So you are reading what? v. 2016

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

  1. spot

    spot Member+

    Nov 29, 1999
    Centennial
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I'm not a genre reader. Occasionally I'll stumble on a mystery or science fiction and it will really leave me longing for more, but even though there's shelves and shelves to choose from I usually get frustrated by realizing that what I've just read just stands out. These two books feel like that. I know I'll have to wait for the third book. In the mean time I want to pick up another book of the genre and be carried away. Experience tells me not to bother. These just stand out.
     
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  2. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
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    The Boys in the Boat -- Daniel James Brown

    Interesting enough narrative history of the University of Washington crew team that went to Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics and won gold.

    There's a skill to writing multiple story lines in a single work, and I don't really know how to describe how it works, but I do know when it fails. It does here. Brown tells the story of the team in general, one rower in particular, and the German quest to put on a perfect public spectacle. I like all three story lines, but they seem to crowd each other out here.

    On a personal note, an important night in the life of the team occurs on the occasion of the Washington vs University of Oregon football game in 1934. The game is backdrop for an entire chapter, and my grandfather played in that game (he was a Duck).
     
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  3. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence by English novelist and essayist Geoff Dyer. Lawrence was a major influence on Dyer's desire to write. He sets out to write a study of Lawrence, maybe a biography. This book is the story of how that book came to never be written
     
  4. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited - Michael Millgate


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    Exhaustive, and exhausting
     
  5. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    The title of the book I posted is taken from D.H. Lawrence's never-completed study of Hardy.

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    Eternity's Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake by Leo Damrosch. I'm teaching Blake's poems next week, and some of them are pretty easy and accessible, others are pretty much the opposite. I'm hoping this will help me to explain to undergraduates what is going on.
     
  6. RitztotheRubble

    RitztotheRubble Member+

    Apr 15, 2011
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    The News From Paraguay - Lily Tuck

    Historical fiction novel based on the true story of Eliza Lynch, an Irish-born Parisian socialite, who became the mistress-wife of Paraguayan President Francisco Solano Lopez in the 1850s. This is alright.
     
  7. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    #257 chaski, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
    Missing in the Minarets: The Search for Walter A. Starr, Jr. -William Alsup

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    An interesting history of a famous High Sierra search
     
  8. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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    John Banville -- The Book of Evidence

    “Here is an astonishing, disturbing little novel that might have been coughed up from hell.”–The New York Times Book Review


    Shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize
     
  9. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    [​IMG]

    I Am An Impure Thinker a selection of writings by German-born (and Nazi-persecutted) philosopher Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, who has been off my radar completely until a few days ago. The title is taken from a passage wherein he writes, "I am an impure thinker. I am hurt, swayed, shaken, elated, disillusioned, shocked, comforted, and I have to transmit my mental experiences lest I die. And although I may die. To write a book is no luxury. It is a means of survival." This is the sort of declaration that any other German academic of his day would have a hard time making.
     
  10. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    Chance: A Tale in Two Parts – Joseph Conrad

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  11. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    [​IMG]

    Born To Run, a pretty comprehensive autobiography by Bruce Springsteen. I'm not sure it needs to weigh in at over 500 pages*, but it's pretty good, and I say this as someone who was never really a fan (though I was never really in the "he sucks" camp, either). The early years are pretty interesting, since he is a little more than a decade older than I am, and the whole idea of "New Jersey" is foreign to me.




    *That said, I've not been tempted to skim at too many points, so....
     
  12. YankBastard

    YankBastard Na Na Na Na NANANANAAA!

    Jun 18, 2005
    Estados Unidos
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  13. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    So... I haven't been to the library in weeks, nor have I have visited a bookstore, and Saturday I was flat on my back with a cold, all of which means I've been re-reading stuff around the house. And, unusually for me, reading several things at once. To wit:

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    The Invention of Hugo Cabret -- Brian Selznick

    Simply amazing. Both in its simplicity, and in its complexity. And how often do you say that about one book?

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    Dragonflight -- Anne McCaffrey

    The first in her Dragonriders of Pern trilogy (and yes, I do have the first edition), this is as great a story as I remember. What I don't remember is how shockingly poor the writing is. Lots of "the mountains were giant breasts on the skyline" analogies, and lots of my least, least, least favorite tropes (found especially in fantasy): the exhaustive explanations of super, super veiled insults between members of exotic ranks and castes. God, how boring.

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    Guests of the Sheik -- Elizabeth Warnock Fernea

    A newly wed woman's memoir of her time in Iraq in 1958 when she joined her anthropologist-husband in a small Iraqi village and adopted to their customs, remaining shuttered in her house and wearing the veil and abayah. It was posting about this book very early in my time here at BS that I think I really understood one of the powers of the web. I mentioned that this was one of my favorite books ever, and someone (I'm pretty sure it was bungadiri) who replied that he knew this work and thought it was strange I regarded it so highly. I didn't realize how significant this book was -- I know I was the only one who read in it my discussion group at college -- and here was someone else who knew the same obscure book I did. It's one of reasons I keep coming back to BS, about the only social media I partake in. So, thanks, @bungadiri . You know, if it was you....
     
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  14. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That was indeed me. I also read it for one of my undergrad anthro classes, a long time ago. I hope I didn't give the impression that I thought it was a bad book. It's just that we did the student thing of jumping on our soapboxes about it.
     
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  15. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    Desolation Angels – Jack Kerouac

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    "All I wanted somehow now was Wheaties by a pine breeze kitchen window in America, that is, I guess a vision of my childhood in America"
     
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  16. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    [​IMG]

    Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber
     
  17. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    The Pat Hobby Stories – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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    Hilarious!!
     
  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Speaking of hilarious...

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    The Tetherballs of Bougainville
    a novel by Mark Leyner. I am at a loss to describe it. But it is over-the-top funny. A 13 year old Mark Leyner wins a grant to write a screenplay, but it's due tomorrow, and today his father is to be executed by the state of New Jersey. It goes wrong, and his father lives. So the state has to release him, but the state is still allowed to execute him (and anyone else who is in the vicinity). While Mark is losing his virginity to the warden who supervised the botched execution (the first woman ever to head up the state maximum security prison), he remembers he has to write the screenplay. The warden suggests, "this." So the second half is the screenplay version of the first half. And just as funny.
     
  19. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Well, something is wrong with my library's computer, because when I put myself in line for this book, there were 42 holds for two copies, then a week ago there were 38 holds for three copies: two were checked out, one was "in process" of being catalogged. And it shows up on the hold shelf for me tuesday.

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    Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance he is a good writer, and this is a timely book, but I'm glad to have not had to live next door to anyone he's related to.

    We’ll get fired for tardiness, or for stealing merchandise and selling it on eBay, or for having a customer complain about the smell of alcohol on our breath, or for taking five thirty-minute restroom breaks per shift. We talk about the value of hard work but tell ourselves that the reason we’re not working is some perceived unfairness: Obama shut down the coal mines, or all the jobs went to the Chinese. These are the lies we tell ourselves to solve the cognitive dissonance—the broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach."​

     
  20. RitztotheRubble

    RitztotheRubble Member+

    Apr 15, 2011
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    Poor Economics - Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

    While the authors in this present some very interesting research, something about this book was a little disappointing to me. It certainly is not bad, but considering the high praise this has received, it's pretty ordinary.
     
  21. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    9781840241501_p0_v1_s192x300.jpg

    two feet, four paws -- Spud Talbot-Ponsonby

    Here's a walking book for Wankler to avoid. I still haven't been to the library, so this was on my wife's bookshelf. Talbot-Ponsonby undertakes a walk along the entire British coastline with her dog to raise money for a homeless shelter. The few narratives like this that I've read usually offer some sense of the places they visit or they afford some sense of the people the authors meet on their trips. I got neither. This is a charmless book, though the woman does have nice things to say about her dog, which she repeats over and over and over, largely because the dog doesn't really change much over the 4500 mile journey. Also, somewhat strangely to me, I did not know this woman wrote this book in 2001 about her journey in 1997. My wife pointed out that factoid to me when I was about 200 pages into the book.

    So, no sense of place, no sense of people, no sense of time. This book was a massive whiff.
     
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  22. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    [​IMG]

    Robert Kanigel: Eyes on the Street: the Life of Jane Jacobs who is best known for her book, The Life and Death of Great American Cities. She was almost entirely self-taught in any number of fields, especially urban studies, which she nearly singlehandedly re-invented with that one book. She also grew up in a house about nine blocks from the house I own. Can't believe I never noticed the plaque in front of it until yesterday.
     
  23. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Well, that's the work of your reticular activator, that part of your brain that pulls into your consciousness that which is normally filtered out. That plaque was always there, presumably, but until you had reason to go looking for it, to save your sanity, your brain filtered that out. We need these blinders, apparently, 'cause the brain just can't actively process everything we see. This is the same phenomenon where, should you buy a yellow cadillac (because, you know, you've never seen one of the road) you will suddenly see yellow caddies everywhere.
     
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  24. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Actually, the fifty or so times I walked down the 1700 block of Monroe Avenue, I was probably on the other side of the street. But I like your explanation better, so I'll go with that from now on.
     
  25. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #275 Atouk, Oct 17, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
    [​IMG]

    Arthur Conan Doyle -- A Study in Scarlet
     

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