 1984 already and loved it.


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I'll start. (Addendum, >>25 beat me to the punch.) I've just returned from vacation, and have been reading a lot:

Currently Reading:
+ Stories of Your Life, And Others - Ted Chiang
(Extremely good collection of sci-fi by an author I wish I'd heard about years ago; the titular story is the basis for the film "Arrival". Many themes in his stories, while not necessarily cyberpunk, would appeal to Lainons.)

+ Universal Harvester - John Darnielle. (I adore the Mountain Goats, and when one of my hosts informed me he had written another book, I immediately went & purchased it. Very good so far; think I enjoyed his Wolf In White Van more.)

+ Virtually Human: The Promise and the Peril of Digital Immortality
(Seems very interesting to so, was very excited to read this but got totally sucked in to the above two books.)


Recently read:
+ Neuromancer - William Gibson
(This has been sitting on my shelf for years. Wish I'd read it a decade ago.)
+ They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy - Robert Sheer
(Both a wonderful exploration of the fundamental right to privacy, and the reality of the corporate and governmental ventures that undermine that right. I found out things from this book that really unsettled me.)
+ Data & Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World - Bruce Schneier
(Similar vein as above, but far more in depth, on both the technical and the philosophical front)
+ The Wind Up Bird Chronicles - Haruki Murakami
(I tried to read this years ago and put it down halfway. Glad I stuck it out this time. What a weird ride.)

Want to Read:
I picked up Snowcrash on the vacation. I don't really think I'll enjoy it, but figured I'd give such a lauded classic a shot.
I have a small stack of Rushkoff here, namely, PresentShock and Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus. I also have a PDF of Cyberia - which gave the SEL club it's name - that I hope to get to soon.
Various books on the CIA, recent war histories, Naomi Klein's latest... a glut, will tackle that when I get there.


>currently reading
The witcher series, i'm currently in the second book of short stories (the sword of destiny) and it's really good.

Geralt is an excellent character and the stories are completely out of what i initially expected. I was expecting epic tales, what creatures he killed, etc.. But it's not about that at all, each story talks about an aspect of his personality and the people around him, not only that but each story has a different feel to it, there are love stories, detective stories, dragon-slaying stories and even secret society stories. There's a short society about a city that hates non-humans and sorcerers, and in this city there's a secret society of mimics! Mimics who shapeshift into church officials to chase other mimics and save them! And there's this awesome dialogue of a mimic confronting geralt about his right to be happy and get drunk and fuarrrk and have a wife without fearing for his life. I do no justice to it with my poor english and horrible descriptive skills, though.

I'm positively surprised on these first two books, and i really hope that the witcher-saga books (the ones that tell a linear story) don't lose this simplicity of common people dealing with common problems and feelings. I'd recommend these first 2 books for anyone.

>what you'd like to read

After finishing the 7 witcher books, i'll probably start reading Dune.


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Anyone here into Balzac? I read Father Goriot a while back and it is one of my favourites. Basically a look at corruption within fashionable society in post-Napoleon Paris and a man's obsession with achieving social status. (Highly simplified description, this book has it all) But Balzac's writing is more playful and ironic than morose as he describes the decadence and inanity of high society.
This theme is kind of common in French writing around that time (Stendhal, Flaubert..) but Balzac's got a distinguishing cheekiness that makes him fun to read while also being great literature.
What really stands out is his characters. If you like stories with lots of characters with deep personalities who develop in very interesting ways.. you should give it a try.

Right now I am reading his Cousin Bette which looks like it is going to be another winner.


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mods, can i request that this be moved to /lit/?

uploading the first story out of the Stories of Your Life and Others. This transcription looks pretty janky, there's a typo in the opening sentence, for example.
Ignore the text at the top, the story begins with:
>Were the tower to be laid down across the plain of Shina


Metro 2033,

Metro 2034/2035

Audio books tho, since I like to listen while coding


where do you source your audiobooks? i'm afraid to say I pay for an audible subscription. but my last job, plus bay area traffic, had me driving sometimes 3 hours a day. compound that with using audiobooks to work through books while doing many other things, and it's actually been pretty great. i could stand to not pay monthly for a good audiobook source, not to mention that they're totally proprietary (and to work around that on linux requires downloading chrome)



Haven't paid for an Audiobook in yonks.


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One could argue that this is one of the most important books of our time.


Nick Bostrom... Isn't he the philosopher who figured out that our reality might be simulation fir the first time?


Continuin on my IPFS education with:


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>recently finished
Light Fantastic by T.Pratchett. Nice easy read with the occasional reference to Necronomicon and computer service. Man and his symbols by C.G. Jung and some others. Will most likely advance in Jungs writings as it is interesting stuff, those dreams. His collective unconcious for example is a main point in Lain.

>currently reading

The Holy Bible (KJV) and Seven Pillars of Wisdom by Lawrencu-san. And from the bible I read St.Matthews, fitting nicely with easter.

>want to read

Some easy novels, theology and some tech related books, feeling that I need to understand more about technology in todays society. Like >>25 maybe, but if anyone knows any good general computer system related books I'm open for suggestions.

I have read the first witcher book and liked it, comfy with small bits of Geralts adventure and Dandelion. Is the second similair, in a good way?


There have been philosophers saying that all throughout history. Anyone who spends a moderate amount of time thinking about the nature of reality has played with that idea at some point.


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Recently read
>"The Gene: An Intimate History" by Siddhartha Mukherjee,
>"How not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking", and most recently >"On Tyranny, Twenty-One Lessons from the Twentieth Century" by Timothy Snyder
>The Second Machine Age

Overall, I really enjoyed all four of those books, but my personal favorite of the three was "The Gene." I'm not really to into biology, but the way Muhkerjee places the entirety of the history of modern biology, and explains relevant concepts along the way is absolutely fascinating.
Kind of fanlaining here, but my favorite aspect of the book in the introduction, how there are three main universal units of information: The Atom, The Bit, and the Gene. If you have the means to do so, definitely read "The Gene". It's absolutely amazing

Books I want to read:
>Brave New World
>Patient HM


Don Quixote. Not /cyb/ in the slightest, but it is a good laugh. Only problem is that the writing can be a little awkward to follow at times; all the characters speak in very extensive prose (I'm pretty sure one sentence took up a whole page at one point). I suppose that's just how books were written in the 1600s, or it's deliberately overdone as a parody of how they were written.


I got about halfway through before my corrupted e-book file ended. I loved the bit where they're selectively burning Quixote's book collection, I think the author managed to slip in a few sly jibes at his peers and predecessors...


I'm currently reading Memoirs of the Court of Marie Antoinette, by Jean-Louise Campan. It's interesting but very dry. I've been kind of fascinated by Antoinette since reading the Rose of Versailles last summer.

>or it's deliberately overdone as a parody of how they were written
I haven't read it yet (someday, maybe), but this seems likely. I know it's a parody of medieval romance. I really want to get to Le Mort d'Arthur one of these days.


I don't read as much as I wish, but I'm currently reading Doom 4: Endgame. I consider thr Doom series by Dafydd ap Hugh a pretty good story but it doesn't do much in the thinking department. It is pretty much a thriller story meant to keep you in the action.


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- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories (collection of the short stories of Washington Irving)
- The Complete Stories (collection of the stories of Franz Kafka)
- The Book of Tea - Kakuzo Okakura
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - William Shirer
- The Secret Life of Birds - Colin Tudge
- The Dhammapada (translated by Eknath Easwaran)

I've not been reading as much as I'd like to lately, so I've had a few books on the go for some months now. I think I'll finish The Book of Tea tonight.

Even Decartes wondered about that. "I think therefore I am" comes from wondering what one could be certain of, even if a demon were controlling all of your perceptions. The old-world demon is the new-world simulated reality.

If you like poetry (and theology), check out Paradise Lost. Words can't really do it justice, it's just so good. You end up rooting for Satan for a significant chunk of it, as he is treated so unfairly by God.


Is that related to Doom the computer game? I know there's a series of novels, but I've never read them.

I love Kafka. The Trial, especially.


>I have read the first witcher book and liked it, comfy with small bits of Geralts adventure and Dandelion. Is the second similair, in a good way?
Yes, it's less cheerful but follows the same structure of the first book. I liked the second one more than the first though, the stories are heavier, often miserable. I just finished reading it today and i really loved it.


The Trial is possibly my favourite. The Castle, I think I would have enjoyed more if I'd read it before The Trial, as they're both kind of similar in theme.


It's the original series, there's also a series that went with Doom 3, and an unintentionally hilarious comic.

What I really want is to track down the two Shadow Warrior novels...


how are you liking the dhammapada? also super curious on your take on the book of tea. what works have your explored along a similar vein (for each or either book)?

forgot to mention that i also replaced my long lost copy of Man In The High Castle, since it mysteriously disappeared before I ever got to finish it. the concept of aleatoric composition involving the i ching, written by dick, pushes all the right buttons.

also, really want curious as to whether anyone else has read ted chiang. his writing is beautiful, his concepts are super thought provoking, could definitely be considered somewhat cyberpunk. (he also has a background in computer science.)

I haven't read this story yet (I've just started the titular story that was adapted in Arrival), but maybe someone here will get a kick out of it.
> Ted Chiang - The Lifecycle of Software Objects


It's been many years since I read them, but I remember both The Castle and Amerika being kind of dull compared to The Trial. Although, as an American, Amerika is amusing for how little it actually resembles my country.
His shorter stories are similarly hit and miss. My favorites are probably Metamorphosis, A Hunger Artist, and The Judgement.


I'm not that guy, but I've dabbled in Buddhism off and on since high school, and the Dhammapada is a book I keep coming back to. It's just a long list of rules and advice, so it isn't particularly fun to read, but it's short and wise.


>Currently Reading
A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle. It's nothing special as far as musings on life and death go but the fact that he published it when he was 19 is remarkable. Going on to The Last Unicorn next. Also I'm always working my way through the complete works of Gene Wolfe, probably the greatest living science-fiction author. I tried Chiang but he didn't do anything for me. His work felt dry and clinical and somehow reminded me of Margaret Atwood, who I don't care for.


huh, different tastes, it seems. i love what i've read of atwood (namely, the MaddAdam series.)
I find it curious that you've found Chiang's work as you described. For curiosity's sake, who are some other authors, especially in the sci-fi realm, you enjoy or rank highly? I haven't checked out Gene Wolfe, I'll look into him (Book of the Long Sun sounds interesting.)


I am currently reading "The Fall" by Albert Camus. It was recommended by a lainon on the previous /lit/ thread. So far I think it's pretty interesting. Going to be reading "Count Zero" next.


I'm reading Seven Surrenders, the sequel to Too Like The Lightning. It's a little disapointing. Too Like The Lightning was kinda like the most exciting worldbuilding I've read in a long time. Every page something novel and interesting was happening. The sequel finishes the main story, from what I understand. What we are learning now and how plots are resolving is a little less exciting than I had hoped. Still feel positive about it, but not as positive as Too Like The Lightning.


Is the Lain Volafile room linked anywhere from the main page?


V next to the twitter icon in the top bar.


I think I'll start it again. I've read the first two parts, 'Twin Verses' and 'Vigilance', but it's been so long I can't really remember them.

I did very much enjoy the introduction in this translation, a hundred-page overview of the Buddha's life and teachings. Each part also comes with an introduction. This is a very nice edition.

>The Book of Tea

It's short, but very dense. I like how it seems to be transitioning from more practical matters (the history of tea, the stages of boiling water, etc) to more spiritual things (the meaning of the decoration of a tea house, the appreciation of art, etc).

There's this great little story:
> Rikiu was watching his son Shoan as he swept and watered the garden path. “Not clean enough,” said Rikiu, when Shoan had finished his task and bade him try again. After a weary hour the son turned to Rikiu: “Father, there is nothing more to be done. The steps have been washed for the third time, the stone lanterns and the trees are well sprinkled with water, moss and lichens are shining with a fresh verdure; not a twig, not a leaf have I left on the ground.” “Young fool,” chided the tea-master, “that is not the way a garden path should be swept.” Saying this, Rikiu stepped into the garden, shook a tree and scattered over the garden gold and crimson leaves, scraps of the brocade of autumn!

>Similar works

Some of the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges probably count. More directly, Sidhartha and Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. Siddhartha is about a man's spiritual and physical journey through life, Steppenwolf is about a man caught between worlds. I greatly enjoyed both, but I felt I was too young when I first read Steppenwolf, as I was you fairly typical somewhat-pretentious teenager without any real conflict or strife in their life. Now that I have matured a bit I think I would get more out of it.

For books which retain that philosophical feel, but aren't particularly Eastern-inspired, anything by Olaf Stapledon will do. I think his masterpiece is Star Maker, about a man from Earth who is swept up into the cosmos and joins with more and more alien minds, learning more and more about life and existence, until they are exalted enough to behold the Star Maker, god. It is truly epic in scope, spanning billions of years. Last and First Men is about the entire future history of the human race (the beginning of the book is a bit dated now), and merely spans a few thousand million or so; and is referenced in passing in Star Maker.


>Currently reading
Leo Tolstoy - Kingdom of God is Within Us. A lot of insight of tolstoyan movements philosophy, as well as some historical facts I was not aware of.
>What you'd like to read
The Foundation Trilogy by Asimov. Been a long time since I've read any sci-fi.


Dave Eggers - The Circle

A movie adaptation comes out soon. I really enjoyed the book, I thought character relationships felt rather shallow and could have been explored more but it's definitely an entertaining enough read. Not sure what to read next, I was thinking maybe some hard science fiction like the Arrival book. I know it was based off a couple of short stories but they just re-released a version of it. Will have to look into it.


You put more effort into your writing than a lot of people, so your English is pretty good.

So are the Witcher games based off the novels and do they differ greatly from the novels? I find it interesting that stories can be created around a game's universe, but I do not believe I have ever seen a game based on books.


So what language are you reading it in? I myself can read Spanish pretty badly, but I was gonna try and read the original first and maybe an English translation after.


FYI, Arrival is the titular story in the Stories of Your Life and Others I mentioned in the OP. I highly recommend this volume (currently reading said story.) I hadn't known of Ted Chiang until my latest romp around a bookstore, and wish I'd heard of his writing earlier. I adore it.

I wouldn't really call it hard sci-fi though. Chiang himself prefers the term speculative fiction, i.e., fiction that is based on extant patterns, such as technology. You can check out the first story in the volume in >>29, although as stated in that post, there may be some errors (such as the one in the first sentence) and see if you like it.

Also, The Circle++. I'm not normally much of an Eggers fan, but I read the Circle a few years ago and really loved it - and I didn't know half of the tech/*sec soykaf I know now. Have been considering rereading it in anticipation of the movie release.

Also, if you'd like a non-fiction analogue to the themes of technological surveillance explored in The Circle, the "They Know Everything About You" from OP is a good introduction to modern efforts to subvert privacy, as well as the philosophy of the right to privacy. Schneier's "Data & Goliath" is a more comprehensive text on the subject, and could very much be required reading in regards to /sec/.


The Collected Stories of Breece D' J Pancake.

Read "Trilobites" if you can.


>currently reading
The Last Unicorn. It's good but Gene Wolfe is still far and away the greatest living fantasy/science-fiction writer.


I was about half way through Neuromancer, havent gotten back to it in a while.
It seems the ebook I downloaded has some weird issue, the grammar of some sentences is really weird as if its been machine translated to one language and back to english. Can anyone corroborate this? Did anyone notice weird writing in places or is it a strange download?


currently trying to read the first volume of the art of computer programming and its going slowly but there's so much to take in. Between schoolwork and my full time factory job I hardly get to touch it but i'm working on it. It is lovely so far but I cant speak for the book as I haven't really gotten past the first part, but what I've read so far 30 pages into the book I would still recommend it to any programmer.


>Currently reading
Watchmen, Heart of Darkness and The Colour Out of Space.

>Recently finished

The first Mistborn trilogy and the Space Odyssey quadrilogy.

>Would like to read

Definitely the Sprawl Trilogy, as well as the Dune series


>So are the Witcher games based off the novels and do they differ greatly from the novels?
The first game starts 5 years after the last novel, so they're free to expand on the universe. At the start of the first game geralt loses his memory, so they really have a lot of freedom.

They respect the universe though, things work the same way, people have the same personality, it really is an honest expansion of the universe and i could see the game as a real part of the original saga.


Thanks saved. This will definitely be my next read. A few years back when it came out I read China Miéville's Embassytown and since then I've yearned for more sci-fi that explores the complexity of things like linguistics and communication between alien species. Small things that other mainstream sci-fi perhaps overlooks.


TAoCP is usually treated more as a reference book than as one which you read cover-to-cover.

What do you think of The Colour Out of Space? Have you read any other Lovecraft?
There's a great German adaptation of it called Die Farbe.


>currently reading
Moby Dick. Melville's ideas about the human condition resonate with me like nothing I've read before.


I just finished Axis Mundi, a story a lainon posted some time ago. It's a pretty /cyb/ tale about a hacker running an imageboard on "borrowed" equipment in an abandoned datacenter. The story is fun overall, and I especially enjoyed the author's depiction of chan shenanigans.


How many are "the most important"? If they are about 5, i'd disagree.
There's quixote and finnegans wake and the origin of species and some others i guess


Running a site out of an abandoned datacentre?


SICP and the old testament, since I want to learn semitic mythology.


Yeah, after a virus wiped out the AIs that ran everything, so there's lots of people squatting in abandoned buildings. It's a pretty cool story.


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The aforementioned Axis Mundis, for those interested.
To the author, if you're still around, good job, I would read other stories in the same 'verse with great interest.


>currently reading
Up in the Old Hotel, a collection of Joseph Mitchell's writing for The New Yorker. I'm about a quarter in and it's pretty good. He wrote profiles on unusual city characters, witty but humanizing. I recommend it, even if you don't usually read journalism or biography.

>recently read

Illuminatus! It was beautiful.

>like to read

Diamond Age
Maybe a reread of Ulysses

It's been a while since I read it but I remember it being pretty readable. You might want to find a different version and compare.

Not >>66 but I read it last year and enjoyed it. Something lurking in the soil and in the well, draining the life of everything nearby, is actually pretty terrifying even by Lovecraft standards.
>I hope the water will always be very deep—but even so, I shall never drink it.


>currently reading
The Counte of Monte Cristo. I'm about halfway through, and I'm enjoying it a lot.

>Next on my list

Either L'Morte de Arthur or The Illiad. I received both in a really, really nice edition (hard cover, fake leather, gold edging around the papers, the works) and it would be a waste not to read them at least once.

>The Foundation Trilogy
I can recommend it, Asimov is one of my favorite authors


>What are you reading
Early Greek Philosiphy from penguin classics

>What have you read

Just finished Watchmen


I've had quite a few I've been hacking at in my down time (few and far between as I finish up my last semester at university).

+ A Random Walk Down Wall Street
+ The Ego and His Own
+ Conquest of Bread
+ Snow Crash (I finished the Sprawl Trilogy recently and was really pining for some good Cyberpunk. I've only ever read Gibson and was nervous about the change, but soykaf I read half this book in a day; I really can't put it down).


I tried the Iliad a while back and couldn't get into it, which is weird because I loved the Odyssey when I read it in high school many years ago. I should really give it another try.


Whatever - Houllebecq
Truly the breadpilled individual of our time, actually quite good for contemporary lit


moscow petushki (moscow to the end of the line / moscow stations / moscow circles / etc)
Contemporary huissian literature about drunk slav goes on a train journey to see his waifu in petushki gets very drunk and has discourses with fellow passengers, plot goes a bit mad towards the end, some knowledge of russian canon recommended but overall recommended


maybe either titus groan or the slynx depending what I'm in the mood for