What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:43 pm

Ricola wrote:
max12377 wrote:One book which I read a couple years ago that has helped me a lot at work is called 'Total Workday Control' by Michael Linenberger. It's similar to GTD but I like it better as it uses MS Outlook to develop your task management system. It really did help me get control of my workday. Now when I see people with inboxes of 1000's of emails (read and unread) I wonder how they get through the day with a clear head!


I am interested in finding a better ways to use MS Outlook, thanks for the recommendation.

I am also grateful for the recommendation. I have Getting Things Done, but was not aware of this book.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:06 pm

The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (Vol. II), by Washington Irving. Looks like it covers primarily the governance of Hispaniola and the fourth voyage. An interesting 19th century view, easy to read narratve, so far very positive about the native inhabitants of Hispaniola, and negative about the Spanish other than the adherents of the Columbus brothers.

-------------------------

EDIT: Never did find Vol I. Vol II is good. Nevertheless, if any one is interested in this subject a better treatment in my opinion is Admiral of the Ocean Sea, by Samuel Eliot Morison.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:48 pm

I just finished For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.

Now reading Angel in the Whirlwind by Benson Bobrick.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Tycoon » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:20 pm

The Future for Investors: Why the Tried and the True Triumph Over the Bold and the New by Jeremy J. Siegel
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:57 pm

"The Enemy" by Lee Child.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Igglesman » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:01 pm

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. 4 out of 5 stars. Not bad.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:11 pm

Reading Agee on Film, Criticism and Comment on the Movies, by James Agee. I haven't read Agee in many years so it was a welcome return to this great writer. He was capable, as almost no other, of writing something like this, from a '47 review of Shoeshine: "The elementary beginning of true reason, that is, of reason which involves not merely the forebrain but the entire being, resides, I should think, in the ability to recognize oneself, and others, primarily as human beings, and to recognize the ultimate absoluteness of responsibility of each human being. ... I am none too sure of my vocabulary, but would suppose this can be called the humanistic attitude."

And he could write these, both complete reviews in this book: "Tycoon. Several tons of dynamite are set off in this movie, none of it under the right people." And "You Were Meant for Me. That's what you think." There also are long chapters on the lives and movies of the great comedians such as Keaton and Chaplin: "Of all comedians, he (Chaplin) worked most deeply and most shrewdly within a realization of what a human being is, and is up against."

The reviews go only to late '40s movies and Agee died in '55 in his mid-40s.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:53 am

gkaplan wrote:I'm a little over half way through Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying: The Secret World War II Transcripts of German POWs by Sönke Neitzel and Harald Welzer. British intelligence recorded these transcripts in hopes of gaining information that might be useful in the Allied war effort; however, the transcripts proved to be of little value in that regard. What the transcripts did provide, though, was a window into the minds of the soldiers in the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, and the German navy and disproved once and for all the myth that the German armed forces were not complicit in war crimes to the degree that the Waffen SS was. (Daniel Goldhagen made the same point some fifteen years earlier in his late 1990s book Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, a book that was met with much criticism and hostility.)

Dry reading (Neitzel, a historian, and Welzer, a social psychologist, are not as accomplished writers as Goldhagen) but well worth the effort.


That is not what the controversy about Goldhagen's book was about. (or at least it was largely not about that-- as below, it has come to be accepted in modern Germany that 'ordinary' Wehrmacht soldiers were participants in the Holocaust).

There was a touring exhibition in Germany in the early 1990s, called something like 'War Crimes of the Wehrmacht' that made the point that the regular German forces were heavily involved in the perpetration of the Holocaust (over half of the victims of the Holocaust were killed by 'retail' means-- ie bullets, garrots etc, the death camps were actually quite late). It was heavily visited and widely discussed in Germany at the time: the exhibition had documentary evidence from diaries, photographs, home movies taken by german soldiers to support its contentions.

The debate about Goldhagen's book, which was huge in Germany, was about his contention that German history and society had *uniquely* anti semitic roots, ie the Holocaust was quite specifically a *German* thing, would not have happened in other countries.

The best riposte to Goldhagen was Browning's book 'Ordinary Men: Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution'

http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Men-Rese ... 0060995068

This was an ordinary German reserve military unit, made up of professional policemen. They were not required to participate in the Final Solution-- they were offered alternative service. But, largely, they chose to do so-- the unit killed 10s of thousands of Jews and other targets in occupied Poland.

This is well in line with the Milgrom experiment and other psychological evidence. Such as the massacre by the Americal division at the village of My Lai in Vietnam, whose playbook was right out of the Final Solution (even down to stopping for lunch). Given legitimate authority, most humans who are part of a group, a uniformed group, will adhere to the social norm-- even if that means mass slaughter.

The evidence suggests that Goldhagen is wrong. Germany, which had the longest history in continental Europe of Jewish integration into society (there weren't ghettoes any more in pre 1933 Germany, whereas there were in Poland etc.; many Jews went to the gas chambers clutching military decorations they had won fighting for Germany in WW1), was not unique in having the Holocaust. The enthusiastic participation by citizens of other countries (France, Latvia, Poland, Hungary etc.) in the Holocaust substantiates that, ditto the wide sweep of the barrel of the Holocaust (not just Jews, but homosexuals, resistance fighters, leftists etc.).

The message of the Holocaust is pretty clear: change the norms around which people operate, and they will do terrible things-- especially if in uniform in a miltiary or paramilitary setting. The behaviour of Allied forces fighting the Japanese (see the documentary and book 'Hell in the Pacific'), the Japanese behaviour towards Allied forces and POWs in turn, the Japanese atrocities in China, and various western 'reprisals' in colonies (Belgium in the Congo first and foremost, but others as well eg British concentration camps in Kenya and South Africa) all point in that direction.

The Holocaust was not a uniquely German thing (although the industrial efficiency had a distinctly Germanic genius for organization) it was at the very least a European thing, if not a human thing.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:58 am

LadyGeek wrote:OK, I fess up. I'm working on the "The Otherworld Trilogy" by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson, a fantasy and paranormal romance author. IOW, it's a heartthrob romance for sci-fi fans.

BTW, if anyone is looking for a good fantasy / adventure "coming of age" book for teenagers (especially girls), I highly recommend "Watership Down" by Richard Adams. The main characters are rabbits. See: Watership Down


Watership Down is not just for teenagers. It resonates with adults as well (the movie was pretty good too, although the rabbits get confusing-- telling them apart). It is an absolute classic of English literature. The characters of Hazel and Fiver and Bigwin and General Woundwort are eternal. the research into the natural life of rabbits is fascinating.

I'd put it up there with The Hobbit, also a 'youth' novel that is really for adults. A bit like 'His Dark Materials' (Philip Pulman) in that respect.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:58 pm

I just finished Angel in the Whirlwind by Benson Bobrick.

Now reading Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Blues » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:10 pm

"Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:15 pm

Recently finished Collected Stories Volume 3: The Star, by Arthur C. Clarke. The publisher, RosettaBooks, seems to be putting his books on sale in rotation at $1.99 each.

Just started Joyland, by Stephen King.

Watch out: King decided not to release this as an eBook, it is print only... and if you search for it as a Kindle book on Amazon, what you find is a six page "book" seemingly entitled "Joyland (Hard Case Crime... $2.99 Kindle Edition." In reality, the full title is Joyland (Hard Case Crime) by Stephen King, a review. And the cover art looks like this:

Image

I was within second of clicking but fortunately the "average reader review" of 1 caught my eye.

The same author seems to have published a number of such... things, including Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed 3-volume, a review which is three pages long. Shame on Amazon for permitting this.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Default User BR » Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:50 pm

Finishing up The Last Word, the latest (final?) book in the Spellman series by Lisa Lutz. These are the tales of a somewhat dysfunctional family of private investigators. It, like the others so far, is narrated by former juvenile-delinquent middle child Isabel "Izzy" Spellman. It picks up following her coup at the end of last book, where she wrested control of the business from her parents. So along with her usual messy personal life, she's now "the boss" and all that entails, including her parents' passive-aggressive retaliations.


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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:02 pm

The Life Advenures, and Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton, by Daniel DeFoe.

A young English boy is kidnapped and sold by gypsies, becomes a sailor, is falsely accused of plotting to murder the captain, and is marooned with others on an island in the Indian Ocean. So far, an interesting and enjoyable novel.

EDIT: DeFoe is certainly the all-time world champion in the sport of run-on counpound sentences. Still this was an enjoyable book and interesting story.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby jegallup » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:23 pm

Giai Phong!, the Fall and Liberation of Saigon, by Tiziano Terzani, an Italian journalist who stayed behind after the Americans left in 1975.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:54 pm

"Crimson Joy" by Robert Parker.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby moto112233 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:31 pm

Currently, "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie. It's an epic, in the sense that it's a multigenerational story with numerous characters, but it's also layered and nuanced and engaging and beautiful.

The best book I have read recently is "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" by Thorton Wilder. A priest trying to find meaning in a senseless tragedy. Why did those who died die? An inquiry into their lives, the nature of their relationships, the essence of their persons. And the prose is incredibly crisp.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:52 pm

I just finished Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke.

Now reading Thomas Jefferson by Jon Meacham.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:11 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
gkaplan wrote:I'm a little over half way through Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying: The Secret World War II Transcripts of German POWs by Sönke Neitzel and Harald Welzer. British intelligence recorded these transcripts in hopes of gaining information that might be useful in the Allied war effort; however, the transcripts proved to be of little value in that regard. What the transcripts did provide, though, was a window into the minds of the soldiers in the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, and the German navy and disproved once and for all the myth that the German armed forces were not complicit in war crimes to the degree that the Waffen SS was. (Daniel Goldhagen made the same point some fifteen years earlier in his late 1990s book Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, a book that was met with much criticism and hostility.)

Dry reading (Neitzel, a historian, and Welzer, a social psychologist, are not as accomplished writers as Goldhagen) but well worth the effort.


That is not what the controversy about Goldhagen's book was about. (or at least it was largely not about that-- as below, it has come to be accepted in modern Germany that 'ordinary' Wehrmacht soldiers were participants in the Holocaust).

There was a touring exhibition in Germany in the early 1990s, called something like 'War Crimes of the Wehrmacht' that made the point that the regular German forces were heavily involved in the perpetration of the Holocaust (over half of the victims of the Holocaust were killed by 'retail' means-- ie bullets, garrots etc, the death camps were actually quite late). It was heavily visited and widely discussed in Germany at the time: the exhibition had documentary evidence from diaries, photographs, home movies taken by german soldiers to support its contentions.

The debate about Goldhagen's book, which was huge in Germany, was about his contention that German history and society had *uniquely* anti semitic roots, ie the Holocaust was quite specifically a *German* thing, would not have happened in other countries.

The best riposte to Goldhagen was Browning's book 'Ordinary Men: Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution'

http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Men-Rese ... 0060995068

This was an ordinary German reserve military unit, made up of professional policemen. They were not required to participate in the Final Solution-- they were offered alternative service. But, largely, they chose to do so-- the unit killed 10s of thousands of Jews and other targets in occupied Poland.

This is well in line with the Milgrom experiment and other psychological evidence. Such as the massacre by the Americal division at the village of My Lai in Vietnam, whose playbook was right out of the Final Solution (even down to stopping for lunch). Given legitimate authority, most humans who are part of a group, a uniformed group, will adhere to the social norm-- even if that means mass slaughter.

The evidence suggests that Goldhagen is wrong. Germany, which had the longest history in continental Europe of Jewish integration into society (there weren't ghettoes any more in pre 1933 Germany, whereas there were in Poland etc.; many Jews went to the gas chambers clutching military decorations they had won fighting for Germany in WW1), was not unique in having the Holocaust. The enthusiastic participation by citizens of other countries (France, Latvia, Poland, Hungary etc.) in the Holocaust substantiates that, ditto the wide sweep of the barrel of the Holocaust (not just Jews, but homosexuals, resistance fighters, leftists etc.).

The message of the Holocaust is pretty clear: change the norms around which people operate, and they will do terrible things-- especially if in uniform in a miltiary or paramilitary setting. The behaviour of Allied forces fighting the Japanese (see the documentary and book 'Hell in the Pacific'), the Japanese behaviour towards Allied forces and POWs in turn, the Japanese atrocities in China, and various western 'reprisals' in colonies (Belgium in the Congo first and foremost, but others as well eg British concentration camps in Kenya and South Africa) all point in that direction.

The Holocaust was not a uniquely German thing (although the industrial efficiency had a distinctly Germanic genius for organization) it was at the very least a European thing, if not a human thing.




You’re right, of course. Much of the criticism directed at Goldhagen was his assertion that inherent German anti-Semitism made inevitable the Holocaust, when in fact all of Europe had a long history of anti-Semitism. It came as no surprise, therefore, that Duch nationals, French nationals, and other western Europeans betrayed Jews to the Gestapo, and Eastern Europeans were willing and eager accomplices in commission of war crimes; nevertheless, an equal amount of criticism was directed at Goldhagen for his debunking the decades-long myth that the Wehrmacht were innocent bystanders to the war crimes committed by the Waffen SS, when in fact many of the Wehrmacht actively participated, from the ordinary foot soldier to the higher-ranked officer, and in some cases several generals. Of course, since a recent president of ours famously intoned that the Waffen SS soldiers were victims, as well, perhaps there were no war criminals, just victims.

(Edited for punctuation.)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby FabLab » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:02 am

Currently reading Canada by Richard Ford.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Igglesman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:24 am

Completed:
"Gone Girl" Gillian Flynn 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. Liked it.
"Sharp Objects" Gillian Flynn 3 1/4 stars our of 5. Loses a 1/4 star on price. :P

Anyone read Dark Places by same author? Worth reading?
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby DriftingDudeSC » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:56 pm

Currently reading a Chain of Thunder by Jeff Shaara.........
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby denismurf » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:39 pm

I returned to, and actually finished, Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny. It's a distillation of 70 hours of interviews with Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps, plus family and colleagues. I stopped halfway through because it literally made me nauseated, but later carried on through his escape to Brazil and then trial and imprisonment.

Immediately afterwards, I read Defying Hitler, by Sebastian Haffner. The title is a little misleading. Haffner was born in Germany in 1907 and led the life of a typical somewhat privileged non-Jewish student and lawyer until Hitler took power in 1933. Unlike the vast majority of his peers, Haffner could not stomach the Nazi regime and emigrated to Great Britain in 1938. This memoir stops in 1939 and wasn't published until 2000. It's a real eye opener for anybody who has ever asked how Hitler & Co managed to take over so completely and quickly. Where were all the educated, Christian, responsible adults when this happened? Now I know.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:37 pm

"One Shot" by Lee Child.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:03 pm

denismurf wrote:I returned to, and actually finished, Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny. It's a distillation of 70 hours of interviews with Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps, plus family and colleagues. I stopped halfway through because it literally made me nauseated, but later carried on through his escape to Brazil and then trial and imprisonment.

Immediately afterwards, I read Defying Hitler, by Sebastian Haffner. The title is a little misleading. Haffner was born in Germany in 1907 and led the life of a typical somewhat privileged non-Jewish student and lawyer until Hitler took power in 1933. Unlike the vast majority of his peers, Haffner could not stomach the Nazi regime and emigrated to Great Britain in 1938. This memoir stops in 1939 and wasn't published until 2000. It's a real eye opener for anybody who has ever asked how Hitler & Co managed to take over so completely and quickly. Where were all the educated, Christian, responsible adults when this happened? Now I know.


Gitta Sereny also wrote a searing indictment of Albert Speer and his attempt at dissembling.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby CaliJim » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:50 pm

"The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011" by Athol Kay.

It's not what you think... it isn't about positions and such. It is about gender specific genetic instincts and maintaining a healthy relationship with your spouse.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby technovelist » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:22 am

CaliJim wrote:"The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011" by Athol Kay.

It's not what you think... it isn't about positions and such. It is about gender specific genetic instincts and maintaining a healthy relationship with your spouse.


That is an excellent book. His new one, "The Mindful Attraction Plan" is also excellent, and more generally applicable to life issues.

I'm currently reading "The Millionaire Next Door" and von Mises' "Human Action".
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Patchy Groundfog » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:27 am

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford. Fascinating blend of history and fiction about the Soviet Union's effort in the late 1950s-early 1960s to build an economy that would be the envy of the West, through central planning, "mathematical economics" and cybernetics. Copiously footnoted.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:53 pm

"Killing floor" by Lee Child.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:26 pm

The Ivory Child, by H Rider Haggard. One of many African adventure novels featuring Allan Quartermain. I am apparently regressing back into adolescent boy adventure story territory.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby bengal22 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:50 pm

FabLab wrote:Currently reading Canada by Richard Ford.


Richard Ford is one of the best living authors. Canada is good but I liked his Sportswriter Trilogy better.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby bengal22 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:52 pm

Just finished reading "Z" about F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife Zelda. I don't normally like female authors but this one was the cat's meow. Very good.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:00 pm

FInished Joyland by Stephen King. Oh, it's OK, and it's relatively light on the horror stuff. But I think he's writing potboilers now, it has its moments but I never really care about the characters.

Just started Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen. My wife gives it a lukewarm review.

About 2/3 through America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, by David Goldfield, which I think is THE best book I've EVER read about the Civil War. And some darned interesting economic details--there was a panic of 1857 prewar. And after the war, particular in the North, there was a boom during which there really was endless opportunity and everyone could become rich and invent things etc. etc. He says this period strongly influenced Mark Twain; created the legend of the go-getter Yankee entrepreneur, etc. Horatio Alger came out of this era.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:14 pm

I'm about twenty-five pages into In Search of Sugihara: The Elusive Diplomat Who Risked His Life to Rescue 10,000 Jews from the Holocaust by Hillel Levine. Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat working out of the Japanese consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania. He wrote, and sometimes forged, over 10,000 foreign transit visas for Jews desperate to escape Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. Unlike Raul Wallenberg, who had been sent by the Swedish government to Hungary with the expressed purpose of saving Jews, or Oskar Schindler, who at least initially, had a vested economic interest in protecting the lives of his factory workers, Sugihara had no apparent motive for doing what he did and defying his own government and for which cost him his career. Hillel Levine, in his book, tries to uncover those motives.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:37 pm

There’s been no escaping Douglas Adams and I wouldn’t have it any other way. About a month ago, while slowly reading and savoring Adams’s The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I worked in another book by Sal Kahn and was pleased that it began with quotes from “Hitchhiker.” Then recently, while on the fifth novel in the one-volume “Hitchhiker book,” I read a book by James Montier and was pleased to see another “Hitchhiker” quote in the Introduction.

In The Little Book of Behavioral Investing, Montier writes about our brains being "well designed for the environment of 150,000 years ago (the African savannah), but ill-suited for the information age in which we currently live.” So, of course, here’s the Adams passage he used:

“Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one shold ever have left the oceans.”
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby magician » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:40 pm

Designing Miracles, by Darwin Ortiz.
Simplify the complicated side; don't complify the simplicated side.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Live Free or Diehard » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:05 am

I'm just finishing Roman Blood by Steven Saylor and starting Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller.

Fallible wrote:There’s been no escaping Douglas Adams and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Last week I read one of Douglas Adams' essays at an open mic reading ("Cookies", from Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time, by Douglas Adams). "Cookies" is actually more a real-life story (something that happened to Douglas), then an essay. It's also a story that he uses in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, the fourth book in the Hitchhiker's trilogy. The fourth book is my favorite of the Hitchhiker books. It's not as saturated with zaniness as the other books; but you do learn more about Arthur Dent as a real and complex character. And it is very witty, in it's own way.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby stratton » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:25 pm

A Robert B. Parker Spenser book by Ace Atkins call Wunderland.

The first one he did for the Parker estate was pretty good. The problem is as he writes more of them I'm seeing an apparent style drift and they aren't as carefully done. All of the old secondary characters are now always out of town. I suppose that makes his job easier, but the books are getting a bit flat.

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...and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:25 pm

Live Free or Diehard wrote:I'm just finishing Roman Blood by Steven Saylor and starting Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller.

Fallible wrote:There’s been no escaping Douglas Adams and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Last week I read one of Douglas Adams' essays at an open mic reading ("Cookies", from Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time, by Douglas Adams). "Cookies" is actually more a real-life story (something that happened to Douglas), then an essay. It's also a story that he uses in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, the fourth book in the Hitchhiker's trilogy. The fourth book is my favorite of the Hitchhiker books. It's not as saturated with zaniness as the other books; but you do learn more about Arthur Dent as a real and complex character. And it is very witty, in it's own way.


Reading Adams must have been fun, especially "Cookies." Did you act it out a little? Or just a straight reading?

Arthur is more fully developed with Fenchurch, but I still like Marvin. :happy
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Live Free or Diehard » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:35 am

Fallible wrote:Reading Adams must have been fun, especially "Cookies." Did you act it out a little? Or just a straight reading?

Arthur is more fully developed with Fenchurch, but I still like Marvin. :happy

It was mostly a reading. I had a small table and acted out the part where I (Douglas) explain(s) that "it's very important that you get this right. The newspaper was here, the packet of cookies here, coffee here." It would be fun to have another person play the guy in the suit sitting across from me (Douglas)and eating "my" cookies. I also used a lot of facial expressions.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:58 am

Live Free or Diehard wrote:
Fallible wrote:Reading Adams must have been fun, especially "Cookies." Did you act it out a little? Or just a straight reading?

Arthur is more fully developed with Fenchurch, but I still like Marvin. :happy

It was mostly a reading. I had a small table and acted out the part where I (Douglas) explain(s) that "it's very important that you get this right. The newspaper was here, the packet of cookies here, coffee here." It would be fun to have another person play the guy in the suit sitting across from me (Douglas)and eating "my" cookies. I also used a lot of facial expressions.


I agree it probably would be better with two, even if the other guy is the one who just starts eating the cookies. There must be endless nuanced reactions to that! :shock: :twisted: :? :( :annoyed

I think there are varying versions of Adams's description of the scene as the story begins. Here's one from an excerpt from "Salmon," in which Adams says: "I want you to picture the scene. It's very important that you get this very clear in your mind. Here's the table, newspaper, cup of coffee, packet of cookies. There's a guy sitting opposite me, perfectly ordinary-looking guy wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase."

From this description, you don't know the cookies are under the newspaper. You don't know where they are, but since most of us would put the cookies next to the newspaper, that's where you'd assume they were. (I further assumed they were in the middle of the table, close to the other guy so it would be credible when he began eating cookies.) Thus, when Adams said it's "very important" that readers get it "clear in their minds," he was deliberately being very UNclear. Clever chap. 8-) Not to mention that he didn't mention the other packet of cookies on the table belonging to the other guy. And yet we readers would, as Adams knew, trust that what he told us was ALL we needed to know, which, of course, was important so that we would believe throughout that the other guy was eating another guy's cookies and not his own. It's fun to parse this one.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Oddlot » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:59 pm

The American Home Front, 1941-1942, Alistair Cooke

Cooke spent several months traveling the US by car just after Pearl Harbor, writing about the impact of the war's build-up on society and commerce at the local level. Unpublished until 2006. Interesting, educational, and nostalgic.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:27 pm

Out of Time's Abyss, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Another mindless adventure story, third in a series. No redeeming social value, no utilitatrian purpose, absolutely no actionable information acquired. Not useful on any level. Thats great :)
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:10 pm

I'm two chapters into Final Curtain, the fourteenth of Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn mysteries.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:46 pm

ruralavalon wrote:Out of Time's Abyss, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Another mindless adventure story, third in a series. No redeeming social value, no utilitatrian purpose, absolutely no actionable information acquired. Not useful on any level. Thats great :)

When I was a child I read his Tarzan and John Carter series.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:02 pm

"This Body of Death" by Elizabeth George.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby DriftingDudeSC » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:23 pm

Headstone by Ken Buen
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby technovelist » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:34 pm

Beyond the Grave, recommended on a thread here (IIRC).
I'm going to give it to my mother on my next visit.
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:53 pm

Finished America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, by David Goldfield, and it is THE best book I have ever read about the Civil War.

Starting The Fifties by David Halberstam, and perhaps--since his book happened to mention Mickey Spillane and I've never read a Mickey Spillane book--My Gun is Quick by Mickey Spillane. How much of it I actually read remains to be seen.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby letsgobobby » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:45 pm

Jerusalem by Simon Montefiore, high level overview of the complex history of the world's most complex city. Great read, like a story.

Man's search for meaning by Viktor Frankl. Briefly an account of Dr. Frankl's survival of the Holocaust, but also the philosophical introduction to his logotherapy, which rose up in the fifties as an alternative to Freudian analysis.

Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy, third of the Border Trilogy. Not as good as All the Pretty Horses but a suitable ending for the trilogy. He's still the best modern American novelist I've read.
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