What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16724
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:24 pm

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, a winner of Man Booker Prize.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

gouldnm
Posts: 516
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby gouldnm » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:27 pm

I subscribe to Bookbub, a service where I get an e-mail every day with special deals on electronic books (many of them are free). Today I got an e-mail announcing a deal on a book that many forum readers might find interesting. It's a historical novel that takes place in England, and there are a lot of details about the early days of stock trading and the emergence of modern financial markets. I haven't read the book myself, but it got good reviews. The title is called "A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel" and it's by David Liss:

A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel

[Referral code removed; link formatted by admin LadyGeek]

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 10647
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby ruralavalon » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:02 pm

The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown. A story of rowing crew in 1930's in Washington state, and the 1936 Olympics. I am surprised how interesting the story is, young people becoming grown-ups at the start of the Great Depression. and how physically demanding the training for the sport was. I have only just started the book.

Just finished the book. An excellent book.
Last edited by ruralavalon on Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16724
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:05 pm

Seneca's On the Shortness of Life, a short but profound book.

Here is an interesting extension of the Bogleheads principles to managing one's life:
Seneca wrote:We are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it. Just as when ample and princely wealth falls to a bad owner it is squandered in a moment, but wealth however modest, if entrusted to a good custodian, increases with use, so our lifetime extends amply if you manage it properly. (p.2)


Seneca divides life into three periods: past, present, and future.
Seneca wrote:Of these, the present is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain. (p.15)


He suggests that living in the present results in a fuller life than living in the future:
Seneca wrote:But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune's control, and abandoning what lies in yours. (p.13)
The bold of the last sentence is mine. This is the fundamental paradox of our lives, trying to control the things that are not in our control and abandoning our responsibility to control the things that are in our control.

Interestingly, Seneca's advice is different from a modern suggestion to live in the present instead of living in the past or in the future. Seneca specifically advocates living in the past. One's past is his ultimate resource, something that he owns, something that can't be taken away. Seneca considers the past not only as one's personal history but also in the broader sense of the great ideas of the past that one has access to. Reading great philosophers and contemplating their ideas in the context of one's own life will lead one to living his life to the fullest and prolonging his life by the virtue of using it well.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 33589
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby nisiprius » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:14 pm

The Locked Room, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. I'm afraid I didn't like this one as well as earlier ones. Too many unlikely coincidences, too many ironic happenstances. Nevertheless, some great remarks:
When a person of the upper class drinks, it is called "culture"; citizens of the other class having similar needs are immediately categorized as alcoholics, or as persons in need of care and protection. Whereafter they receive neither care nor protection.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

gouldnm
Posts: 516
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby gouldnm » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:52 pm

nisiprius wrote:The Locked Room, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. I'm afraid I didn't like this one as well as earlier ones. Too many unlikely coincidences, too many ironic happenstances. Nevertheless, some great remarks:
When a person of the upper class drinks, it is called "culture"; citizens of the other class having similar needs are immediately categorized as alcoholics, or as persons in need of care and protection. Whereafter they receive neither care nor protection.


Awww, don't get the forum locked on us now!

gkaplan
Posts: 6867
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby gkaplan » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:02 pm

I'm reading Blood Sisters: the Women behind the War of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood. It's an interesting book. It's not an easy read, however. So many individuals flow in and out of the narrative that it is difficult to keep track of all the individuals named Anne, Edward, Richard, and so on, despite the Glossary of Select Names at the beginning of the book. The book also has a "Simplified Family Tree" that is too simple in my opinion in trying to keep up with the complex relationships, inter-family relationships, and warring relationships.

Sarah Gristwood is a biographer and journalist and attended Oxford University.
Gordon

spin_echo
Posts: 151
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:13 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby spin_echo » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:49 pm

In the Kingdom of the Ice (north pole exploration, not as good as the Shackleton books)
The Warrior's Apprentice, Shards of Honor, Barrayar (really enjoyed, looking forward to reading the rest!)
Basalisk Station (David Weber -- meh, will probably try another but was a little disappointed)
Excession (Iain Banks) -complex, slooooow start -- this is the book I am currently reading

snyder66
Posts: 1055
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:46 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby snyder66 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:34 am

Just finished, Reunion, by Hannah Pittard. Loved it! Excellent writer!

MP173
Posts: 1767
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby MP173 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:19 am

My last trip to the library yielded:

Unstoppable - Ralph Nader which discusses left and right joining together to stop corporations from running America.

Burgler on the Prowl - Lawrence Block....Bernie gets involved in a murder of a Russian bad guy who killed Latvians. Perhaps Block's weakest book...and I am a big fan of his.

Not a good trip to the library.

Hopefully today is a little better.

ed

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16724
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:43 am

I have discovered a blogger Ryan Holiday, who has a lot of interesting advice about reading. Among other things he wrote:
In How to read more, a lot more, Ryan Holiday wrote:(One related note: I don’t check books out from the library and haven’t since I was a child. This isn’t like renting a mindless movie. You should be keeping the books you read for reference and for re-reading. If you are OK giving the books back after two weeks you might want to examine what you are reading).


I had not thought about it, but after reading Holiday, I agree with him. When books matter, I buy them, read them slowly, make notes in the margins. When I get a book from the library, it's usually superficial reading, a guilty pleasure.

Other interesting Holiday's posts are:

In the latter post, Holiday recommends reading with the focus on extracting the meaning. This is different from reading for school: in a class you are tested on facts, in reading for personal enrichment you look for the value to yourself. It's fine to look for "spoilers" by reading reviews and Wikipedia before starting a book: it enhances the reading experience and makes it more effective from the start. When promoting challenging reading, Holiday recommends to prefer:

In Read To Lead: How To Digest Books Above Your “Level”, Ryan Holiday wrote:Feynman over Friedman, biographies over business books, and the classics over the contemporary.


Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 5403
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby bertilak » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:10 pm

VictoriaF wrote:IWhen books matter, I buy them, read them slowly, make notes in the margins. When I get a book from the library, it's usually superficial reading, a guilty pleasure.

I also make this distinction, although I always buy the all books I read. I just buy them in cheap paperback editions then sell them in yard sales or to used book stores or give them away.

Some "superficial" books are keepers anyway and I may even go out and buy a fancier edition. Agatha Christie falls into his category. I can't explain it! OK, I might be onto an explanation: the evocation of time, place and character.

I also don't write in books I keep. Any notes I take would be on separate paper that I keep with the book. I rarely do this anyway. I sometimes leave a bookmark in a spot I want to find again quickly.

P.S. despite my current signature ("I have a strong moral sense - by my standards.") Rex Stout has not made my "keeper" category. He is one of the authors who supplies me with an occasional quote I take note of.
I have a strong moral sense - by my standards. | -- Rex Stout

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16724
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:15 pm

bertilak wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:When books matter, I buy them, read them slowly, make notes in the margins. When I get a book from the library, it's usually superficial reading, a guilty pleasure.


I also don't write in books I keep. Any notes I take would be on separate paper that I keep with the book. I rarely do this anyway. I sometimes leave a bookmark in a spot I want to find again quickly.


Ryan Holiday does both. He highlights and writes on book margins. He also has disciplined himself to get back to a book 1-2 weeks after he has finished it, and to transcribe the key ideas to index cards, by hand. The "by hand" part is important, because it forces him to be very selective about what he wants to keep and revisit. He has a large collection of these index cards sorted by topic.

bertilak wrote:I just buy them in cheap paperback editions


I used to buy paperbacks but now I favor hardcover books, because they have wider margins that are more welcoming to my writing.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

placeholder
Posts: 3952
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:43 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby placeholder » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:40 pm

My reading is entertainment and pretty much all fiction so the library is great for me (and frankly I find his attitude pretty condescending).

gkaplan
Posts: 6867
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby gkaplan » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:06 pm

If I kept all the books I read, I'd have to live in a place other than the loft I am living in.
Gordon

User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 5403
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby bertilak » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:37 pm

gkaplan wrote:If I kept all the books I read, I'd have to live in a place other than the loft I am living in.

When we came up with plans for our house (8 years ago) one of my criteria was a room big enough to be a library. Lots of bookcases. The room also serves as our media (TV) room.

I was not able to get all the books in so have extra shelves in the office (aka 3rd bedroom) and some books remaining to be sorted are still in boxes stacked in a hallway.
I have a strong moral sense - by my standards. | -- Rex Stout

gouldnm
Posts: 516
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby gouldnm » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:54 pm

With electronic books, finding space to keep books might be a moot point.

User avatar
seeshells
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:43 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby seeshells » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:00 pm

"Banks 2.0" - to - "Banks 3.0", 2 books by Brett King, and "Banks Fraud and Crime", by Norton and Walker.
Last edited by seeshells on Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fallible
Posts: 5946
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:44 pm
Contact:

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Fallible » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:05 pm

Delete
Last edited by Fallible on Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bogleheads® wiki | Investing Advice Inspired by Jack Bogle

Nicolas
Posts: 561
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Nicolas » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:13 pm

A Farewell To Arms by Ernie Hemingway.
Last edited by Nicolas on Wed May 13, 2015 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16724
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby VictoriaF » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:08 am

placeholder wrote:My reading is entertainment and pretty much all fiction so the library is great for me (and frankly I find his attitude pretty condescending).


The questions are:
- Is entertainment inconsistent with cognitive stress?
- Are those who claim to be entertained while experiencing cognitive stress, deluding themselves?
- Is entertainment the present experience only, or it also includes the anticipation of an activity and reminiscence after the activity has ended?

I had periods in my life when I read simple fiction, when I read serious fiction, when I read nonfiction, and when I read some combinations of all. For me, simple fiction was addictive. While I was reading it, I felt as I was wasting my life, and these books have left no lasting effect. To break with what I considered a bad habit, I stopped reading fiction and, with rare exceptions, until recently I read only nonfiction.

Now in retirement, I have more time to read, but I also place a higher value on my time. I continue reading nonfiction, but I also started reading some serious fiction, e.g., several Man Booker award winners. And even though these are works of fiction, I have the same impulse to underline profound statements and insert my own comments on the margins, which requires owning books.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Lynette
Posts: 1264
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:47 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Lynette » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:31 am

My books were mainly technical computer/photography/history/learning languages or whatever my current interest was as well as travel books. These date quickly. I gave them all away and now I only have ebooks. Occasionally I will buy a book such as Milepost which was for travel to Alaska. I only read non-fiction. Currently reading a book on Destiny Interrupted: A History of the world through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary. I'm going on a cruise of the Dalmatian coast and I was interested in how the collapse of the Ottoman Empire affected this region. Of course, I got it from Amazon. When I retire I may have more time to become more profound.

User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 5403
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby bertilak » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:29 am

Just finished Mission to Tashkent by Colonel F. M. Bailey. This is the first hand account of the experiences of a British "secret agent" in Central Asia during WW I. It was mostly written in 1924, shortly after the events described and first published in 1946 after its contents were approved by the British government.

The situation in Central Asia was very confusing, to say th least. The main players were:
    Russian Tsarists
    Russian Bolsheviks
    Germans, Turks and other Central Powers allies
    Various local players
    And of course the British and their allies.
Not all of these groups played well together. :happy

Colonel Bailey's mission (to Tashkent, an important hub in Central Asia) was to sort all this out for the British and to hinder Central Powers and Bolshevik progress in the area. It was a real cat-and-mouse game where Bailey was the mouse amongst several cats, the Bolsheviks being the most dangerous. It is all told with typical British reserve and understatement. Someone said Bailey would have fit nicely into an Indiana Jones story.

The recent edition I have includes an introduction and postscript by Peter Hopkirk, quite an adventurer and author himself. Hopkirk is an expert on the "Great Game," the term used for the machinations of many of the above and other players in the 19th century up through WW I to exert influence in this area for various strategic and conflicting purposes. Colonel Bailey is considered one of the last players in the Great Game. I am inspired to get a book by Hopkins to fill in some of the details and the general framework of the time and place covered by Bailey's first hand account.

Interesting fact: In the desert wells were, of course, very important. Some were quite deep. One was 700 (plus) feet down to the water. It was so deep a horse (or camel; I forget) was needed to pull up the heavy rope. It was (If I remember correctly) about a 40 minutes process. It took a long time to supply water for a dozen or so people with as many or more horses for a multi-day trek to the next well, leaving you vulnerable to search parties that know you must stop at a well. Some wells were guarded by hostile people. Some were salty and of no use.
I have a strong moral sense - by my standards. | -- Rex Stout

frugalguy
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:17 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby frugalguy » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:16 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
The questions are:
- Is entertainment inconsistent with cognitive stress?
- Are those who claim to be entertained while experiencing cognitive stress, deluding themselves?
- Is entertainment the present experience only, or it also includes the anticipation of an activity and reminiscence after the activity has ended?


I enjoy fiction more than non-fiction these days and while some fiction books are like "junk food" and quickly forgotten, certain fictional series "stick to the ribs" as you get to know the characters over time. These characters become like old friends.

Also, part of the experience in reading fiction for me is the total experience. My main "book reading season" is in the summer when I can read outdoors. The whole experience of reading a "beach book" in the sun makes for a lot of fun and nice memories of leisurely reading in the sun, and I always look forward to the next summer reading season. (That covers past, present and future experience for anyone counting. ;) ) I actually read less fiction during hte rest of the year.

gouldnm
Posts: 516
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby gouldnm » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:29 am

frugalguy wrote:I enjoy fiction more than non-fiction these days and while some fiction books are like "junk food" and quickly forgotten, certain fictional series "stick to the ribs" as you get to know the characters over time. These characters become like old friends.


What a great thought, and a great way of expressing this!

I, too, enjoy reading fiction. I know I've read a really good book, when I get to the end and I regret finishing it, and I can't get the characters and story out of my mind--or if I find myself wanting to re-read it!

It's so rare that I find a book like that, even though many books are still worth reading.

I did find one book recently that someone recommended on this forum (sorry, I forget the title) that was so good, it stayed with me for days, and I ended up recommending it to a lot of people. If anyone really wants to know, I still have the paperback copy and can look it up.

User avatar
heartwood
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:40 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby heartwood » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:49 am

I read Gray Mountain by John Grisham. Less a novel than a vehicle for him to preach against Big Coal, Big Law, and social injustice. His writing is polished as always, but more a screed than an entertainment.

User avatar
heartwood
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:40 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby heartwood » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:52 am

frugalguy wrote:
I did find one book recently that someone recommended on this forum (sorry, I forget the title) that was so good, it stayed with me for days, and I ended up recommending it to a lot of people. If anyone really wants to know, I still have the paperback copy and can look it up.
[/quote]

What a tease! Yes, please let me know. Seriously.

gouldnm
Posts: 516
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby gouldnm » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:36 pm

heartwood wrote:
frugalguy wrote:
I did find one book recently that someone recommended on this forum (sorry, I forget the title) that was so good, it stayed with me for days, and I ended up recommending it to a lot of people. If anyone really wants to know, I still have the paperback copy and can look it up.


What a tease! Yes, please let me know. Seriously.


The book is called "The Blue Hour" by Alonso Cueto. It was a fantastic read, I couldn't put it down! The backdrop for the book is the civil war that occurred in Peru in the 1980's. I actually remember learning about that when I was in the Naval War College, and we did a unit on terrorism (e.g., what makes people join terrorist movements, and the use of terrorism as a tactic in wars from the American Revolution to Vietnam). Because of my education, I think I had a greater appreciation of the book than I would have had otherwise. But even if you don't know anything about Peruvian history or modern warfare, it's still an enthralling story.

It's been a while since I've read it, but here's what I remember about the plot:
The protagonist is a wealthy lawyer who is from the extreme upper class in Peruvian society. After his mother dies, he finds out that his father, whom his mother had divorced, and who was a military officer during a major Civil War, had a local girl kidnapped and kept her as a captive in his quarters. The protagonist starts getting threats from the girl's family (this is years after the war has ended). The story is about his personal journey as he attempts to track down the girl, now a grown woman, and find out what actually happened as well as to discover who his father really was. As he does this he learns a lot about himself, the horrors of the war (and how it impacted both the local peasantry and the military), and also about the inequities of the class system in Peru.

What I particularly liked is that it read like a suspense thriller but also had a lot of history, social commentary, and philosophy.

I tried looking up other books by the same author but none of them have been translated into English, even though they've won awards and one was even made into a movie. You'd think the best books would get translated into English. I know it can be hard finding people to translate languages like Yiddish, but SPANISH??? Come on! So frustrating.

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 33589
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby nisiprius » Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:20 pm

Just finished Cop Killer, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. In the late 1960s, I read the first five of their books, which I thought were OK, but not all that great. Either the ones they wrote afterwards were better, or I bring something different to it in my sixties than I did in my twenties (do you think?) Anyway, I am really absorbed in them this time, and when I finish The Terrorists I believe I'll go back to Roseanna and reread the first five.

Anyway, I am glad to say that i found Cop Killer much better than The Locked Room--I actually suspect that their use of a classic mystery device in The Locked Room was a self-conscious (and self-indulgent) tour-de-force.

Cop Killer is great, and the scene where Martin Beck interviews Bertil Mård is one of the best things I've read in a while. And it's a great plot device, too, because at the end of the scene, like Beck, I was strongly inclined to think Mård is innocent--just because of his manner and personality--which, of course, made me wonder if I'd been set up and if it was going to turn out that he is guilty after all. (And, as everyone used to say at the end of their elementary-school book reports--"And if you want to know what happened, you'll have to read the book!")

I'm very proud of myself for figuring out how to type those diacritical marks, by the way.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

chaz
Posts: 13598
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby chaz » Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:59 pm

"The Burnt House" by Faye Kellerman.
Chaz | | “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." Woody Allen | | http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

Valuethinker
Posts: 31927
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:06 am

spin_echo wrote:In the Kingdom of the Ice (north pole exploration, not as good as the Shackleton books)
The Warrior's Apprentice, Shards of Honor, Barrayar (really enjoyed, looking forward to reading the rest!)
Basalisk Station (David Weber -- meh, will probably try another but was a little disappointed)
Excession (Iain Banks) -complex, slooooow start -- this is the book I am currently reading


Re Bujold. You have, in my opinion, read the 3 best (and I am hoping you read the first 2 chronologically *second*: because doing so gives a different joy to The Warriors Apprentice- the incident with Sgt. Bothari and the whole Vorhalas- Vorkosigan faceoff before the Emperor-- 2 men of honour fatally divided by events).

Those lines (Vorhalas to Vorkosigan, in Shards of Honor):

'Will they counterattack?'
'Of course, this isn't an outpost, this is their home'.
'When?'
'When the first wave isn't fully landed. The point of maximum chaos'.

It just seemed to me those lines showed a CJ Cherryh like grasp of strategy, and of human motivation. Men playing at war, and then the master strategist points out that for the other side, this is no game.

Miles is an interesting character, and an annoying one. From time to time you catch glimpses of the exasperation others must feel with him. Whereas Cordelia Naismith's ringside seat on the 'Butcher of Komar' and the psychopathy of Barryan politics which serves as a subtext of everything that happens, is incomparable. I have read Shards of Honor/ Barryar at least 10x each, that's up with Lest Darkness Fall (L. Sprague de Camp) or 'Flandry of Terra' (Poul Anderson) or 'The Demon Breed' (James H Schmitz).

Good old Pacifistic Beta colony, with its weapons industry, is of course California, a satire thereon. And Barryar is 19th century Russia with a touch of Julio-Claudian Roman Imperium added in (Ezar is pretty close to the Emperor Augustus-- not quite as close as in AE Van Vogt's Empire of the Atom/ Wizard of Linn (Clane Linn is Claudius) but still recognizable).

Miles matures (wait til you hit Cryoburn, which I happened to read on *exactly* the week of similar events in my own life) and in some ways the stories get less fun, or different. Memory is by far the darkest of the whole series. But you have Taura (introduced in a short story) and Ellie Quin and Ky Tung, and The Mountains of Mourning and The Borders of Infinity (2 incomparable short stories) yet to go. I envy you, in a way: The Vor Game awaits and Brothers in Arms.

Note that Ard Mayhew has already appeared in Shards of Honor, when he reappears in The Warriors Apprentice.

No I don't think David Weber has it: never really enjoyed his stuff. David Drake is busily rewriting O'Brien (Master and Commander etc: Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin) but I still like them (and Drake's take on Republican Roman politics is always fun)-- I think they are better than Weber except consciously anachronistic (sailing ships in hyperspace etc.). But I've always liked Drake: a classicist and Vietnam vet, he puts both into his novels.

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 33589
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby nisiprius » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:15 pm

Just finished The Terrorists, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. Very good, although they are a bit too preachy and let their politics show a bit too much (e.g. in the very last word of the book). But it was Per Wahlöö's swan song. Usually I can't figure out anything about a mystery story's plot, but this time--they make a big deal of letting us know that Martin Beck has a secret scheme for foiling the terrorists' plans without telling us what it is... and I was able to guess it. An interesting detail is that while I don't know if the scheme would actually have been feasible in 1973, it does at least seem plausible. And in 2014, things have changed in interesting ways what would make the scheme completely impossible.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 38626
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby LadyGeek » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:41 pm

LadyGeek wrote:^^^ Good timing. Try The Hellhole Trilogy, by Brian Hebert and Kevin J. Anderson.

I just got the 3rd book in the series, but it's been so long that I'm re-reading the first 2.

Book 1: Hellhole
Book 2: Hellhole: Awakening <-- What I'm on now
Book 3: Hellhole Inferno

I would call this type of sci-fi space opera, which I like.

Hellhole Inferno, by Brian Hebert and Kevin J. Anderson.

I recommend reading all 3 consecutively, as there's no break in the action between them. Book 3 starts off where Book 2 ends.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

User avatar
Ged
Posts: 3199
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Location: Roke

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Ged » Sun Dec 14, 2014 8:23 pm

Well, I finally finished Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. It is a very creative work based on a dystopic future where large multinationals companies have taken over a post-oil world through genetic control of the food supply.

I think perhaps I had some difficulty accepting the premise; from what I know of the science behind this the premise is hard for me to swallow. Still there is no denying it is a major contribution to sci-fi as it brings forward a lot of new ideas.

I've just started Old Man's War by John Scalzi. The Heinlein flavor is strong with this one. It seems to be a series...

User avatar
Lon
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:25 pm
Location: California & Mapua, New Zealand
Contact:

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Lon » Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:40 am

Just Finished a Good Book
If you like reading WW 2 history you might give Max Hastings "Inferno" a go. He covers a number of things not previously covered like the thousands of Allied desertions during the Italian Campaign and the thousands of non combat airmen's deaths during training exercises.

WheelsPSU
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:37 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby WheelsPSU » Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:44 am

I'm reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. It's part one of the Century Trilogy.

I know I'm a few years late to the party on the trilogy but the first book has been very good so far. Although its a pain to carry in my work bag while riding the subway because its so heavy!

User avatar
black jack
Posts: 643
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:13 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby black jack » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:09 pm

WheelsPSU: I'm "reading" (listening to the audiobook of) Fall of Giants now. My little SanDisk Clip is more convenient than carrying around the book.

Earlier this year I listened to his medieval books, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. These are wonderful books, and the audiobooks are perfect for anyone planning a cross-country drive (they're around 60 hours each).
We cannot absolutely prove [that they are wrong who say] that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. | -T. B. Macaulay (1800-1859)

BogleMe
Posts: 243
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:10 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby BogleMe » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:39 pm

Joseph de Maistre: Considerations on France.

Maistre was a contemporary to the French Revolution and his thought is an interesting perspective against "Progress".

dsmil
Posts: 485
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:51 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby dsmil » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:42 pm

"Enough" by John Bogle!

denismurf
Posts: 533
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby denismurf » Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:37 am

C Trick by Donald M Cooper.

This is a partially fictionalized memoir of military service in the USASA (US Army Security Agency) in Cold War Germany in the 60's and 70's. As a veteran of that agency and times and place, I found the book a gritty, funny, realistic account of that piece of my life, with echoes of the current furor over Ed Snowden's revelations of electronic spying. The ASA was the principal Cold War supplier of raw data to the NSA back then.

People who have never been in the military might find that the Animal House atmosphere drowns out and trivializes the serious story of the ASA mission, but that was the reality.

chaz
Posts: 13598
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby chaz » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:26 pm

"Death In Holy Orders" by P.D. James.
Chaz | | | | “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." Woody Allen | | | | http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 10647
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby ruralavalon » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:10 pm

Of Plymouth Plantation,by William Bradford. The foundation and early history of Plymouth Colony, by one of its first governors. They arrived in November. They made a treaty with a local tribe, which included a military alliance. Half of the colonists died the first winter.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | | Wiki article link:Getting Started

User avatar
knpstr
Posts: 1630
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:57 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby knpstr » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:19 pm

The Fountainhead ... Ayn Rand

Not a huge fiction reader.
Figured I should see what the fuss is about.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

communipaw
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:15 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby communipaw » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:22 pm

The Sleepwalkers [WW1]

Valuethinker
Posts: 31927
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:31 am

knpstr wrote:The Fountainhead ... Ayn Rand

Not a huge fiction reader.
Figured I should see what the fuss is about.


I think Rand's fame has to do with her telling us what we would like to hear, rather than that she is a good novellist.

We would all like to believe we are John Galt, or the architect in the Fountainhead. We'd all like to believe we are Nietschean supermen, underappreciated, rather than the nebbishes most of us probably are. I kind of feel I had my fill of that as a teenager reading Robert Heinleim and Larry Niven but of course Heinlein 'only' wrote 'science fiction' and is therefore not a 'serious author'* . Rand certainly had a very interesting love life, but she wasn't so public about it (aside from some 'steamy' scenes in Atlas Shrugged).

http://www.amazon.com/Goddess-Market-Ra ... B007MXDGAY

http://www.amazon.com/Ayn-Rand-World-Sh ... Q2XG00MQEG

Remember, this is probably the most read novelist in the US in the last half of the 20th century. Atlas Shrugged is regularly voted by readers as the most influential book they have read, alongside the Bible.

*we've discussed Heinlein in depth on this thread or its predecessors, but the 'canon' in my view (and of others) is:

- Starship Troopers (politically this is a provocative novel, enough to throw people of a more liberal persuasion into fits of rage-- read Joe Haldeman's The Forever War as the counter argument, the US Navy/ nearly WW2 vet vs. the Vietnam vet's take on war in the future**; most people did not understand that the movie ST was a satire based on the director's own experience of occupied Holland in WW2*). One might not *like* what ST has to say, but most readers would admit that as a grab, that first chapter is such an imaginative visualization of a future combat mission-- modern Hollywood movies so very clearly owe much to that book
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (just as political, but less enraging)
- Double Star (nitty gritty of politics which Heinlein knew well, rather than Political Philosophy per se, but it's got a nod to the US racial questions of the time which is often missed)
- his series of 'juveniles' all of which have a libertarian message but it's delivered in such a way that it doesn't irritate, Heinlein can make the hero of a novel a civil servant (The Star Beast) without blinking an eye. These novels will, I hope, survive Heinlein into the 21st century as part of the canon of English literature

(there's also the problem his sexuality was quite countercultural and libertine, and so for books like Stranger in a Strange Land (badly overrated in my view) got a cult following with the free love set)

* Paul Verhoeven - Soldier of Orange, Total Recall, Robocop, Starship Troopers all have that characteristic, and all have a degree of satire about them which is often missed

** Haldeman was a Vietnam vet, fought in the combat engineers (wrote a book about it 'War Year'). Heinlein was a peacetime USN officer, drummed out of the service due to medical disability (TB). In an alternative history timeline, Robert Heinlein fought at Guadacanal/ Savo Island/ Ironbottom Sound etc. and wrote a very different Starship Troopers (or maybe not).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Valuethinker
Posts: 31927
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:46 am

communipaw wrote:The Sleepwalkers [WW1]


The big debate. On the one hand the Barbara Tuchman thesis that these statesment blundered into war, with no idea what they were getting into.

The revisionist view, which I think is more accepted by modern historians, is that they had every idea what they were getting into in terms of a European wide war, but insufficient understanding of the implications of that in terms of the collapse of the existing order after a war of unprecedented length and severity.

Interesting to see what view your author takes?

Valuethinker
Posts: 31927
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:54 am

Lon wrote:Just Finished a Good Book
If you like reading WW 2 history you might give Max Hastings "Inferno" a go. He covers a number of things not previously covered like the thousands of Allied desertions during the Italian Campaign and the thousands of non combat airmen's deaths during training exercises.


A friend of mine's father was in the Commandos as a doctor. His job was, after a planned execution of deserters by firing squad, to go around with the officer and make sure they were dead, if they were not, the office would administer a coup de grace with the .38 Webley revolver (service issue).

Fortunately Lord Mountbatten (a naval officer, and the King's first cousin) showed up and basically said 'we are going to win this war, we are not going to have these mens' blood on our hands, too'. Execution called off. Whereas in WW1 hundreds of British soldiers, called deserters then but we would now view them as shell shock (PTSD) victims, were executed-- a few years ago the British government posthumously pardoned them.

I've never read about those events anywhere, and Bob and his father are both dead, but I doubt his father would have lied about something like that to his son. One of those stories that will just be lost to memory.

They say something like 10% of deaths in combat are friendly fire. Add to that traffic accidents and training accidents, and you probably get to 1/5th of all killed, or more.

User avatar
kybourbon
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 7:03 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby kybourbon » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:02 am

Ben Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
"Our favorite holding period is forever" (WB)

Dave55
Posts: 255
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:51 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Dave55 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:21 am

"The Cold Dish" by Craig Johnson
First novel in the Longmire Mystery series
Excellent read so far

Dave

Lynette
Posts: 1264
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:47 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Postby Lynette » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:01 pm

Does a newspaper count? I'm in Zagreb (Croatia) having passed through Frankfurt Airport. So I got inspired to travel on my own and so relearn some German. I put into Google translate. It seems that a report indicated that their military preparedness isn't that great especially in the case of helicopters. I'll try this with French and Italian newspapers. To me, this is far more fun than reading fiction.


Return to “Personal Consumer Issues”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], bruce88, Derpalator and 34 guests