What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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Valuethinker
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:16 am

ruralavalon wrote:Breaking the Backcountry, by Matthew C. Ward.

This is a history of the impact of the French and Indian War and later Pontiac's uprising on Pennsylvania and Virginia, including diplomacy and colonial politics. Inept military leadership at the beginning, and continuing political inability to provide funding and troops kept the frontier counties exposed to devastating Indian attacks for about ten years.


There is a The Great Courses about American colonial history (Life before 1776 or something like that). I shall look up the title later today (I have it, but have yet to view it). You might find this to be an interesting complement to your reading. With all of TGC we have found new insights (A New History of Life, Masters of Strategy, Late Antiquity, Photography) despite previous reading in the field-- sometimes viewing a lecture embeds things in a way that reading does not.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by dubsem » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:30 am

FYI For Your Improvement (5th Ed).

Details improving weaknesses, career stoppers/stallers, and neutral skills. Very interactive book in which you must be motivated in order for it to be effective. Book encourages more than listing hypothetical scenarios and solutions.
G.O.O.D.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:16 pm

I just finished reading Montana: the Biography of Football's Joe Cool by Keith Dunnavant.

Quarterback Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl championships in nine years, but his fame came not just from what he did but also from the flair with which he did it. No matter how important the game, Montana had the air of a man who knew it would all turn out just fine. Fans will remember Montana's triumphs in the NFL, but this biography also tells the less-familiar story of Montana's early career and his battles with his high-school and college coaches, both of whom were slow to recognize Montana's talent. That changed in San Francisco, where Montana and coach Bill Walsh were the perfect match, although a sometimes contentious one. (Summary edited from a Booklist review.)

This is the quintessential unauthorized biography. The book has only eight pages of plates, and nearly all the pictures appear to be from newspaper files. There are no family photographs, and the few photographs of teammates, coaches, and friends again seem to be stock photographs. The endnotes consist only of secondary sources. The direct quotes cited are from newspaper accounts and previous biographies and autobiographies.

The book is also sloppily prepared. The endnotes begin with number three, not number one, and the text itself has no numbers for the endnotes. In addition, the index is strictly a name index; no topics are indexed, even though the author discusses in some length such issues as the counterculture in San Francisco, the burgeoning drug problem in the NFL, and so on.

Having said all that, if you are an admirer of Joe Montana and his accomplishments or are a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, or both, you probably will want to read this biography.
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by kommisarrex » Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:31 pm

In the middle of William Shirer's Berlin Diares. He is the author of the more famous Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. This book is basically just excerpts from a diary he kept while a news correspondent in Europe in the mid 30s. What's fascinating is the book was published prior to Pearl Harbor.

While not a masterpiece of writing, it's been fascinating getting his real-time impressions of events, including many significant events that didn't seem so at the time and others that seemed significant, but weren't. Also incredible to see how wrong many of the experts were (for example, a U.S. Embassy Defense Attache tells him after Germany invaded Poland: "The Polish army should be able to hold out at least six months on its own"). I also noted he had a pretty good idea of what was happening to the Jews pretty early on...

Highly recommended from what I've read so far.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Dave55 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:05 am

Just read "The Kill Clause" by Gregg Hurwitz
Now reading "Fool Me Once" just out by Harlan Coben

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Wildebeest
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:45 am

I read " The bat" by Jo Nesbo, whose main character is Harry Hole, a Norwegian inspector, recovering alcoholic going to Australia (land of heavy alcohol use) to solve the murder of young Norwegian woman. Our hero, or may be better put anti hero when stinkingly drunk, manages to get a through a completely improbable tale of mayhem, violence and serial murder, spawning the start of a very popular series.

*** out of *****.

The Redbreast, Nesbo's third one is in comparison remarkably restrained, his hero Harry Hole, continues to be the anti hero especially while falling down drunk and the plot, while improbable, kept me engaged.

**** out of *****.

I read Nesbo's fifth one, "The devil 's star", and it ends up in all out mayhem. Still improbable ( please note that the murder rate in the book is higher 8 people murdered in Norway in the first 7 1/2 months of 2014), but at least I could put my disbelief on hold to enjoy the action.

**** 1/2 out *****.

If you like Michael Connelly ( I have read all his books) you will probably enjoy Nesbo ( if you can suspend your disbelief).
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:15 pm

kommisarrex wrote:In the middle of William Shirer's Berlin Diares. He is the author of the more famous Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. This book is basically just excerpts from a diary he kept while a news correspondent in Europe in the mid 30s. What's fascinating is the book was published prior to Pearl Harbor.

While not a masterpiece of writing, it's been fascinating getting his real-time impressions of events, including many significant events that didn't seem so at the time and others that seemed significant, but weren't. Also incredible to see how wrong many of the experts were (for example, a U.S. Embassy Defense Attache tells him after Germany invaded Poland: "The Polish army should be able to hold out at least six months on its own"). I also noted he had a pretty good idea of what was happening to the Jews pretty early on...

Highly recommended from what I've read so far.


Thank you for the review. This book has been on my reading list since I first visited Berlin. Over time, it was pushed down by other interests. I should bring it back up.

Victoria
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Random120424
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Random120424 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:37 pm

A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18
by Joseph Loconte

Interesting read that combines a historical look at WWI and the world stage with the time periods effect on Lewis and Tolkien - how it shaped their worldview and subsequently their writings.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.

Biography on Bonhoeffer. Interesting, but very detailed and at some points slower than I'd like. Super long book - I'm finishing this one via Kindle Read to me while doing odds and ends around the house. Find it interesting and easier to plug through while taking care of other tasks.

Do More Better Tim Challies
Basic quick read on productivity and putting systems in place to maximize my productivity with the limited time I've been giving in this life. I like that the author applies 'productivity' to all of life, and not just 'work'. Striving for excellence in relationships, family, work, outside activities. Do well in all areas of life.

A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson
My current 'fun read'. A humorous look at Bill's tackling of the Appalachian Trail. Biting sarcasm and creative observation of nature and the people encountered along the trail. Can't go wrong.

I have a bad habit, perhaps (?), of finding myself intrigued with new titles/books as I come across them - so I begin multiple books before I finish those that I've already started. I'm trying in 2016 to keep myself limited to 4 books at a time and not starting another until I finish 1 of the 4.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jdb » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:01 pm

Just finished A Splendid Savage by Steve Kemper, a biography of reputedly the only person whom his friends Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill would listen to raptly without interruption. Picture an American prospector in the Klondike during Gold Rush, a frontiersmen living on his own in the West since early teenage years, who received telegram from Field Marshall Lord Roberts of British War Ministry, when mighty British Army at height of Empire in danger of losing war to South African Boer farmers, urgently offering him appointment as Chief of Scouts of British Army in South Africa. Though this prospector had less than two years earlier turned down request from Theodore Roosevelt to join the Rough Riders as Scout he did accept the British offer. Roosevelt called him the Sherlock Holmes of all outdoors and he would regale other British officers including purportedly medical officer named Arthur Conan Doyle with tales of his observation and tracking skills learned from Apaches as scout for US Army against renegade Apaches led by Geronimo and as chief scout for Cecil Rhodes British South African Company in the conflicts with natives in what became known as Rhodesia, the natives called him he-who-sees-in-the-dark. During his service in South Africa, where although an American he was appointed a Major in regular British Army and awarded DSO, became close friends with another officer, Robert Baden-Powell, who used him as inspiration when he subsequently formed the Boy Scouts. He and Winston Churchill shared distinction of both escaping from Boer prisoner of war captivity, he and Churchill were shipmates on return voyage to England. A man of many contradictions, though never having formal education he was avid reader, when his Boer captors thought they had captured the famous American scout who they assumed was a frontier rube, he convinced them that he was a middling British engineer officer by quoting at length from the Iliad and Odyssey and Julius Caesar writings. In later life when acquired fortune from oil explorations in California became one of leading conservationists in California. His name was Frederick Russell Burnham. One of highest peaks of San Gabriel Mountains outside Los Angeles is Burnham Peak, adjacent to Baden-Powell Peak, named in honor of the two close friends. I think that a well written biography of fascinating person in life well lived is better than fiction and this book is proof. You can look it up on Wikipedia or read this book, which I highly recommend.
Last edited by jdb on Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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black jack
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by black jack » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:59 pm

Another long car trip enabled me to finish the audiobook A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914-1918, by G.J. Meyer (spoiler alert: Germany loses).

I enjoyed the book, now feel I know a little about the war, and the book's length may have imparted some unconscious sense of the war's length. Many, many interesting points, including this: the Germans decided to resume unrestricted submarine warfare in January 1917, feeling it was the only way to break out of the situation they were in, fighting a two-front war in which they were slowly being ground down by a blockade of goods and the greater manpower of their foes. This decision led to America entering the war. If the German leaders had waited a little longer, they would have seen one front disappear, as Russia was taken out of the war that year by the revolutions that began in March. Also, the economic activity of the leading European nations did not regain the levels seen prior to the war until near the end of the century (admittedly, the Great Depression and WWII had something to do with that, but those events were in part results of the war).

Started The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:50 pm

Just finished " Jar City" by Arnaldur Indridason.
Iceland has only 300 000 inhabitants and has one great mystery writer.
The blurb from The Boston Globe "This is a dark, haunting novel with a protagonist, who searches for a murderer and finds his own humanity. The emotionally wrought ending caught me off guard and touches me in a way few mystery novels do" is right on.

The protagonist detective " Erlandur" is hurting and utterly human in his faults.

Five stars out of 5 stars.
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wilson08
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by wilson08 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:10 pm

The Mill on the Floss
by George Elliot
Great English classic about a family that must deal with
financial ruin. Some are crushed by it and others rise to
the occasion and show their mettle.

A Plain Life
by Scott Savage
A Quaker family breaks away (to a degree) from the
mechanized, technological (cell phones excluded) modern
world to seek simplicity and a more natural lifestyle.
The author takes a 120 mile trip on foot to turn in his driver's
license with musings along the way.

The Misalliance
by Anita Brookner
Delightful, witty, novel of how a woman deals with
abandonment and the ensuing loneliness. She maintains
her dignity and refuses to let others pity her.
Last edited by wilson08 on Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ruralavalon
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:26 am

Rock With Wings, by Anne Hillerman.

In a routine traffic stop for speeding the driver acts nervous and offers Navajo police officer Manuelito a $500 bribe for no apparent reason. There is a box of dirt in the trunk.

Officer Chee is assigned to work in Monument Valley where a movie company is filming a movie about zombies, and discovers a grave.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Romad » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:41 pm

Finished "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey a few months back. I am looking for another good book to read on either personal finance or investing, particularly the Boglehead way.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:56 pm

^^^ Here you go: Books: recommendations and reviews

The free download "If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly" would be a good next step (if you are just starting out).

If you want more detail, then pick anything in the "Start-up books" section.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by stratton » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:29 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Cordelia Naismith was always my favourite character in the series, she represents the "modern" view on a not-so-modern Barryan society. Plus her resourcefulness and courage-- both physical and moral.

I found it a bit too absorbing to read before bedtime (like an Alan Furst thriller, or a Charlie Stross Labyrinth novel) so will have to carve out daylight time to read it.

Before bedtime I go back to reading my books about tank design ;-).

Seeing as how you are a CFA you're:

-Researching building your own Cushing Oklahoma style complex.

-Researching storing hot sodium for overnight energy storage.

-Looking at things like wide tank treads on a T-34 so it won't get stuck in the Russian mud.

Probably the last. :P

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jdb » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:09 pm

So yesterday, March 27, I started reading latest publication from one of my all time favorite authors, The Ancient Minstrel by Jim Harrison. Finished the first of three novellas, which was autobiographical. This morning in NYT saw that he had passed away yesterday. Makes reading the rest of book more poignant. Never did read his most famous work, Legends of the Fall, which plan to order in near future. Recommend his novels and novellas, loved the Brown Dog novellas set in Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one of my favorite areas of country. I never read poetry but he was also famous poet, that forms bulk of his work. May he rest in peace.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:42 pm

Ancillary Sword, by Anne Leckie. This is the second of three books in the trilogy. I like it.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by theunknowntech » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:08 pm

My wife is reading 'Infinite Jest', by David Foster Wallace. It has kept her occupied for _weeks_, to the point of delirium, and she's not done yet. It is the best value in a book of fiction that I have ever encountered, even better than Proust's 'Remembrance'. I highly recommend it.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Mordko » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:49 pm

kommisarrex wrote:In the middle of William Shirer's Berlin Diares. He is the author of the more famous Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. This book is basically just excerpts from a diary he kept while a news correspondent in Europe in the mid 30s. What's fascinating is the book was published prior to Pearl Harbor.

While not a masterpiece of writing, it's been fascinating getting his real-time impressions of events, including many significant events that didn't seem so at the time and others that seemed significant, but weren't. Also incredible to see how wrong many of the experts were (for example, a U.S. Embassy Defense Attache tells him after Germany invaded Poland: "The Polish army should be able to hold out at least six months on its own"). I also noted he had a pretty good idea of what was happening to the Jews pretty early on...

Highly recommended from what I've read so far.


Thank you for this really good review. To be fair to the Defense Attaché, he wouldn't have accounted for the USSR striking from east.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by FreeAtLast » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:25 pm

"Onward We Charge (The Heroic Story of Darby's Rangers in WWII)" by H. Paul Jeffers, New American Library, 2007.

I thought I knew all there was to know about William O. Darby and his famous Rangers battalions from Robert Black's excellent treatise from 1992 ("Rangers in WWII"). Jeffer's book fills in the details that Black skipped, including much more detailed descriptions of the Rangers' arduous training program and also much more about Darby's life (and unfortunate death).
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:47 am

The First Congress, by Fergus M. Bordewich.

This is a very interesting history of the first Congress, 1789-91, finishing some of the work of the Constitution by drafting and passing the Amendments that became the Bill of Rights, assuming the war debts of the States, determining the location of the Nation's capitol, having the first inconclusive fights over abolition of slavery, creating a central bank, making the first treaty with an Indian tribe, and the adoption of the Constitution by holdouts Rhode Island and North Carolina.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ricola » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:48 pm

jdb wrote:Just finished A Splendid Savage by Steve Kemper


Thanks for the description, it's going on my to-read list.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:04 pm

LadyGeek wrote:Ancillary Sword, by Anne Leckie. This is the second of three books in the trilogy. I like it.

Yay! I'm through the entire trilogy. Satisfying conclusion.

Started "Swift Edge", the second of series of light detective stories featuring the agency of former Air Force cop Charlotte "Charlie" Swift and her improbable partner, suburban mom GiGi Goldman. Charlie takes on a case of a missing pairs figure skater, with his teenage partner as the client.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by eucalyptus » Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:41 pm

The Invention of Science by David Wooton.

"Modern science was invented between 1572, when Tycho Brahe saw a nova, or new star, and 1704, when Newton published his Opticks ...."

An important work of history, of historiography and, I think perhaps of the New Realism reflected in Ferraris, Gabriel, Harman and others.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:40 am

theunknowntech wrote:My wife is reading 'Infinite Jest', by David Foster Wallace. It has kept her occupied for _weeks_, to the point of delirium, and she's not done yet. It is the best value in a book of fiction that I have ever encountered, even better than Proust's 'Remembrance'. I highly recommend it.


Thank you for the recommendation. I looked it up and it appears like something I'll enjoy reading too. I also found Wallace's biography in Wikipedia and it's quite unusual.

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

Post by heartwood » Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:28 pm

Child of Vengeance by David Kirk, (from Amazon) "Inspired by the true story of sixteenth-century samurai Musashi Miyamoto, David Kirk has crafted a rich, absorbing novel of one young man’s coming of age at a crucial turning point in Japanese history."

I'm about 40% into it and recommend it. Set in circa 1600 Japan it's interesting in ways similar to Shogun and other novels of the time period.

There's a second novel By Kirk, Sword of Honor, that continues the story. It's next on my list.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Fieldsy1024 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:00 pm

The Mental Game of Poker.
What Every Body is saying.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by mister_sparkle » Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:55 pm

I just finished Trouble Boys by Bob Mehr. Very thorough, and at times incredibly frustrating and depressing, biography of the band the Replacements. Highly recommended if you're at all a fan of the band or Paul Westerberg.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by steve roy » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:29 pm

"Inventing at Nation" by Gore Vidal.

A short, pithy treatise on the founding of the nation, starring John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamiltion, and George Washington. One of Vidal's few non-fiction books. He paints vivid portraits of the founders.

A good review of the tome here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/27/books ... still.html

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ajjulee » Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:32 pm

Reading - "Superforecasting - The art and science of prediction" by Philip E. Tetlock

Very insightful, extremely fun to read and often profound.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:40 pm

The Hollow, by Agatha Christie.

This is a fun book. It is an intriguing mystery set at a country manor where family and old friends have gathered for the weekend.

John is shot and killed down by the pool, the revolver is dropped in the pool so fingerprints will not solve the murder.

John may have been shot by his old girlfriend, she is very angry that he just broke up with with her right after staying the night with her. John may have been shot by his new girlfriend, who just found out about the sleepover with the old girlfriend. John may have been shot by his wife, did she just learn of both girlfriends? John may have been shot by Edward, who has been in love with the new girlfriend for years dislikes John and would like John to be out of the picture.

Right after the shooting Hercule Poirot arrives for lunch. What's next?
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:59 pm

ruralavalon wrote:Right after the shooting Hercule Poirot arrives for lunch. What's next?

What's next? Over 30 more novels and 50 short stories. Have at it!

To me they're like candy.

Also, they hypnotize my little grey cells.

Once in a while I keep track of character names with a few notes for each (or I guess I should say "kept track" since I've read 'em all). I end up with annotated arrows between characters. But generally I just read. I haven't analyzed this but I suspect the one with fewest notes and arrows is probably the guilty one! Dame Agatha was very clever in how, as you get near he end, she made you so sure that A was guilty until she changed your opinion to B, and so on. She never withheld evidence until after the big reveal. By the time Poirot solves it you have seen all the same evidence. But, the journey is more important than the destination.

I think every single novel and short story was made into a show on BBC with David Suchet as Poirot. All outstanding.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by PandaBear » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:18 pm

I'm currently reading The Decameron. My next book will probably be The Night Voice. I try to read one "classic" of literature followed by a book of popular fiction. Sometimes it's the same like when I read LotR in high school--yes, I consider that a classic of literature, it almost single-handedly defined a genre.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:07 am

The Disappearing Dictionary: A Treasury of Lost English Dialect Words by David Crystal.

Hundreds of (mostly) obsolete English words and their definitions. David Crystal selected words from Joseph Wright's 1905 work English Dialect Dictionary. Both available from Amazon.

I expect to find lots of fun words that I will try to work into my normal usage. The author suggest that many of them might be useful as insults.

I haven't found anything exciting yet but I just finished the "A" section.

Since there are more equity funds than there are equities we might say there is an abundation of mutual funds. Kind of like "plethora"
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:09 am

bertilak wrote:
ruralavalon wrote:Right after the shooting Hercule Poirot arrives for lunch. What's next?

What's next? Over 30 more novels and 50 short stories. Have at it!

To me they're like candy.

Also, they hypnotize my little grey cells.

I already have After The Funeral on my Kindle for my next candy binge.

Everyone else here seems to read such serious and important stuff. I like frivolous and fun sometimes.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by JW-Retired » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:20 am

The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945. by Nicholas Stargardt, c2015.

Just finished it. it's different from any other WWII history I've read. Very sobering and IMO worth reading. It concentrates on the German home front in WWII and how the Nazi government actually managed it quite effectively (from a Nazi standpoint). It's heavy with archived personal correspondence between wives/parents at home and soldier husbands/children at the front. The Nazi's were very effective at convincing their citizens that the war was forced on them by the British and French. Later, after Stalingrad and the war turned terribly against Germany, the German people still backed the Nazis to the bitter end. Part of it was a feeling that the home front had let their soldiers down in 1918 and they were determined not to repeat that. They definitely did not! The other huge part was the fear of terrible revenge for killing all the Jews they could get their hands on starting in 1942. Everyone in Germany seemed quite aware this happened. They also swallowed the propaganda that Jews were running the war against them.

Not to mention starving millions of Poles and Russians to death in the German occupied areas.
JW
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by blmarsha123 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:27 pm

Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. A novel about Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century.

Not for the faint of heart, but excellent writing and characters. A story about how some people existed, survived on the murky margins of our (USA) civilized world.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:25 pm

The Upside of Irrationality, by Dan Ariely.

The book is a narrative concerning experiments and surveys, including the author's, about some unexpected benefits of non-logical emotional reactions. This is very interesting, I recommend this book.

"[S]ome of the ways in which we are irrational are also what makes us wonderfully human (our ability to find meaning in work, our ability to fall in love with our creations and ideas, our willingness to trust others, our ability to adapt to new circumstances, or ability to care about others, and so on)".
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:49 pm

blmarsha123 wrote:Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. A novel about Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century.

Not for the faint of heart, but excellent writing and characters. A story about how some people existed, survived on the murky margins of our (USA) civilized world.

This is apparently a condensation of three books I read I read year's ago, a very interesting story well told.

If you want more, the longer three book series is -
Killing Mister Watson
Lost Man's River
Bone by Bone

Fiction based on fact, inspired by the frontier years of South Florida and the death of planter Edgar J. Watson shortly after the Southwest Florida Hurricane of 1910.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by sschullo » Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:01 pm

Just finished Steve Martin's autobiography: Born Standing Up. A well written, easy read, who self-described himself with no natural talents, except persistence, and learned everything from experience and other comedians. http://www.amazon.com/Born-Standing-Up-Comics-Life/dp/1416553657/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460239231&sr=1-1&keywords=born+standing+up+martin
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by sschullo » Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:02 pm

duplicate
Public School K-12 Educators: "Ask NOT what your annuity sales person can do for you, ask what you can do to be a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY)."

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jdb » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:29 pm

blmarsha123 wrote:Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. A novel about Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century.

Not for the faint of heart, but excellent writing and characters. A story about how some people existed, survived on the murky margins of our (USA) civilized world.

This takes me back a few years, really enjoyed the book. In my younger days was a Boy Scout troop leader, used to enjoy sitting around evening campfires telling (and listening to) stories. Each chapter in this book is written with different narrators, all telling variations of same stories from different perspectives, reminded me of listening to campfire stories from different narrators. And we would camp in South Florida not too far from Chokoloskee where the events occurred at end of 19th and beginning of 20th centuries. Highly recommend.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:31 am

JW-Retired wrote:The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945. by Nicholas Stargardt, c2015.

They definitely did not! The other huge part was the fear of terrible revenge for killing all the Jews they could get their hands on starting in 1942. Everyone in Germany seemed quite aware this happened. They also swallowed the propaganda that Jews were running the war against them.


JW


Reading at least one review, I am not clear that the author manages to show that "everyone" knew what the fate of the Jews was? Millions yes, probably-- anybody involved in a senior government role or generally in the military and police, or who had exposure to the occupied territories to the east. But how would ordinary people know? Soldiers in other wars don't talk about the atrocities that they have seen, even in Democracies.

I think what kept the Germans going was the same thing that kept us going:

- continual bombardment and privation drives people together, and against a common enemy (think North Vietnam under US bombardment)

- the Nazi regime was brutal in putting down any kind of disloyalty or defeatist talk-- they executed something over 20000 (?) of their own soldiers for desertion. It was easier and safer to keep on fighting, rather than be arrested (the US executed one soldier: Private Eddie Slovik; AFAIK the British did not execute *any* for refusal to face the enemy, however we did execute black marketeers, that was casually tossed off in a line I read somewhere, and we executed traitors and spies).
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:21 pm

[edited -- THANK YOU MODERATORS!]
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:32 pm

stratton wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Cordelia Naismith was always my favourite character in the series, she represents the "modern" view on a not-so-modern Barryan society. Plus her resourcefulness and courage-- both physical and moral.

I found it a bit too absorbing to read before bedtime (like an Alan Furst thriller, or a Charlie Stross Labyrinth novel) so will have to carve out daylight time to read it.

Before bedtime I go back to reading my books about tank design ;-).

Seeing as how you are a CFA you're:

-Researching building your own Cushing Oklahoma style complex.

-Researching storing hot sodium for overnight energy storage.

-Looking at things like wide tank treads on a T-34 so it won't get stuck in the Russian mud.

Probably the last. :P

Paul


I found the novel a bit disappointing, in that nothing seems to happen in it?

I could read about Cordelia, of course, till the cows come home. And trust Bujold to throw in some (not unpredictable) twists about the character of the late Aral Vorkosigan.

Either Bujold is setting us up for some "part 2" or this was really just a "so what happened to Cordelia?" novel and of interest only to fans of the series.

One thing which is interesting is to have a 3rd party perspective of Miles. He really *is* as annoying as he sometimes seems, and he's also struggling with being "grown up".

Re the T34, yes. In that the Germans discovered it had a much lower ground pressure ratio than their tanks, so it did not stick in the mud. They duplicated that in later Panzers but with 2 problems:

- that meant the Panzers no longer fit on the rail cars-- they had to take the treads off to move them (too wide). Since any tank (but especially a WW2 era one) is both mechanically unreliable (needing an overhaul after only a couple of thousand miles in WW2) and a fuel hog (and the Germans were always short of fuel) they railroaded them to the front. By 1944 this was a real problem: they had no control over the air on the western front so they couldn't do that, and on the Eastern Front the problems of sabotage etc. had grown chronic

- the running gear of the Panzer V (Panther) was complex, and it froze. It was also easy for an unskilled driver to break the transmission, and by 1944 Panzer crew had only limited training-- real quality issues

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by JW-Retired » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:43 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Reading at least one review, I am not clear that the author manages to show that "everyone" knew what the fate of the Jews was? Millions yes, probably-- anybody involved in a senior government role or generally in the military and police, or who had exposure to the occupied territories to the east. But how would ordinary people know? Soldiers in other wars don't talk about the atrocities that they have seen, even in Democracies.
..................
- the Nazi regime was brutal in putting down any kind of disloyalty or defeatist talk-- they executed something over 20000 (?) of their own soldiers for desertion. It was easier and safer to keep on fighting, rather than be arrested

Everyone is a big exaggeration, but the letters from soldiers to home were a lot more open and uncensored about the terrible things they had seen than I would have ever guessed. Soldiers at mass executions in the east took pictures and sent the film home to be developed. Many at home could see all the Jews being ordered to report to be loaded on trains and deported to the east in 1942, and their property subsequently being auctioned off. Hitler was giving public speeches with his "the Jew will be exterminated!" prophecy. Once the USA was in the war he evidently saw no reason to keep quiet about his plans.

The author also describes the Nazi regime as more carrot than stick in trying to keep up morale in both the Army and at home. Delivery of mail and care packages was felt to be very important, as was home leave. Food rationing was done well. Organizing housing for bombed out civilians got a high priority.

But take a look and see if you get the same overall impression I got.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:19 pm

JW-Retired wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Reading at least one review, I am not clear that the author manages to show that "everyone" knew what the fate of the Jews was? Millions yes, probably-- anybody involved in a senior government role or generally in the military and police, or who had exposure to the occupied territories to the east. But how would ordinary people know? Soldiers in other wars don't talk about the atrocities that they have seen, even in Democracies.
..................
- the Nazi regime was brutal in putting down any kind of disloyalty or defeatist talk-- they executed something over 20000 (?) of their own soldiers for desertion. It was easier and safer to keep on fighting, rather than be arrested

Everyone is a big exaggeration, but the letters from soldiers to home were a lot more open and uncensored about the terrible things they had seen than I would have ever guessed. Soldiers at mass executions in the east took pictures and sent the film home to be developed. Many at home could see all the Jews being ordered to report to be loaded on trains and deported to the east in 1942, and their property subsequently being auctioned off. Hitler was giving public speeches with his "the Jew will be exterminated!" prophecy. Once the USA was in the war he evidently saw no reason to keep quiet about his plans.

The author also describes the Nazi regime as more carrot than stick in trying to keep up morale in both the Army and at home. Delivery of mail and care packages was felt to be very important, as was home leave. Food rationing was done well. Organizing housing for bombed out civilians got a high priority.

But take a look and see if you get the same overall impression I got.
JW


Thank you that's very interesting. I knew a bit about the soldiers' photos and films. There was an exhibit "war crimes of the Wehrmacht" which travelled around Germany in the early 1990s, and blew away the notion widely held until then that the average German soldier (ie the Wehrmacht) did not participate in atrocities, that it was the Einsatzgruppen, SS etc. that did all the killing.

The majority of the killing *was* by the "special units" but that didn't mean the rest didn't know. British bugging of captured German officers included discussions of what they had seen. Given that some or many of the translators (to understand imperfectly recorded idiomatic German) were probably German Jews... this must have been very hard.

(at least and perhaps over half the killings in the Holocaust were done "retail" at the locations where Eastern European Jews lived rather than the wholesale form familiar to us from Auschwitz & Birkenau - Tim Snyder's "Bloodlands" is a chilling discussion of same).

I had thought that Germans comforted themselves that the Jews were simply being sent to the new eastern lands.. but maybe not.

I had heard about various German efforts to keep up morale. For the Wehrmacht, at least, and later the Volkssturm (the motley collection of boys, old men, men with physical issues, ex Luftwaffe and Navy personnel), the threat of execution for cowardice was very real, and often enforced.

Which reminds me of the USSR, where the MVD (KGB) divisions would be drawn up behind the front line, before a German or Soviet Offensive. "It takes a brave man to be a coward in the Soviet Army" as Stalin put it with his trademark dark humour.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by stratton » Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:23 pm

Valuethinker wrote:I found the novel a bit disappointing, in that nothing seems to happen in it?

I could read about Cordelia, of course, till the cows come home. And trust Bujold to throw in some (not unpredictable) twists about the character of the late Aral Vorkosigan.

Either Bujold is setting us up for some "part 2" or this was really just a "so what happened to Cordelia?" novel and of interest only to fans of the series.

One thing which is interesting is to have a 3rd party perspective of Miles. He really *is* as annoying as he sometimes seems, and he's also struggling with being "grown up".

That's my thoughts too.

I was really loving the first half of the book and at one point 30% to 40% though the book she dropped several plot leads that could have been their own books. Then it pretty much fizzled out. I kept waiting for something to happen.

Yes, Miles is annoying. I was waiting for a "You'll just have to deal with it." moment for him like he did to Ivan. He took it entirely too reasonably.

LMB has stopped telling the listees on her mailing list what's coming because we pester her about it. We only hear about stuff when it's coming out.

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

Post by srt7 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:37 am

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
by Ashlee Vance.

I am only on chapter 5 but an intriguing bio. so far!

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