What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:25 pm

They Came to Bagdad, by Agatha Christie. A spy/adventure novel set in the1940's Iraq, Chrisite actually was familiar with the country where she had travelled several times with her archeologist husband.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:07 am

ruralavalon wrote:They Came to Bagdad, by Agatha Christie. A spy/adventure novel set in the1940's Iraq, Chrisite actually was familiar with the country where she had travelled several times with her archeologist husband.


Good one! My great uncle was there (in the RAF). And I think the greatest British General of WW2 (Sir William Slim, of Burma) was a division commander there.

To quote AC herself:

"An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her."

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/autho ... d40QhKU.99

She also wrote one set in Ancient Egypt (based on a major discovery of household correspondence for an Egyptian estate) 'Death Comes as The End'.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:11 am

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


If you get a chance, the playwright David Hare has a monologue, 'Via Doloroso' about Jerusalem, it is utterly brilliant (and short)-- it has been published.

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.


Logotherapy never seemed to go anywhere, although the New York Times had an article that it was making a comeback. I believe this is a very profound and important work of psychology-- one of the best (in that it is really about philosophy of life rather than psychology). In fact I'd probably put it in my '100 great books'.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby letsgobobby » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:31 am

Agreed, it was a profound book. I have read there are literally hundreds of therapies out there!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby DriftingDudeSC » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:52 pm

The MAX by Ken Buen & Jason Starr
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby rokidtoo » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:07 pm

Hell In A Very Small Place: The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu by Bernard Fall. We employed the French strategy at Khe Sanh with somewhat similar results. In other words, we tried to draw the NVA into a set piece battle near the Laotian border where we could employ our air and fire power advantages.

It's a good thing I didn't read this and Fall's other great book, Street Without Joy, before I was drafted in 1969. Tragically, Mr. Fall was killed by a land mine in 1967 while accompanying U.S. Marines along the "Street Without Joy", Route 1 between Hue and Quang Tri. 8-) ---Jim
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby RNJ » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:20 pm

Nemesis, Philip Roth.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:21 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
ruralavalon wrote:They Came to Bagdad, by Agatha Christie. A spy/adventure novel set in the1940's Iraq, Chrisite actually was familiar with the country where she had travelled several times with her archeologist husband.


Good one! My great uncle was there (in the RAF). And I think the greatest British General of WW2 (Sir William Slim, of Burma) was a division commander there.

To quote AC herself:

"An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her."

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/autho ... d40QhKU.99

She also wrote one set in Ancient Egypt (based on a major discovery of household correspondence for an Egyptian estate) 'Death Comes as The End'.


Just ordered a copy of 'Death Comes as The End'.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby peppers » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:01 am

The (Mis)Behavior of Markets by Benoit Mandelbrot & Richard Hudson
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby DriftingDudeSC » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:30 pm

Primary Target by Max Allan Collins...... Ex-assassin narrator Quarry is offered a million dollars to kill a presidential candidate. Cozily retired, and with a pregnant young wife, Quarry refuses, becoming a "loose end" to dangerous men who kill his wife.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby MP173 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:10 pm

"Book of Lies" by Brad Meltzer.

This is an interesting look at the murder of Abel by Cain, a secret society searching for that murder weapon, the 1930's murder of Mitchell Siegel (father of Superman creator Jerry Siegel) and the sprint by the society and a previously estranged father/son to find that murder weapon from the book of Genesis...got all that?

Yes, it is a little unbelievable, but it did introduce me to the history of Jerry Siegel and the plot was ok.

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

Postby ruralavalon » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:28 pm

Typee, by Herman Melville. A novel based very loosely on the author's soujourn in the Marquesas Islands while whaling in the 1840's. Fun so far, just started.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby jginseattle » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:36 pm

The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby zzcooper123 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:48 pm

The Art of Insight: How to Have More Aha! Moments by Charlies Kiefer
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby mike143 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:47 am

VictoriaF wrote:
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.

I am just starting the GTD audio book, I loath reading anything outside of a technical leaning. I will have to check out the Total Workday Control by Michael Linenberger. I use Outlook extensively at work and have to share my task list with my manager. I really like the idea of creating task and actions and choosing them based on your mental or physical commitment at the time. I have so many larger projects at home and feel bad not pursuing them that I never start the small projects that need to be done. My goal this week is if I don't want to tackle a large project after work to tackle a small project, such as sell item(s) on Craigslist/eBay that are taking up space and depreciating. I was aware of the general concepts of GTD but never could put it together into a functional system.
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.....

Postby pinecrest » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:57 pm

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

Postby chaz » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:18 pm

pinecrest wrote:Note to Chaz: I follow your posts religiously since we seem to have the same taste in reading. Whenever it's convenient, it would be great to hear any comments on what you're reading -- good, bad, ugly -- or whatever. No need for a dissertation...just whether or not you're liking the book. Thanks! And keep reading. :)

Thanks. I am really enjoying all novels by Elizabeth George.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby max12377 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:04 am

Just finished a good book that kept my attention the whole way through and wanted to share. Usually I find one or two chapters in these self-help type books to be real snoozers. This one was absent the filler chapters, fun to read and I liked the authors style. I found myself laughing out loud at parts.

It's called : The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman. Although not an investing book, you can actually apply some of these insights to investing.. For example, albeit perhaps obvious to some, he mentions some of the biggest successes historically have necessarily come for those who have taken the biggest risks... (aka 100% stocks at the right time.. and boast on the Boglehead forum :beer ) but conversely you rarely hear again about those that took the biggest risks and just plain failed.. (aka 100% stocks at the wrong time.. )

I also enjoyed the chapter on the "museum of failed products"... Never knew such a museum existed but some real comic gems in that chapter as well.

I admit I got it at the library but hey I'm a cheap-o Boglehead... er.. I mean, ahem, "frugal", Boglehead :D
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:24 am

"Trader of Secrets" by Steve Martini.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:57 am

auntJovie wrote:Currently reading Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (I'm enjoying reading my way through Discworld)


I was unaware of Terry Pratchett, but within the last two weeks several different people have mentioned him in various contexts. Which book do you recommend for "trying" Pratchett?

Thank you,
Victoria
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:13 am

I'm about halfway through David Halberstam's The Fifties. Sensational! Almost can't put it down. I don't know which I like better, the parts where he is telling me about stuff I know (having lived through the fifties), filling in chinks, and supplying an, um, adult view of events I saw through childs' eyes, or the parts where he is telling me about brand-new stuff I never heard of.

For example, the huge importance of the development of cotton-picking machinery, which reduced dependence on field hands and dovetailed with the "Great Migration" of blacks northward. They taught us about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin in school, but I don't remember ever hearing about John D. Rust and the cotton picker.
ruralavalon wrote:Typee, by Herman Melville. A novel based very loosely on the author's soujourn in the Marquesas Islands while whaling in the 1840's. Fun so far, just started.
It's been a looooong time since I read it, but I remember liking it. Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life was Melville's big bestseller, the book for which he was known at the time. I ought to re-read it. He had decent successes afterward with the somewhat similar Omoo and White-Jacket. My recollection is Typee would be a much better summer read than Moby-Dick, or, the Whale, which, basically, bombed. It didn't sell, nobody read it, its present reputation is the result of a rather amazing re-discovery and re-launch in the 1920s--and that relaunch owed a lot to publication of an edition will illustrations by Rockwell Kent. It was such a hit that columnists complained of people talking about having read "Moby-Dick, by Rockwell Kent."

When I read it, I was in college, and I went to the college library to try to dig out a larger-scale, up-to-date map of Nukahiva; it was difficult, and rendered even more baffling by spelling changes.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby jlawrence01 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:11 pm

Thomas Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies (2008)
Alan Blinder, After the Music Stopped (2013)
Andrew Sorkin, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem--and Themselves (2010)
Michael Lewis, The Big Short - Inside the Doomsday Machine (2011)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:29 pm

About a month ago I read the biography of Josephine Marcus Earp, the long time common-in-law wife of Wyatt Earp, by Ann Kirschner. About six years prior to that book, Kirschner wrote Sala's Gift: My Mother's Holocaust Story.

When her older sister was scheduled to be deported to a labor camp in November 1940, sixteen year old Sala Kirschner volunteered to take her place. Sala eventually would serve in six other labor camps until the end of the war. Her older sister would survive the war, as would another older sister. Her parents would be killed, as were three other older sisters, their husbands, and their twelve children among them. Her older brother went to Russia in 1939 and was never heard from again. Her uncle on her mother's side was killed, as was his wife, eight children, and all the children of the eight children.

Sala Kirschner did survive the war, married a U.S. serviceman shortly after the war, and emigrated to the United States.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby denismurf » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:43 am

Another plug for The Antidote.

If a book really does make me laugh out loud, I consider it worth its weight in Snickers bars.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ofcmetz » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:14 am

It's been a while since I posted on this thread. Here is what I have read since June started.

Buffett: The Making of an American Captalist by Roger Lowenstein - I haven't read much on Buffett so there was a lot of new stuff here for me to learn. I recommend this book.

Glock: The Rise of America's Gun by Paul M. Barrett - I've carried a Glock handgun for years and found the story completely compelling to read. It's actually was a best seller and wasn't written by a gun guy.

Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig

Divergent by Veronica Roth - A sci-fi type fiction book where the story takes place in Chicago. It was probably written for teens and young adults, but I enjoyed it none the less.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth - The sequel to Divergent. These two books read like one.

Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer by William Knoedelseder - This is what I'm currently reading. Its a great story so far of the company and the family.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ofcmetz » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:22 am

sschullo wrote:Re-read "Ender's Game" in anticipation of the movie coming out in November. Its OK, but I liked it better when I read it 25 years ago. It is dated, but his anticipation of computerized warfare training was excellent.


I first read this when I was 16 years old. Think I read it again in my early 20's. I remember enjoying it both times. I'll probably be disappointed by the movie as I have been by the majority of movies made from books I like. The Lord of the Rings movies being one of the few exceptions.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:37 am

I recently finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and Thomas Jefferson by Jon Meacham.

Now reading Mary Coin by Marisa Silver.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:35 am

ofcmetz wrote:
sschullo wrote:Re-read "Ender's Game" in anticipation of the movie coming out in November. Its OK, but I liked it better when I read it 25 years ago. It is dated, but his anticipation of computerized warfare training was excellent.


I first read this when I was 16 years old. Think I read it again in my early 20's. I remember enjoying it both times. I'll probably be disappointed by the movie as I have been by the majority of movies made from books I like. The Lord of the Rings movies being one of the few exceptions.

My exception was the movies based on the trilogy by Stieg Larsson.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:21 am

VictoriaF wrote:
auntJovie wrote:Currently reading Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (I'm enjoying reading my way through Discworld)


I was unaware of Terry Pratchett, but within the last two weeks several different people have mentioned him in various contexts. Which book do you recommend for "trying" Pratchett?

Thank you,
Victoria


Any of the early discworld.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/terry-pratchett/

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/ter ... t/mort.htm

We are losing 2 great SF/ Fantasy authors. Ian Banks died 6 months after being diagnosed with cancer. Terry Pratchett has early onset Alzheimers and is literally losing his mind (the great SF writer AE Van Vogt suffered from same, and many of his novels are rehashes of earlier works, in fact it becomes difficult to sort out which is the original or canonical version).

If you like Pratchett, L Sprague De Camp did some fantastic lightly humorous fantasy novels: in particular The Complete Enchanter (with Fletcher Pratt) and The Unincorporate Knight (a knight in a fantastical world decides that there's more money in running a bus service).

'The Fallible Fiend' about a daemon who struggles to do mortals' bidding is pretty good too.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/d/l-sprague-de-camp/
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:23 am

Valuethinker wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
auntJovie wrote:Currently reading Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (I'm enjoying reading my way through Discworld)


I was unaware of Terry Pratchett, but within the last two weeks several different people have mentioned him in various contexts. Which book do you recommend for "trying" Pratchett?

Thank you,
Victoria


Any of the early discworld.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/terry-pratchett/

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/ter ... t/mort.htm


I will start with Mort, which was also recommended by another person, and take it from there. Thank you,

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

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:39 am

max12377 wrote:Just finished a good book that kept my attention the whole way through and wanted to share. Usually I find one or two chapters in these self-help type books to be real snoozers. This one was absent the filler chapters, fun to read and I liked the authors style. I found myself laughing out loud at parts.

It's called : The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman. Although not an investing book, you can actually apply some of these insights to investing.. For example, albeit perhaps obvious to some, he mentions some of the biggest successes historically have necessarily come for those who have taken the biggest risks... (aka 100% stocks at the right time.. and boast on the Boglehead forum :beer ) but conversely you rarely hear again about those that took the biggest risks and just plain failed.. (aka 100% stocks at the wrong time.. )

I also enjoyed the chapter on the "museum of failed products"... Never knew such a museum existed but some real comic gems in that chapter as well.

I admit I got it at the library but hey I'm a cheap-o Boglehead... er.. I mean, ahem, "frugal", Boglehead :D


Oliver Burkeman has a weekly column in the Guardian Saturday magazine. Some classic pieces.

The other person who likes 'opposite to conventional wisdom' is Lucy Kellaway in the FT, whose weekly column takes apart some current management fad or nostrum. More business oriented but very entertaining (she also wrote the laugh out loud 'Martin Lukes: Who Moved my Blackberry?' which grew out of a column- -an inside look at the emails and thoughts of Martin Lukes, CEO of AB Global (with an umlaut over the o), a company which seems to do nothing headed by a CEO who seems to have absorbed every management buzzword of the last 20 years.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:45 am

http://www.amazon.com/Population-10-Bil ... 10+billion

Population 10 Billion by Danny Dorling

This very interesting (but inconsistently written) book by a professor of population demographics is a reply to the below. On population Dorling is very good on some of his other points not so (his big axe is inequality, and he is a bit unstructured in presenting his case). The thematic organization of chapters by world population is confusing. Bottom line: we added the last 1 billion in only 11 years. But the next 1 billion will take 14 years. The second derivative is negative, world population growth is slowing at an unprecedented rate.

Ten Billion by Stephen Emmott

http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Billion-Vinta ... 10+billion

This was a sellout talk by the head of Microsoft Research UK, at the Royal Court theatre in London-- it may have made it to TED? Consider it an 'Inconvenient Truth' but for all of human civilization, not just one aspect.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:56 am

Omoo, by Herman Melville. Novel about further South Seas adventures post-Typee by the same author.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:06 pm

Next for me: "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling).
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby DriftingDudeSC » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:01 am

Down Here (Burke #15)
by Andrew Vachss...a Burke novel...hard & gritty con man and unlicensed PI.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:58 pm

Still working on David Halberstam's The Fifties, after a brief interruption to read Mary Roach's new book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. Sensational! Do I dare to quote the closing sentence in this forum?

I think I do not.

Yes, I do. The closing sentence.

The closing sentence is "Only briefly, and with the utmost respect." It's the sentence that precedes it that's the problem. It is on p. 337, and if you use Amazon "Search Inside the Book" and search on the words "utmost respect" you will find it.

She really is good. Her writing style reminds me of John McPhee, which is about the highest compliment I can pay. In an interview, Peter Sagal asked her why she was so interested in things like corpses, and she replied, very matter-of-factly, "It's because I have the mind of a ten-year-old boy, Peter." So. It is like reading John McPhee, if John McPhee had the mind of a ten-year-old boy.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:19 pm

I've finished the 1st 6 chapters of "The Cuckoo's Calling". Excellent, the work of a talented author.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby hansp » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:13 pm

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss (author of The Orientalist). Winner of this year's Pulitzer for biography, it is about the life of Alex Dumas. But not the author of the Count of Monte Cristo, but rather about his father (of the same name) who was the son of a French Count and black Haitian slave. Amazingly, he rose to the rank of general during the French revolution.
It's a fascinating book that not only covers the history of the French Revolution that surrounds him, but also chronicles a brief period of time in the late 1700s where a black man could rise to high rank in French society. Unfortunately, this does not last, but it is incredibly well written and is an amazing story that is not even well know within France today.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:02 am

"Astoria, or, Anecdotes of Adventures Beyond the Rocky Mountains", by Washington Irving.

Voyages and overland expeditions in the founding of American trading on the Columbia River in 1811 - 1813.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:59 am

Working on J. K. Rowling's A Casual Vacancy but having problems, it is so darned mean-spirited. And she's introducing characters faster than I can keep up with, I need to take notes. Do we ever get to any nice people, or is the point that they are all contemptible? It makes E. F. Benson's "Mapp and Lucia" novels look warm-hearted.
ruralavalon wrote:"Astoria, or, Anecdotes of Adventures Beyond the Rocky Mountains", by Washington Irving.
Tried to slog through some Washington Irving recently, but bogged down. ("Knickerbocker's History of New York.") Hard to appreciate the humor if you don't live in a New York during a time when the Dutch are a comic ethnic presence. Do you have any suggestions... your favorites or your recommendations for someone to read first?
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:14 am

nisiprius wrote:Working on J. K. Rowling's A Casual Vacancy but having problems, it is so darned mean-spirited. And she's introducing characters faster than I can keep up with, I need to take notes. Do we ever get to any nice people, or is the point that they are all contemptible? It makes E. F. Benson's "Mapp and Lucia" novels look warm-hearted.
ruralavalon wrote:"Astoria, or, Anecdotes of Adventures Beyond the Rocky Mountains", by Washington Irving.
Tried to slog through some Washington Irving recently, but bogged down. ("Knickerbocker's History of New York.") Hard to appreciate the humor if you don't live in a New York during a time when the Dutch are a comic ethnic presence. Do you have any suggestions... your favorites or your recommendations for someone to read first?

Her "The Cuckoo's Calling" has great character development - I'm at midbook.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby jebmke » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:38 am

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodward
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby MP173 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:20 pm

I am reading "Vodoo River" by Robert Crais....pretty good.

I have read "Bitter Brew" and found it a fascinating look at AB. "The Fifties" by Halberstam was picked up this summer at a garage sale for 50 cents and I plan on reading it later.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:19 pm

While waiting for library books, I’ve been reading from my own “library” and discovering some nonfiction I apparently never read, like poet John Ciardi’s “Robert Frost: The Way to the Poem.” He wrote it in the late ‘50s in one of the great literary magazines, The Saturday Review, analyzing Frost’s famous “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.” In particular, he suggests why Frost would repeat the lines, “And miles to go before I sleep,” and how the second line changed the meaning into symbols. Frost himself apparently could not (or would not?) explain it entirely beyond its just “coming” to him, but the possible/probable reasons for it are a fascinating look into creativity.

Also sadly finished the fifth and last novel in the one-volume The Ultimate Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Favorite characters throughout, except for Ford Prefect and maybe Slartibartfast, are machines: Marvin the desperately unhappy android, Colin the desperately happy robot, Eddie the jovial shipboard computer, and the existential, talking elevators so bored with up and down they try sideways.

A few episode favorites among oh, so many are the mind-body couple undergoing a trial separation because the body has a mind of its own; Enid Kapelsen, the elderly airline passenger delighted to see two people out on the wing of the airborne plane because it spices up her long life which has been “a little too explicable, a little too routine”; and the opposing battle fleets that destroy their Galaxy after a thousand-year war waged apparently after the leader of one fleet refused to take back what it said about the other fleet leader’s mother. The fleets, including a million “beweaponed” star cruisers unleashing electric death, then join forces and tear across empty space for thousands more years to attack our Galaxy, executing a screaming dive onto Earth, “where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale, the entire battle fleet is accidentally swallowed by a small dog.”

I thought Marvin’s death came too soon and the sudden character switch was unconvincing. (In a later radio adaptation he’s still alive and again parking cars at Milliways.) But overall my imagination is enormously grateful to Douglas Adams, and also to editor Geoffrey Perkins for getting Adams to further develop Marvin beyond a joke in just one scene.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:21 pm

I recently finished Mary Coin by Marisa Silver and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

Now reading The Unwinding by George Packer.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:46 am

I am about fifty pages from finishing Personal History by Katharine Graham, the late publisher of the Washington Post, which was awarded the Pulizter in 1998 for best biography, although it's really a memoir. I do have some quibbles with the book, however.

For one thing, the index, although on the surface seems well constructed, is beset with many entries with long strings of undifferentiated locators. Key players such as Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Meg Greenfield, Joe Alsop, and others, have long strings of page locators with no subheadings.

For another, the book lacks a table of contents, which I don't remember ever seeing in a non-fiction book, particularly a biography. Even more oddly, the book is divided into chapters, but the chapters have no titles. I suppose that's why there is no table contents.

My biggest complaint, though, is the lack of documentation. There is no bibliography, nor are there footnotes, which makes it of little value for the serious researcher. Granted the serious researcher would be more interested in primary documents if he or she was writing a book on the Washington Post or events of the era in which Graham lived; however, this book is as close to being a primary document, without being one, as could be.

That said, this is a great read. If at times, it seems that Graham is doing a lot of name dropping, it could be excused since Graham knew intimately many movers and shakers or would-be movers and shakers since she was a teenager in the 1930s when her father, Eugene Meyer, bought the Washington Post when it was a fourth rate newspaper. It is a little disconcerting, though, to hear her refer to Justice Frankfurter, for whom Phil Graham clerked, as "Felix."

(Edited for spelling and for clarify syntax and to correct first name of Eugene Meyer.)
Last edited by gkaplan on Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:34 am

gkaplan wrote:I am about fifty pages from finishing Personal History by Katharine Graham, the late publisher of the Washington Post, which was awarded the Pulizter in 1998 for best biography, although it's really a memoir. ...


It's been some years since I read her wonderful book, but I remember coming away from it thinking that she was, heart and soul, a journalist, and the best kind there is. That, I felt, led to her hiring Ben Bradlee as executive editor, to her continued support of Watergate reporting when in the beginning no one else was running the story, and the Pentagon Papers initially carried by her chief competitor, The New York Times. What a life.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Live Free or Diehard » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:04 pm

Fallible wrote:Also sadly finished the fifth and last novel in the one-volume The Ultimate Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Favorite characters throughout, except for Ford Prefect and maybe Slartibartfast, are machines: Marvin the desperately unhappy android, Colin the desperately happy robot, Eddie the jovial shipboard computer, and the existential, talking elevators so bored with up and down they try sideways.

Don't Panic! :happy Did you know that Eoin Colfer published the sixth book of the Hitchhiker's trilogy in 2009? It's called And Another Thing...

Also, there are the Dirk Gently books (by Douglas Adams). I really liked them.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby reggiesimpson » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:18 pm

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby stratton » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:20 pm

chaz wrote:
nisiprius wrote:Working on J. K. Rowling's A Casual Vacancy but having problems, it is so darned mean-spirited. And she's introducing characters faster than I can keep up with, I need to take notes. Do we ever get to any nice people, or is the point that they are all contemptible? It makes E. F. Benson's "Mapp and Lucia" novels look warm-hearted.
ruralavalon wrote:"Astoria, or, Anecdotes of Adventures Beyond the Rocky Mountains", by Washington Irving.
Tried to slog through some Washington Irving recently, but bogged down. ("Knickerbocker's History of New York.") Hard to appreciate the humor if you don't live in a New York during a time when the Dutch are a comic ethnic presence. Do you have any suggestions... your favorites or your recommendations for someone to read first?

Her "The Cuckoo's Calling" has great character development - I'm at midbook.

I'm with you. Cuckoo's Calling looks great. Every description of Casual Vacancy turns me off.

I keep waiting for Harry Potter, Auror to walk into Cuckoo's Calling. :-)

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