What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:04 pm

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

This is the second book of the Barchester series. It was first published in 1857, two years after the first book (The Warden) which I posted about earlier. Like the Warden, the story takes place in the fictional English cathedral town of Barchester in the fictional Barsetshire. I'm about a third of the way through it.

As much as I liked The Warden, I like this one even more. In the two years between the books, Trollope really got his act together! Trollope's storytelling skill and engaging use of language are top notch.

Barchester Towers is much more of a comedy than The Warden. It is a comedy driven by character and social situations. Sort of a comedic soap opera. Very English. Here is a small example:

The Characters:
    Dr Stanhope, a church rector. Father of:
    Bertie, a ne'er-do-well idler. He does have considerable artistic skill which has not yet come into play at my point in the story.
    Charlotte, who keeps her head when others are not keeping theirs. She manages the family finances.
Dialog:
    [discussing a dunning letter addressed to Stanhope because Bertie has ignored a debt]
    Stanhope Does he think I'll pay that?
    Charlotte I'm sure he thinks no such thing.
    Stanhope And who does he think will pay it?
    Charlotte I suppose it won't much matter if it never gets paid.

So, no knee-slappers, but very amusing. Other humor depends more on being up on the current state of affairs and the droll way Trollope narrates so can't be as easily sampled.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:45 pm

I just finished chapter one of False Scent by Ngaio Marsh.
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:52 pm

The Accursed, by Joyce Carol Oates.
kybourbon wrote:Ben Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
Hmmm... I'm reading Jack London: An American Life, by Earle Labor. I guess it's hard for biographers to find fresh new titles... Yep, kinda funny... a search turns up

George F. Kennan: An American Life
Margaret Fuller: A New American Life
An American Life by Jimmy Gentry
An American Life: The Autobiography by Ronald Reagan
Ben Hogan: An American Life
Stan Musial: An American Life
William Wells Brown: An African American Life
Martha Washington: An American Life
Garcia: An American Life
Guitar: An American Life [yes, it's a history of the guitar, the instrument, in the United States...]
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.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Deep Thoughts » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:15 pm

Just finished two by Michael Lewis:

Liar's Poker

The Big Short

I enjoyed the second book much more than the second. Perhaps because it wasn't so much about his personal experiences and was more of a knowledgable journalist describing exactly what happened and led up to the financial crisis of 2008. He's an entertaining writer with a great sense of humor.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by rakornacki1 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:18 am

"Winning the Loser's Game" by Charles D. Ellis - a proven, time-tested long-term investment philosophy on how the use of passively managed index funds provide the best risk-adjusted returns.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:03 am

gkaplan wrote:I just finished chapter one of False Scent by Ngaio Marsh.


I think this is Ngaio Marsh's best book to date, that is 1960 when she wrote the book. I highly recommend it. (As long time readers of this thread know, for the last several years, I have gone back to read Ngaio Marsh's books in the order in which they were written.)
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Cottons » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:08 am

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

you can check it out here.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:18 am

Cottons wrote:The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

you can check it out here.
Excellent book.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:25 am

51% of the way through The Accursed, by Joyce Carol Oates, a famous author I don't know. I'm actually enjoying it, and I never in a million years would have thought I'd enjoy a Gothic novel of the supernatural... I don't know if we have an "unreliable narrator" here or what-all's going on, but at the moment it appears that a young bride was abducted by a Satanic character to a secret palace of e-ville in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey etc. etc. It reminds me a lot of E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime in its use of historically real persons in a fictional context, and I guess I'm enjoying the portrayals of Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, Upton Sinclair, Mark Twain as much as anything else... can't wait to see what happens when Jack London enters the story.

By the way... the Satanic villain is named Axson Mayte. That is an anagram for "Sex anatomy," and a quick Google search does not suggest that this fact is well-known. Mere coincidence? I think not! :twisted:
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.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by reggiesimpson » Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:52 pm

Ripped by Clarence Bass (for the third time).

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by seeshells » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:44 pm

The Clash of the Financial Pundits: How the Media Influences your Investment decisions by Brown and Macke// Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A history of Financial Crisis, 6th ed. by Kindleberger and Solow.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Colorado13 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:02 am

Revival by Stephen King.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:17 am

The hottest dishes of the Tartar cuisine : A novel by Alina Bronsky.

After the events in Crimea, I became interested in Russian Tartars and picked this book as an entertaining way to understand (parts of) their culture. This book was nominated for the 2010 German Book Prize. I started it yesterday, and so far it's been enjoyable.

Fiction has its place.
The Book of Life wrote:The humanities are a repository of useful and consoling ideas that can help us face pressing personal and professional issues. We should turn to novels and historical narratives to impart moral instruction, paintings to help us understand value, and philosophy to probe our anxieties and offer consolation.


Added on 25 December.
I finished the book but it still lingers with me. In places, it's very funny in highly unusual ways. The protagonist Rosa somewhat resembles Hyacinth in Keeping Up Appearances, but she is much more multifaceted. Later, the story turns sad, and the sadness is also unexpected and unique. The ending leaves some questions unanswered, thus increasing the book's lasting effect.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:27 pm

Thanks for the reminder:
Valuethinker wrote:
knpstr wrote:The Fountainhead ... Ayn Rand

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

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

We would all like to believe we are John Galt, or the architect in the Fountainhead. We'd all like to believe we are Nietschean supermen, underappreciated, rather than the nebbishes most of us probably are. I kind of feel I had my fill of that as a teenager reading Robert Heinleim and Larry Niven but of course Heinlein 'only' wrote 'science fiction' and is therefore not a 'serious author'*...

The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. I've just started, but I like the writing style.

When I first joined the forum, Valuethinker suggested I read Ayn Rand. A bit late, but I finally got around to it. Atlas Shrugged is next.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:50 pm

LadyGeek wrote:Thanks for the reminder:
Valuethinker wrote:
knpstr wrote:The Fountainhead ... Ayn Rand

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

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

We would all like to believe we are John Galt, or the architect in the Fountainhead. We'd all like to believe we are Nietschean supermen, underappreciated, rather than the nebbishes most of us probably are. I kind of feel I had my fill of that as a teenager reading Robert Heinleim and Larry Niven but of course Heinlein 'only' wrote 'science fiction' and is therefore not a 'serious author'*...

The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. I've just started, but I like the writing style.

When I first joined the forum, Valuethinker suggested I read Ayn Rand. A bit late, but I finally got around to it. Atlas Shrugged is next.


I am fascinated that some younger version of my self should make such a recommendation.

They are overwritten -- I didn't finish them.

I think mostly they are about telling us what we want to hear, rather than some profound new insight. Man's Search for Meaning I found insightful. Rand? Not so much.

The libertarian philosophy you can get quite enjoyably by reading Robert Heinlein or Larry Niven's Known Space saga. Although Heinlein was no Objectivist.

I think she is very interesting as a life story, and as a piece of mid 20th century American history. I don't think she will have a meaningful impact on philosophy as an academic subject. But when one writes a cultural or political history of America since 1950, Ayn Rand has to get a significant mention.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:53 pm

Deep Thoughts wrote:Just finished two by Michael Lewis:

Liar's Poker

The Big Short

I enjoyed the second book much more than the second. Perhaps because it wasn't so much about his personal experiences and was more of a knowledgable journalist describing exactly what happened and led up to the financial crisis of 2008. He's an entertaining writer with a great sense of humor.


My own advice is The Big Short is not intelligible unless you have read Liar's Poker, they are bookends to the same story. To everyone interested in a career in finance, I recommend Liar's Poker. Along with the film Margin Call, it is indispensable. I'd add the film Boiler Room (for the grotty end of things).

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:55 pm

bertilak wrote:Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

This is the second book of the Barchester series. It was first published in 1857, two years after the first book (The Warden) which I posted about earlier. Like the Warden, the story takes place in the fictional English cathedral town of Barchester in the fictional Barsetshire. I'm about a third of the way through it.

As much as I liked The Warden, I like this one even more. In the two years between the books, Trollope really got his act together! Trollope's storytelling skill and engaging use of language are top notch.

Barchester Towers is much more of a comedy than The Warden. It is a comedy driven by character and social situations. Sort of a comedic soap opera. Very English. Here is a small example:

The Characters:
    Dr Stanhope, a church rector. Father of:
    Bertie, a ne'er-do-well idler. He does have considerable artistic skill which has not yet come into play at my point in the story.
    Charlotte, who keeps her head when others are not keeping theirs. She manages the family finances.
Dialog:
    [discussing a dunning letter addressed to Stanhope because Bertie has ignored a debt]
    Stanhope Does he think I'll pay that?
    Charlotte I'm sure he thinks no such thing.
    Stanhope And who does he think will pay it?
    Charlotte I suppose it won't much matter if it never gets paid.

So, no knee-slappers, but very amusing. Other humor depends more on being up on the current state of affairs and the droll way Trollope narrates so can't be as easily sampled.


My spouse has read everything Trollope wrote.

The Pallisers, about a Liberal (party) political and financial family, is a great read on 19th century Victorian life- -railway bubbles and busts, the political controversies of the time, etc.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by frugalguy » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:31 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Fiction has its place.
The Book of Life wrote:The humanities are a repository of useful and consoling ideas that can help us face pressing personal and professional issues. We should turn to novels and historical narratives to impart moral instruction, paintings to help us understand value, and philosophy to probe our anxieties and offer consolation.


My next book to write will be called The Tyranny of the Shoulds. ;)

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by frugalguy » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:34 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. I've just started, but I like the writing style.

When I first joined the forum, Valuethinker suggested I read Ayn Rand. A bit late, but I finally got around to it. Atlas Shrugged is next.


Ayn Rand was my favorite author of fiction long before I knew what she was about. I just liked her writing style. Especially Atlas Shrugged.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by frugalguy » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:42 pm

Valuethinker wrote:I am fascinated that some younger version of my self should make such a recommendation.

They are overwritten -- I didn't finish them.


I'm not sure who I'm quoting here... My apologies if I'm misreading the quote tags. :) . But the books are overwritten, but that's part of the charm, for me anyway, when I was reading them many years ago.

I think mostly they are about telling us what we want to hear, rather than some profound new insight. Man's Search for Meaning I found insightful. Rand? Not so much.


Rand may have meant the books to be insightful. I just thought they were engrossing. Her extreme individualistic characters made for high drama...and escapism.

I think she is very interesting as a life story, and as a piece of mid 20th century American history. I don't think she will have a meaningful impact on philosophy as an academic subject. But when one writes a cultural or political history of America since 1950, Ayn Rand has to get a significant mention.


Agree. Which would include her influence on Alan Greenspan.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:43 pm

frugalguy wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Fiction has its place.
The Book of Life wrote:The humanities are a repository of useful and consoling ideas that can help us face pressing personal and professional issues. We should turn to novels and historical narratives to impart moral instruction, paintings to help us understand value, and philosophy to probe our anxieties and offer consolation.


My next book to write will be called The Tyranny of the Shoulds. ;)


Have you finished your book about a river?

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

Post by frugalguy » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:45 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
frugalguy wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Fiction has its place.
The Book of Life wrote:The humanities are a repository of useful and consoling ideas that can help us face pressing personal and professional issues. We should turn to novels and historical narratives to impart moral instruction, paintings to help us understand value, and philosophy to probe our anxieties and offer consolation.


My next book to write will be called The Tyranny of the Shoulds. ;)


Have you finished your book about a river?

Victoria


Nope. That's why I said my "next" book. :D

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:14 pm

I am reading The Cinderella Murder: an Under Suspicion Novel. This is a collaboration between Mary Higgins Clark, none of whose books I have read, and Alafair Burke, all of whose books I have read. It features characters drawn from Ms. Clark's most recent novel, I've Got You Under My Skin. This is first in a series of books that the two will write about a television producer for a cold case series that revisits unsolved crimes by recreating them with those affected.

I have to wonder about the contract that was drawn up for this collaboration: The dust jacket features the name of Mary Higgins Clark in a much larger font than that of Alafair Burke. The acknowledgements are solely those of Ms. Clark. She introduces the premise to the series. Only Clark's name alternates with the novel's title on top of every other page, with Ms. Burke's name never being shown.
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by black jack » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:21 pm

Audiobooks: thanks to a long holiday driving trip, finished Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, and immediately started upon the second volume in his 20th century trilogy, The Winter of the World. As he did in his medieval duology (Pillars of the Earth and World Without End), Follett does a wonderful job of making historical events meaningful by following his protagonists through those events.

Print books: recently finished Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark (thanks to Valuethinker for that recommendation in a recent thread on alternate histories/fantasies: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=146858), and liked it; so now I'm reading Powers' The Anubis Gates.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Munir » Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:18 am

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. A Harvard surgeon discusses life in retirement especially independent & assisted living, retirement homes, and hospice.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:58 pm

The Fur Country, Seventy Degrees North Latitude, by Jules Verne. Novel about an 1859 commercial and scientific expedition across Northern Canada to the Artic Ocean to found a trading post and to observe an eclipse.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:01 pm

Munir wrote:Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. A Harvard surgeon discusses life in retirement especially independent & assisted living, retirement homes, and hospice.


My Being Mortal has arrived today. I am looking forward to reading it.

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

Post by frugalguy » Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:56 pm

gkaplan wrote:I am reading The Cinderella Murder: an Under Suspicion Novel. This is a collaboration between Mary Higgins Clark, none of whose books I have read, and Alafair Burke, all of whose books I have read. It features characters drawn from Ms. Clark's most recent novel, I've Got You Under My Skin. This is first in a series of books that the two will write about a television producer for a cold case series that revisits unsolved crimes by recreating them with those affected.

I have to wonder about the contract that was drawn up for this collaboration: The dust jacket features the name of Mary Higgins Clark in a much larger font than that of Alafair Burke. The acknowledgements are solely those of Ms. Clark. She introduces the premise to the series. Only Clark's name alternates with the novel's title on top of every other page, with Ms. Burke's name never being shown.


I don't know if you'd call this "six degrees of separation", but this reminds me how the makers of the TV show Cold Squad sued the makers of the TV show Cold Case. Both shows center around a team of police detectives following up on cold cases, with the main character being a spunky blond female.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:58 am

frugalguy wrote:
gkaplan wrote:I am reading The Cinderella Murder: an Under Suspicion Novel. This is a collaboration between Mary Higgins Clark, none of whose books I have read, and Alafair Burke, all of whose books I have read. It features characters drawn from Ms. Clark's most recent novel, I've Got You Under My Skin. This is first in a series of books that the two will write about a television producer for a cold case series that revisits unsolved crimes by recreating them with those affected.

I have to wonder about the contract that was drawn up for this collaboration: The dust jacket features the name of Mary Higgins Clark in a much larger font than that of Alafair Burke. The acknowledgements are solely those of Ms. Clark. She introduces the premise to the series. Only Clark's name alternates with the novel's title on top of every other page, with Ms. Burke's name never being shown.


I don't know if you'd call this "six degrees of separation", but this reminds me how the makers of the TV show Cold Squad sued the makers of the TV show Cold Case. Both shows center around a team of police detectives following up on cold cases, with the main character being a spunky blond female.


One US and one UK? Cold Case is a UK show.

There's a distinguished history of US shows copying UK formats. Steptoe and Son became All in the Family (I think, never seen the former). Sometimes the US shows (with far bigger budgets) surpass their British progenitors. EDIT: sorry it was Til Death Do Us Part-- character was Alf Garnett who became Archie Bunker.

I am not sure how anyone would dare remake the sublime thing that is Ricky Gervais and The Office. But you did. And you remade Sherlock as Elementary. Sherlock (a series of 9 90 minute episodes) was never going to be a commercial US property, but it is sublime. On the other hand I heard Elementary is pretty good, too. Since they are both pastiches of the original, I can't complain too much ;-).

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:59 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Munir wrote:Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. A Harvard surgeon discusses life in retirement especially independent & assisted living, retirement homes, and hospice.


My Being Mortal has arrived today. I am looking forward to reading it.

Victoria


My spouse has read it.

It is a cracker. A profound book.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Exuberent » Thu Dec 25, 2014 5:59 am

We Are Not Ourselves, a novel by Matthew Thomas.
A really good read - I looked forward to having time each day to read more.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cfs » Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:29 pm

Just received as a Christmas Gift.

Now next to my bed, "My Father at 100" by Ron Reagan (President Ronald Reagan's son).
~ Ponga su anuncio aquí ~

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by frugalguy » Thu Dec 25, 2014 6:23 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
One US and one UK? Cold Case is a UK show.


Cold Squad is Canadian (1998). Cold Case is US (2003).

To me, the shows are only superficially similar. They differ vastly in quality and the type of storyline. Also, the "spunky" blonde is much spunkier in the Canadian show. I don't know the outcome of the lawsuit, but at some point, it has to become accepted culture that cold case squads are part of law enforcement and that female detectives (blonde or not) would be part of that. Having TV shows about them shouldn't automatically be considered copycat. But as always, the devil is in the details...

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:50 am

frugalguy wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
One US and one UK? Cold Case is a UK show.


Cold Squad is Canadian (1998). Cold Case is US (2003).

To me, the shows are only superficially similar. They differ vastly in quality and the type of storyline. Also, the "spunky" blonde is much spunkier in the Canadian show. I don't know the outcome of the lawsuit, but at some point, it has to become accepted culture that cold case squads are part of law enforcement and that female detectives (blonde or not) would be part of that. Having TV shows about them shouldn't automatically be considered copycat. But as always, the devil is in the details...


The late Glen Larson (Battlestar Galactica) was dubbed 'Glen Larseny' for stealing plot lines and show ideas. Apparently James Garner actually slugged him on the set of The Rockford Files.

Harlan Ellison won a famous case. Ellison is in many ways not a nice guy (basically beating up on his own fans over uploading his stories and his fan fic; also the volume of Dangerous Visions that includes unpublished works by major now dead writers like Roger Zelazny, he will not release the stories for publication), but he had the studio dead to rights. They actually had the memos that they had received his idea for a show about a robotic cop (in the pilot, Ernest Borgnine played his human sidekick) that they intended to use, and pay him nothing. And of course somewhat later that also became Robocop, the movie.

However the result of that case was the current situation, where as I understand it a studio will not even read an unsolicited script. And writers are told to avoid reading *any* fan fic written in their universe/ using their characters. The risk of being sued is too great (shades of the movie The Player, which riffs on this).

http://www.jamescamerononline.com/Ellison.htm

http://www.litigationandtrial.com/2009/ ... ll-me-joe/

http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/32427 ... r-reviews/

In truth, with Avatar, I was more reminded of Ursula K. Leguin's The Word for World is Forest, a controversial novel at the time (the primitive aliens are an analogy for the Viet Cong, and the techno heavy humans the US Army and Air Force) but that connection never seemed to come up.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:53 am

frugalguy wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
One US and one UK? Cold Case is a UK show.


Cold Squad is Canadian (1998). Cold Case is US (2003).

To me, the shows are only superficially similar. They differ vastly in quality and the type of storyline. Also, the "spunky" blonde is much spunkier in the Canadian show. I don't know the outcome of the lawsuit, but at some point, it has to become accepted culture that cold case squads are part of law enforcement and that female detectives (blonde or not) would be part of that. Having TV shows about them shouldn't automatically be considered copycat. But as always, the devil is in the details...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Tricks

Right- sorry. The UK series is New Tricks. From March 2003. Spunky blonde Detective Inspector and 3 nearly retired old geezers. Maybe it copied the Canadians?
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:09 am

black jack wrote:Audiobooks: thanks to a long holiday driving trip, finished Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, and immediately started upon the second volume in his 20th century trilogy, The Winter of the World. As he did in his medieval duology (Pillars of the Earth and World Without End), Follett does a wonderful job of making historical events meaningful by following his protagonists through those events.

Print books: recently finished Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark (thanks to Valuethinker for that recommendation in a recent thread on alternate histories/fantasies: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=146858), and liked it; so now I'm reading Powers' The Anubis Gates.


That's Samurai Jack on your avatar right? I *devour* anything by Genady Tartovsky (he even managed to make some quality stuff for Star Wars: Clone Wars). I don't think the full series has ever been sold in the UK.

If you like Samurai Jack you might like The Delta State. A French Canadian animated production (in Rotoscope) of 4 young psychics who wake up one day, with no memory, living in an apartment and guided by a shadowy figure named Brody. Their enemy is an alien race trying to invade the human collective unconscious, the gestalt. One of the strangest pieces of animation I have ever seen.

Powers. Yes. They get more convoluted, and some are not as good as others. Some are downright creepy (Dinner at Deviants Palace has that aspect to it). Powers has a thing about William Ashbless (who I think is invented, not a historical figure) who crops up again and again. And there are so many cross references between him and James Blaylock that I think people wondered if one was the pseudonym of the other! See Stress of Her Regard, etc. I loved On Stranger Tides (Blackbeard).

But as 'modern fantasy' go they never cease to intrigue. Crafted novels. Blaylock is not as good but has some good stuff.

http://www.locusmag.com/Perspectives/20 ... direction/
http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/powers_tim
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Powers

The RA MacAvoy's Tea with a [b]Black Dragon/ Twisting the Rope [/b]also have something of the flavour. Sadly she never took that series with its intriguing main character any further.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/r-a-macavoy/

Also the Steven Brust Agyar. Possibly the best modern vampire novel. To say one thing more about it is to risk spoiling it.

if you like the 'secret history' element of Powers, then it's also in James Elroy The Underworld USA trilogy (not fantasy novels).

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chaz » Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:35 pm

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

Post by jginseattle » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:35 pm

Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation, by Edward Chancellor.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:55 am

jginseattle wrote:Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation, by Edward Chancellor.


A classic. He works for GMO Funds (Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo) now. As Jeremy Grantham is no spring chicken, it's probably a good place to be writing strategy pieces.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by black jack » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:58 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
black jack wrote:Audiobooks: thanks to a long holiday driving trip, finished Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, and immediately started upon the second volume in his 20th century trilogy, The Winter of the World. As he did in his medieval duology (Pillars of the Earth and World Without End), Follett does a wonderful job of making historical events meaningful by following his protagonists through those events.

Print books: recently finished Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark (thanks to Valuethinker for that recommendation in a recent thread on alternate histories/fantasies: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=146858), and liked it; so now I'm reading Powers' The Anubis Gates.


That's Samurai Jack on your avatar right? I *devour* anything by Genady Tartovsky (he even managed to make some quality stuff for Star Wars: Clone Wars). I don't think the full series has ever been sold in the UK.

Hai so desu. I like Samurai Jack and Dexter's Laboratory (like Futurama, something I stumbled across when watching TV with my young daughter, and found they were better than 95% of "adult" fare on TV).
Valuethinker wrote:If you like Samurai Jack you might like The Delta State. A French Canadian animated production (in Rotoscope) of 4 young psychics who wake up one day, with no memory, living in an apartment and guided by a shadowy figure named Brody. Their enemy is an alien race trying to invade the human collective unconscious, the gestalt. One of the strangest pieces of animation I have ever seen.

Powers. Yes. They get more convoluted, and some are not as good as others. Some are downright creepy (Dinner at Deviants Palace has that aspect to it). Powers has a thing about William Ashbless (who I think is invented, not a historical figure) who crops up again and again. And there are so many cross references between him and James Blaylock that I think people wondered if one was the pseudonym of the other! See Stress of Her Regard, etc. I loved On Stranger Tides (Blackbeard).

But as 'modern fantasy' go they never cease to intrigue. Crafted novels. Blaylock is not as good but has some good stuff.

http://www.locusmag.com/Perspectives/20 ... direction/
http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/powers_tim
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Powers

The RA MacAvoy's Tea with a [b]Black Dragon/ Twisting the Rope [/b]also have something of the flavour. Sadly she never took that series with its intriguing main character any further.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/r-a-macavoy/

Also the Steven Brust Agyar. Possibly the best modern vampire novel. To say one thing more about it is to risk spoiling it.

if you like the 'secret history' element of Powers, then it's also in James Elroy The Underworld USA trilogy (not fantasy novels).

Thanks for the recommendations; I will take a look at these. I really enjoyed The Drawing of the Dark (hard to believe it was practically his first novel) and Anubis Gate (finished today). Powers' novels are an odd mix of freewheeling imagination and disciplined plotting, with a few places where my suspension of disbelief faltered (would Doyle really have not thought to warn Brenner about Dog-Face Jack's capability?), and other places where the fantasy seems almost likely (the vaults under the brewery in The Drawing of the Dark).

According to Wikipedia, Powers and Blaylock invented the Ashbless character while they were in college.

It's been decades since I read much sci-fi/fantasy, but reading your discussions of the genre have got me thinking of going back and rereading Roger Zelazny.
We cannot absolutely prove [that they are wrong who say] that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. | -T. B. Macaulay (1800-1859)

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:44 am

black jack wrote:
It's been decades since I read much sci-fi/fantasy, but reading your discussions of the genre have got me thinking of going back and rereading Roger Zelazny.


Not everything by Zelazny is worth reading:

- most of his early short fiction including incomparables like A Rose for Ecclesiastes, are

- Lord of Light (an SF novel, but a fantasy novel) is probably his masterwork. It's told in medias res (ie much of the novel is an extended flashback from the line 'and then he remembered' and if you miss that, it is confusing)

- Doorways in the Sand is just a glorious romp (again each chapter is in medias res, which takes a little getting used to)

- 9 Princes in Amber (the first 5) is his other masterwork. I can still remember waiting for each new book to come out, and finishing them in 4 hours and going 'is that it?' and having to wait another 2 years. Nowadays, when there is no such thing as a fantasy novel that is not part of a series, it's hard to remember how fresh this was. It's kind of George RR Martin/ Game of Thrones without the gore. I remember discussing the plot possibilities (I don't think he ever fully explains all the mysteries going on) with a friend for hours, etc.

- A Night in Lonesome October is a short, great work from just before his death. Nothing really new there, but perfectly executed

- This Immortal was an early novel and the same themes are revisited again and again in his work, but I still like it

Then you get the more difficult ones: Jack of Shadows, Dilvish the Damned, Roadmarks (not really worth it-- great concept), Damnation Alley (he disowned the movie, the book ain't bad, again early Zelazny), some of the collaborations which I never finished, Today we Choose Faces, Bridge of Ashes, To Die in Italbar (I honestly can't remember whether I ever finished those).

New England Science Fiction Association has produced a series with all of his fiction. NEFSA books are physically really nice books. I don't have space to buy them all.

Glen Cook might be another recommendation if you liked Drawing of the Dark. The first 3 of the Black Company, the early Garrett PI novels (Raymond Chandler in a run down fantasy city), the Dread Empire series is less accessible but I did like the 'prequels' The Fire in His Hands/ With Mercy Towards None.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jginseattle » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:16 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
jginseattle wrote:Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation, by Edward Chancellor.


A classic. He works for GMO Funds (Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo) now. As Jeremy Grantham is no spring chicken, it's probably a good place to be writing strategy pieces.


Interesting. I didn't know he's now at GMO.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:36 pm

I am reading I Said Yes to Everything: a Memoir by Lee Grant. Lee Grant was awarded a supporting actress Oscar for Shampoo and gave a memorable (at least for me) performance in the Oscar-winning In the Heat of the Night. Lee Grant also was blacklisted from television and film work at the age of twenty-four for twelve years, apparently for giving an emotional speech at a memorial for a friend who was a communist.
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ged » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:47 pm

Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick. This is really a collection of early stories by the author who has probably had more of his work made into film than any other sci-fi author. It's interesting to see how literary his early work was, compared to his later work which I have read more of. This collection includes the stories that "Minority Report" and "Total Recall" were based on.

I sort of wish there were more stories written like this by modern sci-fi writers.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by reggiesimpson » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:19 pm

The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman by Bruce Robinson.
I have never laughed out loud so much while reading a book. Hilarious. The N.Y. Times Book Review gave it 3 pages.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chaz » Tue Dec 30, 2014 5:26 pm

"The Target" by David Baldacci.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by GolfGuy123 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:52 pm

Money: Master The Game by Tony Robbins

I honestly did not know much about this guy until receiving this book as a gift. Must admit, the book has been entertaining so far but there does not seem to be much "meat and potatoes" when it comes down to it. The book is 600 pages and it could easily be cut down to 200. Don't get me wrong, the unnecessary pages (meaning they have nothing to do with actual investment strategy) are entertaining because he tells stories and gets into anecdotes about people like Jack Bogle, Warren Buffett etc. He is also somewhat comical.

FWIW when he does actually get into talking about actual investment strategies he does recommend the same methods as most on this board, low cost index funds via vanguard. He also gets into structured notes and annuities which I do not know much about so im finding all that interesting.

Has anyone else read this book too?

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by market timer » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:56 pm

Tried reading The Way of All Flesh, after all the Nisiprius quotes from that book. Really struggled to get into it, maybe because I have so little background in Christianity. Gave up after reading 25%. Might return to it.

Now reading House of Debt, a nonfiction book on the role of household debt in causing the Great Recession. This is a much more engaging read for me.

Also reading Infinite Jest, one of those big books I'd been saving for a spell out of the work force.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Tycoon » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:57 pm

The 7 Most Important Equations for Your Retirement, Moshe A. Milevsky

What Color Is Your Parachute? For Retirement, John E. Nelson and Richard N. Bolles
...I might be just beginning | I might be near the end. Enya | | C'est la vie

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Random Musings » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:18 pm

Just finished The Birth of Plenty.

Now starting to read (for the second time) Chaos by James Gleick.

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