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
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 39294
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:17 pm

Again, I removed some off-topic posts which have strayed into a general discussion. Please stay on-topic, which is a discussion of the book you are currently reading - meaning a book review.
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.

jebmke
Posts: 6360
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:23 pm

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly. Typical Harry Bosch story.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

protagonist
Posts: 4769
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by protagonist » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:33 pm

Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly,
Man got to sit and wonder "Why, why, why?"
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land,
Man got to tell himself he understand.

-The Books of Bokonon.

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

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chaz » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:08 pm

jebmke wrote:The Burning Room by Michael Connelly. Typical Harry Bosch story.

A very good author.
Chaz | | “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." Woody Allen | | http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

User avatar
knpstr
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:57 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by knpstr » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:26 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Man's Search for Meaning I found insightful. Rand? Not so much.


I found Frankl's book much more interesting than Rand's (particularly his recount of his story, the first half of the book)... It should be mentioned I generally don't care for fiction.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

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

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by seeshells » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:57 pm

Irving Fisher: Booms and Depressions :wink: by Irving Fisher

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:54 am

Ged wrote:Ellison's work for Outer Limits is also high quality. Demon with a Glass Hand is one of the best TV scripts ever, and of course Soldier which was the basis for the Terminator plagiarism suit. Rumors are out there about a sequel for Demon written for Babylon 5, however that is maybe just talk.

Ursula LeGuin has made some very complementary comments about The Man in The High Castle as being inspirational to her, in particular as an example of when an SF author takes themselves seriously as a novelist. PKD has also gotten some credit for foreshadowing postmodernism. Not sure what to think of that yet as I have some strong personal objections to postmodernism.

It's interesting that I am back to reading PKD now. I read Three Stigmata and Electric Sheep 50 years ago. I didn't particularly like these then... but I was pretty young at the time.

Another aspect of this was the quality of the pilot. The stuff Ridley Scott has been producing lately has been not great. I was starting to wonder if his flame had gone out. This was a pretty strong counter-argument.


Thank you re Demon. I had never heard of it. Yes Ellison is an incredibly talented writer.

Re Ridley Scott? He began making commercials. His movies have that style. Interviewed about Blade Runner all he could talk about was the style and how it's been adopted elsewhere- -which is indeed cited as a solid case of postmodernism. I think post modernism is *there* rather than in Dick's original. It's clear (to me from that interview) that Scott didn't quite understand what he created with Blade Runner, the product of a couple of very intensive months of script writing with him and the lead scriptwriter. What he created was a film noir, which whilst it deviates significantly from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, has some powerful things also to say about identity and memory*. In some ways I link it to a film like Chinatown more than any other SF film.

Not quite sure where you were coming from re Scott's more recent work? As Alien and BR were much earlier. Alien was a tour de force as well, probably one of the most effective horror films ever made.

Dick struck me as a 'modernist' but I have read little Dick. I see Ballard-Dick-Gibson as 3 aspects of modernism in SF writing. Maybe LeGuin is another.

* Rutger Hauer's partly ad libbed speech on the rooftop


Get quotes daily
Join Goodreads

“I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

― Rutger Hauer, All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants, and Blade Runners
t

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:05 am

knpstr wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Man's Search for Meaning I found insightful. Rand? Not so much.


I found Frankl's book much more interesting than Rand's (particularly his recount of his story, the first half of the book)... It should be mentioned I generally don't care for fiction.


Friederich Nietzche had many of the same ideas as Rand, if you want an 'intellectual' approach to them. Rand is an important figure in mid 20th century American cultural history, and the lack of books about her has been rectified more recently. It will be interesting to see what the upcoming biography of Alan Greenspan has to say.

Frankl's account of his philosophy of logotherapy is not entirely convincing (a religious friend of mine put it 'looking for God whilst saying there is no God') but I have found some of its tenets to be useful (don't try to be happy try to be purposeful) and his points about the universality of suffering and the need to transmute that into enlightenment.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16822
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:09 am

knpstr wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Man's Search for Meaning I found insightful. Rand? Not so much.


I found Frankl's book much more interesting than Rand's (particularly his recount of his story, the first half of the book)... It should be mentioned I generally don't care for fiction.


I agree with you about favoring Frankl over Rand, but I would phrase it differently. The essence of these books is not how interesting they are but how they affect the reader. Both Frankl and Rand are philosophers who wrote popular books. Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead are technically fiction, but they were deliberately written as stories illustrating Rand's philosophy. Long before storytelling became vogue, Rand attempted to make her theories entertaining. Unfortunately for her, she is not a good storyteller. A reader expecting a good story is disappointed. A reader in agreement with her philosophy is more lenient.

Frankl was not trying to acquire or influence followers. He had extreme life experiences and wanted to share the insights he has gained from these experiences. His "story" is better because it is more sincere.

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

protagonist
Posts: 4769
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by protagonist » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:43 am

VictoriaF wrote: Both Frankl and Rand are philosophers who wrote popular books.


I've never read Frankl but I have read Rand's major works.

I wouldn't call Rand a philosopher, any more than I would call L Ron Hubbard a scientist.

Matt Taibbi pretty much summed up the entirety of Rand's "philosophy" very well in four points:

'1. Facts are facts: things can be absolutely right or absolutely wrong, as determined by reason.
2. According to my reasoning, I am absolutely right.
3. Charity is immoral.'

Hardly Plato or Kant. Or Nietzsche for that matter.

(I won't quote the fourth since it does not conform to forum rules.)
Last edited by protagonist on Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
prudent
Moderator
Posts: 4526
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 2:50 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by prudent » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:49 am

Just finished "Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis. Lewis has a real talent for making arcane technical information understandable. I found the story of how Wall Street firms pull computer-based shenanigans in order to milk a penny per share on trades to be fascinating. And the drive of the main character to create a level playing field even though he could make more money by exploiting the information he had was impressive. It is a great insight into the nuts and bolts of how trades occur electronically as well as the types of characters who make it happen.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16822
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:53 am

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: Both Frankl and Rand are philosophers who wrote popular books.


I've never read Frankl but I have read Rand's major works.

I wouldn't call Rand a philosopher, any more than I would call L Ron Hubbard a scientist.

Matt Taibbi pretty much summed up the entirety of Rand's "philosophy" very well in four points:

'1. Facts are facts: things can be absolutely right or absolutely wrong, as determined by reason.
2. According to my reasoning, I am absolutely right.
3. Charity is immoral.'

Hardly Plato or Kant.

(I won't quote the fourth since it does not conform to forum rules.)


From Wikipedia:
Ayn Rand (/ˈaɪn ˈrænd/;[1] born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher,[2] playwright, and screenwriter.


Who is more authoritative: Matt Taibbi or Wikipedia?
You may disagree with Rand's philosophy, but it does not make her un-philosopher.

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

gkaplan
Posts: 6954
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:11 am

I just finished reading Helga's Diary: a Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp by Helga Weiss.

This book will invite inevitable comparisons with Anne Frank, particularly since they were born in the same year (1929). The difference is that Helga Weiss, a Prague native, survived the war.

Actually, her account is a life in several concentration camps: Terezín, Auschwitz, Freiberg, Mauthausen. I found the narrative somewhat disjointed, although perhaps that's the nature of most diaries, and the diary does get more interesting as it goes along. I also thought the editor's notes were, for the most part, more intrusive than helpful. What is particularly interesting is the 2011 interview between Weiss and her translator, in which she recalls her pre-war, war, and post-war experiences and the process of writing her diary.

The diary would make for an interesting movie for the war experiences described in the diary and her post-war experiences described in the interview.
Gordon

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:14 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Frankl was not trying to acquire or influence followers. He had extreme life experiences and wanted to share the insights he has gained from these experiences. His "story" is better because it is more sincere.

Victoria


There is an internal dimension of Frankel's work-- he is trying to justify why such terrible experiences could happen to him, to any man. His conclusion is that suffering is universal, it is the meaning we make out of suffering that matters.

I would say however he was trying to promote the brand of philosophy/ therapy that he created as a result: logotherapy. It did not succeed in his lifetime, to his disappointment. However I read in the New York Times a few years ago that it is making something of a comeback.

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:16 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Who is more authoritative: Matt Taibbi or Wikipedia?
You may disagree with Rand's philosophy, but it does not make her un-philosopher.

Victoria


I think we have to say Rand had a philosophy and she disseminated it primarily by her novels.

This gets blurry because of course we don't call Tolstoy a philosopher. Yet his novels make many points about the meaning of life.

I think we could say that Rand was not an academic Philosopher in the way Russell or Isiah Berlin or John Rawls was. However she was a philosopher (small p) in that she had a philosophy and it has adherents (Objectivism).

protagonist
Posts: 4769
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by protagonist » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:18 am

VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: Both Frankl and Rand are philosophers who wrote popular books.


I've never read Frankl but I have read Rand's major works.

I wouldn't call Rand a philosopher, any more than I would call L Ron Hubbard a scientist.

Matt Taibbi pretty much summed up the entirety of Rand's "philosophy" very well in four points:

'1. Facts are facts: things can be absolutely right or absolutely wrong, as determined by reason.
2. According to my reasoning, I am absolutely right.
3. Charity is immoral.'

Hardly Plato or Kant.

(I won't quote the fourth since it does not conform to forum rules.)


From Wikipedia:
Ayn Rand (/ˈaɪn ˈrænd/;[1] born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher,[2] playwright, and screenwriter.


Who is more important: Matt Taibbi or Wikipedia?
You may disagree with Rand's philosophy, but it does not make her un-philosopher.

Victoria


I suppose there is no one really good definition of philosophy, is there? I think of philosophy as original, intelligent thought regarding the meaning of life, open to logical discourse and scrutiny. I would not consider, say, Mein Kampf a work of philosophy by my definition- though the idea that the "Aryan race" is superior and the world would be a better place if "inferior races" were eliminated might be considered sort of "original", it is hardly intelligent or open to logical scrutiny. It's just one man's opinion that became popularized. By those same criteria I would not consider Rand a philosopher....or if so I would put essentially anybody with opinions who got popular in the same category. The thing that distinguishes Rand is that she became popular and influential. Compare the complexity and intellectual basis of Nietzsche's ideas (with whom she has been compared) with Rand's. And what is even original about "greed is good" and "absolute greed is absolutely good"? But I suppose there are several definitions of "philosopher" , and if Wikipedia says she is one, then it must be.

(It might be noted that when treated for her cancer, Rand accepted both Medicare and Social Security. So I suppose her convictions were not so strong after all).
Last edited by protagonist on Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:21 am

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: Both Frankl and Rand are philosophers who wrote popular books.


I've never read Frankl but I have read Rand's major works.

I wouldn't call Rand a philosopher, any more than I would call L Ron Hubbard a scientist.


I think there's a risk of false analogy there. Hubbard was a science fiction writer who then founded a religion whose theology has many science fictional elements. I don't think anyone ever claimed he was a scientist?

Rand was a writer, who had a philosophy ('Objectivism') that has adherents. Maybe not an academic philosopher, but someone with a philosophical view that can now be called 'Randian'.

On Frankl he was a psychiatrist, trained in the Viennese Freudian tradition. As a result of his experiences at Auschwitz he sought some understanding of what had happened to him, and evolved a form of psychotherapy called logotherapy. Philosophically, this has existentialistic elements -I'd term it a form of existentialist psychotherapy.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16822
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:23 am

Valuethinker wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Frankl was not trying to acquire or influence followers. He had extreme life experiences and wanted to share the insights he has gained from these experiences. His "story" is better because it is more sincere.

Victoria


There is an internal dimension of Frankel's work-- he is trying to justify why such terrible experiences could happen to him, to any man. His conclusion is that suffering is universal, it is the meaning we make out of suffering that matters.

I would say however he was trying to promote the brand of philosophy/ therapy that he created as a result: logotherapy. It did not succeed in his lifetime, to his disappointment. However I read in the New York Times a few years ago that it is making something of a comeback.


I concede that Frankl was promoting logotherapy, but I don't think he wrote Man's Search for Meaning as a way to promote it. If he did, he did it extremely skillfully.

When I was reading the book--the second time recently--I was more focused on his ideas about what's important in life and how to deal with calamities that the life throws at you (not on the root of evil and it's likelihood in seemingly benign environment).

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

protagonist
Posts: 4769
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by protagonist » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:25 am

Valuethinker wrote:
protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: Both Frankl and Rand are philosophers who wrote popular books.


I've never read Frankl but I have read Rand's major works.

I wouldn't call Rand a philosopher, any more than I would call L Ron Hubbard a scientist.


I think there's a risk of false analogy there. Hubbard was a science fiction writer who then founded a religion whose theology has many science fictional elements. I don't think anyone ever claimed he was a scientist?


You are correct. I was being sarcastic. (based on the term "Scientology", and the fact that Rand's and Hubbard's works were voted the best fiction books of all times by Modern Library readers). Maybe even funny, or maybe not.
Last edited by protagonist on Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:26 am

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: Both Frankl and Rand are philosophers who wrote popular books.


I've never read Frankl but I have read Rand's major works.

I wouldn't call Rand a philosopher, any more than I would call L Ron Hubbard a scientist.

Matt Taibbi pretty much summed up the entirety of Rand's "philosophy" very well in four points:

'1. Facts are facts: things can be absolutely right or absolutely wrong, as determined by reason.
2. According to my reasoning, I am absolutely right.
3. Charity is immoral.'

Hardly Plato or Kant.

(I won't quote the fourth since it does not conform to forum rules.)


From Wikipedia:
Ayn Rand (/ˈaɪn ˈrænd/;[1] born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher,[2] playwright, and screenwriter.


Who is more important: Matt Taibbi or Wikipedia?
You may disagree with Rand's philosophy, but it does not make her un-philosopher.

Victoria


I suppose there is no one really good definition of philosophy, is there? I think of philosophy as original, intelligent thought regarding the meaning of life, open to logical discourse and scrutiny. I would not consider, say, Mein Kampf a work of philosophy by my definition- though the idea that the "Aryan race" is superior and the world would be a better place if "inferior races" were eliminated might be considered sort of "original", it is hardly intelligent or open to logical scrutiny.


There are definitely philosophical precedents re racial supremacy to what was written in Mein Kampf. Serious academics wrote books about things like the natural superiority of some races in the 19th century, and books about 'racial struggle'. This was pretty common in the zeitgeist of late 19th/ early 20th century Europe ('White Man's burden' et al'. in its Imperialistic British form, and Kaiser Wilhelmine Germany was a great admirer and emulator of the British Empire).

It's just one man's opinion that became popularized.


It's not what Hitler wrote (I doubt many people ever finished the book) but rather that he put it into practice in such a horrific and total way.

e the complexity and intellectual basis of Nietzsche's ideas (with whom she has been compared) with Rand's. .


I think we have strayed off the topic of a books thread. I agree what Rand says, Nietzche probably says better (although always remember Jeeve's advice to Bertrand (Bertie) Wooster in PG Wodehouse 'You would not like Nietsche, sir, for he is unsound'; Jeeves is a Spinozan at heart).

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:30 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Frankl was not trying to acquire or influence followers. He had extreme life experiences and wanted to share the insights he has gained from these experiences. His "story" is better because it is more sincere.

Victoria


There is an internal dimension of Frankel's work-- he is trying to justify why such terrible experiences could happen to him, to any man. His conclusion is that suffering is universal, it is the meaning we make out of suffering that matters.

I would say however he was trying to promote the brand of philosophy/ therapy that he created as a result: logotherapy. It did not succeed in his lifetime, to his disappointment. However I read in the New York Times a few years ago that it is making something of a comeback.


I concede that Frankl was promoting logotherapy, but I don't think he wrote Man's Search for Meaning as a way to promote it. If he did, he did it extremely skillfully.

When I was reading the book--the second time recently--I was more focused on his ideas about what's important in life and how to deal with calamities that the life throws at you (not on the root of evil and it's likelihood in seemingly benign environment).

Victoria


I agree with what you say, but in my edition of MSFM there is a whole chapter on logotherapy as an adjunct-- it's about half the book. He wanted it to become more popular than it did become.

Your summary of his purposes in writing the book is apt.

I don't think he has much to say about the origins of evil. I think there's a fair bit of evidence (Hannah Arendt "Eichmann in Jerusalem") that the origins of evil are generally shockingly banal. Hitler had a crazy racialist and militaristic theory, and circumstances conspired to give him leadership of major economic and military power. Stalin was an expert politician and careerist, who had a fairly focused view of the need to create the perfect communist regime and eradicate capitalism (in all its forms) and modernize Russia as the perfect socialist state. In other circumstances, neither of them would have gotten close enough to power to commit the crimes against humanity they did commit.

protagonist
Posts: 4769
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by protagonist » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:33 am

Valuethinker wrote:I think we have strayed off the topic of a books thread.


If the thread is "what book are you currently reading?", yes, we have strayed and I apologize.

If it has morphed into "let's discuss books we are reading" , then I don't think we have.

I've seen both types of posts here often. It would be helpful to clarify this point. I respect this forum and its rules and try to stay within their boundaries .
Last edited by protagonist on Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Barefootgirl
Posts: 2136
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:05 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:52 am

Interesting discussion. I guess when folks are seeking leniency with respect to forum guidelines, they know which thread to comment on! LOL
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

User avatar
knpstr
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:57 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by knpstr » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:39 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:Interesting discussion. I guess when folks are seeking leniency with respect to forum guidelines, they know which thread to comment on! LOL


+1
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

User avatar
ivyhedge
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:59 pm
Location: A major metropolitan area

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ivyhedge » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:49 pm

I'm reading "The Last Praetorian" by Mike Smith.

It's not perfect, but it has me counting down the time until I can read it each night like few books in the past year have done!
Polymath.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 39294
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:45 pm

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.

Along with the strong female characters, I like her writing style and the way she utilizes architecture in her descriptions. For example: "The skyscrapers looked like abandoned lighthouses sending feeble, dying signals out into an empty sea where no ships moved any longer."
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.

DFrank
Posts: 474
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:44 pm
Location: SoCal

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by DFrank » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:29 pm

I'm reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain.

I am enjoying the book, but then I have an interest in the subject. I can appreciate that many would not, and for them the book would be boring. If you are an introvert, or have someone in your life who is, this book will give you some insight into what makes them (or you) tick.
Dave

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 39294
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:43 pm

protagonist wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:I think we have strayed off the topic of a books thread.


If the thread is "what book are you currently reading?", yes, we have strayed and I apologize.

If it has morphed into "let's discuss books we are reading" , then I don't think we have.

I've seen both types of posts here often. It would be helpful to clarify this point. I respect this forum and its rules and try to stay within their boundaries .

Here's the clarification, from Post #1:
Alex Frakt wrote:This thread is the continuation of What Book Are You Currently Reading? multi-part megathread:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

Please remember that this thread is meant for quick (or long) reviews of books you are reading or just finished. Please keep discussions to the works in question and within the bounds of our forum policies.

Based on the above, I removed a few off-topic posts. It's a judgment call. If I've misjudged anything, please PM me.
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.

protagonist
Posts: 4769
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by protagonist » Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:32 pm

LadyGeek wrote: It's a judgment call. If I've misjudged anything, please PM me.[/color]


It is a judgment call, and, as always, I respect your judgment.

I don't think appealing the decisions of an admin on their own page is appropriate. Your job is hard and thankless enough, and this is, after all, just the internet....it's not a criminal trial. People shouldn't be bugging you. If one disagrees they can always make their own page with their own rules. I hope others respect that as well.

Keep doing the good work. I will always support your decisions, whether or not I agree. If I write you about it , it is just to understand (for the future).

gkaplan
Posts: 6954
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:28 pm

I am reading The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.

Set in London, this is the second crime novel in the Robert Galbraith (AKA J. K. Rowling) Cormoran Strike series. His (Her) first in this series interested me just enough to continue reading this series. So far, it's pretty good.
Gordon

User avatar
Dutch
Posts: 1277
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Dutch » Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:30 pm

This week I finished the fountainhead by Ayn Rand and found it to be total and utter drivel. Normally I don't finish a book if I'm halfway in and I still don't like it. In this case I forced myself to finish, since the book is so highly listed on some of the best literature lists. One dimensional characters and a story line straight from a drugstore romance "novel". I certainly don't recommend it.

User avatar
market timer
Posts: 5784
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by market timer » Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:56 am

Carl Walsh, Monetary Theory and Policy, 3rd edition.

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 33643
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

Post by nisiprius » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:00 pm

VictoriaF wrote:Who is more authoritative: Matt Taibbi or Wikipedia?
In this case, it's an interesting question. I have huge respect for Wikipedia but it's important to understand how it works.

Wikipedia is not an authority. Wikipedia is a secondary source that cites authorities.

On controversial topics, it is a good idea to check the history and the talk page. As a matter of fact, there is or used to be a perennial debate over the question of whether Rand should be described as a philosopher, not a philosopher, as a "popular philosopher," as an "amateur philosopher"--and what order her contributions should be described in (was she a "novelist, philosopher..." or "philosopher, novelist...") is a topic of perennial debate.

However, the criterion for inclusion in Wikipedia is "verifiability." That is, the rules are that she should be described as a philosopher if someone can cite a "reliable source" that calls her a "philosopher;" if not, not. The virtue of this rule is that two editors who disagree on whether she "was" a philosopher can nevertheless agree that "so-and-so described her as a philosopher."

In this case, the word "philosopher" is footnoted "Den Uyl & Rasmussen 1986, p. x; Sciabarra 1995, pp. 1–2; Kukathas 1998, p. 55; Badhwar & Long 2010." That last reference, for example, is a print book, the "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy," which has an article about her and says
Ayn Rand (1905–1982) was a philosopher and a novelist who outlined a comprehensive philosophy, including an epistemology and a theory of art, in her novels and essays.
That and the other sources probably good enough to insure that "philosopher" will stick. That is, if you or I or anyone else removes it, someone is likely to put it back--promptly.

So the moral here is that if you are going to use Wikipedia as authority for something, it's a good idea to glance at the history and the talk page to see whether it's a debated topic... and a very good idea to see what source is cited and check it independently. Rand is a philosopher, not because Wikipedia says so, but because the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says so.

You can see one of many long debates about this here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... =576319603
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
Ged
Posts: 3211
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Location: Roke

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ged » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:34 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Not quite sure where you were coming from re Scott's more recent work? As Alien and BR were much earlier. Alien was a tour de force as well, probably one of the most effective horror films ever made.


Recent work like Get Santa, various dabblings in video games, the Old Testament etc. High Castle was a breath of fresh air.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 16822
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:01 pm

nisiprius wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Who is more authoritative: Matt Taibbi or Wikipedia?
In this case, it's an interesting question. I have huge respect for Wikipedia but it's important to understand how it works.


Nisiprius,

Thank you for the commentary. My statement was made tongue-in-cheek. I have recently received a degree from a program where we were prohibited from referencing Wikipedia, and so I was flaunting my freedom to do so in the Forum. Also, I am familiar with some Taibbi's writing during his stint in Russia and I am not his fan.

I appreciate the details of the Wikipedia underground. Much of it was new to me.

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

protagonist
Posts: 4769
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by protagonist » Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:28 pm

nisiprius wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Who is more authoritative: Matt Taibbi or Wikipedia?
In this case, it's an interesting question. I have huge respect for Wikipedia but it's important to understand how it works.

Wikipedia is not an authority. Wikipedia is a secondary source that cites authorities.

On controversial topics, it is a good idea to check the history and the talk page. As a matter of fact, there is or used to be a perennial debate over the question of whether Rand should be described as a philosopher, not a philosopher, as a "popular philosopher," as an "amateur philosopher"--and what order her contributions should be described in (was she a "novelist, philosopher..." or "philosopher, novelist...") is a topic of perennial debate.

However, the criterion for inclusion in Wikipedia is "verifiability." That is, the rules are that she should be described as a philosopher if someone can cite a "reliable source" that calls her a "philosopher;" if not, not. The virtue of this rule is that two editors who disagree on whether she "was" a philosopher can nevertheless agree that "so-and-so described her as a philosopher."

In this case, the word "philosopher" is footnoted "Den Uyl & Rasmussen 1986, p. x; Sciabarra 1995, pp. 1–2; Kukathas 1998, p. 55; Badhwar & Long 2010." That last reference, for example, is a print book, the "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy," which has an article about her and says
Ayn Rand (1905–1982) was a philosopher and a novelist who outlined a comprehensive philosophy, including an epistemology and a theory of art, in her novels and essays.
That and the other sources probably good enough to insure that "philosopher" will stick. That is, if you or I or anyone else removes it, someone is likely to put it back--promptly.
So the moral here is that if you are going to use Wikipedia as authority for something, it's a good idea to glance at the history and the talk page to see whether it's a debated topic... and a very good idea to see what source is cited and check it independently. Rand is a philosopher, not because Wikipedia says so, but because the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says so.



The word seems to no longer carry any meaning. I guess we are all philosophers too. Or does it take popular opinion to use the term? Is that why Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy calls her one?
I imagine many people who have worked to attain advanced degrees in philosophy would be upset.
I just posted something on a forum. I guess that makes me an "author".

Non7WoodUser
Posts: 213
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:38 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Non7WoodUser » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:57 pm

American Sniper. It's very inspiring and a great read for patriotic Americans.

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:27 am

Non7WoodUser wrote:American Sniper. It's very inspiring and a great read for patriotic Americans.


http://www.amazon.com/Enemy-at-Gates-Ju ... B00003CXRA

had something to say about snipers (at the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the greatest and most terrible battles in modern history). Bob Hoskins as the apparatchik Nikita Kruschev, looking to make young sniper Jude Law his propaganda victory--incomparable. Ed Harris as the German hunting expert sent to bring Jude Law down.

Valuethinker
Posts: 32333
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:29 am

Ged wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Not quite sure where you were coming from re Scott's more recent work? As Alien and BR were much earlier. Alien was a tour de force as well, probably one of the most effective horror films ever made.


Recent work like Get Santa, various dabblings in video games, the Old Testament etc. High Castle was a breath of fresh air.


Thank you. I am unfamiliar with it. I look forward to the moment when High Castle becomes available to British viewers (there is then a 1-3 year lag until *I* see it, but as a general principle I shall enjoy reading the reviews).

VesperLynd
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:09 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VesperLynd » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:34 pm

The Runway...via Netflix. An adorable movie, made in a way that movies are no longer made...so that makes it special to me...

Based very loosely on the true story of a South American pilot who crash lands in Ireland and ends up staying long enough to get back in the air.

VL

jebmke
Posts: 6360
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:17 pm

The Secret Place by Tana French
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

jebmke
Posts: 6360
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:18 pm

Looks like we have movies blended in with books.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

User avatar
telemark
Posts: 1959
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by telemark » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:43 pm

I just finished reading Hild, by Nicola Griffith, for the second time around, something I rarely do with a book. This is a novel set on a large island* off the coast of what is now France, a century or three before 1066. Hild is a historical character mentioned by the venerable Bede, but not much is known about her; this is a novel, not a biography. The Romans are gone (but not their buildings), and the island is a patchwork of little competing kingdoms and religions, with the Irish and Roman priests more worried about each other than they are about the pagans. In spite of the often-deadly intensity of the politics, the focus is not on battles so much as the details of everyday life: what people wore, what they ate and drank, the languages they spoke, the importance of trade with the mainland, the huge advantage the Christian priests derived from being able to carry written messages. The author takes a time about which not much is known and makes it seem real.

* I could call it England, or Britain, but neither of those would have made much sense to the inhabitants.

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 10934
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:41 am

Tropical Swap, by Laurence Shames. Some people use a home exchange for an inexpensive vacation. A paranoid College English professor and his wife swap homes with a meek low level Mafioso who is married to the boss' daughter. What could go wrong? A fun book set in Key West.

Scavenger Reef, by Laurence Shames. Another fun book set in Key West. A semi famous painter is missing, and his works soar in value. Who benefits from his death? His widow, his friends, his agent?

Night Moves, by Randy Wayne White. Another "professional" shows up on Sanibel Island, is he on vacation or working?

Deep Shadow, by Randy Wayne White. Not his best book. An overly long story about diving in an Everglades lake harassed by two killers and a mysterious reptile.

Powder Burn, by Carl Hiaasen and Bill Montalbano. An architect witnesses a bungled drug hit which kills bystanders, and becomes the target of the thugs. The architect and a police detective have competing plots to dismantle Cuban, Columbian and Anglo cocaine gangs, their efforts are complicated by the detective's druggie brother and straight-arrow partner. Set in 1980's Miami. Good vacation reading.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

gkaplan
Posts: 6954
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:39 pm

I am reading The Forger by Paul Watkins. As I mentioned upthread, Paul Watkins, under the Sam Eastland nom de plume, writes the Inspector Pekkala series, and I have read and enjoyed all these books. He also writes both fiction and non-fiction books under his own name.

The Forger is a World War II fiction book. On the eve of World War II, a young American artist receives a scholarship to come to Paris and work under the tutelage of a mysterious and mercurial Russian artist. With the German invasion imminent, the young artist realizes the true purpose of his visit: to train him to duplicate the masterworks of the Paris museums and to barter the fakes to Hitler's art dealers.

This is really interesting and very well written. It's educational, too, giving me some insight to the art world.

The Forger probably is the best book I have read in quite some time.
Gordon

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

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by seeshells » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:16 pm

"Black elk speaks" by Neihardt

gkaplan
Posts: 6954
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:04 pm

gkaplan wrote:I am reading The Forger by Paul Watkins. As I mentioned upthread, Paul Watkins, under the Sam Eastland nom de plume, writes the Inspector Pekkala series, and I have read and enjoyed all these books. He also writes both fiction and non-fiction books under his own name.

The Forger is a World War II fiction book. On the eve of World War II, a young American artist receives a scholarship to come to Paris and work under the tutelage of a mysterious and mercurial Russian artist. With the German invasion imminent, the young artist realizes the true purpose of his visit: to train him to duplicate the masterworks of the Paris museums and to barter the fakes to Hitler's art dealers.

This is really interesting and very well written. It's educational, too, giving me some insight to the art world.

The Forger probably is the best book I have read in quite some time.


This book was so good that I was sorry it ended.
Gordon

fishboat
Posts: 432
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:15 pm

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by fishboat » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:30 pm

Just heard Harper Lee is coming out with a new book...It was written prior to TKAMB and the manuscript was lost until very recently. It comes out in July, first printing, 2 million copies.

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 33643
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

Post by nisiprius » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:41 pm

Finished The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith and I think I will take a break from that series for a while. It was good but... a little too much of the same thing. Drives me bananas that he will simply drop interesting plot threads in mid-thread and never pick them up again, I am still disappointed not to know how the elementary-school production of The Sound of Music went.

I have got to get some Irn-Bru to try, though. Never heard of it. I wonder if we'll be able to get it in our planned trip to Nova Scotia, or whether it is all illegal contraband due to the use of a prohibited food coloring and you have to know someone to get it?

Finished Memories of Another Day, by Harold Robbins. Not good. Should have realized, his later books all read like self-parody. Formulaic. I really liked his first four or five books: Never Love a Stranger, The Dream Merchants, A Stone for Danny Fisher, and I thought Memories of Another Day sounded like it might, well, be like memories of other books, but no.
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
Munir
Posts: 2300
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:39 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Munir » Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:47 pm

All ye over 60, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande is for thee.

Post Reply