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Discussion in 'Books' started by Ismitje, Jan 1, 2017.
1984 -- George Orwell
Mark Lee Gardner -- Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape
“Rollicking. ... Equal parts violent melodrama and meticulous procedural... with enough bloody action to engage readers enthralled by tales of good versus evil.” (New York Times Book Review)
2014 Spur Award for Best Western Nonfiction -- Historical
You know, @Atouk I'd really rather know what you think of the book than how the NY Times blurbed the book...
There were lots of blurbs, one of which I selected because it accurately reflected what I think thus far (about 2/3 of the way through). I can add my view that Gardner artfully melds an extensive range of sources (the notes are thorough and often interesting) and builds suspense to a degree not frequently achieved (for me, anyway) in tales about which the outcome is well known.
Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman - Robert L. O'Connell
Stories and Prose Poems by (deserving) Nobel Prize winner Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, whose name I can finally spell correctly on nine out of ten tries.
Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded – Samuel Richardson
“Well, my Story surely would furnish out a surprizing kind of Novel, if it was to be well told.”
Spy novels are no fun without the Soviets and I have not read a good Soviet-related spy novel for awhile. I just happened to find a copy of this book. I saw the move, but I had never read the book.
I cut and paste the following section from another Post:
In the book, Clancy created a KGB character named "Ivan Yurievich Putin". I did not think Clancy named the character "Putin" after Vlaldimir. I thought that was "interesting", but really "so what"! Putin must be a common surname, I thought.
I was only curious to know if "Putin" surname was common when I googled "surname" and "Putin" earlier today.
I found this link from Pravada.
I do not know if I could trust Pravada. One this thing for sure is that they would probably know if the surname "Putin" is common or not. It said no one else was named Putin on the world-wide web.
All Putins from wikipedia were released to Vladimir.
So how did Clancy come up with name "Putin"?
The book was written in 1984 . According to wikipedia, Vlaldimr was serving in the KGB observing foreigners in Leinngrad. He was not a public figure. The CIA might have opened a file on him, but Clancy certainly did not have assess to it. The book was his first book. Later, Clancy would be respected by the intelligent community, the miliarty, etc. But in the early 1980's, he was selling insurance when he wrote the book.
Shamela - Henry Fielding
"It would be hard indeed, that a Woman who marries a Man only for his Money, should be debarred from spending it."
America: A History in Verse a telling of American history in what seems to be free verse, but is usually pretty subtly and formally metered, but you sound like a robot reading it that way, in four volumes, by Ed Sanders, poet, novelist, founding member of The Fugs and author of the best book on the Manson Family Murders, The Family. I'm on volume two of the four. Episodic and highly personal, but an interesting experiment in bardifying.
Freedom Riders -- Raymond Arsenault
Well.... just because. It's that time of our country's life where this needs to be read (and seen, this is the abridged version [shock and horror, it may one of the very few abridged versions I've ever read] and is the companion to a PBS American Experience documentary).
If this book had existed back in 1986, I would probably have had enough information/sources to make the Freedom Rides the topic of my history thesis. As it was, I wasted a month to discover there wasn't much so I had to do my thesis on Bob Moses, who was worthy, but the thesis lacked, umm.... objectivity.
I was, of course, aware of the first two buses, one of which was famously burned in Anniston, Alabama, and I was aware of the second wave of riders, of which John Lewis was one, that left from Fisk University in Nashville two days after the bus burning, but the second wave riders were ultimately jailed at Parchman Prison in Mississippi, one of the most notorious southern prisons. And they became iconic in their own way, as hundreds of Freedom Riders rode to Jackson to be jailed in Parchman.
The most interesting find was an interview with the daughter of the grocer who owned the store when the bus was burned...
I may not be posting in this thread for a while, I started reading Clarissa.
Series: Penguin Classics
Paperback: 1534 pages
Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
Is using the "voice" of one of the Red October's officers speaking English later in the book some sort of meta commentary?
The Culture of Experience: Philosophical Essays in the American Grain by John J. McDermott
The most perilous threat to human life is secondhandedness, living out the bequest of our parents, siblings, relatives, teachers and other dispensers of already-programmed possibilities. We should be wary of the inherited, however noble its intention, for it is the quality of our own experience which is decisive. Failure, deeply indergone, often enriches, whereas success achieved mechanically through the paths set up by others often blunts sensibility. We are not dropped into the world as a thing among things. We are live creatures who eat experience.
I have been reading a series of books set in post-Communist takeover Laos in the late 1970s, and they are delightful. The protagonist of the series is coroner-by-default Siri Paiboun, aged 73 and host to the spirit of a 1,000 year-old Hmong shaman. There's a bunch in there that won't sound appealing, but I love the protagonist, I appreciate the pragmatic approach the figures therein take towards their new government and system, and I quite like the supporting cast (including a morgue assistant who has Down's Syndrome). The approach is both funny and respectful. The author is Colin Cotterill; I am now reading this one (which is book 5 of 10):
My library has eight books in that series, multiple copies of most, and the only one that isn't checked out with a wait list is in large type. I'm second in line for Disco for the Departed. Currently reading
1968: A History in Verse (1997) by Ed Sanders, written before he undertook the 20th century history in verse, this one is a good bit more autobiographical since he was present at a few things (protests in DC, Chicago for the Democratic convention, etc. he's actually writing a (free) verse history of the country from the beginning, with pdfs of the early drats available at his website.
Being a late beat, early hippy and a founding member of The Fugs, it's not surprising there's a lefty slant...
The Sellout, by Paul Beatty
Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children: a Novel about a guy in Pittsburgh working as an adjunct English professor trying to write while maintaining a marriage and raising two kids and frequently ********ing things up by a guy whose wife I used to work with, and with whom I've done readings in the Pittsburgh area, Dave Newman. I'm pretty sure it's not fully autobiographical, because if he was regularly bonking students after readings, his wife would have his ass.
Finished Use of Weapons now on to Ready Player One... not finding I like Ready Player One much.
The Messenger (1963) by Charles Wright, an incredible novelist I actually don't remember coming across. This is very similar to the Dave Newman book I' just read in that it's a semi-autobiographical novel about a guy working at a not particularly secure job and dealing with several other issues as well. In this case, being black in 1950s/60s America plays a central role. And it too is damn funny.
An Involuntary Genius in America's Shoes (and What Happened Afterwards) two memoirs for the price of one by Andrei Codrescu. The first volume chronicles his life in Romania, which he left at the age of 19, and his first few years in the US (I finished that part this morning. Coincidentally, he arrived in the US and hit Greenwich Village on March 13, 1966). I've read the second volume before, but I never actually read Life and Times of an Involuntary Genius before. Not bad, given he was around 25 when he wrote it and had been speaking English for only 3 or 4 years. Though as the afterword suggests, and as he has said on a few occasions, it's not a good idea for most writers to write a memoir in their 20s.
I enjoyed Codrescu's collections of essays on New Orleans released not long after Katrina, New Orleans, Mon Amour. I have not read anything else by him.
If you liked that, his travel books Hail, Babylon and Road Scholar should work. The latter is about learning to drive in his late forties then making a documentary as he drives around the US.
Man, the upgrades must of killed literacy in the form of recreational reading.
Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life From an Addiction to Film, a memoir, more or less, by comic Patton Oswalt, covering a four year period in the late 90swhen, between writing gigs and stand up performances, Oswalt became that guy yo absolutely DO NOT want to talk movies with, as he got a little too into them for awhile. He's better now.
Oh my god depressing. And the professor reminds me of too many people I know.
But I've finished and have just started....