So you are reading what? v. 2016

Discussion in 'Books' started by Ismitje, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. Rostam

    Rostam Member

    Dec 11, 2005
  2. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

    Mar 18, 1999
    Hong Kong
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    First, I am not the type of person who hanged out with gangsters. All of my friends are law-abiding citizens. I want to make this clear first.

    One day, I was looking for information on Whitey Bulger when I came across the wikipedia bio of this Boston gangster. I started to read his story. Suddenly, it hit me.... I knew this guy. I meant I knew of this guy. "His name is John, right?" I thought to myself. I checked. Correct. I looked at his birthday..... similar in age as me.

    Back in the early 1990's, I was a college student in Boston. My Chinese friends and I used to hang out at this restaurant in Boston's Chinatown. We would be there at least twice a week. This John Willis would sit in a nearby table with his Chinese friends. We were not dumb college kids. We knew who they were.... so we avoided them and they also ignored us..... the college kids. I sometimes saw him at night clubs during Asian nights. John Willis was a big, white guy who could speak Cantonese. He stood out among the Asians. Anyway, I did not recall how I learn of his story. The Chinese community in Boston was small. I was pretty sure that one of the local, college kids from Chinatown knew him or heard of him from somewhere. I knew his name was John and he learned how to speak Chinese because he was adopted by a Chinese gangster. I remembered thinking that a Chinese man adopting a white kid. That's weird. That was all i knew or all I wanted to know.

    I grew up watching a lot of gangster movies: both Hollywood and Hong Kong(Asian). I thought the story was interesting to me. I arrived in Boston roughly the same time as John Willis retuned to Boston from NYC , where some of his early criminal activities took place. Boston's Chinatown was having the biggest Chinese gang war in American history at the same time. I used to park my car at an abandoned parting lot in Chinatown..... everybody did. It was free parking after 6. I did not know that the lot was John Willis' turf. The gangsters from NYC were sending people into Boston. The Boston gang would observe any unfamiliar Asian entering Chinatown from the lot. They would attack any stranger over there. Oh well, I was not an unfamiliar face, I supposed. They never took notice of me.

    Was it a good book? The storyline was actually a Hollywood-styled formula. I learned that Hollywood is actually working on a movie. First, John Willis was a Southie. Hollywood must have a Southie in all movies set in Boston .... Departed, Good Will hunting, Black Mass, etc. I don't know if he was Irish, but he will become one in the movie. He talked about honour and loyalty of the Chinese culture. It actually reminded me of "Mulan" from Disney. it was Western's romantic idea of the Chinese culture. He had a wife.... an Asian girl. Perfect interracial relation. He left to deal drugs in Florida..... that was Danny Bosco. His Chinese crime boss disapproved so he did it secretly.... just liked Paulie and Henry Hill from Goodfellas, and Don Corleone did not like drugs either.



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  3. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Thailand
    A Tramp Abroad - Mark Twain

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  4. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    440px-Walden_Thoreau.jpg

    Henry David Thoreau -- Walden


    I never read this in high school because the two biggest nerds in my class were so annoying in their love for this book, and they were trying to convert Walden acolytes, and I didn't have sufficient social capital to overcome it. They snagged a couple, and when I hear people talk about becoming Ayn Rand devotees I think of those two. This was Fountainhead for my year, my high school. Only this is so much better. "The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation." He says this on page four and he's off to the races. My son think Thoreau doth protest too much and really would have been happier moving to India and becoming a Buddhist, but for me, it's been fun to read this in the summer of Trump. Thoreau would have had a field day with him.
     
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  5. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I read this last year, and PBS' The American Experience did a nice job making this a documentary. If you want to get an idea of the birth of forensic science, you can see this on netflix.

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    The Poisoner's Handbook
     
  6. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    #231 Dr. Wankler, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
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    The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh by David Damrosch. I'm teaching Gilgamesh in an introductory World Literature class starting this week. This will help me fill some time. Interesting tale of the archaeologist (mostly English, but also starring an Iraqi Anglophole named Hormuzd Rassam, who made some of the biggest discoveries (like finding the ancient city of Nineveh), only to watch someone else get most of the credit. Damrosch makes an onteresting point that most scholars and poets acknowledge Gilgamesh as one if the great epics, but given that, it has had very little impact on the shaping of Western culture. Being out of circulation for two, three millenia will have that effect, I guess.

    Also interesting is that the guy who figured out how to read the cunieform text, George Smith, was a working class guy who left school at 14 to apprentice as an engraver, and who somehow wound up at the British Museum where, somehow, he became a leading expert on Assyrian culture and antiquities despite never having gone near a university. Given the English class/caste system of the time, that created a bit of awkwardness.
     
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  7. G-boot

    G-boot Member

    Manchester United
    Nov 6, 2004
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    readimg.jpg reading 2.jpg reading 3.jpg

    Three books at the same time.
     
  8. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I came to Stephen King rather late, reading It and The Stand pretty much back - back. I became a huge fan. Then I read From a Buick 8.
     
  9. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell, which is so far a candidate for my book of the year, in spite of the cover that makes it look like a graphic novel, and which, by being focused exclusively on the French philosophers, doesn't cover fore-runners and contemporaries from Germany who also play a role in the narrative. Basically, it's a group portrait of the eight philosophers listed across the top, with a few other significant writers making cameos, and she does a terrific job telling the story as it unfolds through the series of crises that was European history from the teens through the 60s of the last century. She wrote a great book on the French essayist Michel de Montaigne that I read a couple years ago, and this one might even be better.
     
  10. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Thailand
    Sometimes a Great Notion – Ken Kesey

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    “The thing about being removed, thanks to modern technique, is, while it may afford objectivity and perspective--with all events tunneling back from this point like images in opposing mirrors, yet each image changed--it presents a tricky problem of tense."
     
  11. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    That is pretty good. I hope to finish it some day.
     
  12. Bluto11

    Bluto11 The sky is falling!

    May 16, 2003
    Chicago, IL
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  13. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This sounds like a great idea in theory; I will be watching this and subsequent versions of this thread to see how it goes in practice.

    I am reading the Old Man's War series from John Scalzi.
     
  14. Bluto11

    Bluto11 The sky is falling!

    May 16, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    It is going to take me a very long time! I've got another test to study for in October (plus two more after that to finish my designation) and my wife just gave birth to our first child!
     
  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    that's pretty helpful, but it looks to be a bit of a dry spell after Jackson until Lincoln. Well, maybe Pierce, and the times were interesting during Buchanan's presidency, but that Tyler/Polk/Taylor/Fillmore run looks to be a challenge. Though not as much as the Johnson/Nixon run will be if you do the multi-volume options (Nixonland by Rick Perlstein is a great, great book, but it's more history than biography.)

    In any case, thanks for posting the list.
     
  16. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's because the 8 presidents in between Jackson and Lincoln combined to serve only 6 terms, with none of them elected twice. In 1997-1998 in Social Studies in school there was a "presidential problems" topic for what the first 7 presidents (ending with Jackson) had to deal with. If you asked people to name as many presidents as possible, I'd expect most or all of the 8 in between Jackson and Lincoln to be in the half named by the fewest people.
     
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  17. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Buchanan, Van Buren, Garfield, Fillmore and someone else...

    PS: I didn't read the posts above...
     
  18. RitztotheRubble

    RitztotheRubble Member+

    Apr 15, 2011
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    Naked Economics - Charles Wheelan

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    The Shipping News - Annie Proulx

    Pulitzer Prize winning novel about a down-and-out Long-Islander who takes what's left of his family and moves to his ancestral home in Newfoundland. I liked parts of this, but overall not quite as much as critics seem to.
     
  19. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    The Age of Reason a much better novel than I remember it being by Jean-Paul Sartre
     
  20. RitztotheRubble

    RitztotheRubble Member+

    Apr 15, 2011
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    Soccer in Sun and Shadow - Eduardo Galeano

    I could have done without some of the political commentary but other than that I really enjoyed this.
     
  21. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Thailand
    The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James

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    Beginning and ending - good
    Middle - too long
     
  22. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    James A. Garfield was the 20th president and doesn't belong on that list. You missed William Henry Harrison and Franklin Pierce.
     
  23. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    right. i checked after my guesses. i think i got a C
     
  24. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    A-. Grade inflation.
     
  25. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields, a memoir/essay/collection of short reviews etc. on literature which concludes literature can't really save your life, but it knows that, and thus can help in other ways.
     

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