As previously mentioned Evan wanted me to write about my recent interactions with books. Rather than give a list (I already keep a list here, albeit not very consistently) I thought I'd write about some selected works.
Right now I'm halfway through Summerland by Michael Chabon. I thought there would be more alternate history and less fantasy; I think I confused it with The Yiddish Policeman's Union. I'm not really concerned with science fiction and fantasy's class ranking vis-a-vis other kinds of fiction but nonetheless I'm glad that Michael Chabon writes fantasy and then says to the literary world "yeah I wrote fantasy and you liked it!" Kapow!
The last book I read was a 1963 science fiction novel called Star Surgeon, not to be confused with the 1960 science fiction novel of the same name, or indeed the 1968 Silver Surfer ripoff Star Sturgeon. It's a really good read, as the abovelinked review indicates similar to the Culture novels in many ways, but there's a never-explained subplot where some horrible disease struck humanity and made all the women subservient and unambitious. No, wait, that's 1960s science fiction. Jiminy Cricket, this guy writes a believable asexual empathic insect doctor and he can't get a human woman right.
I also read Finite and Infinite Games recently. I don't know why I read these books thinking they'll have game theory in them. It was just 80s self-help stuff.
My previously-written mini-review of VALIS: "This book showed me that Dick is a master of plotting. He's written a novel in which he appears as the narrator, the main character is also himself, the narrator is unreliable and both main character and narrator are insane. But you always understand what's going on in the plot." Well, maybe that just makes him a master of exposition; the plot isn't that great actually.
Books recently bought: I rarely buy books because I've already got about 200 unread books. I guess the last one I spent money on would be Matthew Yglesias's book about recent American history and politics, Heads In The Sand. And a while back when I was out with Evan, I bought Stephen Mitchell's translation of Gilgamesh. I do use Bookmooch to request rare books from my wishlist. In the mail right now are A Complete and Utter Failure (Kevin's favorite book) and The Evolution of Useful Things, both of which have been on my wishlist for years.
Books that I stopped reading: I rarely just give up on a book. Last year I gave up on Floating Worlds, which I had high hopes for, and gave up on the Thomas Covenant series after slogging through the first one. More recently I stopped reading In Conquest Born by C.S. Friedman because everyone was acting like Klingons and it was boring. I'll give that one another try but I might give up on it. More recently still I stopped reading Vast by Linda Nagata after a couple chapters. It was the third book I had earmarked for subway rides, and that's just too many to juggle at once. I'll pick it up again soon.
I usually don't decide in advance what to read, but continuing the theme of you telling me what to do, leave a comment and you can tell me which of my unread books I should read next. (Do a tag search for 'unread', just like in that largely-bogus unread-books meme; I can't seem to link directly to my list.) Fine print: Leonard retains veto power. Limit two books per bizarre abdication of autonomy. Member FDIC.