What'cha Reading?

I just finished Soul Music, which I haven’t read in years. I see lots of people saying it’s one of their least favorite Discworld books, but I enjoy it. Lots of rock and roll references and it stars Death and his little troupe, including Susan.

I don’t have any clear idea what to read next, so I’ll probably start on book 2 of the Nero Wolfe series if nothing else jumps out at me.


I would say it’s definitely lower-tier Discworld, but lower-tier Discworld is still a B+ book. The only one I think is actively bad (but I’ve not read it in years and maybe it deserves another chance) is Faust Eric.

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I like that one well enough for what it is (a sort of semi-canonical Discworld side story, I guess?), but I get why people don’t like it.

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I’m reading Phil Manzanera’s autobiography and the Roxy Music stuff was cool but his one-off things have been intriguing. He was raised in Columbia and lived in Havana for a while so there’s a whole UK & Spanish thing going on (his dad might have been a spy) and he got asked to put on a guitar expo in Seville in 1992 which happens to be on YouTube (Yay!) and Albert Collins has his capos so low on the neck that he hardly has an octave to play with. Sounds good though

I will be listening to 801 tonight! I love that Eno and him stayed tight friends through everything


Audiobook, rather than actual book, but Werner Herzog’s The Twilight World is a novelisation about Hiroo Onoda, the real-life Japanese soldier who defended a small island in the Philippines for 29 years after the end of World War II.



This is outrageously fascinating. Yes, sometimes Ben Sidran (anagram source of the Bill Evans tune “Nardis”? some say yes, while others including Bill himself attribute the tune to Miles…although personally I think it’s a Bill composition all the way, even though Cannonball recorded it first) does a fair bit of editorializing/extemporizing while asking questions.

But check it out: he interviews Mac Rebennack (à la Dr. John The Night Tripper), which is a natural but not one many jazzers would think of, and even onto Donald Fagen, Steve Gadd, Charles Brown, and even more traditional subjects that probably a casual jazz fan wouldn’t be that familiar with, but more traditionally “jazz” people.

Not even that upset that I did what I never do, which is crack the spine when turning directly to the Mac interview. Well, apparently hardly ever! No, I never do that to books…always sort of massage in from both ends so as to avoid catastrophe.

Don’t care if eventually I have to put duck tape on the spine…this is fantastic reading.


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I had a moment or two of joy at work when, probably because I came in late because I felt like it, had a moment to pull out a tiny little Reclam edition of a few short stories of Ingeborg Bachmann.

The set-up behind that is that we needed somebody to set up the debriefing area for returning drivers, and Mr. Manager apparently was kind of enjoying not doing anything, so that became my role for the first bit of the afternoon/evening. And, in my typical fashion, I did everything efficiently and correctly and ended up with a very few minutes to see what was in my vest pocket.

No, not because I’m a pretentious ass who likes to remind my coworkers that I can do stupid things like read, but it’s a really small book which now, apparently, has no covers and is just a few pieces of paper held together by some string.

Much like my copy of the Psalter. I haven’t seen that in months…damn…it was a nice little copy of just the vulgate Psalms…and like other small books carried in my vest pocket, became damp and I think lost its covers as well and is or was just a wad of paper…still legible, though, last I remember.

Anyway, this story, which I’ve never read in any language, is just called “Das Gebell” and the first paragraph had me grinning at the wit and cunning of the author. Ingeborg Bachmann was, of course, an Austrian poet and writer of fiction in several different media, including radioplays, and she wrote in German exclusively, as far as I know. She was a doctor of philosophy, so I’ve no doubt she was capable of work in other modern languages, but she was an Austrian who wrote in German.

I should probably finish reading it. I may have to use a dictionary at some points, but to me the meaning is plain: brutal, brilliant satire. Perhaps there is more than indicated in the first paragraph!

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I have always been fascinated with maps. I had several Nat Geo maps tacked to my wall as a kid. I have the larger versions of these maps that were printed in the early 1990s, and they are simply gorgeous. This book has smaller versions, and Brian Sibley’s write-ups of the details are fascinating to read.


When I was a Tolkien-obsessed kid I had my father’s 1960s copy of the Barbara Remington Middle-earth poster map. He also had the triptych of the three book covers, which I know he had mounted at one point. They are all long gone… those posters were pretty fragile.


Does anyone know of a reputable service that would turn a decades-old print book into an eBook?

In the 1980s, my father wrote a book that an analysis and annotation of another well-known book which is now in the public domain. My family owns the rights to this annotation (we checked with the press that put it out). I think it would make a really good eBook if someone wanted to scan it all in, digitize it, and turn all the annotations into hyperlinks. I know that theoretically I could do that all myself, but I feel like that’s something bigger than I can tackle alone. Since he was a scholar, he did a huge amount of research on the book which is basically unavailable now to anyone who is interested in it.

So could anyone recommend a good service to do this? I don’t know that I could necessarily raise the funds to do it, but I think it would be worth a try with a kickstarter or something.

I dunno … there are elements of this that I like, but I’m finding it mostly a slog. More like world building notes that could have been turned into a great book but instead were just thrown together and published. Sort of like if Tolkien had interspersed sections of The Hobbit with the appendices from The Lord of the Rings and bits from The Silmarillion.

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