Our Reads of 2024

Discussion in 'Books' started by Ismitje, Jan 1, 2024.

  1. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "Porkopolis" as it was sometimes referred to back in the mid-19th century.
     
  2. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Three Simple Lines: A Writer's Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku, which I picked up at the library thinking it was a how to guide that might come in handy since I'm teaching a summer writing camp for junior high kids this summer and need some material, but it's actually a travel book, and not that bad, though there are times when Natalie Goldberg does some cringy things that one shouldn't do as a guest in Japan. Nothing that should have her wind up in jail, but just some things that I wanted want to be associated with as a fellow American. I mean, really, if the sign says, even in English, do not pick the fruit, then DO NOT pick the ********ing fruit and eat it. That's just rude.
     
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  3. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

    Club Brugge
    Belgium
    Aug 19, 2002
    Belgium
    Club:
    Club Brugge KV
    Just got started on this one:

    81SZN5VbihL._AC_UF894,1000_QL80_.jpg

    Neo-noir set in Los Angeles. Saw some blurbs liken it to James Ellroy but honestly not yet far enough in it to know if that is warranted.
     
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  4. song219

    song219 BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 5, 2004
    La Norte
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Vanuatu
    In the new forward in this edition the author regrets that it happened and and believes that Clinton used the book as an excuse for this.
    What probably a bigger reason for Clinton not helping Bosnia was Somalia.
     
  5. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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


    If Avatar hasn't already sprung to mind.
     
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  6. rslfanboy

    rslfanboy Member+

    Jul 24, 2007
    Section 26
    :coffee::coffee::coffee:

    Go on.....
     
  7. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #107 bigredfutbol, Mar 28, 2024
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2024
    Oh, absolutely--the book was likely more of an excuse than anything else. The rancor it inspires among many scholars of the region as well as many Muslims has way more to do with the content and many of the implicit assumptions Kaplan relied on for his interpretation than actually holding him and him book responsible for Clinton's amoral fecklessness.

    Also, I would agree that taking the book as a subjective travelogue rather than an authoritative analysis is probably the best way to read it.

    I used to be more plugged into the Balkan wars blogosphere than I am now, but here's a couple of articles which cover some of the primary objections; Malcom and Hoare speak for many others.

    Seeing Ghosts by Noel Malcolm

    Malcolm--probably best known to Americans as the author of Bosnia: A Short History*, and Kosovo: A Short History--zeroed in on Kaplan's anti-Turkish bias and his tendency to accept Serb & Greek perspectives on places like Bosnia and Albania over the perspectives of the locals, and also that Kaplan mistook his own impressionistic experiences as being objective analysis. He notes how frequently Kaplan gets translations incorrect, among other factual errors. And he also makes some reference to the Orientalism many critics of the book called out. He does note that Kaplan knows Greece and Greek politics very well, and states that the chapter on Greece has much more merit than the rest of the book.

    "Ancient Ethnic Hatreds" is Poor Shorthand and Dangerous by Marko Attila Hoare

    [Full disclosure: Marko & I are friends--or at least respectful acquaintances--although we've lost touch in recent years due to my refusal to remain on social media outside BS.]

    Hoare is a British scholar and journalist; he currently is a professor at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology. He's authored several books on the region, worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and even participated in drafting the indictment against Slobodan Milosevic. Like many scholars and activists, he was dismayed by Kaplan's reliance on tired, prejudiced, historically ill-founded tropes about "ancient hatreds" in the Balkans. And he does believe that Kaplan's flawed analysis played a role in the failure of US policy in Bosnia.

    Just as a postscript, here's a Bosnian blogger reacting to a (then-recent; the blog entry is from 2017) work by a Western academic which regurgitates many of the Balkanist tropes Malcolm and Hoare called out; note that in the first paragraph "Ledenik1" refers to Balkan Ghosts as the first example of the sort of proudly ignorant and arrogant Western "experts" they are calling out.



    *One of the themes in Malcolm's history of Bosnia is that--compared to much of the rest of Europe--Bosnia's history was remarkable for how little internal strife or sectarian violence there was for most of its existence. Most of the bloody periods in Bosnia's history were driven by outside actors; when left to themselves, Bosnians of all faiths generally got along with each rather well. This underscores what many scholars and activists were arguing at the time--to the degree that the 1990s conflict in Bosnia was driven by internal conflicts and grievances, they largely stemmed from suppressed and un-addressed atrocities and injustices from World War II, not "ancient ethnic hatreds."
     
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  8. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    [​IMG]


    I feel like I've listened to NT Wright speak a few dozen times but somehow never read his books. He's probably the most popular but least controversial of the "New Perspectives on Paul" writers. While this is fairly accessible for someone unfamiliar with the basics of Christianity, it's also pretty evident that Wright lives in a world of high art and very high reading levels. I don't recall a single example given that involved sports, popular music, or even film. Even so, the snootiness doesn't take away from the overall content.
     
  9. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    redacted
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Turks and Caicos Islands
    Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball – Donald Hall with Dock Ellis

    [​IMG]

    "I said something you're not supposed to say. That seems to be the case all the time!" - Dock Ellis
     
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  10. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    There are a small handful of American poets who were/are alive during my adult life who would have been great to watch a baseball game with. Donald Hall would be near the top of the list.

    [​IMG]



    Speaking of lists. . . A New England Girlhood Outlined from Memory by a writer who just moved into second place (tied) on my list of favorite writers from Lowell, Massachusetts , Lucy Larcom
     
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  11. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    DC United
    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. It's a novel about the forbidden love between a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot. It's in Reese Witherspoon's book club. Seems interesting.
     
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  12. Bluto11

    Bluto11 The sky is falling!

    May 16, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Just finished this one

    [​IMG]

    I enjoyed it. Similar vein to The Martian, thought it was better than his last novel called Artemis. However, it does have the same problem as The Martian (at least in my mind) that the main character seems to be the smartest person on Earth. I was able to get past that in both instances so enjoyed the books, but there were some major eye rolls.
     
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  13. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    DC United
    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    Dead Wake by Erik Larson. It's a true tale of the fateful voyage of the Lusitania during WWI. The author tells interesting stories. I expect to enjoy this.
     
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  14. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Tokyo Boogie-Woogie and D. T. Suzuki a scholarly biography that explores the connection between a popular post WWII song (that still rakes in huge royalties today, because nearly everyone has a cover of it) and the guy who is credited with introducing Zen Buddhism to the U.S. (at least the members of the Beat Generation who read his books and hung out with him, D.T. Suzuki. The connection is that the lyrics to Tokyo Boogie Woogie were written by Suzuki's disinherited, dissolute son, Alan Suzuki. I got the book because of the chapters on the Beat Generation, but Shoji Yamada's tale had me sticking around for the duration.
     
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  15. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    redacted
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Turks and Caicos Islands
    Quinn - Seamus Smyth

    [​IMG]


    Irish crime novel that is sort of opposite to a police procedural. Enabler plots hitman crimes so that all the clues make them look like accidents or suicides. Strange, but entertaining.
     
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  16. Quango

    Quango BigSoccer Supporter

    Jul 25, 2003
    Colorado
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    [​IMG]
    The Butcher of the Forest ~ Premee Mohamed

    A horror/fantasy novella about a woman forced to enter a dangerous forest to save a tyrant's children. Good tension and world-building in a concise 150 pgs.
     
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