You Are So Reading What? v. 2019

Discussion in 'Books' started by Ismitje, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    On the recommendation of @superdave ,

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    Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World, an thoroughly scholarly book that manages to be quite readable that explores the rise and fall of dominant civilizations from the perspective of languages, which themselves will rise and fall, and in some cases, disappear for all practical purposes, by Nicholas Ostler
     
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  2. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    Raleigh
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's not an easy read. The basic concept is that it explores the rise and fall of languages; imagine a book that talks about the rise and fall of Greek the way another book might talk about the rise and fall of Alexander's empire. The rise and more rise of English like another book might talk about the rise and fall of the British Empire.
     
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  3. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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

    Dune -- Frank Herbert

    I've been reading a lot of boring crap for work and struggling to get through Hunchback, so I had to find something I knew as good. And there's nothing better than Dune. I appreciate this book more every time I read it.

    And it gives me the opportunity to share my favorite writer's rejection story (which I'm pretty sure the 8 of you who frequent this thread have already heard, but anyway....)

    The first third of Dune had already been serialized and won awards, but the overall work was too long, too sci-fi, too foreign, and too illustrated to boot. Herbert had a devil of a time finding a publisher and was rejected over 30 times. Eventually the book was published by Chilton.

    Yes, this Chilton:


    chevy-gmc-pickups-blazer-jimmy-repair-manual-1967-1987-4.jpg

    Turns out Chilton was the only publisher Herbert could find that had the presses to handle oversized illustrations.

    I still think it is hilariously outrageous that the greatest science fiction ever was first printed by a car manual company....
     
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  4. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I read that in college. I've in Route 6 in New York and Cape Cod. Route 6 goes across the country, and joins with highways at times. What I learned from On The Road was how far south of the border Mexico City is. I didn't assume Mexico City was near the border, but I didn't expect it to be hundreds of miles south of the border either. According to Google Maps, the shortest distance on roads from McAllen, TX to Mexico City is 616 miles, but it has you go east and then west. Using a ruler and the scale from Google Maps, the straight line distance from McAllen to Mexico City is about 450 miles.
     
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  5. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    Another form of auto fiction.
     
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  6. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
    [​IMG]

    Dystopian fiction?
     
  7. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I finished a couple of mysteries this past week, and I was pretty fortunate in the random selection process at the local library. First up is something I later learned received the Edgar Award as best mystery of 2017.

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    Attica Locke's Bluebird, Bluebird focuses on a pair of murders in a small East Texas town, and the (Black) Texas Ranger who is sort of sent to investigate (he goes uninvited while suspended, and then gets assigned while there). A couple of plot points had me curious if it was part of a series, which it isn't (yet), which is when I learned it won the Edgar Award and read a series of reviews that talk about how unique it is. And while I enjoyed it, I've read enough books with similar racial tensions and conflicted heroes to not find it particularly original, though there was one aspect I found unique: the murder of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas as a seminal moment in the evolution of the protagonist. In law school at the time, he decided to shift to Texas law enforcement instead of following a law career outside of his home state.

    The next one is/was totally new to me. There were a few signs of this being author Meaghan Scott Molin's first novel - some awkward and/or repeated dialogue - but that was small potatoes compared to the joy of the rest.

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    The Frame-Up centers on a female comic book artist/writer and her work as a consultant to the LAPD investigating a series of vigilante events staged to look like an old comic book series, on which she is working on an update. The supporting cast is quite good, there are plenty of candidates for who might be both the bad guy and the vigilante, and the combo of detective story and geek culture was simply fun. This will be a series too.
     
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  8. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
    Bluebird, Bluebird is part of a series. The second book, Heaven, My Home, releases in September.
     
  9. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Don't Read Poetry: A Book About How To Read Poems, which I'll either assign or put on reserve next time I teach a poetry class, because it does as good a job dealing with the diversity of meanings associated with the word "poetry" as any book I know of that would be accessible to undergrads (the title explains the books thesis: "poetry" isn't just one thing: "poems" are infinitely diverse and call for different reading/performing strategies. The author, Stephanie Burt is the head poetry professor at Harvard, and is much better at this sort of thing than her predecesor in that post.
     
  10. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I should have clarified that I wondered if it was second or third in a series, instead of the first in one. Both Bluebird, Bluebird and The Frame-Up launched series, and both seem adaptation ready.
     
  11. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
    So far this year:

    The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Haley)- I had little idea of his background, but find his evolving thought on many issues fascinates me. I'm not sure of many life experiences in the US that are so vastly different from mine.

    I'm Still Here (Brown) - The story of an African American Christian woman in the US today and how she's navigating a world where white people who call themselves Christians voted for Trump. Her first name is Austin, a name given by her parents because it could be construed as a white male and get her in the door on more job interviews.

    Becoming (Obama) - Another read that really enhanced my view of someone whose entire life experience couldn't be farther from my own. It's amazing that she handled things with as much grace as she has. The highlight might be how much she gushes over Laura Bush once you get to the White House years.

    3 Kings (Greenburg) - An exploration of the birth of hip hop through the rise of three phenomenal entrepreneurs: Dr. Dre, Diddy, and Jay-Z.

    Bluebird, Bluebird (Locke) - An all too real book that's fiction only because it has to be. Locke wrote about the part of Texas where she grew up and added quite a bit of real life turmoil in the modern day reality of the state.

    The Endurance Diet (Fitzgerald) - Another great book from the premier writer on eating/fueling for distance running and other endurance sports. Fitzgerald traveled the world to examine the diets of endurance athletes across a large swath of disciplines and see what similarities might exist, then filters much of that through modern scientific research.

    Redshirts (Scalvi) - A Hugo winner for a reason, it's simple and straightfoward in how it plays off a basic Star Trek trope, yet smart enough that it kept me guessing. My favorite theory is that The Orville is based on what the characters would be like after the book ended.

    Rocket Billionaires (Fernholz) - A detailed look at the role Musk and Bezos are playing in the privatization of the space race and the plans/approach of each.

    Everybody, Always (Goff) - Bob Goff is one of the few Christian writers who sells a lot of books and doesn't make you hold your nose from the obvious stench. Self-deprecating, funny, and encouraging to say the least.

    The Richest Man in Babylon (Clason) - Maybe the most oddly written thing I've read. It's clearly from the 20's and clearly has no concept of how stunningly stereotypical it is. Still, good lessons for basic personal finance are easy to glean from it.

    Quiet (Cain) - My 3rd time through the book. I'm significantly introverted and work in a world where incompetent extroverts rule the day until they give up or are fired, then are immediately replaced by another incompetent extrovert. This book gives me hope to stick with who I am and ignore the pressure to be a babbling idiot.

    Currently working on Hemingway: The Paris Years (Reynolds), Your Money or Your Life (Robin), and Vox (Dalcher). About 2/3 of the way through Vox. The other two are moving at a snails pace when I bother with them.
     
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  12. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Montage of a Dream Deferred a book length poem that drifts around Harlem of the 1940s by Langston Hughes. He's pretty good at this sort of thing.
     
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  13. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    Flags in the Dust - William Faulkner

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    "I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
     
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  14. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life a really good literary biography about a guy who is NOT my favorite writer by a long shot, but who worked hard to get what he got and was lucky when he needed to be lucky (and, if once he quit drinking, grateful for his breaks and those who gave them to him) by first-time biographer Carol Sklenicka
     
  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Taverns and Drinking in Early America, a really interesting history that covers pretty much what it says, with a bit of background in the intro that covers taverns and drinking in Holland and England back to the 14th century. Lots of details from the colonies, both the sectarian ones (Mass, RI, Penn) and the Non-sectarian ones (NY, Carolinas, Virginia). Also of interest to me: Many of the early taverns in Philadelphia were in caves overlooking the Delaware River. Sharon Salinger is a damn fine historian based on this.

    Oh, and man did Americans used to drink A LOT.

    Thanks to bigsoccer poster bigredfutbol for cluing me in to the existence of this book.
     
  16. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    As I said here:
    ....Carver was apparently one helluva Writing 101 prof.

     
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  17. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Reading The Apache Wars by Hutton.
     
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  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Their meeting was early in Gardner's first post-Ph.D. teaching job. One thing I didn't know: Gardner was hired as a medievalist, since he wrote his dissertation on medieval literature. Another thing: Carver applied to graduate programs, not creative writing programs, planning to study medieval literature ... until Gardner and others convinced him to apply to Iowa. And one thing I didn't realize: the last years of Gardner's life, they visited regularly because Carver was teaching at Syracuse and Gardner was just down I-81 in Binghamton. . . but not as often as Gardner would've liked near the end of his life because Carver, trying to stay sober, didn't trust himself in Gardner's house.
     
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  19. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
    [​IMG]

    Vox is Handmaid's Tale meets Stepford Wives, and it's above average but just too heavy handed to be believable. The author clearly has an agenda and the inability to see anyone who has an opposing view as remotely human or worthy of continuing to breathe. Sadly, the premise isn't that far removed from reality as a few groups might like to see it.

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    Johnson is an excellent writer and he tackles the concept of making long term decisions with equal parts entertainment and research. The segment on the Prussian army war game Kriegsspiel was fascinating, and his points are well argued throughout the book. This is worth sitting down in just about any corporate or academic setting and putting into practice as it fits your particular situation.
     
  20. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have a relatives in a suburb of Binghamton. I looked at a map and found a simple way to get to a restaurant in Binghamton that my uncle didn't know about. I rarely go north in Binghamton.
     
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  21. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins

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    "We had our breakfasts — whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn’t matter, you must have your breakfast"
     
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  22. chad

    chad Member+

    Jun 24, 1999
    chicago
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    [​IMG]

    This book is a pretty great read. I read some criticism of it by Wolfe -- but Wolfe seems not to understand Hegel at all and kind of reads like a student who needs to get his first C to realize he needs to try harder.

    PS: we're ********ed.
     
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  23. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of {Soviet} Women in World War II, a very powerful, and at times disturbing, set of accounts from women who contributed in various ways to the Nazi invasion of the USSR, from snipers and medics to nurses and radio operators compiled by Svetlana Alexievich, a deserved recipient of the Nobel Prize, based on this entry.
     
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  24. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
  25. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    Persuasion - Jane Austen

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    “When any two young people take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other's ultimate comfort.”
     
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