So, What Are You Reading? v. 2020

Discussion in 'Books' started by Ismitje, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    @TheJoeGreene will you recommend scattered? The subject intrigues me.

    I recently finished Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People, which is a terrible subtitle for a good book. Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber is the author, and I find her approach to her pastoral work at House for All Sinners and All Saints in Denver refreshing. There were passages where I found myself intrigued about the Gospel of Christ According to Nadia. There were also parts where I wondered how in the world someone who travels so much to speak and preach all over the place could possibly continue to shepherd a congregation (and I see that she stepped down in 2018).

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  2. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
    @Ismitje I would recommend it. Simple read that overstates a point or two to make its argument but mostly works well.
     
  3. song219

    song219 BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 5, 2004
    La Norte
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Vanuatu
    If you had seen this film you would have realized that UN is actually an acronym.

     
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  4. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    If you liked this, I recommend Ammon Shea's Reading the O.E.D., which is pretty much what it says: a guy reads the Oxford English Dictionary. My favorite part is the list of his favorite words at the end of each chapter. To this day I am glad to know the 18th century word, "unbepissed," which refers to any surface that has not been urinated upon, which as Shea points out, tells you something about life in 18th century England when you needed to make a distinction between things that have been peed on, and things which have not. I liked the Bolz-Weber book as well.

    Currently reading one of the strangest books I've come across:

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    On The Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript, which traces the aphorism about "if I have seen farther than others it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants," which has been variously attributed to dozens of different commentators. So Columbia sociologist Robert K. Merton, who attributed the quote to Newton in an article, only to be called out in a letter by a colleague, decided to trace it. And trace it he does, in a series of letters, each more digressive than the previous... hence the subtitular reference to Sterne's Tristram Shandy,
     
  5. usscouse

    usscouse BigSoccer Supporter

    May 3, 2002
    Orygun coast
    #230 usscouse, Sep 1, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
    Got to climb down from the clouds you guys are in for my latest read. John Sandford’s “Masked Prey”

    Another good cop read, or binge read in my case. I just like his style. So do a few others it seems since this is the 30th in the series.
    He researches well, anything you need to know about Para military groups or militias you’ll find here. Fiction of course.

    I’m back: A Stellar Jay got itself trapped in our sun room trying to escape though the closed window. It and it’s waiting family seemed happy when I gave it the racing pigeon toss out of the door.

    Anyway, good read.

    3B3F07FE-849F-4C07-B944-F6743066419E.jpeg
     
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  6. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    The Enola Gay - Norman Polmar

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    Good short history - lots of photos
     
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  7. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

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

    A second read of this one, but it took longer than the first time.

    If you're looking to squeeze out the most efficiently productive workdays you can, there isn't anything I can recommend more highly than this book. Cal takes the first 90 or so pages and defines Deep Work and how it's becoming more valuable at the same time that it's becoming more rare, and then gives us a bit of why it's a meaningful way to do things. The 170 pages are the 4 rules for accomplishing Deep Work:

    Rule 1: Work Deeply (you have to actually do it)
    Rule 2: Embrace Boredom (it's this "default mode" where the brain puts things together)
    Rule 3: Quit Social Media (I shut it all down for good about 18 months ago)
    Rule 4: Drain the Shallows (find the best ways to eliminate or batch all the little garbage *cough* EMAIL *cough* that keeps you from deeper concentration)

    It's practical, well researched, and probably more accurate today than when he wrote it 4 years ago.
     
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  8. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Is posting on BigSoccer part of the deep work, the boredom where everything gets put together, or the shallows? :)
     
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  9. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
    M-F it's often the first 30 minutes after shutdown so I can decompress or immediately after finishing a book before I move to the next one in my stack.
     
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  10. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

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

    It's 104 pages (probably less than 100 due to blank pages between some chapters) and I'm not sure if it classifies more as novella or short story. Whatever it is, it's close to the quality of Neuvel's Themis Files trilogy.

    It's "sometime in the near future" after a cataclysmic event in England that is only alluded to, and the somewhat dystopian rise of government power to determine who is worthy of being a citizen. Two solid twists to the plot that make sense, with an ending that's a bit too sentimentally driven but still good. I read it in two sittings of barely an hour total and it was time well spent.
     
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  11. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity -- and Why This Harms Everybody, a book which I approached with a degree of skepticism, but which does a good job laying out it's case. Unlike most such books, it's not a right wing hack job: the authors don't want to close down Humanities and Social Science programs, for example, nor do they want certain scholars to be fired. But they are highly critical of certain tendencies in the academy in recent decades, especially now that some of those ideas that were kinda fishy around a seminar table are regularly being adopted wholesale by corporate HR departments and advertising campaigns (which suggests that these ideas aren't as subversive as their advocates pretend) by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, the latter of who has been highly suspicious of supposedly progressive academic research that is completely blind to the role of class in capitalist cultures. I have to confess that it has confirmed my suspicion that a lot of wokiness (not all by any means) is upper middle class virtue signaling that won't do a damn thing to help someone who is suffering under the weight of injustice.
     
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  12. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    [​IMG]

    Joseph Conrad -- Under Western Eyes
     
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  13. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
    As recommended by you hosers:
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  14. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Finished Kliph Nesteroff's The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy. Comprehensive and all-too-brief simultaneously? I enjoyed it but am not sure I was satisfied by it. Maybe what I really want is a three or four volume series of shorter books instead of this one long-ish one.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I thought it was pretty good myself. Kliph was damn good on Marc Maron's WTF podcast. I think he has his own, too, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was based on the book.


    Speaking of comedians...

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    The End of History and The Last Man, an uproarious comedy special by world famous Hegel impersonator Francis Fukuyama.
     
  16. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
    :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:.

    What, all the Jonah Goldberg books at the library were checked out?
     
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  17. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    It actually isn't that bad. He got his ass handed to him for the original article, but he does a reasonable job clarifying points in the book: his main point that a representative democracy with a reasonably regulated free market is the best means of social organization that we're going to be able to do isn't the stupidest thing ever, especially since, in the book, he points out things that can go wrong and bring it crashing down... one of which was already happening when he wrote the book (which is a huge oversight): Reagan's policies of deregulation leading to the increasing gap between the rich and poor; and the other, which is going on right now (nativist populism --->fascisim.)

    Still, I think his most recent book, Identity, is more worth looking into (he has about 50 pages on the topic in here)
     
  18. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    @Val1 I took your recommendation from a while back and read The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

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    It's delightful, completely. I wonder if there's a version of it somewhere with easier engagement of the very cool artwork, which makes up a bulk of the book but suffers from the age-old challenge of art and photography books of the image being folded into the crease. The story resonates even for an adult reader.

    Thanks for the recommendation!
     
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  19. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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

    Utopia -- Thomas More

    The book has been on my shelf for maybe five years and I picked it over the weekend. I kinda wish I'd read this four years ago as 2016 would have been the book's 400th anniversary.

    I was expecting, based on dim recollections of the book, a novel. It's not. It's a very readable philosophical work that explores what is the nature of power. Kinda appropriate this year, no?

    My favorite literary trivia of 2020: Utopia is a portmanteau of two Greek words that means "no where." I find that incredibly funny.

    As an aside, I find myself caring less and less for the writings of CS Lewis. He writes a completely unintelligible 5-page essay which is included in this critical edition. I mean, it's more gibberish than prose. Clearly it was added just because he's a "name".
     
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  20. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Glad you liked it. As I've said, I consider it a new form of literature. Selznick's subsequent two works are still an exploration of that form. though not as good as this.
     
  21. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot

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    "In their death they were not divided."

    This, too, is one of the best novels ever written in English.
    But not as good as Tess of the d’Urbervilles, which is in my top ten.
     
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  22. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
  23. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Boy, talk about a spoiler. . .
     
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  24. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    At first I thought you were referring to my post.;)
     
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  25. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Pretty much all I knew about Tess of the D'Ubervilles going into it is that @chaski loves it and has recommended it, and that it makes lists of classics all the time. In my mind, it was going to have a plot akin to Anne of Green Gables, another book I haven't read but of which I've at least heard some plot details. So when I started it I was open to many plot directions but expected it to feature a plucky heroine who overcomes all.

    Right off the bat, I thought maybe I was in for a surprise with the revelation of the old family heritage, and the dad's reaction to learning the news. The initial description of the family and the village pub and such made me think it was going to be humorous and distinctive. But that was the end of that way of thinking; I was surprised, completely, with the way things turned in Phase the Fifth and onward into something I would never have guessed going in.

    I described the plot to my wife and daughter and they were more than a little appalled. :)

    [​IMG]
     
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