What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:57 am

I just finished Immortality by Milan Kundera.

Now reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:09 am

On an Arnold Bennett kick. Just finished re-reading The Card: A Story of Adventure in the Five Towns (aka Denry, the Audacious), third or fourth time I've read it, a favorite. Halfway through The Matador of the Five Towns, a collection of short stories, not as good. But, the "Matador" in the title is interesting. The point is to contrast matadors with Midlands footballers (soccer), because apparently, at the time, "matadors" were fabulously well-paid, idolized sports heroes while professional British footballers were--at the time--not.

Financial side-note. What does this business model remind you of? From "The Card," published in 1911 and apparently set sometime in the late 1800s.
And then one day the populace saw on his office door, beneath his name-board, another sign:

FIVE TOWNS UNIVERSAL THRIFT CLUB. Secretary and Manager— E.H. MACHIN.

An idea had visited him....

....He would encourage thrift in the working-man and the working-man's wife. He would guard the working-man's money for him; and to save trouble to the working-man he would call at the working-man's door for the working-man's money. Further, as a special inducement and to prove superior advantages to ordinary slate-clubs, he would allow the working man to spend his full nominal subscription to the club as soon as he had actually paid only half of it. Thus, after paying ten shillings to Denry, the working-man could spend a pound in Denry's chosen shops, and Denry would settle with the shops at once, while collecting the balance weekly at the working-man's door. But this privilege of anticipation was to be forfeited or postponed if the working-man's earlier payments were irregular.

And Denry would bestow all these wondrous benefits on the working-man without any charge whatever. Every penny that members paid in, members would draw out. The affair was enormously philanthropic.

Denry's modest remuneration was to come from the shopkeepers upon whom his scheme would shower new custom. They were to allow him at least twopence in the shilling discount on all transactions, which would be more than 16 per cent. on his capital; and he would turn over his capital three times a year. He calculated that out of 50 per cent. per annum he would be able to cover working expenses and a little over....

...Denry began to suffer from the ravages of a malady which is almost worse than failure—namely, a surfeit of success.... Denry ought to have been happy.... But he was not happy. And the reason was that the popularity of the Thrift Club necessitated much book-keeping, which he hated.

He was an adventurer, in the old honest sense, and no clerk. And he found himself obliged not merely to buy large books of account, but to fill them with figures; and to do addition sums from page to page; and to fill up hundreds of cards; and to write out lists of shops, and to have long interviews with printers whose proofs made him dream of lunatic asylums; and to reckon innumerable piles of small coins; and to assist his small office-boy in the great task of licking envelopes and stamps. Moreover, he was worried by shopkeepers; every shopkeeper in the district now wanted to allow him twopence in the shilling on the purchases of club members....
So, there was consumer credit before BankAmericard!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:01 pm

White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery and Vengeance in Colonial America, by Stephen Brumwell. A history of the St. Francis, Quebec raid by Rogers' Rangers during the French and Indian War, and its context. About one half the book is about what preceeded the raid, the other half is the raid followed by the retreat to New Hampshire.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Thu May 02, 2013 1:18 pm

Riding the Iron Rooster, by Paul Theroux. By rail through China.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Thu May 02, 2013 5:14 pm

I am re-reading Sign Off, the stand-alone, first novel of Jon Katz. Mr. Katz would go on to read a great series of mystery novels featuring a stay-at-home father. Then, unfortunately, he decided he wanted to write about dogs.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby BenBritt » Thu May 02, 2013 6:41 pm

I have read and enjoyed the "dog books" by Jon Katz. I will now try one of his other works.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gerrym51 » Thu May 02, 2013 6:46 pm

I just finished RED STAR BURNING. the latest charlie muffin book(my favorite character outside superman).

i just started today When Archie Goodwin met NERO Wolfe-a prequel by author that replaced rex stout.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Fri May 03, 2013 12:14 am

Finally and mercifully finished Saul Steinberg, A Biography by Deirdre Bair. The book started out with such promise when Bair said that a quote attributed to Steinberg, “I am a writer who draws,” was the “elusive key” that led to an understanding of his work. Although I learned hundreds of new details about Steinberg, a true understanding of his work remained elusive. I don't think I've ever read so many words that missed their mark. Best part, I thought, was the chapter on Steinberg's great poster, “The View of the World from 9th Avenue.”

Also read a modest but good bio, Mr. Nonsense, The Life of Edward Lear by Emery Kelen (and thanks to Nisiprius for mentioning it in his reply to Lear’s book, Complete Nonsense). A fun chapter recounted how early in his career, Lear, who grew up poor, gave drawing lessons to the young Queen Victoria. He was naive about royal life and when the queen showed him a display case containing her vast collection of jewels, including crowns and diadems, he asked her where she got “all those beautiful things.” She graciously replied, “I inherited them, Mr. Lear.”
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Fri May 03, 2013 11:30 am

"Fatal Error" by J.A. Jance.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby HardKnocker » Sat May 04, 2013 7:00 am

Read this many years ago and it was great. Picked it up again from the library and it is still great. This book will make you money.

Image
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Mon May 06, 2013 10:29 pm

"Left For Dead" by J.A. Jance..
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Tue May 07, 2013 7:56 am

Death by Station Wagon by Jon Katz, the first of the stay-at-home, suburban dad mysteries featuring Kit Deleeuw. Katz would go on to write about five more of these before he turned his attention to writing about dogs.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby johnep » Tue May 07, 2013 9:21 am

Immoderate Greatness - Why Civilizations Fail by William Ophuls

This is a short book of 70 pages and the author lays out the factors that cause all civilizations to fail. It is not specific to any one civilization but makes the point that it is inevitable for all civilizations to fail due to these factors and weaknesses in humanity that all civilizations have in common. He presents a very plausible argument and I can see some of this from my own experience and observation. Some of his comments are eerily on target with our modern civilization, especialy Western civilization.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby HardKnocker » Tue May 07, 2013 9:41 am

Image
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby steve roy » Tue May 07, 2013 10:18 am

"A Tramp Abroad" by Mark Twain.

It's a long distance from his best. Not even a pot boiler, it's filler. But I'm going to finish it to see if it gets better.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby bertilak » Tue May 07, 2013 1:47 pm

Just reading P. J. O'Rourke's Driving Like Crazy which is an anthology of his automotive articles spanning something like 30 years. If you are familiar with P. J. O'Rourke you know that this is not some boring collection of technical articles. This is a seriously funny book!

I wouldn't bother posting this except I ran across a comment in a chapter about driving someone else's car in a cross-country race through some mountainous terrain. It compares dangerous driving to the investment business. Here it is, slightly paraphrased to read better out of context of the full chapter:
My pal David E. Davis had loaned me this car ... spent a bazillon restoring it ... And now David, who was behind me in a magnificent Mark IX Jaguar, would soon see his dream dashed to pieces -- no figure of speech -- at the bottom of a canyon. We get up, go into the office and manage bazillion-dollar portfolios whether we're frightened or not, or in this case clamber back behind the wheel. ... And we hardly ever let on that risking other people's money is nine-tenths of the fun.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Blues » Wed May 08, 2013 2:14 pm

Got a couple that I'm just getting into...

"Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield" by Jeremy Scahill...and...

"The Finkler Question" by Howard Jacobson (winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby HardKnocker » Thu May 09, 2013 8:22 am

Image

:shock:
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Thu May 09, 2013 8:40 am

Empire of the Summer Moon, by S. C. Gwynn. History of the Commanche and the Southern Plains, primarily in the period 1836 - 1875.

EDIT:
S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.

Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower-blue eyes who was kidnapped by Comanches from the far Texas frontier in 1836. She grew to love her captors and became infamous as the "White Squaw" who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers in 1860. More famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby cheese_breath » Thu May 09, 2013 9:03 am

I'm currently going through my basement, digging out all my old high school and college yearbooks, and reviewing them again. What a difference 50 years makes.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Thu May 09, 2013 2:30 pm

I just finished Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

Now reading The Admirals by Walter Borneman.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Thu May 09, 2013 4:15 pm

River of Stars, by Guy Gavriel Kay. But I'm feeling frustrated. Why couldn't he have put a few maps in his books, à la J. R. R. Tolkien? I keep thinking there must be some community of Kay fans out there that must have compiled atlases of Kitai and tables comparing and contrasting the things in his book with history, but I haven't found it yet. His "official" website, "Bright Weavings," just says the book will be out soon...
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 10, 2013 11:37 am

ruralavalon wrote:Empire of the Summer Moon, by S. C. Gwynn. History of the Commanche and the Southern Plains, primarily in the period 1836 - 1875.


http://www.scgwynne.com/books.html

I thought it looked familiar. Selling Money is a classic (not that easy to find, but a classic). He was a young banker in Ohio in the 1970s, when the 'sure thing' was lending money to Third World governments, who had commodities resources (and there was a commodities boom). After all:

- countries don't go bust, do they?
- we are diversified, we are not a big piece of any single loan to any single country

So ran the logic of the time, and the subsequent bust nearly broke Chase Manhattan as well as other banks.

Truly nothing new in the world.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Fri May 10, 2013 9:48 pm

"Shock Wave" by John Sandford.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gatorman » Sat May 11, 2013 12:28 am

The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum. This book is not an easy read, but I think if one reads the book slowly and takes the time to understand what the author is saying, one cannot help but become a more skillful photographer.

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Photography-A ... e+barnbaum

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Sam I Am » Sun May 12, 2013 4:24 pm

Message deleted.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Sun May 12, 2013 6:00 pm

I'm about ten pages into Carole King's A Natural Woman: a Memoir. Every time I've tried to check this book out from the library down the street, someone had beat me to it, but today was my lucky day. Several months ago, a poster had said the book was a disappointment, but I'm liking it so far.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby dbcoop » Sun May 12, 2013 7:52 pm

Collapse, by JDiamond.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Mon May 13, 2013 6:17 pm

Last Car to Elysian Fields, by James Lee Burke. Detective novel set in South Louisiana, full of unusual characters.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby indianaman » Mon May 13, 2013 6:37 pm

I just finished reading the Great Gatsby. I heard the movie was terrible so I bought a copy at a local thrift store for 25 cents.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Mon May 13, 2013 10:14 pm

indianaman wrote:I just finished reading the Great Gatsby. I heard the movie was terrible so I bought a copy at a local thrift store for 25 cents.

I really liked the movie. The acting was terrific. The costumes and the sets really looked like 1922.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby stratton » Mon May 13, 2013 10:21 pm

Dick Couch's:

The Warrior Elite: Seal Class 228
The Finishing School
Down Range

Former Navy Seal writes about the training over the first two books and Afghanistan in the next book and Iraq in "Sheriff of Ramadi" which I haven't read yet.

Paul
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Tue May 14, 2013 10:21 am

stratton wrote:Dick Couch's:

The Warrior Elite: Seal Class 228
The Finishing School
Down Range

Former Navy Seal writes about the training over the first two books and Afghanistan in the next book and Iraq in "Sheriff of Ramadi" which I haven't read yet.

Paul


Rory Stewart wrote a book about being a provincial governor in Iraq post 2003 (or the British equivalent in liaison terms). Might be an interesting compare and contrast.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Occupational-Ha ... 0330440500

Stewart is a bit of a legend. Dropped out of the Foreign Office and walked from Constantinople (Istanbul) to China across Iran and Kurdistan and Afghanistan (pre 9-11)-- all kinds of crazy adventures. Wrote a book about it.

Then re-upped as 'our man in Basra' (or rather a dusty capital somewhere outside). Right out of the days of the Empire.

Now is a Member of Parliament (Tory- -Scottish Borders) rolled out whenever intervention needs to be commented upon. But sufficiently independent of mind to not be a reliable agent for saying what the government wants.

It's like when Paddy Ashdown (now Lord Ashdown), former Royal Marine Commando, Borneo Campaign (1963-68) spoke to the House before the first Gulf War, about soldiers minds on the eve of Battle. By that time, the vast majority of Members of Parliament would have no direct experience of military life or of combat, and there was Major Ashdown, telling them what it was like to get ready to kill and be killed.

When Stewart speaks about the Middle East and the British role, it's a man of experience far beyond his years. We built an Empire on such men-- that the Empire is gone (and unlamented in many quarters) does not mean that we no longer need such men.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Wed May 15, 2013 11:13 pm

"Damage" by John Lescroart.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Thu May 16, 2013 4:38 pm

Nine Years Among the Indians, by Herman Lehman. Author kidnapped at age 12 in 1870, from farm near Fredricksburg, Texas, adapts to indian life among the Apache and then the Commanche. He describes raids, customs, and daily life until his band's surrender to reservation at Ft Sill, Oklahoma, and then his return to his surviving family in 1879.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Fri May 17, 2013 11:21 am

I just finished The Admirals by Walter Borneman and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra.

Now reading Cooked by Michael Pollan.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Fri May 17, 2013 2:22 pm

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, on wife's recommendation. 1/3 through, very good.

One major gripe, which also applies to Jeff Shaara's books. It just drives me bughouse when a book like this includes battle maps, and I, like a sucker look at them in hopes of figuring out what's going on--and the map includes all sorts of names of places that never get mentioned in the book and fails to mark the location of the place where all of the events in the adjacent pages are taking place!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Sid » Fri May 17, 2013 3:41 pm

"A Feast of Crows" by George R. R. Martin. The 4th book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. I am really enjoying this series. What blows my mind is that I am an avid reader and yet I didn't know about these well written books until HBO did the TV series Game of Thrones based upon the novels. And yet the first book was published in 1996. It is funny how you can always be on the lookout for good books and yet miss something this obvious. These stories are kind of like a cross between the more adult versions of the King Arthur novels (Bernard Cornwell) and the Lord of the Rings novels with more violence and sex thrown in for good measure.

"Invisible Armies: An epic history of guerilla warfare from ancient times to the present" by Max Boot. I particularly enjoy learning ancient to medieval history which this book covers, but most of its emphasis is on recent history (1500 to present). Of course, that is where you would find the most written records.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Sat May 18, 2013 11:24 pm

" Just One Look" by Harlan Coben.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Bungo » Tue May 21, 2013 9:52 pm

Recently finished The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and started Atonement by Ian McEwan. I'm also about halfway through Robert Caro's The Path to Power.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Tue May 21, 2013 10:09 pm

Love Insurance, by Earl Derr Biggers. Mystery fiction set in pre -WWI Florida.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Sconie » Tue May 21, 2013 10:19 pm

The Guns at Last Light, the third book in a WW II trilogy by Rick Atkinson. Two thumbs up!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Tue May 21, 2013 10:59 pm

"The Confession" by John Grisham.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby xram » Wed May 22, 2013 7:58 am

VTI, VBR, VTWV, SCHH, VXUS, VEA, VWO, VSS, FM, VNQI, VBTLX, VFITX, SCHP, VWITX, IBONDS, EEBONDS, EF(EverBank), UTAH-529
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Wed May 22, 2013 10:24 am

I just finished Cooked by Michael Pollan.

Now reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Wed May 22, 2013 10:52 am

johnep wrote:Immoderate Greatness - Why Civilizations Fail by William Ophuls

This is a short book of 70 pages and the author lays out the factors that cause all civilizations to fail. It is not specific to any one civilization but makes the point that it is inevitable for all civilizations to fail due to these factors and weaknesses in humanity that all civilizations have in common. He presents a very plausible argument and I can see some of this from my own experience and observation. Some of his comments are eerily on target with our modern civilization, especialy Western civilization.


*Immoderate Greatness* explains how a civilization’s very magnitude conspires against it to cause downfall. Civilizations are hard-wired for self-destruction. They travel an arc from initial success to terminal decay and ultimate collapse due to intrinsic, inescapable biophysical limits combined with an inexorable trend toward moral decay and practical failure. Because our own civilization is global, its collapse will also be global, as well as uniquely devastating owing to the immensity of its population, complexity, and consumption. To avoid the common fate of all past civilizations will require a radical change in our ethos—to wit, the deliberate renunciation of greatness—lest we precipitate a dark age in which the arts and adornments of civilization are partially or completely lost.


Not wishing to be left in suspense I looked it up on Amazon.

I cannot tell this is a biological-societal story a la Jared Diamond's 'Collapse'? What Diamond's book has going for it is a series of detailed case studies of why island civilizations collapsed (Viking Iceland, Easter Island etc.) or did not (Japan). Not all of his accounts are accepted by archaeologists. Islands are interesting because they mirror our own expansion on this planet-- we are now at the territorial (if not physical) limits of This Island Earth.

'inexorable trend towards moral decay and practical failure'. Well that's a story at least as old as Gibbon-- that the Romans got morally corrupt, -- that plus the rise of Christianity.

So it depends how we define 'moral decay'. And 'practical failure' for that matter. The thing that reminds me of past civilizations is a fairly heedless exploitation of the biosphere-- soil erosion and exhaustion was part of the explanation for the fall of the Roman Empire. Long droughts have been fatal to past civilizations.

Moral decay? Depends what you call morality, but I don't see it-- I do not see us as massively less moral than previous generations (although we are probably a bit more public about it). Watch or read the Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey 'Murder Must Advertise' about an advertising agency rife with cocaine and sex-- in 1920s London. Georgian London? Take a look at any Hogarth painting-- the place was a pit of gin drinking, gambling and illict s-x-- not to mention crime. Not to mention corruption in the highest offices of government and industry. Complete degenerates were the Georgians yet it is deemed to be one of England's greatest eras. What is 'moral' ebbs and flows and most generations have some pretty shocking immoralities.

Banking crashes? See the Victorian era-- full of them, plus the railway bust, the Barings crisis, the Crash of 1873 etc.

I'd say on a lot of things we are more moral than our forbears-- slavery is an issue in relatively small parts of the world for example as opposed to a lynchpin of the Roman economy, or the 17th century British Atlantic one. I worry about the Amazon rainforest quite a bit because the consequences of its disappearance are unknowable.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Wed May 22, 2013 12:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Wed May 22, 2013 10:57 am

Sid wrote:"A Feast of Crows" by George R. R. Martin. The 4th book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. I am really enjoying this series. What blows my mind is that I am an avid reader and yet I didn't know about these well written books until HBO did the TV series Game of Thrones based upon the novels. And yet the first book was published in 1996. It is funny how you can always be on the lookout for good books and yet miss something this obvious. These stories are kind of like a cross between the more adult versions of the King Arthur novels (Bernard Cornwell) and the Lord of the Rings novels with more violence and sex thrown in for good measure.

"Invisible Armies: An epic history of guerilla warfare from ancient times to the present" by Max Boot. I particularly enjoy learning ancient to medieval history which this book covers, but most of its emphasis is on recent history (1500 to present). Of course, that is where you would find the most written records.


My old post was lost, I think but

The Black Company by Glen Cook- especially the first 3. Cook was a footsoldier in Vietnam, and he writes his fantasy informed by that-- his understanding of war and guerilla war. The Black Company is loosely based on the historical The White Company (a group of English mercenaries from the 100 Years War, who legged it into Italy and became famous for their military prowess and their loyalty to their employers).

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/glen-cook/

If you like military fantasy by someone who has done his homework, then Cook is it (Steve Erikson acknowledges his debt to Cook). The Dread Empire explores similar themes (thinly disguised incarnation of the rise of Islam, hits medieval Europe in full bloom, and then later a war with the Chinese Mongols ie the Dread Empire). And his Garratt, PI series is Raymond Chandler set in the city on the edge of an interminable war orchestrated by the wizards who command the city, Garrett (like Philip Marlowe, and Chandler himself) is a veteran nursing old psychic wounds.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Wed May 22, 2013 12:30 pm

"Our American Cousin" (play) by Tom Taylor, and if anyone knows what stage directions like "Exit Binny, L. 3 E." please let me know. I assume L means stage left; I think 1, 2, and 3 might mean downstage, in between, and upstage???? But what does "E" mean?

Starting Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin but it isn't grabbing me... we will see.

Nibbling through Telzey Amberdon by James H. Schmitz one chapter/story at a time.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Wed May 22, 2013 5:19 pm

nisiprius wrote:"
Nibbling through Telzey Amberdon by James H. Schmitz one chapter/story at a time.


A classic although I actually prefer some of his other ones:

- The Demon Breed, about a marine biologist outwitting an alien invasion -- that is also set in 'The Hub' universe (Telzey, Trigger Argee etc.)
- The Eternal Frontier, another novella with a 'backstory' which is never, AFAIK, fully explored in other stories- -about a research base under assault from a mysterious force
- Agent of Vega- a planet outwits its enemies
Witches of Kares about 3 little girls with psychic powers is of course probably his most famous book

Before it was fashionable so to do, Schmitz wrote strong, believable female characters in Science Fiction.

To me, there is a logical thematic line to Lois McMaster Bujolds 'Cordelia's Honor' aka Shards of Honor and Barryar. Again with a very strong female character (Captain Cordelia Naismith of the Betan Astronautical Corps, who gets kidnapped by Barryan Captain Aral Vorkosigan aka 'the Butcher' and dragged first into a space war and then a bloody civil war-- during the course of which they fall in love...). Any description of the plot belies Bujold's ability to convey the murky and psycopathic politics and personalities of Barryar, and her ability to write 'space opera' that twists the conventions. And like Schmitz's female characters, she remains with you (warning: I have probably read the 2 books at least 10 times, cover to cover-- something you could only also say of Larry Niven, Roger Zelazny and of Poul Anderson and some of the Heinlein 'juveniles').

There's a line, discussing the space invasion of Escobar

'Will they counterattack, sir?'
'This isn't some outpost. This is their home they are fighting for. Of course they'll counterattack'

Catches somehow a perfect truth about desperate people in a time of war: instantly you can imagine the defenders on Wake Island, the men of Torpedo 8 going to their deaths against the Japanese Carriers off Midway, the Fairey Swordfish biplanes dropping their torpedoes in the frigid Atlantic against the Bismark. German divers in rubber suits in the winter North Atlantic night trying to fix the damaged steering gear. Japanese pilots readying for their kamikaze runs against the American fleet off Okinawa.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Default User BR » Thu May 23, 2013 1:14 am

My original follow-up got losted too.

Valuethinker wrote:The Black Company by Glen Cook- especially the first 3 . . . And his Garratt, PI series is Raymond Chandler set in the city on the edge of an interminable war orchestrated by the wizards who command the city, Garrett (like Philip Marlowe, and Chandler himself) is a veteran nursing old psychic wounds.

I enjoy the Garret series. There's a new one due out in July.


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