What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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

Post by ruralavalon »

Hidden Depths, by Ann Cleeves.

This is a mystery with multiple murders with curious similarities, a group of bird watchers, and infjdelity. This is a good book.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ResearchMed »

"The Watergate Girl", by Jill Wine-Banks

Autobiographical account of her involvement (attorney) with the Nixon investigation and prosecution.
There are some fascinating, and occasionally quite humorous, episodes reported.

The title refers to the fact that she was the only female in the group for a while.

(For example: She interviewed Rose Mary Woods, and she was the one who asked Ms Woods to demonstrate, on the stand, how she had her foot on the pedal and stretched for other equipment such that there was an innocent explanation for the missing 18 minutes in one of the Nixon tapes... and when she repeated her actions, the tape *stopped*. That was a significant episode in the proceedings.)

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Dave55 »

Just finished Harlan Coben's new book, "The Boy From the Woods". Great thriller, exquisite writing, fun characters. Harlan never disappoints!

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by FreeAtLast »

"Race Of Aces", by John R. Bruning (Hachette Books 2020).

My local library system shut down at 6 PM on Monday, but I was able to sneak in there before the close and sign out 8 books which I hope will hold me for the next 2-3 weeks. Here is a review of the first one of that group which I have finished.

"Race" is a superb accounting of our country's air war against the Japanese onslaught in the South Pacific. Bruning centers his history around those US fighter pilots who became multiple aces (a "ace" is a fighter pilot who has shot down 5 enemy planes). Even among my generation (I am 64), the names of these warriors are mostly forgotten today: Richard Bong, Thomas McGuire, Gerald Johnson, Neel Kearby, Charles MacDonald, Thomas Lynch. While trying to survive in chaotic air battles against the determined, talented Japanese flying their formidable Zero fighter, they were also in a concurrent competition to beat the record of WW One ace Eddie Rickenbacker - 26 kills.

This is not a hero-worshiping book meant for 11-12 year old boys excited about tales and myths concerning WW II "Knights of the Air". Bruning covers the history of the vicious conflict so that you cannot avert your eyes from the highly unpleasant details: the enervating stress of repeated air combats, the horrific deaths of various flyers, the "no holds barred" brutality that the combatants applied against each other, the tropical diseases and malnutrition affecting all combatants, and some bad military decisions that got your own comrades killed for absolutely nothing. The book is also a primer on the hazards of flying a fighter plane BEFORE you ever engage with the enemy. I was exposed to my utter ignorance about the difficulties in handling the famous P-38 Lightning. For most of us who were not combat pilots, this book is a salutary antidote to any misapprehensions you might have entertained concerning that particular occupation.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by FreeAtLast »

"The Fire And The Darkness: The Bombing Of Dresden, 1945", by Sinclair McKay (St. Martin's Press 2020).

Before World War 2, Dresden was known as "Florence On The Elbe". The architecture of its buildings and churches was considered to be exceptionally beautiful in design. This city was considered to be "a citadel of artistic thought and innovation". It produced and exported throughout the world - including to Great Britain, home of the Royal Air Force - the most popular, exquisite artifacts of porcelain. Then, during 18 hours in February 1945, this "jewel box of a city" was ravaged by three waves of bombers - two British, one American - and turned into a flaming charnel house. Approximately 25,000 German civilians perished (not 250,000 as Dr. Goebbels propagandized nor 135,000 as historian David Irving and novelist Kurt Vonnegut later postulated).

Why did this happen? McKay begins by laying out a detailed history of Dresden and its citizens and their accomplishments. He then alternates with description of the RAF's Bomber Command, it's methodology of fighting the German enemy, and the Allies' understanding of Dresden as an important military center for the Wehrmacht. We meet those civilians who were to survive the destruction in preparation for re-living their traumatic survival in which they bear witness to us of their experiences. The author presents a complete and balanced picture so that whatever you believed about Dresden's destruction before you read his book - you are probably going to have a different opinion afterwards.

World War Two became absolutely relentless in its opponents' determination to grind each other down into oblivion. The casualties of some of the fighting groups are almost unbelievable. Bomber Command had 45% of its 125,000 aircrew members killed. The German Navy had almost 70% of its 41,000 U-Boat crew members killed. Estimates of total civilian deaths among all warring nations usually start at 50 million. Yet one still wonders in the midst of this daunting display of internecine ferocity: was there not one important member of the Allies' deciding class - Roosevelt? Churchill? Tedder? Portal? Spaatz? Arnold? Eisenhower? - who could have raised their hand and asked, "Does Dresden really need to be on the target list?"
Last edited by FreeAtLast on Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cashboy »

I Am That

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_That

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/299869.I_Am_That

deep matters discussed in such a simple and easy to understand manner. (Q & A)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by GeoffD »

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. It won all the Science Fiction awards in 2014. I’m 40% of the way through. It’s kind of like reading Dune the first time where it’s a bit hard to follow.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Dantes »

Any Shape or Form by Elizabeth Daly. A mystery published in 1945, set among upper-class New Yorkers. Class plays a major role; very clever and with some very funny bits. This is the first of Daly's mysteries that I have read, and good enough for me to want the other 15.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson.

This is the story of Winston Churchill and his family, and how they lived in the early years of World War II. I thought the book was very interesting.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Blues »

"The Mirror and The Light" the final chapter in Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell series.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Van »

A VERY STABLE GENIUS
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by heartwood »

Blues wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:29 pm "The Mirror and The Light" the final chapter in Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell series.
I am as well. I read and enjoyed the two before this, but that was a couple/few years ago and I'm having a hard time getting back into understanding the various characters beyond Cromwell and the marque names. Mantel does include a list of characters, but it's 6 pages long. I've bookmarked the list in my ereader so I can more easily find out who this Duke or other person might be.

The first chapter describes Anne's beheading.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Blues »

heartwood wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:37 pm
Blues wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:29 pm "The Mirror and The Light" the final chapter in Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell series.
I am as well. I read and enjoyed the two before this, but that was a couple/few years ago and I'm having a hard time getting back into understanding the various characters beyond Cromwell and the marque names. Mantel does include a list of characters, but it's 6 pages long. I've bookmarked the list in my ereader so I can more easily find out who this Duke or other person might be.

The first chapter describes Anne's beheading.
I'm a little over halfway through, so I can see the light at the end of the mirror tunnel.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by abuss368 »

Jack Bogle "Enough"
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Nicolas »

I’m reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I’m reading UTC because it was the best-selling and most influential novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Tom's_Cabin
I’m also reading the complete works of “Duck Man” Carl Barks.
Last edited by Nicolas on Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:38 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak »

Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:27 pm I’m also reading the complete works of “Duck Man” Carl Barks.
Is that a book or some other publication?

I am accumulating Fantagraphics' Complete Carl Barks Disney Library as volumes become available. I have 17 volumes so far! Almost all of this I read back in the '50s and '60s as they were published. I grew up on Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge. They are what taught me to read. I had many other comic books but the Dell/Western Duck stories were the ones I liked best.

It's a familiar sad story. I stashed them away in the attic but one day, years later, I learned that my mother threw them all out. She figured I'd outgrown them. Now, with Fantagraphics, I am slowly replenishing them with better quality printing and in hardcover!

My favorites are when the boys (Donald and the nephews) go on world-spanning adventures with their Uncle Scrooge. They are quite educational, with stories of ancient civilizations and mythology.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Nicolas »

bertilak wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:31 pm
Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:27 pm I’m also reading the complete works of “Duck Man” Carl Barks.
Is that a book or some other publication?

I am accumulating Fantagraphics' Complete Carl Barks Disney Library as volumes become available. I have 17 volumes so far! Almost all of this I read back in the '50s and '60s as they were published. I grew up on Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge. They are what taught me to read. I had many other comic books but the Dell/Western Duck stories were the ones I liked best.

It's a familiar sad story. I stashed them away in the attic but one day, years later, I learned that my mother threw them all out. She figured I'd outgrown them. Now, with Fantagraphics, I am slowly replenishing them with better quality printing and in hardcover!

My favorites are when the boys (Donald and the nephews) go on world-spanning adventures with their Uncle Scrooge. They are quite educational, with stories of ancient civilizations and mythology.
I’m also an US fan but I’m starting reading from the beginning and so far it’s all DD and the “boys” from the 1940s (US, as you know, didn’t come into existence until later) and I find they also have some pretty nice adventures. Have you read Don Rosa? He’s also an excellent artist. I subscribed to Gladstone comics in the 80s-90s and he had a large presence.

I too loved Scrooge’s globe-hopping adventures, paying Donald and the boys 30¢ an hour to tag along! I liked Gyro Gearloose and Magica De Spell too (though the latter not as much), and the lucky Gladstone Gander! As a child I could almost half-believe those tales. I didn’t know how the world worked then. Now as an adult I hope to relive some of that. And I never read them all, now I get to!

Too bad about your old collection. They could’ve been worth a pretty penny now depending on condition.

Here’s a Bogleheads-appropriate panel.

Image
Last edited by Nicolas on Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak »

Nicolas wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:42 pm Image
I'm pretty sure that's not from Carl Barks. His stories/situations are a lot gentler.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Nicolas »

bertilak wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:04 pm I'm pretty sure that's not from Carl Barks. His stories/situations are a lot gentler.
It could be it’s from the Danes or Italians. I picked it up somewhere and thought it was cute. I’ve wanted to post it here for awhile and didn’t have an excuse until now :D
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by pezblanco »

FreeAtLast wrote: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:48 pm "Race Of Aces", by John R. Bruning (Hachette Books 2020).

"Race" is a superb accounting of our country's air war against the Japanese onslaught in the South Pacific. Bruning centers his history around those US fighter pilots who became multiple aces (a "ace" is a fighter pilot who has shot down 5 enemy planes). Even among my generation (I am 64), the names of these warriors are mostly forgotten today: Richard Bong, Thomas McGuire, Gerald Johnson, Neel Kearby, Charles MacDonald, Thomas Lynch. While trying to survive in chaotic air battles against the determined, talented Japanese flying their formidable Zero fighter, they were also in a concurrent competition to beat the record of WW One ace Eddie Rickenbacker - 26 kills.
Due to your review, I'm reading this. I concur, it is just excellent.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by pezblanco »

I just finished The Kingdom of Nauvoo by B. Park. It is the story of the Mormon's (the saints) last stop in western Illinois before making their final trek to Utah. It is the place where the outraged citizenry murdered Joseph Smith, the Prophet who found the golden tablets (which related among other things the story of Jesus Christ's peregrinations in the New World) in upstate NY and translated them from "Reformed Egyptian" into the Book of Mormon. The book relates of how it was here that Smith had a series of revelations from the almighty that the saints should practice poligamy (just as some of the Old Testament patriarchs did) and the resulting conflicts and problems that this new doctrine caused. It is a fascinating tale of America in the early 19th century.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

pezblanco wrote: Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:22 am
FreeAtLast wrote: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:48 pm "Race Of Aces", by John R. Bruning (Hachette Books 2020).

"Race" is a superb accounting of our country's air war against the Japanese onslaught in the South Pacific. Bruning centers his history around those US fighter pilots who became multiple aces (a "ace" is a fighter pilot who has shot down 5 enemy planes). Even among my generation (I am 64), the names of these warriors are mostly forgotten today: Richard Bong, Thomas McGuire, Gerald Johnson, Neel Kearby, Charles MacDonald, Thomas Lynch. While trying to survive in chaotic air battles against the determined, talented Japanese flying their formidable Zero fighter, they were also in a concurrent competition to beat the record of WW One ace Eddie Rickenbacker - 26 kills.
Due to your review, I'm reading this. I concur, it is just excellent.
I just started the book, based on your review.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by DDubya »

With so much time at home I am re-reading Anthony Trollope’s “The Way We Live Now.” It is a great novel, but long. I hope to finish by the time the stay-at-home orders are lifted. :happy
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by quantAndHold »

DDubya wrote: Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:48 pm With so much time at home I am re-reading Anthony Trollope’s “The Way We Live Now.” It is a great novel, but long. I hope to finish by the time the stay-at-home orders are lifted. :happy
Lol. My wife is rereading The Lord of the Rings for the same reason.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak »

DDubya wrote: Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:48 pm With so much time at home I am re-reading Anthony Trollope’s “The Way We Live Now.” It is a great novel, but long. I hope to finish by the time the stay-at-home orders are lifted. :happy
Have you read The Warden and or Barchester Towers by Trolloipe?

I enjoyed those and was wondering what you thought, especially in comparison to The Way We Live Now, which I have not read. (Yet?)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by DDubya »

Have not read any others by Trollope. Really should. I do highly recommend The Way We Live Now. It is a great story of moral and financial corruption as relevant today as in 1875.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Nicolas »

I’m reading The Diary of Samuel Pepys, which he kept from 1660 to 1669, a period of ten years. I’m reading it online, one entry a day, thus I will have completed it in ten years’ time. I’m a couple of years into it now. I’m reading it at this https://www.pepysdiary.com/ website.

Why is his diary important?

It gives us a unique window into the life and history of the time. Pepys lived in London, England and was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament. As president of the Royal Society he was personally acquainted with the scientist Robt. Hooke and the physicist Sir Isaac Newton, among other notables. The diary is unique due to the descriptive nature of his writing and his frank personal opinions and confessions. His description of the royal court was at times scathing. He wrote in code as some of his entries could possibly have gotten him clapped into the Tower and might’ve ended his marriage, or his life. He corruptly enriched himself in his position as was common practice at the time.

Pepys witnessed the execution of Charles I (though before the period of the diary) in 1649, the Great Plague, and the Great Fire of London, these represent the best eyewitness accounts we have of these events.

His account of the plague-time is interesting in light of current events as he provided a weekly death count for London which showed increasing numbers until a point where it peaked, then the numbers decreased weekly to only a trickle at which point he stopped mentioning it altogether. We’re seeing this in the nightly news today. Though people died all around him, he and his wife were never touched. Nobody at the time knew what caused it. Many of the rich fled the city to live at their country estates during this time. Pepys didn’t. This was the final European plague. Why it disappeared and never returned is unknown.

He bequeathed his library including the diary to a college where it still resides. The diary sat on a shelf there for a hundred years before anyone noticed it. Some time later someone took it in hand to decipher it. He spent three years on the task without knowing that a key to the writing sat one shelf up and about a foot down in the same library.

The diary was first published in the 19th century in shortened form with all the naughty bits cut out. It wasn’t published in its complete unexpurgated form until the 1970s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Pepys
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

Race of Aces, by John R. Bruning.

This is a history of multiple World War II aces, Army fighter pilots in New Guinea and the Phillipines, focusing on their personal lives as well as their fighting. I recommend this book.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by birnhamwood »

Thank you Nicolas. I've downloaded the diary and will read along with you.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by quantAndHold »

The Life of Pi. Yann Martel.

The ship an Indian teenager is a passenger on sinks, and he shares a lifeboat with a tiger for several months. Or maybe not.

Weird. Interesting. Not entirely sure what I think of this one, but I’m trying to read things already on my bookshelf these days.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Lordosis »

I am reading the Expanse series. I am currently on book 6 of 9. I never heard of it until I saw the show being advertised. Then I was talking with a friend about my love of science fiction and it came highly recommended. I also find it very interesting and exciting. A fun read! I enjoy finding authors who are contemporary and still writing. All the best are long gone or no longer writing :(
Asimov
Heinlein
Clarke
Bradbury
Orwell
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H.G. Wells
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Chrichton
Pohl
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Halicar »

Lordosis wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:12 am I am reading the Expanse series. I am currently on book 6 of 9. I never heard of it until I saw the show being advertised. Then I was talking with a friend about my love of science fiction and it came highly recommended. I also find it very interesting and exciting. A fun read! I enjoy finding authors who are contemporary and still writing. All the best are long gone or no longer writing :(
Asimov
Heinlein
Clarke
Bradbury
Orwell
Simak
H.G. Wells
Nivin
Chrichton
Pohl
Stapledon
Doc Smith
You should check out this thread: viewtopic.php?t=146455
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Lordosis »

Halicar wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:50 am
Lordosis wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:12 am I am reading the Expanse series. I am currently on book 6 of 9. I never heard of it until I saw the show being advertised. Then I was talking with a friend about my love of science fiction and it came highly recommended. I also find it very interesting and exciting. A fun read! I enjoy finding authors who are contemporary and still writing. All the best are long gone or no longer writing :(
Asimov
Heinlein
Clarke
Bradbury
Orwell
Simak
H.G. Wells
Nivin
Chrichton
Pohl
Stapledon
Doc Smith
You should check out this thread: viewtopic.php?t=146455
Thank you!!
Wonderful thread. I will be busy for a while. You made my day!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Chaconne »

Moby-Dick (yet again!) Because it is the greatest one.
Portnoy's Complaint because of Roth's brilliance.

Two I would suggest for our troubled times:

The Skin of Our Teeth, a wildly theatrical play by Thornton Wilder about George Antrobus, a man who invented the wheel and fire and who shepherded his family and mankind through ice ages, global wars and more. Astonishing and beautiful.

Pale Horse, Pale Rider, a novella based on Katherine Ann Porter's experience nearly dying of the 1918 influenza while her lover awaited orders to deploy to the battlefields of WWI.

Very classy readers around here!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ScoobyDoo »

quantAndHold wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:07 pm The Life of Pi. Yann Martel.

The ship an Indian teenager is a passenger on sinks, and he shares a lifeboat with a tiger for several months. Or maybe not.

Weird. Interesting. Not entirely sure what I think of this one, but I’m trying to read things already on my bookshelf these days.
Yes! Very weird book but I enjoyed it. The first part especially which is interesting because of the number of characters!!! Highly recommend it.
ScoobyDoo!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by quantAndHold »

Chaconne wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:35 pm Moby-Dick (yet again!) Because it is the greatest one.
Reading this now, because the local library started an online book club and thinks we have some time on our hands. I tried to read it about a decade ago and gave up after about 200 pages. Liking it much better this time around.

Strangely, other than “Call me Ishmael,” I don’t seem to remember a word of what I read before.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

The Origins of Totalitariansim by Hannah Arendt

From Wikipedia:

Le Monde placed the book among the 100 best books of any kind of the 20th century, while the National Review ranked it #15 on its list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute listed it among the 50 best non-fiction books of the century. The book made a major impact on Norman Podhoretz, who compared the pleasure of reading it to that of reading a great poem or novel.

Totalitarian movements are fundamentally different from autocratic regimes, says Arendt, insofar as autocratic regimes seek only to gain absolute political power and to outlaw opposition, while totalitarian regimes seek to dominate every aspect of everyone's life as a prelude to world domination.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Chaconne »

quantAndHold wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:36 pm
Chaconne wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:35 pm Moby-Dick (yet again!) Because it is the greatest one.
Reading this now, because the local library started an online book club and thinks we have some time on our hands. I tried to read it about a decade ago and gave up after about 200 pages. Liking it much better this time around.

Strangely, other than “Call me Ishmael,” I don’t seem to remember a word of what I read before.
Keep going! It's worth it. Here's a nice 5 minute talk about it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-Pz7YtJCco
jdb
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jdb »

Just finished Fifth Sun, A New History of the Aztecs by Camilla Townsend. If it is true as Winston Churchill said that history is written by the victors then this history book is an anomaly. The author, a distinguished history professor, is fluent in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs and has written this history of the conquest by Hernando Cortes and the conquistadors using written sources from the native Aztecs and their immediate descendants. I found it fascinating to see the conflict from point of view of the natives. Coincidentally, it was 500 years ago this month, April 1520, that the battles between Cortes and his Indian allies and the forces of Moctezuma began in the city on the lake, Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City. And in this time of pandemic interesting to see that the major reason for Cortes ultimate victory was probably the smallpox virus inadvertently brought to the New World by the Spaniards. Recommend to anyone interested in seeing history written by the non victors.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

Silent Voices, by Ann Cleeves.

This is a murder mystery, a middle aged social worker is found dead, strangled in the sauna at a local resort hotel in Northumberland.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by XtremeSki2001 »

The Great Bridge - David McCullough
A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke »

Midnight in Europe - Alan Furst
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Dave55 »

"Heartwood" by James Lee Burke. The second book in the Billy Bob Holland series. Wonderful Entertainment. J.L Burke is one of my favorite authors.

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

Post by abuss368 »

"Enough" by Jack Bogle.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I prefer primary historical sources when I read history. Valley Forge by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin was an excellent book but not of course a primary source. It got me to delve a bit into important individuals who are less well known. I found online the entire book The Army Correspondence of Colonel John Laurens to his father who was President of the Congress (in a manner of speaking the president of the US under the Articles of Confederation.) This book covers the period of 1777 to 1778; John Laurens was one of the last casualties of the Revolution, killed in combat in 1782; in 1783 his father was one of the peace commissioners sent to negotiate The Treaty of Paris.

https://archive.org/details/armylaurens ... 9/mode/2up
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by blacklab »

“Agent Running in The Field” by John Le Carre.

Very much enjoyed his latest spy story.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see it made into a film, if those ever get produced again.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by JPH »

The White Coat Investor. I ordered the gook as a gift for my doctor. But since I can't see her now except for a video conference and my community library is closed, I read the book myself. It is a tiny book, but otherwise what I expected.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke »

JPH wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:59 pm community library is closed
Check out the Libby app if you have an e-reading device. I am able to borrow from two libraries where I have library cards. It took a minute or two to link the card to the Libby app but now I can borrow quite a few titles for my Kindle through Libby (which I think is just a UI for Overdrive).
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF »

"The Body : A Guide for Occupants" by Bill Bryson.

A fantastic book in its own right but particularly relevant in the time of COVID-19. I saw this book on an Amtrak ride from New York City in early March. The woman sitting next to me was reading it with deep attention and few breaks. When I asked her what she thought about the book, she praised it profusely, which was particularly remarkable because she had never read Bill Bryson before.

My Amtrak neighbor has motivated me to buy the book. When I reviewed it at home, the book pushed itself to the top of my reading list. It's a wonderful combination of being comprehensive, informative, and funny. It's full of medical information but reads like detective stories. And, in the time of COVID-19, its simple explanations of how the human body works are helpful for comprehending disparate medical information about the pandemic.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius »

In the Days of the Comet, by H. G. Wells. OMG, what a total stinker of a book it is. I kept reading it, fascinated by the terribleness of it. This is H. G. Wells at his absolute worst. I hope someone else has read it so we can commiserate together.

When I was a kid I was given the Dover hardbound omnibus, Seven Science Fiction Novels of H. G. Wells. I was entranced by five of them, bogged down in The Food of the Gods. I never got to In the Days of the Comet, so I just recently decided to read it.

To call it "science fiction" is a stretch. The earth collides with a comet, with a mysterious "green line" in the spectrum. For unexplained reasons, it glows partially by its own light. Here's the "science," all of it:
For the whole world of living things had been overtaken by the same tide of insensibility; in an hour, at the touch of this new gas in the comet, the shiver of catalytic change had passed about the globe. They say it was the nitrogen of the air, the old azote, that in the twinkling of an eye was changed out of itself, and in an hour or so became a respirable gas, differing indeed from oxygen, but helping and sustaining its action, a bath of strength and healing for nerve and brain. I do not know the precise changes that occurred, nor the names our chemists give them, my work has carried me away from such things, only this I know—I and all men were renewed.
The comet produces "the Change." Before the change, everything is ugly and society is cruel and stupid. After the change, everyone is beautiful. The descriptions of how the world appears to the narrator after the change, as well as some of Wells' other stories, really begin to make me think that he must have been experimenting with psychedelic drugs. Anyway, everyone suddenly realizes that there was absolutely no need for war, bad city planning or ugly architecture. Utopia is at hand, all that is needed is a bit of clear thinking. Everyone pretty is much cured of greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Not sure about gluttony.

As for lust, that is another matter.

Because the whole thing seems to be a pitch for polyamory. Before The Change, he has an on-again-off-again relationship of some kind with a girlfriend, writes her an unkind letter, they fall apart, he changes his mind, wants her back, and discovers that he has now lost her to a rival. He decides to kill them both, buys a handgun, and is literally in the process of shooting when The Change occurs.

Everyone falls asleep, and awakens purged of all selfish sexual jealousy. At length, his ex-girlfriend marries his rival, he marries someone else, but then after a few years he and his girlfriend decide that they want to get together again without leaving their spouses. OK, it is 1906, but it is still described in the most horrible mincing euphemisms:
In the old days love was a cruel proprietary thing.... For me from the beginning Nettie was the figure of beauty, the shape and color of the divine principle that lights the world... I loved Nettie, I loved all who were like her, in the measure that they were like her, in voice, or eyes, or form, or smile. And between my wife and me there was no bitterness that the great goddess, the life-giver, Aphrodite, Queen of the living Seas, came to my imagination so. It qualified our mutual love not at all, since now in our changed world love is unstinted; it is a golden net about our globe that nets all humanity together.
Nice work if you can get it. And easy, as long as you are living in a world in which nitrogen has been transformed into a respirable gas.
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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