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
    [​IMG]

    London Orbital, the story of Iain Sinclair and various friends walking around London in the vicinity of the tititular M25 motorway by Iain Sinclair.
     
  2. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    [​IMG]

    Robert Edsel's Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. I skipped the movie even though the theme appeals to me, largely because it was based upon the history told in the book but fictionalized - and that made little sense to me. This tracks the novel commitment of a military force not to pillage, but to rescue the cultural heritage both of newly liberated countries (who had their things looted by the Nazis) and of Germany too. It's an unlikely, inspiring tale, and the book mostly succeeds in telling the story in a factual, engaging way.
     
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  3. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    Lake Titicaca: Legend, Myth and Science - Charles Stanish

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    The real navel of the world. ;)
     
  4. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    I highly recommend the audiobook. Mike Judge reads it in Beavis and Butthead voices.
     
  5. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    Beavis and Butthead = classic example of Andean duality
     
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  6. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Airplane reading, to and from Washington DC:

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    A debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang's Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance has a protagonist who is sort of an innocent savant type who never really changes, about a dozen narrators in different parts of the book, and sort of oddly-places vantages/look-ins at the protagonist's life. It seems set for me to dislike it, but I was entranced. Totally loved it, warts and all.

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    This one I stuck with because, well, being on a long flight I was sort of stuck with it. I grabbed it on recommendation of someone I met at Kramerbooks in DC - more they recommended Ruth Ware generally than The Woman in Cabin 10 specifically - and it was totally fine. I kenned the central mystery right at the beginning, and the dialogue (especially the protagonist's inner dialogue) was clunky at times. The setting aboard a luxury yacht's maiden voyage was interesting, but that about did it for me.
     
  7. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

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

    Recounting her experiences with sexist discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence—beginning in childhood, through the present—Woods lays out clear and unflinching personal vignettes that build in intensity as the number of times grows. Individually, and especially taken as a whole, these stories amount to powerful proof that sexual violence and discrimination are never just one-time occurrences, but part of a constant battle all women face every day.

    In these extraordinary pages, sexual violence and sexist discrimination occur regardless of age, in all spheres of society, in rural and urban areas alike, in the US and abroad, from Woods' youth through adulthood. Demonstrating how often people are conditioned to endure sexism and harassment, and how thoroughly men feel entitled to women’s spaces and bodies, 100 Times forces the reader to witness the myriad ways in which sexism and misogyny continuously shape women’s lives, and are built-in facets of our society.
     
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  8. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Saw that in a bookstore today. Jeebus.
     
  9. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
    I really can't recommend it highly enough. It's very simple and short. It's just a list of 100 times she was disregarded, harassed, abused, or assaulted. She makes it clear that it's "only" 100 and she could have easily included far, far more.

    I take issue with a few examples perhaps. I think she's misreading causation and correlation sometimes. For example, she tells a story of getting catcalled when she was a teenager while walking with her dad. Well, I had the exact same thing happen to me, except instead of catcalling I was called the "f" word. She attributes it to misogyny but I would maybe argue it's just that men are vile and stupid.

    But for such a small and humble book it's majestic in it's scope.
     
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  10. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture a book that chronicles how café culture in cities ranging from mid-19th century Odessa to turn-of-the-20th century Vienna upmto and including late 20th century Tel Aviv and New York by Schachar Pinsker. Late 19th Century Odessa was up there with Moscow, Paris, and London for publishing serious prose, if Pinsker is to be believed.
     
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  11. TheJoeGreene

    TheJoeGreene Member+

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

    Scott and Jenny Jurek give their concurrent first-hand accounts of his (then) record breaking thru-hike/run of the Appalachia Trail. Jurek is one of the most prolific ultramarathon runners of all times, winning the Western States 100 in 7 consecutive years at one point, and a vegan on top of it. Within the first week of the run he was suffering from runner's knee and a badly torn quad, yet he pushed through more than 45 days of hiking/running.

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    My first foray into Greaney's Gray Man world, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's over the top ridiculous at most points, but in a fun way that got me through the read in 3 days with a smile on my face the whole time.

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    One of the better F*cking books in recent years. Apparently the key to writing something both based on sound research and able to sell at a high volume is to get as close to cursing on the book cover as possible (see: Manson, Mark; Knight, Sarah; Sincero, Jen; Bishop, Gary John). This book is formatted extremely well, with each chapter broken into 4-5 sections that take 4-5 pages each. The layout is exactly the same for each section and the advice is about as actionable as can be for psychiatric advice that isn't specific to a person.
     
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  12. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A couple of weeks ago, I bumped into an alum who was carrying a book with him. I asked about it; "It's June," he replied, "and that means reading Dandelion Wine." Given how many Ray Bradbury books I read back in the day, I was surprised it was by him as I missed it. But his recommendation prompted me to get it from the library.

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    (Side note: there are about a dozen different covers depicted in an image search, but this is the one I read so here it is.)

    Enjoyable pseudo-memoir from the summer of 1928 in an Illinois town like the one in which Bradbury grew up. Mostly focused on a pair of young brothers but with lots of digression to consider people young and old around the town, it's a nice memorial of a time gone by. There's also a short chapter with a truly aching love story contained in it (many of the chapters are like self-contained short stories, of which Bradbury was a master).
     
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  13. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    Walking: One Step at a Time, a rather pedestrian entry in the genre of books about walking by a guy who's walked to both poles and summitted Everest, the Norwegian author Erling Kagge
     
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  14. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    Twilight Sleep - Edith Wharton

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    "Wealth and extensive social activities were obviously incompatible with a complete mastery of grammar, and secretaries were made for such emergencies."
     
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  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics by political theorist Mark Lilla and starring Martin Heideggar, Carl Schmitt, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and others.
     
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  16. BalanceUT

    BalanceUT RSL and THFC!

    Oct 8, 2006
    Appalachia
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Decades since I read it, yet I remember how it opens, describing how new 'tennis shoes' are necessary for a young boy at the start of the summer.
     
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  17. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    2940148361411_p0_v1_s550x406.jpg

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- Victor Hugo

    So, I read Hunchback for the obvious reason.

    I first tried to read Hunchback in 5th grade when I learned that all the great monster movies -- Dracula, Hunchback, Frankenstein -- were all originally books. I didn't finish. But I did during the summer after 9th grade. That was 41 years ago. I'm pretty sure that this is the longest I have ever gone between readings.

    In the intervening years, I have never read the Classics Illustrated comic, never seen the movie. Nothing. I am not aware of having any contact with this work since that summer. And yet, I found myself constantly being surprised by how familiar this work was, how I remembered everything.

    It was an interesting meta experience.

    Until I realized that the reason I remembered every act is because NOTHING HAPPENS! The summary of the plot points of this story is barely a page. It was rather boring, especially after my failed attempt at completing the Count of Monte Cristo [memo to me: No more French romantic literature] except that Hugo created one of the more memorable characters in fiction. For that reason, this was a memorable read.

    Oh, and the Cathedral at Notre Dame really is worth a book of this magnitude.
     
  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    London Overground: A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line in which intrepid author Iain Sinclair and a photographer friend spend a way walking 35 miles in the vicinity of a newish-london transit project, which triggers a series of semi-interesting events and many memories recollected in tranquility afterwards.
     
  19. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In the mid-1960s in Sweden, a couple (Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo) set out to write a series of subversive novels showing all was not well in their native Sweden. Their muse would be Martin Beck and his colleagues in the national police, investigating the nation's underbelly. Book one in the series is called Roseanna and except for the unavoidable, seemingly-eternal loop of the Toto song that accompanies even just having the book lying around (or typing about it - or you reading about it just now), it's a good read.

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    Not only is Martin Beck the forerunner of the great, brooding Swedish detective, the book itself kickstarted modern detective novels because it (and the sequels) focuses on procedure. The first half of the book is just them beating the bushes trying to find out who the victim is; almost nothing "happens" except they work, work, work. And when the characters decide to put a plan in motion, Sjowall and Wahloo describe them practicing in the mirror, running drills, doing all they can to be ready when the time comes.

    They wrote ten books; our library has 1, 4, and 5. I asked for 2 and 3 either via purchase or interlibrary loan (I can't see them spending money on acquiring two more books in a 50 year old detective series).
     
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  20. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

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

    I used to love Jared Diamond so much. I remember Guns Germs and Steel as a legit classic of historical synthesis. But Upheaval feels like a long and somewhat unfocused high school book report.

    He looks at seven examples of historical upheaval for lessons to be learned. But those seven aren't chosen because of their importance or unifying relevance in any way, they just happen to be places in which Diamond has vacationed or worked. And the histories are each extraordinarily shallow. How much can you really explore if you're going to write a history of, say, Meiji Japan and you have to fit it into 25 pages? Then he fits his unbaked thesis into each example and calls it a framework for upheaval.

    I'm left wondering if Diamond was always terrible and I've just gotten smarter.
     
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  21. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  22. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    When Guns, Germs, and Steel came out, folks who knew I focused on Latin America in graduate school were very excited to hear what I thought, so I picked it up and discovered a very pedestrian version of the history I had learned (admittedly from a top person in the field, so perhaps not everyone got the instruction - and synthesis thereof - that I did). But I it was a giant "meh" for me.

    Then again, perhaps that's the key: be the one who gets the book contract and writes the thing for a popular audience, and you're golden. Much of the radical/novel change in thinking or interpretation or in new archival material typically gets shared in a series of journal articles and conference talks by many people (many of them graduate students) and then in academic books that have a reach of hundreds or a few thousand, so the opportunity to aggregate and go for the public is there. And you almost need to be a non-professional or a senior professional scholar to be able to do that because of the inherent biases in academia.
     
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  23. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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

    My Correct Views on Everything, a collection of essays from the 60s to the early 2000s by the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski
     
  24. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Here's an example of a book only a senior academic could write: Beyond the Blue Horizon by UCSB professor emeritus of archaeology Brian Fagan. I picked it up because he's a legend (seven textbooks, all current still, in anywhere from their 6th to 15th editions) and because it promised to look at how mariners through history "unlocked the secrets of the ocean." Sounded good to me. But it's essentially a long think piece that reminds me of the disclaimer on old episodes of "In Search Of" where the title sequence narrator indicated the show was "based in part on theory or conjecture."

    Early career Professor Fagan could never have published this book. It wasn't a poor read and perhaps I am guilty of having the wrong sort of expectation for it (it's from a popular press, not an academic one), but there's a point in some people's career when they can just go for it.
     
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  25. BalanceUT

    BalanceUT RSL and THFC!

    Oct 8, 2006
    Appalachia
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This and your previous discussion of the limits of academic acceptance of scholars' writing is my view, also. For instance, Carl Sagan was respected for his actual academic work as an astrophysicist. But, he was also disrespected for his publication of popular texts that were sometimes beyond his core areas of competence. Never mind that he researched them fairly rigorously, interviewing experts in the field, and was omnivorously curious with an excellent critical mind. (Personally acquainted with this because he interviewed my first academic mentor in about 1990, James M. Dabbs, Jr. for his book Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors... This was a personal high point because I got to meet Sagan at a party for Dabbs' lab workers and study participants.) In any case, he was denied membership in the National Academy of Sciences because he was, in the view of many staid scientists, too much of a 'media celebrity.' On the other hand, his core academic publications are widely cited. While his popular non-fiction and fiction are his most cited works, at number 4 on his list of citation frequency is a 1992 publication in Nature (fairly late in career for a scientist) titled, Endogenous production, exogenous delivery and impact-shock synthesis of organic molecules: an inventory for the origins of life.
     

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