What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ki_poorrichard » Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:21 pm

Making A Good Brain Great by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. --the human mind is a fascinating piece of work.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ged » Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:38 pm

black jack wrote:Just finished "Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World," by Joan Druett. An amazing story about two ships that wrecked on Auckland Island, a truly miserable-sounding place 285 miles south of New Zealand - featuring gale-driven rainstorms lasting days on end, biting insects, little food (both crews survived mostly on seals which came to the island for breeding at certain times of the year), freezing temperatures, etc. - within months of each other in 1864. One ship, with a crew of five, wrecked in the south of the island in the summer; the other, with a crew of 25, wrecked at the north of the island a few months later. The crews were unaware of each others' existence.


This sounds terrific.

On a similar note this year is the centennial of the voyage of the Endurance. A few years ago I read the account written by Alfred Lansing, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage and found the tenacity and endurance of the crew and especially Shackleton to be amazing. The centennial edition of this book includes many of Frank Hurley's great photographs of the Endurance trapped in Antarctic ice as it is crushed.

If you enjoy this topic I'd recommend this book highly.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ricola » Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:08 pm

Fear Index by Robert Harris
Personal by Lee Child
A Colder War by Charles Cumming

Enjoyed these last three. :)

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Tycoon » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:19 am

Financial Fitness Forever: 5 Steps to More Money, Less Risk, and More Peace of MInd, Paul A. Merriman with Richard Buck

I like this part of the title, "More money, Less Risk, and More Peace of Mind", but I'm not sure how I feel about the content of the book.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bcboy57 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:31 am

" Before I go to Sleep"....by SJ Watson........ couldn't put this one down....

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chaz » Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:10 pm

"Running Blind" by Lee Child.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:11 pm

I am about halfway through The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews by Susan Zuccotti. It's well written and readable; however, it's filled with numbers and statistics (internments, roundups, deportations, expulsions, and so on), which makes for slow going. I do have two other quibbles. First, although, the book has extensive and informative endnotes, it has no bibliography. This hinders, to some degree, someone who wants to do further research. Secondly, the book has only eight pages of plates of photographs, which seems kind of stingy.

Ms. Zuccotti previously had written a similar book, The Italians and the Holocaust. She is an American historian, specializing in studies of the Holocaust and holds a PhD in Modern European History from Columbia University. She has won a National Jewish Book Award for Holocaust Studies. She also received a National Jewish Book Award for Jewish-Christian Relations. The book jacket notes that she teaches modern European history at Barnard College and Columbia University. This was in 1993, but she probably is now retired, since she is in her early seventies.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by linenfort » Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:34 am

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Ricola wrote:Fear Index by Robert Harris
..
..
Enjoyed these last three. :)


I thought it was pretty enjoyable, too. Most bogleheads should enjoy a thriller centered around the VIX. :happy
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by market timer » Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:30 am

Finished The Good Earth and moving onto the next book, Sons, in Pearl S. Buck's trilogy.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by GenXer » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:05 am

I just finished Factory Man by Beth Macy, a newspaper journalist in Roanoke, VA. The main character of the book, John Bassett III, of Bassett, VA, is the scion of the furniture-producing Bassett family. The book is about the history (the rapid growth and even more rapid death as a result of globalization) of furniture manufacturing in the U.S., and about JBIII's dogged (some in his family might say foolish) determination to buck this trend. The author interviews him and other family members a number of times, but she also talks with dozens of factory workers. JBIII is an unbelievably colorful character in the Southern tradition. The town is a character in its own right. It was a riveting story from beginning to end--and it was the first full-length audio book I've listened to. It made my daily commute whiz by.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by MP173 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:40 am

Just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Pretty good...

I hope the movie is as good.

Ed

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:44 pm

LadyGeek wrote:...I'm thinking to complete the "Federation of the Hub" series, which has strong female characters (Telzey Amberdon, Trigger Argee): Telzey Amberdon, T.N.T:Telzey and Trigger, Trigger and Friends.

T.N.T:Telzey and Trigger is only available in paperback at Amazon.com. Baen Ebooks has it in ePub / Kindle / Nook format, same price as amazon.com.

Telzey Amberdon, by James H. Scmitz. Just started and all I can think of is Bester and the Psi Corps from Babylon 5. The Psi Corps is traced to another sci-fi author, Gregory Keyes - but maybe he read Schmitz's stories?

I will finish this series. The previous book I read (The Hub: Dangerous Territory) was actually the 4th book of the series, so I'm out of sequence. It probably doesn't matter. I'll say that the story before Demon Breed, Trouble Tide, was just as memorable.

All of the above books are available on ebook from Barnes & Noble (Nook) as well as Baen. Same price.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Bungo » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:39 am

I'm on a World War I kick lately. Recently finished The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, and I'm currently reading The First World War by John Keegan. Both excellent.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by denismurf » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:56 am

I finished The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver about month ago and am now re-reading pieces that I didn't really understand the first time around. I think it's well worth the extra effort.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:43 am

Just finished Ken Follett's A Fall of Giants (first of a trilogy, grandiose multigenerational multifamily saga in which the characters just managed to be in convenient places at convenient times to let him touch on aspects of World War I history. Reminiscent of Herman Wouk's The Winds of War, which in turn is reminiscent of--tried one and couldn't read it but--reminiscent of Upton Sinclair's "Lanny Budd" novels.

Resting a bit before starting the second. Just reread Ian Fleming's From Russia With Love--yeah, fell for another Kindle $1.99 sale--this is one of these weird ones, not sure who or when it's available to, where you click a link and something magic is done to your account so you never see the reduced price at any point when you place the order, and you have to look at the invoice to make sure it took. Very unnerving. Quite enjoyable and I continue to be mystified by the question of whether Fleming was writing tongue-in-cheek, or whether he truly believed in the verisimilitude of his stories. For example, did he believe that people could glance at photos and make accurate judgements like this one (a bad guy is looking at a dossier photograph of Bond)? Or is he just revealing the fact that we all do make such snap judgements.
He looked as if he was going someplace urgently. The clean-cut profile was pointing straight ahead and the crook of the right elbow suggested that his right hand was in the pocket of his coat. General G. reflected that it was probably taken from a car. He thought that the decisive look of the man, and the purposeful slant of his striding figure, looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street.
The fact that Bond's love interest praises Bond for being "like the hero of a Lermontov novel," and that the novel (not named) appears to be A Hero of Our Time suggested to a Wikipedia editor that "The fact that Pechorin was all but a 'hero' or even a positive character at all in Lermontov's narration stands to indicate Fleming's wry self-deprecating wit about his most famous creation." Assuming, of course, that comparing ones' self to Lermontov is "self-deprecating." I've downloaded a translation of A Hero of Our Time but probably won't actually get around to reading it...

Both Ian Fleming and J. R. R. Tolkien were in the habit of using the phrase as if. In their books it is as if the phrase as if means is so.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:46 am

I am reading So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport. The book starts out by dispelling the Passion Hypothesis, i.e., a common advice to follow one's passion in selecting career. Newport's alternative to starting with a passion and then becoming good is becoming good ("so good they can't ignore you") and acquiring the passion in the process.

I think it's relevant to the Bogleheads discussions of jobs, including those related to the career paths of family members. One can become a highly skillful accountant, actuary, economist, or pursue some other profession infamous for being boring, and achieve both financial rewards and emotional fulfillment. It seems a preferable alternative to becoming a struggling artist, especially because a fulfilled actuary can pursue art in his free time.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:08 am

nisiprius wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:I am reading So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport. The book starts out by dispelling the Passion Hypothesis, i.e., a common advice to follow one's passion in selecting career. Newport's alternative to starting with a passion and then becoming good is becoming good ("so good they can't ignore you") and acquiring the passion in the process.

I think it's relevant to the Bogleheads discussions of jobs, including those related to the career paths of family members. One can become a highly skillful accountant, actuary, economist, or pursue some other profession infamous for being boring, and achieve both financial rewards and emotional fulfillment. It seems a preferable alternative to becoming a struggling artist, especially because a fulfilled actuary can pursue art in his free time.

Victoria
Yeah, because the race is always to the swift, and the battle always to the strong, and bread always to the wise, and riches always to men of understanding, and favour always to men of skill <--- ironic restatement of Ecclesiastes 9:11

The opposing view is "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."--Widely attributed to Confucius, anyone know if it's true and accurate?


Newport cites a Canadian study in which students were asked to identify their passions. The top five were (1) dance, (2) hockey, (3) skiing, (4) reading, (5) swimming. And so, yes, if one can make living off these passions, she does not have to work a day in her life.

nisiprius wrote:Added: Never heard of Cal Newport. Apparently "Calvin Newport is an assistant professor in the department of computer science at Georgetown University..." Is their big money in the assistant professor racket? Or is his own big success coming from his passion rather than his job?


That's him. The book jacket has him as Cal rather than Calvin. Newport became interested in the passion vs. skill primacy when he was in graduate school. His emphasis is on the skill rather than money. The value of financial security is my own corollary of the passion hypothesis.

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

Post by bertilak » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:49 am

nisiprius wrote:Quite enjoyable and I continue to be mystified by the question of whether Fleming was writing tongue-in-cheek, or whether he truly believed in the verisimilitude of his stories.

Ian Fleming worked in British Naval Intelligence during WW II and, according to Wikipedia, "was involved in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units." He was a commander in the Royal navy and had the codename 17F. He was involved in the creation of the United States OSS, which eventually became the CIA.

During WW II he formed a team of commandos called the Assault Unit (30AU) and other clandestine organizations. He was involved in espionage against German "secret weapons." Again from Wikipedia: "was responsible for securing targets of interest for the British military, including nuclear laboratories, gas research centres and individual rocket scientists. The unit's most notable discoveries came during the advance on the German port of Kiel, in the research centre for German engines used in the V-2 rocket, Messerschmitt Me 163 fighters and high-speed U-boats. Fleming would later use elements of the activities of T-Force in his writing, particularly in his 1955 Bond novel Moonraker."

I believe there was a lit of "verisimilitude" in his stories, but with a healthy dose of added spice. I saw a TV documentary which claimed that even in real life he ensured that his reports were "interesting" but that probably required less extra spice than his Bond novels.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by placeholder » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:09 am

LadyGeek wrote:The previous book I read (The Hub: Dangerous Territory) was actually the 4th book of the series, so I'm out of sequence. It probably doesn't matter.

As these were mostly short stories and novellas (due to the main outlet for SF being the magazines at the time) it really doesn't matter.
I'll say that the story before Demon Breed, Trouble Tide, was just as memorable.

I wish he would have done more stories with that character also you might want to look into the other collection Baen offers: Agent of Vega & Other Stories.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chaz » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:34 am

MP173 wrote:Just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Pretty good...

I hope the movie is as good.

Ed

The movie is very good.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chaz » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:36 am

"Depths" by Henning Mankell.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:14 pm

chaz wrote:
MP173 wrote:Just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Pretty good...

I hope the movie is as good.

Ed

The movie is very good.


I thought her first two books were much better. I also think this book would be difficult to transfer to screen, although I think Ms. Flynn wrote the screenplay.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by WSdad » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:28 pm

I love this topic :D Currently reading Born To Buy by Juliet B. Schor and Wheat belly by William Davis. Will report back when I finish.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:48 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
LadyGeek wrote:...I'm thinking to complete the "Federation of the Hub" series, which has strong female characters (Telzey Amberdon, Trigger Argee): Telzey Amberdon, T.N.T:Telzey and Trigger, Trigger and Friends.
I've read maybe half of Telzey Amberdon, on the recommendation of a friend... it's OK but it didn't really grab me.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cfs » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:30 pm

Oola

Currently next to my bed, reading "Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World" hardcover by Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl. Discussing the 7 areas you need to balance and grow to live the file of your dreams. This book was included in the package given to me the night prior to running my last marathon. My first impression when I saw the book included in the package was "what in the world is this Oola thing"? The authors define Oola as "the state of awesomeness," "when your life is balanced and growing in the seven key areas of life" . . . the 7Fs of Oola are "fitness, finance, family, field, faith, friends, and fun." Reading in progress.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by black jack » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:34 pm

Ged wrote:
black jack wrote:Just finished "Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World," by Joan Druett. An amazing story about two ships that wrecked on Auckland Island, a truly miserable-sounding place 285 miles south of New Zealand - featuring gale-driven rainstorms lasting days on end, biting insects, little food (both crews survived mostly on seals which came to the island for breeding at certain times of the year), freezing temperatures, etc. - within months of each other in 1864. One ship, with a crew of five, wrecked in the south of the island in the summer; the other, with a crew of 25, wrecked at the north of the island a few months later. The crews were unaware of each others' existence.


This sounds terrific.

On a similar note this year is the centennial of the voyage of the Endurance. A few years ago I read the account written by Alfred Lansing, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage and found the tenacity and endurance of the crew and especially Shackleton to be amazing. The centennial edition of this book includes many of Frank Hurley's great photographs of the Endurance trapped in Antarctic ice as it is crushed.

If you enjoy this topic I'd recommend this book highly.

Thanks for the recommendation; I'll put it on my list.

Just finished "A Cow's Life: the Surprising History of Cattle, and How the Black Angus Came to be Home on the Range," by M.R. (Monte) Montgomery. If Bill Bryson had written a book about Angus/Aberdeen cattle, it would read like this - except that Montgomery is a Montana native who has a bit of first-hand experience with cattle (mainly through his cousin's ranch).

Montgomery's focus is on the history of the Angus/Aberdeen breed in Scotland and America, but he also considers
(1) how we even came to have domesticated cows, which apparently appeared within the span of a few thousand years around 8,000-10,000 years ago when our forebears somehow domesticated some aurochs. An auroch was, in Julius Caesar's description, a little smaller than an elephant, and a fearsome creature. And this intriguing example of ancient megafauna was still extant until 1627, when the last one died. "Aurochs grow rare" indeed;
(2) how the Scottish cattle culture (which involved taking cattle to grassy highlands to feed in summer and bringing them indoors in the cold winters) came to America and, on the Great Plains, outcompeted the Spanish/Texas cattle culture (which involved turning cattle loose year-round in a milder climate, then catching them when ready to drive them to market - this didn't work too well when the winter temps stayed well below freezing for weeks at a time on the Plains). Cattle barns = the Scottish approach; no barns = Spain/Texas.
(3) Civilon, a Spanish bull in the 1930s, famous for his mild temperament, who nevertheless acquitted himself so honorably in the ring that he was spared and was to be returned to his home ranch for a peaceful retirement - but was killed and eaten by Franco's rebels who invaded Barcelona within days of the event (in 1936, the beginning of the Spanish Civil War).
(4) details about artificial insemination of cows, why grass-fed beef is probably marketing hype (all cattle eat grass at some point; "antibiotic-free" beef means something, since it indicates the animal wasn't "finished" on grain for months), and more.

The author is informative, observant, and good-humored; the result is a very entertaining and informative book.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:30 am

Bungo wrote:I'm on a World War I kick lately. Recently finished The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, and I'm currently reading The First World War by John Keegan. Both excellent.


Hew Strachan's The First World War is a book of which I have only recently become aware, having seen the excellent Channel 4 TV series based on it. (rather than making the documentary focused around lots of the presenter, talking, walking in the scenes etc, which is the 'normal' for docs these days, they hired a professional narrator and focused on historic footage taken at the time).

The book takes a global perspective on WW1 and doesn't get bogged down (;-)) on the Western Front in a blow by blow as so many books do. All sorts of insight into things about which I knew little eg the declaration of a 'jihad' against the Allied powers in the Middle East (at German instigation).

It would probably be a good capstone to Eden.

I have not found the definitive 'causes of WW1 book'. I think the Tuchman view (blundering into war) is largely discounted these days, from my limited understanding of the subject. The powers knew what they were doing, they just couldn't foresee the consquences.

Not for the first (or last) time in history, optimism on starting a major war promised an 'easy victory' which then turned into a quagmire.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Levett » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:59 am

Ian McEwan, The Children Act.

McEwan has stripped the bells and whistles from his prose and has produced a truly compelling read.

Lev

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Bungo » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:23 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Hew Strachan's The First World War is a book of which I have only recently become aware, having seen the excellent Channel 4 TV series based on it. (rather than making the documentary focused around lots of the presenter, talking, walking in the scenes etc, which is the 'normal' for docs these days, they hired a professional narrator and focused on historic footage taken at the time).

That book is also on my radar, although the reviews I've read have been mixed. The criticisms are that it is dry (not necessarily a problem), has bad maps (same is true of most of its competitors; that is what atlases are for), and that the narrative is disjointed and has a "copy/paste" feel to it (this seems more problematic to me). I wonder if it is a distillation of the larger three-volume work that Strachan is writing, only the first volume of which has been published so far.

I have that Channel 4 TV series in my Netflix queue and look forward to watching it soon.

I have not found the definitive 'causes of WW1 book'. I think the Tuchman view (blundering into war) is largely discounted these days, from my limited understanding of the subject. The powers knew what they were doing, they just couldn't foresee the consquences.

Yes, I plan to read more widely on the causes. Tuchman's book was great - a beautifully written page-turner - but only one point of view and possibly a dated one considering that the book is over 50 years old. I have my eye on several other titles, including the recent book by Margaret Macmillan, The War That Ended Peace; also Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers, David Fromkin's Europe's Last Summer, and Max Hastings' Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:28 pm

Ged wrote:
black jack wrote:Just finished "Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World," by Joan Druett. An amazing story about two ships that wrecked on Auckland Island, a truly miserable-sounding place 285 miles south of New Zealand - featuring gale-driven rainstorms lasting days on end, biting insects, little food (both crews survived mostly on seals which came to the island for breeding at certain times of the year), freezing temperatures, etc. - within months of each other in 1864. One ship, with a crew of five, wrecked in the south of the island in the summer; the other, with a crew of 25, wrecked at the north of the island a few months later. The crews were unaware of each others' existence.


This sounds terrific.

On a similar note this year is the centennial of the voyage of the Endurance. A few years ago I read the account written by Alfred Lansing, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage and found the tenacity and endurance of the crew and especially Shackleton to be amazing. The centennial edition of this book includes many of Frank Hurley's great photographs of the Endurance trapped in Antarctic ice as it is crushed.

If you enjoy this topic I'd recommend this book highly.


Another book on the same topic.

In the Kingdom of Ice, by Hampton Sides. The book tells the story of the crew of the U.S.S. Jeanette in 1879 - 81. The ship spent 21 months frozen in the Arctic ice, and when the ice finally loosened its grip the ship soon sank. The crew was left stranded on the ice 1000 miles north of Siberia. Truly a tale of bravery, perseverance and stamina. I'm not finished reading yet, but it's a compelling story.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by CPABOB » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:43 pm

I'm getting ready to start reading "Freakonomics." Has anyone read it?

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:25 pm

I'm reading Ice Cold Kill by Dana Haynes. The protagonist seems like a cross between Gabriel Allon (Daniel Silva) and Vanessa Michael Munroe (Taylor Stevens). The writing is uneven, but I'm starting to get in to it. Dana Haynes is the communications director for Portland mayor Charlie Hales.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by heartwood » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:07 pm

The Rook by Dan O'Malley. I don't recall how I stumbled across it (it may even have been recommended here; if so, thanks)

The setting is a secret British spy agency that deals with the supernatural, staffed by operatives with various powers. Several well presented characters and ideas. The protagonist is the mind of a woman with a so-far unidentified background who wakes up in the body of the Rook (also a woman) who knew she would have her mind replaced. I'm half through and am enjoying it.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by seeshells » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:13 pm

'Chasing Goldman Sachs', by Susan Mcgee. Perusing; "Money Free: What Every American Needs To Know About The Federal Reserve", by Chris Rossini / Ron Paul & 'History of Crisis in the National Banking system', by 0liver Sprage

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:52 am

heartwood wrote:The Rook by Dan O'Malley. I don't recall how I stumbled across it (it may even have been recommended here; if so, thanks)

The setting is a secret British spy agency that deals with the supernatural, staffed by operatives with various powers. Several well presented characters and ideas. The protagonist is the mind of a woman with a so-far unidentified background who wakes up in the body of the Rook (also a woman) who knew she would have her mind replaced. I'm half through and am enjoying it.


Ah. Interesting. Thank you!

The genre of 'British spy meets supernatural' was, I thought, staked out by Charlie Stross in his Labyrinth series (each is a pastiche of a different spy writer: Len Deighton, Ian Fleming, Antony Price, Modesty Blaise (Peter O'Donnell)...). Stross's hero fights the monsters from HP Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos and his gyrations are quite amazing (wait til you see what he does with the Howard Hughes Glomar Explorer!).

So thank you.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:58 am

Bungo wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Hew Strachan's The First World War is a book of which I have only recently become aware, having seen the excellent Channel 4 TV series based on it. (rather than making the documentary focused around lots of the presenter, talking, walking in the scenes etc, which is the 'normal' for docs these days, they hired a professional narrator and focused on historic footage taken at the time).

That book is also on my radar, although the reviews I've read have been mixed. The criticisms are that it is dry (not necessarily a problem), has bad maps (same is true of most of its competitors; that is what atlases are for), and that the narrative is disjointed and has a "copy/paste" feel to it (this seems more problematic to me). I wonder if it is a distillation of the larger three-volume work that Strachan is writing, only the first volume of which has been published so far.

I have that Channel 4 TV series in my Netflix queue and look forward to watching it soon.

I have not found the definitive 'causes of WW1 book'. I think the Tuchman view (blundering into war) is largely discounted these days, from my limited understanding of the subject. The powers knew what they were doing, they just couldn't foresee the consquences.

Yes, I plan to read more widely on the causes. Tuchman's book was great - a beautifully written page-turner - but only one point of view and possibly a dated one considering that the book is over 50 years old. I have my eye on several other titles, including the recent book by Margaret Macmillan, The War That Ended Peace; also Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers, David Fromkin's Europe's Last Summer, and Max Hastings' Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War.


By seeing the series, you may avoid reading the book (Strachan).

I have read Max Hastings. It is a great blow by blow and a rivetting read BUT it is short on analysis either of the causes of the war or of the military operations, tactics, equipment etc. He is a conventional narrative historian. A very satisfying read but I didn't feel it greatly expanded my understanding of the workings of the war.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Bungo » Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:27 am

Valuethinker wrote:By seeing the series, you may avoid reading the book (Strachan).

I have read Max Hastings. It is a great blow by blow and a rivetting read BUT it is short on analysis either of the causes of the war or of the military operations, tactics, equipment etc. He is a conventional narrative historian. A very satisfying read but I didn't feel it greatly expanded my understanding of the workings of the war.

Good info, thanks. There is such a deluge of books on WWI, many of them recent, that I find it hard to keep track of them all.

Here are two more on July 1914: July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914, by Thomas Otte; and The Month that Changed the World: July 1914, by Gordon Martel. Both have good reviews.

The first title is rather academic; one reviewer writes "this isn’t a popular history for general interest readers. ... This book is more graduate-level​, written for people with a special interest in WWI. It is accessible enough, but definitely written with the expectation that the reader brings a lot of foreknowledge on the topic."

The second appears to be suitable for general readers, but the preface states explicitly that the author does not attempt to discuss the origins or causes of the war, but rather "the story of how Europpe got from A to B: how it moved from the assassination of the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary...to the declarations of war by five of the six Great Powers of Europe. This is a book about how it happened: how those responsible for making the fateful choices - the monarchs and politicians, diplomatists and strategists - grappled with the situation and failed to resolve it without war."

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by market timer » Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:24 am

Half-way through Replay, by Ken Grimwood. It's about a 43-year-old guy who dies in 1988 and returns to life back in his freshman dorm in 1963 with the memory of his first life, then dies again 25 years later and returns to his 18-year-old self again and again. Pretty sure this book inspired the movie Groundhog Day.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Lon » Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:11 pm

Because of all the past Hoopla about "50 Shades of Grey" I thought I should give it a read. I am half way through the first of the Trilogy and don't know if I will continue or not. It is well written in my opinion and quite erotic and deals with a subject that people that I know quite well are into.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by heartwood » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:24 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
heartwood wrote:The Rook by Dan O'Malley. I don't recall how I stumbled across it (it may even have been recommended here; if so, thanks)

The setting is a secret British spy agency that deals with the supernatural, staffed by operatives with various powers. Several well presented characters and ideas. The protagonist is the mind of a woman with a so-far unidentified background who wakes up in the body of the Rook (also a woman) who knew she would have her mind replaced. I'm half through and am enjoying it.


Ah. Interesting. Thank you!

The genre of 'British spy meets supernatural' was, I thought, staked out by Charlie Stross in his Labyrinth series (each is a pastiche of a different spy writer: Len Deighton, Ian Fleming, Antony Price, Modesty Blaise (Peter O'Donnell)...). Stross's hero fights the monsters from HP Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos and his gyrations are quite amazing (wait til you see what he does with the Howard Hughes Glomar Explorer!).

So thank you.


Stross is the link. Actually your Sept 8 post: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=146455&p=2183554

I started reading Stross's Accelerando. The Rook was one of the you-might-like books on the Amazon page.

Thanks!

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ricola » Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:41 pm

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

Better than I thought it would be.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Tycoon » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:12 pm

Maximum Fitness: The Complete Guide to Navy Seal Training, Stewart Smith
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chaz » Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:00 pm

"Clever Fox" by Jeanine Pirro.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jdb » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:49 pm

Just finished three great stories. In The Kingdom of Ice, by Hampton Sides. Fascinating true story of late 19th century US Polar expedition. Reminded me of later Shackleton saga. Savage Harvest, by Carl Hoffman. True story of disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in New Guinea in early 1960's, who was probably killed and eaten by local cannibals. Not for the squeamish. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. Just awarded the prestigious Man Booker prize. Novel about Australian captives of the Japanese in prisoner of war camp in Burmese jungle building railroad under extreme privation in 1942-1945.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:14 pm

The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey.

A mystery novel from 1953.

This is a Novel with a male protagonist written by a woman. I find these interesting. Three examples:

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I found this book strangely fascinating. I couldn't stop reading. But, this was mostly from trying to identify with the protagonist. Ms. Tartt has very strange ideas of how males see and react to the world. The whole thing gave me a creepy feeling.
  • All the Poirot novels by Agatha Christie. Here male characters are 100% believable.
  • The Singing Sands. This is somewhere in between but nowhere as far out as Secret History. Much more realistic male characters. I am about halfway through the book and just beginning to "care about" the main character.

Tey and Christie both set novels in England and their publishing careers overlapped so it isn't just the time and place that gives Christie the advantage for realistic male characters.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by GerryL » Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:19 am

Just finished reading Sons of Wichita (family history of the Koch brothers) and am now reading a biography of Sally Ride by Lynn Sherr.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Blues » Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:19 am

"The Zone Of Interest" by Martin Amis.

Despite its unpleasant subject it's the first work by Amis that I've (nearly, at this point) completed.
(I had less success with "London Fields" and "Lionel Asbo: State Of England".)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chaz » Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:02 pm

"The Criminalist" by William Relling,Jr.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Fallible » Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:59 pm

Just started The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution," by Walter Isaacson and it's excellent, as is just about everything he's done (bios of Einstein and Steve Jobs, etc.).

Some recent and recommended reads:

__ How We Learn by Benedict Carey (especially liked subconscious learning, or "Learning Without Thinking");
__Bill Bernstein's Rational Expecations, on asset allocation for adults;
__Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (joining many other Bogleheads in recommending this one);
__The Complete CUL de SAC volumes 1 and 2 and Team CUL de SAC, all honoring the work of cartoonist Richard Thompson (also did the clever "Richard's Poor Almanac" before launching the comic), who was forced to quit drawing in his early 50s because of Parkinson's.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by mcblum » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:04 pm

Declare by Tim Power

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