What! You Are So Reading! v. 2021

Discussion in 'Books' started by Ismitje, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1

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    " . . . life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts or happenings. It consist mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one's head.”

    And that is much of this "autobiography", which has its amusing moments, but not enough of them.
     
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  2. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan, which is from 2004 but is helpful for convincing me that it is possible to more or less circumnavigate the island (it's a 28 mile trip), which I'd like to try someday, probably over two trips on the curb-to-curb bus from my town. The book is by Philip Lopate
     
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  3. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Kingston Stockade
    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
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    Probably seemed radical when it came out in the 70s. Today it's a bit of a yawner.
     
  4. 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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    Kurt Vonnegut -- Mother Night
     
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  5. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I read this a few years ago (by which I mean anywhere from three to fifteen years - it jumbles together) and had the same impression. I periodically recall his obsession with these shipwreck survivors, about which he wrote . . . and wrote . . . and wrote.
     
  6. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I finished another pair, The Immortalists (a novel by Chloe Benjamin) and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War (by Karen Abbott). The subject of the novel is one I turn to about once a year - a family drama - and I didn't really know what I was getting when I checked it out. It focused on a quartet of siblings in a Jewish neighborhood in NYC who go to a fortune teller and learn the dates of their respective deaths. And so the book proceeds, one section per sibling and picking up in the later ones shortly after one dies. I couldn't decide how I felt about the conceit of the fortune teller and what the book would have been like without it.

    Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy is a popular history in which Abbott claims early on that it is a work of nonfiction, and no invented dialogue is included. That specific claim is probably accurate, but there's so, so much that seems invented or with flourishes added that it bugged me as a trained historian. Most of the best parts are more traditional Civil War history re-presented here, and she does so skillfully. But the rest, while quite interesting, is equally frustrating to me. Then again, I may be being a fuddy-duddy.
     
  7. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    Journey to the Edge of Reason: The Life of Kurt Godel, a biography of the eminent mathematician and highly troubled personal friend of Albert Einstein by Stephen Budiansky.

    If you read one biography of a mathematician... well, it should probably be A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash, by Sylvia Nasar. But if you read another one, this would be a good call.
     
  8. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin. I believe @DrWankler read this. A tale of a British writer travelling through Argentine and Chilean Patagonia. First book I've read in a while by a LGBTQ writer.
     
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  9. BalanceUT

    BalanceUT RSL and THFC!

    Oct 8, 2006
    Appalachia
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No reason why you can't be both a fuddy-duddy and correct on your point. ;)
     
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  10. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Traveling for the 4th and packing light (not least because we're in a place with good bookstores, though alas, one didn't make it.
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    Kaddish and other Poems, 1958-1960; Planet News, 1961-1967; and The Fall f America: Poems of These States 1965-1971 poems reflecting simultaneously the continued genius and noticeable decline of the poet Allen Ginsberg as time and fame took a toll on his gifts, as they do for pretty much every poet who is afflicted with talent, time, and fame. Though he's probably the last poet in my lifetime whose death will be covered for 24 hours on CNN.
     
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  11. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
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    A well thought out book from a pastor in Tallahassee. He tackles everything from church as a social club and people who show up just for Christmas and Easter to generational Catholicism. The real meat of the book is pointing out the massive flaws of two major issues in a southern town like his, the "God and Country" approach that makes Jesus a mascot for (mostly) whatever Republican talking points are ruling the day and the "Faith, Family, & Football" approach that sees people slather on just enough pre-game prayer to fit into a cultural narrative without really even understanding what they're supposedly aligning with.

    A couple of quotes sum up how he feels about things:

    "If America is a shining city on a hill, that light needs to be replaced."

    "So much of Southern flourishing relies on God's thumbs-up that many have constructed a god that looks more like the Marlboro Man than a first century Nazarene."

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    I'm about 2/3 of the way through this one. Christakis is even more long-winded and overly detailed in his books than he is in his journal articles, but it's still something I look forward to tackling in small chunks every day. This thing weighs in at 419 pages along with another 80 pages of extensive end notes. Covering everything from a variety of societies that grew out of shipwrecks to 19th and 20th century communes to modern day nomadic tribes, he puts each through the lens of what he refers to as the social suite:

    1. The capacity to have and recognize individual identity
    2. Love for partners and offspring
    3. Friendship
    4. Social networks
    5. Cooperation
    6. Preference for one's own group (that is, "in-group bias")
    7. Mild hierarchy (that is, relative egalitarianism)
    8. Social learning and teaching

    While not all elements are present in every successful society, his research shows that the odds of having an enduring society increases with each element that is present, even if those things show up in a myriad of wildly divergent ways.
     
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  12. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Kingston Stockade
    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
    Well that's a sentence I wasn't expecting to read.
     
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  13. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, a Library of America anthology that is one of the best-edited poetry anthologies I've ever come across. Editor Kevin Young does a great job putting the poems and poets in conversation with one another, and adjusting the pace and style of the poems so that it doesn't get as monotonous as most anthologies (or Collected/Selected volumes of poetry) can get if you try to read them straight through. Kinda wish I got it for free as a desk copy for a class, though. However, my wife did buy it at a great Indy bookstore, so that's always a win.
     
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  14. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
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    It's essentially 35 blog posts crafted together to tell a fairly cohesive story of why consuming any daily news source is insane. He includes a few ways to break the habit, some "soft" options that center around good long-form options, and other plans for approaching news.

    "Anything subtle, complex and abstract, anything that develops slowly and is remotely abstruse, will be systematically dismissed by the media, and by ourselves, despite being the content that actually matters more to our lives and genuinely furthers our understanding of the world."

    I've never been a TV news or talk radio person, other than a few bits of NPR here and there, but I was an avid daily newspaper reader at one point. A few years ago I realized it was a massive waste of my time and often I got 10-15 quality minutes out of a paper filled with hours of reading content. For the last year or so my habit has been something like the following:

    I have print copy subscriptions with The Economist (weekly) and Foreign Policy (quarterly). Once a month I take the Economist issues for that month and the FP issue, if there isn't one I spend a few minutes selecting and printing articles from their site that aren't marked as having been in a print edition, and take those to a local coffee shop where I devour certain portions of each. If an article is interesting enough for me to follow up on, I add it to Zotero (my citation software) and take detailed notes on it later.

    That's it. Unless there's a tornado warning, or other major local weather event, I don't even think about what's going on and don't particularly care.
     
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  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, a book that especially pisses off ideological vegans by arguing, among other things, that the grain-based diet is dependent entirely on factory farming (and processed food made and distributed by global corporations that don't necessarily have our best interests at heart), which is unsustainable as well as not especially healthy for most people (as well as animals), by Lierre Keith. Not bad, but not especially forthcoming on viable alternatives.
     
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  16. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Kingston Stockade
    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
    Yeah, and windmills kill birds.
     
  17. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I read a couple of space opera-esque books:

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    Andy Weir's latest is Project Hail Mary. I loved his first book and didn't care for the second, so here's the tipping point for me. And it's completely fine. Enjoyable even, but also simplistic in plot construction and in several ways that niggled at me. For example: the protagonist is an amnesiac. Okay. But he remembers things in exactly the order they happened in the past. The narrative flips between the present and how he got out in space somewhere, and the memories as they come are perfectly congruent. It's just too easy. But I really like the alien he meets.

    Much better: the new Murderbot novella, Fugitive Telemetry.

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  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    So mch for "you can't judge a book by its cover." Those had damn well better be space operas!
     
  19. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Longmire is one of my favorite TV shows. Finally giving the first novel a try.

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    Craig Johnson -- The Cold Dish
     
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  20. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

    Aug 19, 2012
    The Lubbock Texas
    Club:
    DC United
    Nice, I just ordered a few books and hope to get to them later this year. Also, loved the show.
     
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  21. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm a big fan of the Longmire books. I liked the television show for a couple of seasons but towards the end found the unrelenting violence in every storyline for each character off-putting. There's enough other stuff int he books to counter that.
     
  22. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan. Tale of a woman who starts her own bookstore in the UK.. The author is active on Twitter.
     
  23. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    All the King’s Men - Robert Penn Warren

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    A good read.
     
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  24. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Boxed Out of the NBA: Remembering the Eastern Professional Basketball League a fun little book about old-time pro hoops in a league that ran for decades, only to decline and fall into an afterlife as part of the now defunct CBA by my Scranton homies Syl Sobel & Jay Rosenstein. Fans of basketball might recognize that high-flying white guy: it's Jim Boeheim, guard for the Scranton Miners in the early-mid Sixties.
     
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  25. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage - Sherry Sontag & Christopher Drew

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    A good Cold War read!
     

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