What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:13 pm

Finished The Skylark of Space. Totally weird. I finally figured out what it is. It's like an action hero comic book, but without pictures. Yet it is somehow readable. Perhaps it is a little like the Rick Brant Electronic Adventures and the other juvenile youth adventure books cranked out by the Stratemyer syndicate. What can one make of dialog like this, between the highly moral hero, Dick Seaton, and the sociopathic villain, DuQuesne, as they negotiate:
[Seaton:] "I've heard that your word is good."

[DuQuesne]: "It has never been broken."

[Seaton:] "Will you give your word to act as one of the party, for the good of us all, if we don't iron you?"

[DuQuesne]: "Yes—until we get back to the earth. Provided, of course, that I reserve the right to escape at any time between now and then if I wish to and can do so without injuring the vessel or any member of the party in any way."

[Seaton:] "Agreed."
And, of course, DuQuesne does keep his promise--and also does escape from the ship eventually, and, of course, without injuring the vessel or any member of the party.

I wish I had some kind of guide to 1930s colloquial speech; his dialogue is quite different from that of other naturalistic authors of the day, but perhaps he was just catching a different style or social group. This little bit of dialog caught my eye:
"Sit down, Miss Vaneman. Let them fight it out. Perkins has his orders to lay off you—you lay off him. I'm not taking any chances of getting you hurt, that's one reason I wanted you armed. If he gets gay, shoot him; otherwise, hands off completely."
Wentworth and Flexner's slang dictionary only gives one meaning for gay, "homosexual." Obviously it doesn't mean that, and just as obviously it doesn't mean "happily excited" or "keenly alive and exuberant" or "brightly colored."

Inspired by that, I'm now reading Isaac Asimov's novel Nemesis, which I'd missed. And I'm also nibbling at Does This Mean You'll See Me Naked?: A Funeral Director Reflects on 30 Years of Serving the Living and the Deceased, by Robert D. Webster, but don't know if I'll finish it. It's nowhere near as good as Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Toons » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:22 pm

"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:34 pm

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

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:21 am

nisiprius wrote:Finished The Skylark of Space. Totally weird. I finally figured out what it is. It's like an action hero comic book, but without pictures. Yet it is somehow readable. Perhaps it is a little like the Rick Brant Electronic Adventures and the other juvenile youth adventure books cranked out by the Stratemyer syndicate. What can one make of dialog like this, between the highly moral hero, Dick Seaton, and the sociopathic villain, DuQuesne, as they negotiate:
[Seaton:] "I've heard that your word is good."

[DuQuesne]: "It has never been broken."

[Seaton:] "Will you give your word to act as one of the party, for the good of us all, if we don't iron you?"

[DuQuesne]: "Yes—until we get back to the earth. Provided, of course, that I reserve the right to escape at any time between now and then if I wish to and can do so without injuring the vessel or any member of the party in any way."

[Seaton:] "Agreed."
And, of course, DuQuesne does keep his promise--and also does escape from the ship eventually, and, of course, without injuring the vessel or any member of the party.

I wish I had some kind of guide to 1930s colloquial speech; his dialogue is quite different from that of other naturalistic authors of the day, but perhaps he was just catching a different style or social group. This little bit of dialog caught my eye:
"Sit down, Miss Vaneman. Let them fight it out. Perkins has his orders to lay off you—you lay off him. I'm not taking any chances of getting you hurt, that's one reason I wanted you armed. If he gets gay, shoot him; otherwise, hands off completely."
Wentworth and Flexner's slang dictionary only gives one meaning for gay, "homosexual." Obviously it doesn't mean that, and just as obviously it doesn't mean "happily excited" or "keenly alive and exuberant" or "brightly colored."

Inspired by that, I'm now reading Isaac Asimov's novel Nemesis, which I'd missed. And I'm also nibbling at Does This Mean You'll See Me Naked?: A Funeral Director Reflects on 30 Years of Serving the Living and the Deceased, by Robert D. Webster, but don't know if I'll finish it. It's nowhere near as good as Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.


EE Doc Smith.

How I loved those.

Triplanetary and its prequel 'Spacehounds of the IPC' most of all. After that, the whole Lensman series (there is a Japanese animated manga version) got a bit dull in that the Lensman are never outmanoeuvred for any length of time, plus the arranged collision between 'Kimball' Kinnison and ?Clarissa? the red head, that produces the Children of the Lens.

But lines like 'Who speaks for Boskone?' (the secret multi layered enemy of the human race and the universe for millions of years) echo down my life. And yes, Marvel Comics in particular borrow heavily from EE Doc Smith.

I think in the last novel 'Blackie' Duquesne becomes a kind of hero-- Skylark Duquesne.

I remember Edmund Hamilton's 'The Star Wolf' having a less lugubrious, but somewhat similar 'shock and wonder' SF aura.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby ruralavalon » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:49 pm

Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler.

More classic noir detective fiction.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:23 pm

The Long Night: William L. Shirer and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Steve Wick. I have read about fifty pages of this 250-page book, and it's pretty disappointing, or, to be more accurate, I'm pretty disappointed. The author seems to be just rehashing excerpts from Shirer's books, while providing little insight. If one wanted to learn more Shirer, one would be better served reading Shirer's books, rather than this one. Perhaps I'm being unduly harsh. Perhaps the author wrote the book he wanted to write and not the book I wanted him to write. At any rate, the biography on William L. Shirer has yet to be written, in my opinion.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby FamilyMan » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:21 pm

Just finished The Hobbit by Tolkien. The movie opens this next weekend and I can't wait. This is the second time I have read the Hobbit and I loved it both times. The Lord of the Rings series is also great but much more detailed but also darker.

Also read $64 tomato before the Hobbit and loved it. I would highly recommend for any gardeners who can appreciate the "true cost" of home gardens with all the bells and whistles.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Bungo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:51 am

Just finished Roger Lowenstein's Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist.This is a good business-oriented biography, with perhaps 80% of the emphasis on Buffett the investor and 20% on his personal life. I think this is an appropriate ratio, because aside from a few quirks, his personal life isn't especially interesting. Lowenstein is obviously a fan, and Buffett comes across as a near-hero who has made only a handful of mistakes, so I wonder to what extent this is a whitewash.

Unfortunately, the story ends in 1995, and despite having been reprinted in 2008, only a perfunctory few pages were tacked on at the end. It would have been nice to see at least a full new chapter to cover that 13-year span. On the other hand, there are several chapters covering what was then the most recent big event in Buffett's long history, when he assumed the reins of Salomon Brothers and (if Lowenstein is to be believed) almost single-handedly saved it from ruin. If the book were to be written today, this period would probably merit a less detailed treatment. Despite these shortcomings from the standpoint of 2012, it's still a good read and easily recommendable to anyone with any interest in Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway - which would probably be most people, these days, whereas, as Lowenstein points out, at the time the book was originally published in the mid-'90s, Buffett was nowhere near the household name that he is today.

A more recent and much thicker (nearly 1000 pages) biography is Alice Schroeder's The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. From the reviews, I gather that this one spends a lot more time on Buffett's personal life, and on the lives of ancillary characters. I don't personally see the need for that level of detail, so I'll probably pass on reading that one.

Next up is G.J. Meyer's A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918. I'm pretty excited to start this one, as the author promises that he has written enough detail about the historical context so that the modern general reader can understand what's going on without having to do a lot of supplementary reading. As Meyer has written in the introduction:

"It has long seemed to me that practically all popular histories of the Great War assume too much, expect too much of the reader, and therefore leave too much unexplained. In dealing with Hohenzollern Germany, for example, they commonly presume that today's reading public knows more than a little about who the Hohenzollerns were, where they came from, and why they mattered. Authors are right, of course, in making mention of the decadence of the Ottoman Empire, the frailty of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the backwardness of the Russian Empire - of all the elements that gave rise to the war and that the war destroyed. The recurrent mistake, it seems to me, has been to only make mention of such things, thereby diluting the story. I believe that this volume, whether or not it has any other distinction, is unique in the extent to which it attempts to restore parts of the story that have almost always been missing. I hope that it captures at least some of the multidimensional richness of one of the most epic tragedies in the history of the world."
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Blues » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:23 am

Just started The Blackhouse by Peter May. Pretty good going so far. Fingers crossed.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:39 am

Bungo wrote:A more recent and much thicker (nearly 1000 pages) biography is Alice Schroeder's The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. From the reviews, I gather that this one spends a lot more time on Buffett's personal life, and on the lives of ancillary characters. I don't personally see the need for that level of detail, so I'll probably pass on reading that one.

Next up is G.J. Meyer's A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918. I'm pretty excited to start this one, as the author promises that he has written enough detail about the historical context so that the modern general reader can understand what's going on without having to do a lot of supplementary reading.


I'm about a third of the way through The Snowball, and while I'm enjoying it, you are right that Schroeder does spend a good bit of time detailing the background of the various investors/partners/family members that pop into Buffett's life, and I suspect much of what is most interesting about Buffett you've already captured from Lowenstein.

I've read the Meyer book, and though I slightly preferred John Keegan's history of the First World War, Meyer's is excellent. I particularly enjoyed the mini-chapters with which he interrupts the narrative to provide much needed background on various peoples, movements, and events that inform the origins and conduct of the war.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:05 pm

"Resolution" by Robert Parker. A western, set in the "wild west".
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby MP173 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:24 am

Just finished "Hit and Run" by Lawrence Block. This book appears to be the ending of the Keller (hit man) charactor. I really liked the book.

I have no idea of what is next.

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

Postby Jerilynn » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:50 pm

Vermiculture Technology: Earthworms, Organic Wastes, and Environmental Management [Hardcover]
Clive A. Edwards (Editor), Norman Q. Arancon (Editor), Rhonda L. Sherman (Editor)

Really kewl book for a REALLY odd hobby.
Cordially, Jeri . . . 100% all natural asset allocation. (no supernatural methods used)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:58 pm

ruralavalon wrote:Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler.

More classic noir detective fiction.


One of the hardest things for me was reading the last Chandler of the 8 novels (I read Playback later and it's not worthy of him) and realizing there were no more. I have yet to read all the short stories though-- some are early not fully formed.

I still have not managed to really crack Hammett (to my lasting regret Joe Gores only got through the copywrite thicket quite late in his life so he, the master of Hammett's world, did not write more on that line).

Somehow the Springsteen song 'Atlantic City' reminds me of Chandler, although Jim Thompson would be far more appropriate.

'they're busing trouble in from out of state
and the DA can't get no relief
And the Gambling Commission's hanging on by the skin of its teeth

Everything dies baby, that's a fact....'
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:07 pm

FamilyMan wrote:Just finished The Hobbit by Tolkien. The movie opens this next weekend and I can't wait. This is the second time I have read the Hobbit and I loved it both times. The Lord of the Rings series is also great but much more detailed but also darker.

Also read $64 tomato before the Hobbit and loved it. I would highly recommend for any gardeners who can appreciate the "true cost" of home gardens with all the bells and whistles.


Not sure how you can make a 3 film epic out of the Hobbit. If anyone can, Tim Jackson can. Also the film speed (more frames per second) has been accused of causing motion sickness.

Martin Freeman, who is Watson in the BBC tour de force 'Sherlock', is a good actor (and Sherlock ie Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan in the next Star Trek). And Sir Ian McKellen is still alive to play Gandalf The Grey.

You might want to read 'Watership Down' by Richard Adams (and the animated movie that went with it). In many ways, The Hobbit (about hobbits) and WD (about rabbits) have a similar flavour. They are very English tales of heroism-- heroism by accident by characters who would rather sit in their garden and smoke their pipes and drink beer, but are thrust into great things by external events-- Hazel and Fiver to lead the rabbits to safety, Bilbo to find the Ring and so begin the cycle that takes Frodo and Sam to Mordor. The Shire is Tolkein's idealized rural England (Sam Gamgee's rolling Rs are a play on the West Country rural accent-- think the Beverly Hillbillies).

It's worth remembering Tolkein fought on the Western Front in WW1-- it informs his imagery. Mordor is the Western Front in WW1. He knew what a war looked like.

Tolkein also makes a brief appearance in 'Shadowlands' about CS Lewis (Nigel Hawthorne's) late life marriage to an American divorce (Debra Winger). Called the 'Inklings' they used to drink together at Oxford-- CS Lewis the theologian, and Tolkein the linguist. They shared much, including the scars of the first War to End All Wars.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby denismurf » Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:34 pm

"My broker" doesn't make investment recommendations, but did say he likes reading novels by Vince Flynn.

Never heard of him. Any comments on Vince Flynn?
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:34 pm

"Plum Island" by Nelson DeMille.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Blues » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:04 am

The Lewis Man by Peter May
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:56 am

Valuethinker wrote:Not sure how you can make a 3 film epic out of the Hobbit.
I agree to being horrified at the idea of "The Hobbit" as a three-film set. But then I suspect there will be considerable adaptation. I never liked the book that much--it was a necessary evil, you had to read it first as an introduction to The Lord of the Rings. But, unlike the real classic childrens' books, it has a "talking down" tone of voice to it. It is going to have to be even more of a screen adaptation than The Lord of the Rings was. Hopefully it is a good one. There are good ones; I've always thought Tom Jones was an absolutely perfect example of a screen adaptation that is quite different from the book, yet wonderfully faithful in spirit. As

As opposed to Hollywood treatments like The Wizard of Oz. A wonderful childrens' book and a wonderful movie, but the movie has no real relationship to the book--it just loosely borrows of some characters and plot elements. For example, the whole framing device of the Tin Woodman, etc. being her reshaped dream versions of farmhands, which I think is great, is not in the book at all.
If anyone can, Tim Jackson can. Also the film speed (more frames per second) has been accused of causing motion sickness.
Very very very unlikely. Although I do wonder just how many theatres are going to be capable of showing it at 48 fps. I hope this is a capability built into digital projection systems.

If there's motion sickness, it's probably not from the frame rate itself, but probably because the frame rate allows them to use faster camera movements and/or screen action.

24 fps was an economic compromise, as was the silent era's 16 fps before it. Very bad compromises, both. They are both "as slow as can possibly be tolerated." I've seen "ride films" (screen coupled with moving seats) that used 48 fps and it's just deliciously smooth. If anyone ever had one of those Kodak Super 8 projectors that would run at 6, 18, or 54 fps you'll know that at 54 fps, the action looked speeded up but somehow crystal-clear and "real."

I personally believe that 48 fps would work on any film, and might well be more effective at making film look "real" than 3D. It also does not prevent the use of traditional "screen grammar," different focal length lenses, and so forth, although it might change the range and speed of camera movements available to director and cinematographer. I also think that if 48 fps becomes even reasonable common, 24 fps will look so crude that it will become unacceptable.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:41 pm

nisiprius wrote:24 fps was an economic compromise, as was the silent era's 16 fps before it. Very bad compromises, both. They are both "as slow as can possibly be tolerated." I've seen "ride films" (screen coupled with moving seats) that used 48 fps and it's just deliciously smooth. If anyone ever had one of those Kodak Super 8 projectors that would run at 6, 18, or 54 fps you'll know that at 54 fps, the action looked speeded up but somehow crystal-clear and "real."

I personally believe that 48 fps would work on any film, and might well be more effective at making film look "real" than 3D. It also does not prevent the use of traditional "screen grammar," different focal length lenses, and so forth, although it might change the range and speed of camera movements available to director and cinematographer. I also think that if 48 fps becomes even reasonable common, 24 fps will look so crude that it will become unacceptable.


As per usual in the hands of a master-- I sort of half get what you are talking about.

So

- what is the current cinema frame speed?

- what speed did they use in the old newsreels, that Nazi soldiers goosestep at 30 mph?

I am emphatically *not* a fan of the use of digital camera work for fast zooms in, pans etc. I find it disorienting and faddy. And yes, it can give me a headache if not motion sickness per se.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Bungo » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:16 pm

Valuethinker wrote:- what is the current cinema frame speed?

- what speed did they use in the old newsreels, that Nazi soldiers goosestep at 30 mph?

I'm also curious whether modern digital TVs (and sources such as DVD or Blu-Ray) can display higher frame rates such as 48 fps, or whether they are still stuck with the old 30 fps NTSC limit. Based on some cursory Wikipedia surfing, it appears that the HDTV standards support this, but I'm not sure if that implies that current devices do so.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Bungo » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:34 pm

randomwalk wrote:I've read the Meyer book, and though I slightly preferred John Keegan's history of the First World War, Meyer's is excellent. I particularly enjoyed the mini-chapters with which he interrupts the narrative to provide much needed background on various peoples, movements, and events that inform the origins and conduct of the war.

I'm about 100 pages into Meyer's book. The fighting hasn't started yet, but Germany has just informed Russia that war is declared. I too am really liking the mini-chapters for the important background/context they provide, and also for giving me a taste of some topics that I vaguely remembered from high school history and am now keen to explore with further reading: "The Serbs," "The Hapsburgs," "The Hohenzollerns," "The Romanovs," "The Ottoman Turks." The latter mini-chapter in particular was fascinating: for several centuries leading up to WWI, the Ottoman rulers were every bit as colorfully bizarre and depraved as the worst of the Roman emperors.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby denismurf » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:37 pm

Speaking of World War I:

For me, a novel even more gut wrenching about WWI than All Quiet on the Western Front was A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:46 pm

"Void Moon" by Michael Connelly.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby jebmke » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:00 pm

denismurf wrote:"My broker" doesn't make investment recommendations, but did say he likes reading novels by Vince Flynn.

Never heard of him. Any comments on Vince Flynn?

They are OK. After 2-3 they are pretty predictable. Flynn doesn't hide his personal politics well. In the "testosterone hero" genre I prefer Robert Crais or Lee Child. Lee Child may have run his course but for an action super-hero, you can't beat Jack Reacher.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:42 pm

Valuethinker wrote:- what is the current cinema frame speed?
I'm ashamed to say I don't really know what they are doing with digital projection. From the era of sound film up through digital, anyway, it has been 24 frames per second. In the classic old analog film projectors, a triple-bladed shutter actually blocks the light three times per frame. One of those blackouts is needed to hide the instant when the claw pulls the film down to the next frame, which would otherwise appear as a smeary blur. The other two are in there to reduce flicker. If the film were blacked out momentarily 24 times a second, you'd see obnoxious flicker; when it is blacked out 72 times per second, you do not.
- what speed did they use in the old newsreels, that Nazi soldiers goosestep at 30 mph?
16 frames per second, the traditional silent movie speed. At the time they were taken, they would of course been projected in theatres at the same speed at which they were shot, and there would not have been any comic speeding-up.

Careful documentary makers used to use some kind of specialized optical printing to adapt historic silent footage so that a 24 fps sound documentary could include 16 fps silent clips at their correct speed. With digital technology this is now easy and cheap and you're seeing a lot less of that comic speedup effect.

The speed-up to 24 fps was to get the sound track moving faster for better sound fidelity, but smoother motion was a side benefit.

Goose-stepping Nazis, even in black-and-white, look a lot more frightening when projected at the correct speed. You can understand how Orwell could have written "The goose-step, for instance, is one of the most horrible sights in the world, far more terrifying than a dive-bomber. It is simply an affirmation of naked power; contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face."

Tangentially, when I was a kid, I remember being simply horrified at movies like Porgy and Bess, and other stage musical adaptations, which would play the overture on the sound track, while the picture was simply a stationary, unchanging still picture of a stage with a closed curtain. I couldn't accept the obvious artistic legitimacy--I just found the waste deeply disturbing. 24 precious frames a second of valuable film being used to repeating the same frame over and over. Let's see, if the overture lasted 5 minutes, that would have been 7,200 identical frames of precious color film. Easily a thousand dollars worth. I kept wishing they could just project one slide and play a record or something.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby nisiprius » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:55 pm

Finished Nemesis, by Isaac Asimov. Not too bad. The science-fiction "science" is unconvincing, but that was never his strong point, anyway. I found the relationship between Marlene and the planet Erythro to be affecting.

Starting Brown on Resolution by C. S. Forester, another of his non-Hornblower books. It looks to be very good. I'm also halfway through Murder and the Vicarage by Agatha Christie, her first full-length Miss Marple novel. I am sure the game "Clue" draws on the entire genre, but I do have to wonder whether they had this particular book in mind. A Colonel--Protheroe, not Mustard--is killed, in the study, by a pistol.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:58 pm

jebmke wrote:
denismurf wrote:"My broker" doesn't make investment recommendations, but did say he likes reading novels by Vince Flynn.

Never heard of him. Any comments on Vince Flynn?

They are OK. After 2-3 they are pretty predictable. Flynn doesn't hide his personal politics well. In the "testosterone hero" genre I prefer Robert Crais or Lee Child. Lee Child may have run his course but for an action super-hero, you can't beat Jack Reacher.

Yet Tom Cruise will play Jack Reacher in the soon to be released movie "Jack Reacher".
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:15 am

I'm not a Tom Cruise fan at all, but Alafair Burke says he does a surprisingly good job.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Blues » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:57 am

The Chessmen by Peter May. (Book 3 of the Lewis Trilogy)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:47 pm

gkaplan wrote:I'm not a Tom Cruise fan at all, but Alafair Burke says he does a surprisingly good job.

He's not 6'5" and 250 pounds.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby zotty » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:38 pm

Just finished Truman Capote's "The glass harp" and now working through his short stories. His writing style is unique. A dark poetry.

My perennial book recommendation:
One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Day_in ... Denisovich

Alas, I'm not Opra. Nobody listens to my book recommendations and I am not sure anyone would even like them.

I do appreciate this thread. I have read many book recommendations from here.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:17 pm

He's not 6'5" and 250 pounds.


Neither am I. I hope that would not disqualify me from acting opportunities.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:23 pm

gkaplan wrote:
He's not 6'5" and 250 pounds.


Neither am I. I hope that would not disqualify me from acting opportunities.

Only as Jack Reacher.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby denismurf » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:55 pm

I picked up Term Limits by Flynn for 99 cents and abandoned it after 53 pages. Every character rubbed me the wrong way. Go figure.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gatorking » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:45 pm

Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back - Andrew Zolli
I'm about 50 pages into it and find it quite fascinating.
http://resiliencethebook.com/
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Default User BR » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:51 pm

gkaplan wrote:
He's not 6'5" and 250 pounds.

Neither am I. I hope that would not disqualify me from acting opportunities.

The point was that the character he plays is, in the books.

Then again, the character of "Red" in the story that was the basis for The Shawshank Redemption was Irish.


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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby abuss368 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:01 pm

Default User BR wrote:
gkaplan wrote:
He's not 6'5" and 250 pounds.

Neither am I. I hope that would not disqualify me from acting opportunities.

The point was that the character he plays is, in the books.

Then again, the character of "Red" in the story that was the basis for The Shawshank Redemption was Irish.


Brian


Shawshank was on tonight. Great movie.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:30 pm

A Quiet Flame: a Bernie Gunther Novel by Philip Kerr. This is the fifth in the Bernie Gunther series and very good.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:17 am

Read Bruce Schneier’s Secrets & Lies, Digital Security in a Networked World and will never look at my computer the same way or take seriously the once assuring (almost) words, “the system is secure.” I don’t know how a tech-challenged, math-anxious creature such as myself could enjoy a book on cybersecurity and cryptography, but enjoy it I did and I credit Schneier’s broad approach (humor, too) that puts it it all in perspective (e.g., complexity is the “worst enemy” of security). So how bad are things (and this was as of 2004)? Well, in a chapter titled "The Human Factor," he asks we imagine the “miracle” that computer security has been achieved, meaning strong cryptography where it should be, secure protocols working correctly, secure hardware, secure software, and even secure network. Yet it’s not enough because of us humans, i.e., the users the “miracle” must interact with, an interaction Schneier says is “the biggest security risk of them all.”

Will start soon on his 2008 book, "Schneier on Security." I'm sure it'll be more on what I'd rather not know or at least be happy to benignly neglect, but really should know.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby tj218 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:03 pm

Bungo wrote:
randomwalk wrote:I've read the Meyer book, and though I slightly preferred John Keegan's history of the First World War, Meyer's is excellent. I particularly enjoyed the mini-chapters with which he interrupts the narrative to provide much needed background on various peoples, movements, and events that inform the origins and conduct of the war.

I'm about 100 pages into Meyer's book. The fighting hasn't started yet, but Germany has just informed Russia that war is declared. I too am really liking the mini-chapters for the important background/context they provide, and also for giving me a taste of some topics that I vaguely remembered from high school history and am now keen to explore with further reading: "The Serbs," "The Hapsburgs," "The Hohenzollerns," "The Romanovs," "The Ottoman Turks." The latter mini-chapter in particular was fascinating: for several centuries leading up to WWI, the Ottoman rulers were every bit as colorfully bizarre and depraved as the worst of the Roman emperors.


The Meyer book is in my opinion is the best general history of The Great War. If you liked Meyer, and you want to understand more about the causes of the war, Robert Masssie's book 'Dreadnought' is a very readable must-have that covers the pre-war period and ultimately why there was a war in the first place.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:15 pm

I just finished The Snowball by Alice Schroeder, Africa by John Reader, and Quiet by Susan Cain.

Now reading The Wizard of Lies by Diana Henriques.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby jebmke » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:26 pm

chaz wrote:
gkaplan wrote:I'm not a Tom Cruise fan at all, but Alafair Burke says he does a surprisingly good job.

He's not 6'5" and 250 pounds.

There was probably a misprint on the job listing - it may have said 5'6"
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Blues » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:05 am

Back To Blood by Tom Wolfe
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby randomwalk » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:15 am

I just finished The Wizard of Lies by Diana Henriques.

Now reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby chaz » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:21 pm

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

Postby nisiprius » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:42 pm

Matthew Guerrieri, The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination. Got off to a great start, very interesting--the first note in the symphony is a rest, who knew? :) --but I might be bogging down.

I'm rather hung up on one detail. He claims that the four opening notes, which are in a rhythm called a quartus paeon, are a recurring motif in music around the time of the French Revolution. And he cites La Marseillaise as one of his examples. And I'm goin' nuts, because unless the tradition for playing it has changed, I don't see any similarity. The melody is different--it goes up by a fourth instead of down by a third. And the rhythm is different; Beethoven goes "di-di-di-DAH," La Marseillaise as I'm accustomed to hearing it (and as it's rendered on a 1902 cylinder recording I found at the UCSB Cylinder Project) goes "di-DAH-di-DAH."

I don't even hear it as opening with four notes, particularly; I can hear a break there if I want to, but I can just as well hear it as "starting" with two notes, or five. Really, the break doesn't come until ten notes, after "patrie."

Beethoven: di-di-di-DAAAAAHHH! ... di-di-di-DAAAAAHHHH!
La Marseillaise: di-DAH-di-DAH! DAH! DAH! DAH! DAAAAAAAAH-di-DAH!

It bothers me that he doesn't seem to say anything at all about this.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Fallible » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:33 pm

nisiprius wrote:Matthew Guerrieri, The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination. Got off to a great start, very interesting--the first note in the symphony is a rest, who knew? :) --but I might be bogging down. ...


I didn't know that but what kind of rest is it: whole, half, quarter or eighth?

BTW, I think this would get good discussion on the new Beethoven birthday thread:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=9667&newpost=1557421
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Robert The Bruce » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:05 pm

I just finished Brad Thor's The Apostle. I would give it 2 stars, 3 at best.
Our hero was a covert homeland security paid assassin who quit the agency after a new, naïve, President took office and put the kibosh on such surgical strikes. However, no sooner has that happened when the pres needs to press our hero back into service for an off-the-books secret mission.
At the same time a Secret Service agent has overheard the President say something that implicates him in a cover-up. Unlike most agents who took early retirement when the new man was elected, she likes the President but must follow-up and uncover the truth.
I don’t appreciate it when mission success depends excessively on luck. Obviously some lucky outcomes help the story but when it happens too often the story becomes unbelievable. In this case, our hero meets up, in-country, with a security group, one of whom is secretly in the Canadian CIA which comes in handy when these freelancers need to order up a gunship or a helicopter evac.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby gkaplan » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:54 pm

Zoo Station by David Downing, the first of a series of political thrillers featuring John Russell.
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