What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF »

"What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought" by Keith E. Stanovich.

Stanovich's work, including this book, was referenced in Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow." Stanovich is Kahneman's primary source for the dual-system processing (System 1 and System 2) concept. I decided to read the source and I am glad that I did. Stanovich's writing is very clear and his ideas are convincing. In essence: Stanovich distinguishes two types of System 2 (he refers to "processes" rather than "systems") functions:
- Algorithmic Mind and
- Reflective Mind.

The algorithmic mind is measured on IQ tests. The reflective mind, supported by the algorithmic mind's processing, is what's commonly considered "rationality." People with high IQ making stupid mistakes have a highly developed algorithmic mind but an inferior reflective mind.

Stanovich also claims that there are people who do not commit biases described by Kahneman, Thaler, Ariely, and other behavioral scientists. He says that, statistically, people are biased but the variability among individuals is high. Kahneman is also now writing a book about noise, the variability around decisions. This variability gives some legitimacy to some Bogleheads' claims that they don't have common biases.

I am still skeptical that bias-less people exist. But I accept that with deep understanding and self-training an individual can avoid many biases and biased situations.

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

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica And The Plot To Break America by Christopher Wylie.

Just started, but engaging from page 1.
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The Lady Tasting Tea

Post by bobcat2 »

At an afternoon Cambridge tea party in the late 1920s a lady claimed that tea taste differently if the milk was added first or last. Most people at the party thought this was absurd. But one guest at the party, Ronald Fisher, set up a statistical procedure at the party that was employed that very afternoon to test her conjecture. The Lady Tasting Tea tells the story of how statistics revolutionized science in the 20th century.

The story begins with Karl Pearson and William Gosset and then proceeds to the aforementioned Fisher, the genius who more than anyone else created the foundation for modern statistical science. Later we are introduced to the work of Jerzy Neyman, Kolmogorov, Tukey, Box, Deming, and many others. Included in the many others is a brief appearance by my college statistics professor Ransom Whitney. BTW, did you know that one of the earliest applied statisticians was the self-taught Florence Nightingale?

For those frightened by the thought of slogging thru page after page of math and stats formulas filled with Greek symbols, rest assured that there is very little of either in this fine book. Highly recommended!

BobK

PS - The lady passed Fisher's statistical test procedure with flying colors. She correctly identified each tea by whether the tea was added first or last.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards.

A doctor/father delivers his wife’s twins in a snowstorm in 1964. One is healthy. The other has Downs Syndrome. He makes a decision on the spot to put the child in an institution and tell his wife that the baby died. The nurse he hands the baby to keeps it and raises it herself. The story follows both families through 25 years of consequences for those decisions. I didn’t think the ending was all that convincing, but it was an engaging, entertaining book.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius »

The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson... excellent.

The Avenue (two-novel "series:" The Dreaming Suburb and The Avenue Goes to War), by R. F. Delderfield. Also excellent, and it and the Erik Larson book cross-illuminate each other in interesting ways. Larson's is nonfiction about Winston Churchill's first year as Prime Minister; The Avenue is about a group of families in England from about the end of World War I through the end of World War II.

Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay. A series of more-or-less disconnected essays, superbly well-written. Biggest problem for me is that most of them are almost "about" various books and movies and TV series, most of which I haven't read.

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer. Sensational, I can't believe I didn't read it long ago... but I had read Into Thin Air and that didn't really grab me.

And I'm in the middle of The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham. Honestly I knew absolutely nothing about it except that some writer said it was really good. I might not have started it if I'd realized that partway through, the central character and her husband are going to a city in China to fight a cholera epidemic.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by heartwood »

I just finished the latest Bruno, Chief of Police novel by Martin Walker, The Shooting at Chateau Rock. I've read most of the series, set in a small village in the south of France. The novels are similar in that they celebrate French life, the countryside, cooking, black truffles, wine, etc., adding a mystery or two in each story.

Curiously Amazon lists this one as the 15th, but skipping the numbers 13 & 14; Goodreads has it as number 13 but adds some shorter works as 7.7, 11.5 and 11.6.

This one has an aging rock star, a Russian oligarch, dog breeding, wine, cooking, and of course Bruno and his many friends and associates. I enjoyed it better than several others in in the series. Well written.

Next on my reader is David Baldacci's Walk the Wire, based on his Memory Man series character, Amos Decker. I've read several of them. I recall they're decent reads, but in reviewing the summaries I'm not sure if I've read one, an other or not. Amos was a football player turned detective with an eidetic memory. In later books he moves on to the FBI.

After that, waiting next for me on my Libby reader list is Louise Penny's new one, All the Devils are Here. It's her 16th Inspector Gamache novel. It got a good review in last Saturday's WSJ. Alas the review had several major spoilers as well. It's apparently set in Paris, not Three Pines as all/most of the previous novels.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke »

heartwood wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:51 pm After that, waiting next for me on my Libby reader list is Louise Penny's new one, All the Devils are Here. It's her 16th Inspector Gamache novel. It got a good review in last Saturday's WSJ. Alas the review had several major spoilers as well. It's apparently set in Paris, not Three Pines as all/most of the previous novels.
I've got Gamache #3 on my hold list on Libby. In your case, probably nobody left alive in Three Pines by now, hence Paris. :P
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ResearchMed »

heartwood wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:51 pm I just finished the latest Bruno, Chief of Police novel by Martin Walker, The Shooting at Chateau Rock. I've read most of the series, set in a small village in the south of France. The novels are similar in that they celebrate French life, the countryside, cooking, black truffles, wine, etc., adding a mystery or two in each story.

Curiously Amazon lists this one as the 15th, but skipping the numbers 13 & 14; Goodreads has it as number 13 but adds some shorter works as 7.7, 11.5 and 11.6.

This one has an aging rock star, a Russian oligarch, dog breeding, wine, cooking, and of course Bruno and his many friends and associates. I enjoyed it better than several others in in the series. Well written.
Thanks.

It seems there is also a new one (some?) from Donna Leone, in her series set in Venice.

This is a good time for more light distraction, plus imagining the local sites, etc.

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

Post by birnhamwood »

" I'm in the middle of The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham." ' Twas the dog that died!

A good one!

I'm re-reading Maugham's Razor Edge and Human Bondage. Also, his Summing Up.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bearcub »

Myths Of The Norsemen by Helene A. Guerber Wonderful way to escape reality.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

Harbour Street, by Ann Cleeves.

Murder of a nice older woman on a commuter train, murder of a prostitute in a dreary room, and old skeletons in a harbor town.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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ruralavalon wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:44 am Harbour Street, by Ann Cleeves.

Murder of a nice older woman on a commuter train, murder of a prostitute in a dreary room, and old skeletons in a harbor town.
I see this is in her Vera series. Do you know if this has made it to the TV show yet?

If you are a fan of the TV show do you know how close the show and the books are in plot or spirit? I really like the TV show.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

bertilak wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:16 am
ruralavalon wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:44 am Harbour Street, by Ann Cleeves.

Murder of a nice older woman on a commuter train, murder of a prostitute in a dreary room, and old skeletons in a harbor town.
I see this is in her Vera series. Do you know if this has made it to the TV show yet?

If you are a fan of the TV show do you know how close the show and the books are in plot or spirit? I really like the TV show.
I haven't seen any of the Vera TV series.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Fallible »

VictoriaF wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:32 am "What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought" by Keith E. Stanovich.

Stanovich's work, including this book, was referenced in Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow." Stanovich is Kahneman's primary source for the dual-system processing (System 1 and System 2) concept. I decided to read the source and I am glad that I did. Stanovich's writing is very clear and his ideas are convincing. In essence: Stanovich distinguishes two types of System 2 (he refers to "processes" rather than "systems") functions:
- Algorithmic Mind and
- Reflective Mind.

The algorithmic mind is measured on IQ tests. The reflective mind, supported by the algorithmic mind's processing, is what's commonly considered "rationality." People with high IQ making stupid mistakes have a highly developed algorithmic mind but an inferior reflective mind.

Stanovich also claims that there are people who do not commit biases described by Kahneman, Thaler, Ariely, and other behavioral scientists. He says that, statistically, people are biased but the variability among individuals is high. Kahneman is also now writing a book about noise, the variability around decisions. This variability gives some legitimacy to some Bogleheads' claims that they don't have common biases.

I am still skeptical that bias-less people exist. But I accept that with deep understanding and self-training an individual can avoid many biases and biased situations.
Victoria
This is interesting. How does Stanovich define bias?
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Eowyn »

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonficiton in 2013. The book is centered around a specific case (Thurgood Marshall defending 4 young black men accused of raping a white woman in 1949), while providing a broad picture of the NAACP's legal defense work. I'm 37% in to what I consider a very good, at times emotionally difficult, read.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF »

Fallible wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:42 pm
VictoriaF wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:32 am "What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought" by Keith E. Stanovich.

Stanovich's work, including this book, was referenced in Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow." Stanovich is Kahneman's primary source for the dual-system processing (System 1 and System 2) concept. I decided to read the source and I am glad that I did. Stanovich's writing is very clear and his ideas are convincing. In essence: Stanovich distinguishes two types of System 2 (he refers to "processes" rather than "systems") functions:
- Algorithmic Mind and
- Reflective Mind.

The algorithmic mind is measured on IQ tests. The reflective mind, supported by the algorithmic mind's processing, is what's commonly considered "rationality." People with high IQ making stupid mistakes have a highly developed algorithmic mind but an inferior reflective mind.

Stanovich also claims that there are people who do not commit biases described by Kahneman, Thaler, Ariely, and other behavioral scientists. He says that, statistically, people are biased but the variability among individuals is high. Kahneman is also now writing a book about noise, the variability around decisions. This variability gives some legitimacy to some Bogleheads' claims that they don't have common biases.

I am still skeptical that bias-less people exist. But I accept that with deep understanding and self-training an individual can avoid many biases and biased situations.
Victoria
This is interesting. How does Stanovich define bias?
Hi Fallible,

In this book, Stanovich focuses on "rationality" by contrasting it to "intelligence." He does not provide a formal definition of a "bias" but in different parts of the book he discusses mistakes of System-1 (Kahneman's Heuristics and Biases) and mistakes of System-2 (lack of rationality even when the slow system is engaged).

Mistakes of System-2 include violations of instrumental rationality and violations of epistemic rationality. Violations of instrumental rationality are violations of von Neumann's and Morgenstern's axioms of rationality and Savage's extensions of these axioms. Stanovich describes these axioms and their violations in a simple language. But I wanted to go to the source and reviewed my copy of Leonard Savage's "The Foundations of Statistics." Savage's axioms (he calls them postulates) are full of mathematical notation and take some effort to interpret. I followed a few of them and then decided that I knew enough on the subject. Some of the axioms have direct applicability to decision making, e.g., you can't prefer A to B, B to C, and C to A; or if you have a future state of the world in which all of your actions lead to the same outcome, you can exclude that state of the world from your decision making. Other axioms are mathematical properties to state that your domain of preference is continuous and accommodates arbitrarily small increments in preference.

Violations of epistemic rationality are violations of the rules of probability, including Bayes updates, calibration of prediction (Tetlock's work), and the scientific method of falsification of the focal hypothesis in randomized controlled trials.

What I wrote above may sound too technical, but that's because I followed up on Stanovich's ideas and wanted to understand the original sources. His writing is easier and is full of examples.

Getting back to your question, Stanovich believes that if you understand the practical implications of the axioms of rationality and high-level probability rules, you can avoid many of the System 2 decision mistakes. He also believes that you can train your System 2 to override System 1 when it encounters challenging questions. I am still trying to understand the latter part. I have downloaded a number of papers by Stanovich and others but have not had a chance to read them yet.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, by Candice Millard. The expedition may have been the most dangerous adventure of exploration of the 20th century.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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Finishing Jack Bogle's "Enough".
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Fallible »

VictoriaF wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:34 am
Fallible wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:42 pm
VictoriaF wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:32 am "What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought" by Keith E. Stanovich.

Stanovich's work, including this book, was referenced in Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow." Stanovich is Kahneman's primary source for the dual-system processing (System 1 and System 2) concept. I decided to read the source and I am glad that I did. Stanovich's writing is very clear and his ideas are convincing. In essence: Stanovich distinguishes two types of System 2 (he refers to "processes" rather than "systems") functions:
- Algorithmic Mind and
- Reflective Mind.

The algorithmic mind is measured on IQ tests. The reflective mind, supported by the algorithmic mind's processing, is what's commonly considered "rationality." People with high IQ making stupid mistakes have a highly developed algorithmic mind but an inferior reflective mind.

Stanovich also claims that there are people who do not commit biases described by Kahneman, Thaler, Ariely, and other behavioral scientists. He says that, statistically, people are biased but the variability among individuals is high. Kahneman is also now writing a book about noise, the variability around decisions. This variability gives some legitimacy to some Bogleheads' claims that they don't have common biases.

I am still skeptical that bias-less people exist. But I accept that with deep understanding and self-training an individual can avoid many biases and biased situations.
Victoria
This is interesting. How does Stanovich define bias?
Hi Fallible,

In this book, Stanovich focuses on "rationality" by contrasting it to "intelligence." He does not provide a formal definition of a "bias" but in different parts of the book he discusses mistakes of System-1 (Kahneman's Heuristics and Biases) and mistakes of System-2 (lack of rationality even when the slow system is engaged).

Mistakes of System-2 include violations of instrumental rationality and violations of epistemic rationality. Violations of instrumental rationality are violations of von Neumann's and Morgenstern's axioms of rationality and Savage's extensions of these axioms. Stanovich describes these axioms and their violations in a simple language. But I wanted to go to the source and reviewed my copy of Leonard Savage's "The Foundations of Statistics." Savage's axioms (he calls them postulates) are full of mathematical notation and take some effort to interpret. I followed a few of them and then decided that I knew enough on the subject. Some of the axioms have direct applicability to decision making, e.g., you can't prefer A to B, B to C, and C to A; or if you have a future state of the world in which all of your actions lead to the same outcome, you can exclude that state of the world from your decision making. Other axioms are mathematical properties to state that your domain of preference is continuous and accommodates arbitrarily small increments in preference.

Violations of epistemic rationality are violations of the rules of probability, including Bayes updates, calibration of prediction (Tetlock's work), and the scientific method of falsification of the focal hypothesis in randomized controlled trials.

What I wrote above may sound too technical, but that's because I followed up on Stanovich's ideas and wanted to understand the original sources. His writing is easier and is full of examples.

Getting back to your question, Stanovich believes that if you understand the practical implications of the axioms of rationality and high-level probability rules, you can avoid many of the System 2 decision mistakes. He also believes that you can train your System 2 to override System 1 when it encounters challenging questions. I am still trying to understand the latter part. I have downloaded a number of papers by Stanovich and others but have not had a chance to read them yet.
Victoria
Thanks and I'll check out the book. I assume by "challenging questions" you mean biases. It would seem possible, probably for some more than others, to "train" System 2 to override System 1 provided one is willing to work hard at it. Of course, human aversion to hard work is what gets us into System 1 thinking in the first place, and it doesn't help that System 2 is considered to have a lazy streak of its own.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by quantAndHold »

The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood.

Takes place some time after The Handmaid’s Tale, testimony of three women during the late days of the Gilead regime. Thought provoking.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Elric »

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
by Maria Konnikova

PhD psychologist turned author and writer decides to learn about the relative roles of chance and control in life, and how best to deal with them by learning poker and becoming a professional poker player. The book describes both her journey and the many analogies between games involving both skill and chance (particularly Texas Hold 'Em poker) and life, as well as lessons about people and more.

It started slow for me, as I didn't fully by into all of her analogies, but it's picked up as I read more. The story is interesting, as are her reflections.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF »

Fallible wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:50 pm
VictoriaF wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:34 am
Getting back to your question, Stanovich believes that if you understand the practical implications of the axioms of rationality and high-level probability rules, you can avoid many of the System 2 decision mistakes. He also believes that you can train your System 2 to override System 1 when it encounters challenging questions. I am still trying to understand the latter part. I have downloaded a number of papers by Stanovich and others but have not had a chance to read them yet.
Victoria
Thanks and I'll check out the book. I assume by "challenging questions" you mean biases. It would seem possible, probably for some more than others, to "train" System 2 to override System 1 provided one is willing to work hard at it. Of course, human aversion to hard work is what gets us into System 1 thinking in the first place, and it doesn't help that System 2 is considered to have a lazy streak of its own.
Some "challenging questions" are the ones that System 1 does not know how to answer. Kahneman's example is multiplication of 18 x 24. But these could also be questions for which the WYSIATI heuristic conflicts with something else one knows. For example, the bat and the ball problem has an easy heuristic, i.e., if together they cost $1.10 and the bat is $1 more expensive, then their respective prices must be $1 and $0.10. A lazy System 2 would endorse it. But System 2 is also aware that this is a trick question and upon some additional work would override the heuristic answer. What I am trying to understand is whether the trigger for additional verification comes from System 2 (as I wrote above) or System 1 itself flags judgments it's not sure about.

I would love for you to check out this book and be able to discuss it with you.

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

Post by VictoriaF »

Elric wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 11:28 pm The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
by Maria Konnikova

PhD psychologist turned author and writer decides to learn about the relative roles of chance and control in life, and how best to deal with them by learning poker and becoming a professional poker player. The book describes both her journey and the many analogies between games involving both skill and chance (particularly Texas Hold 'Em poker) and life, as well as lessons about people and more.

It started slow for me, as I didn't fully by into all of her analogies, but it's picked up as I read more. The story is interesting, as are her reflections.
I listened to Konnikova's interview about this book on Farnam Street podcast, https://fs.blog/knowledge-project/maria-konnikova/ , and purchased it. But I have not had a chance to read it yet. I liked Konnikova's first book "Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes." It provides a good model of rational thinking using Sherlock Holmes as an example.

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

Post by Dave55 »

"Transcription" by Kate Atkinson. This is my first Kate Atkinson book. My wife suggested it with about a dozen other novels she thought I may like (I am a hard core mystery thriller reader but willing to explore outside the genre). It is well written, good characters, interesting dialogue and good plot.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by FreeAtLast »

"The Unfathomable Ascent: How Hitler Came To Power", by Peter Ross Range (Little, Brown and Company 2020)

If one reviews the life histories of the three human monsters of the 20th Century - Hitler, Stalin, and Mao - the most improbable rise to absolute political power was Hitler's. Exhibit A for my thesis is Range's latest book. From the signing of the Armistice on 11/11/18 to Hitler's appointment as Chancellor of Germany on 01/30/33, his pathway to dictatorship was marked by twists, turns, reverses, betrayals, and surprises that would be considered absurdly unbelievable in a cheap novel if they hadn't actually occurred in real life. Range documents all the incidents and individuals that, had they been aided with just the tiniest flicker of Fate's dial of capriciousness, could have consigned Hitler to historical oblivion. Even if you have already read a whole bunch of treatises about Der Fuhrer, this book is definitely worth your time.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Barkingsparrow »

Tip of the Iceberg - My 3,000 Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, The Last Great American Frontier - Mark Adams

In essence, Mark Adams attempts to retrace the route of the 3-month 1899 Harriman Alaska expedition, which included among others, John Muir; and sailed from Seattle up the Alaskan coast to Siberia and back. The book bounces back and forth between the account of that 1899 expedition, and Adams's own travels as he cruises or flies to various locales along the Harriman route. Interesting, educational book with the usual Adams humor. The book is only 299 pages and felt a little superficial and rushed. I learned quite a bit however, about Alaska - scenery, glaciers, culture, travel; and about people such as John Muir.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by TomatoTomahto »

FreeAtLast wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:55 pm "The Unfathomable Ascent: How Hitler Came To Power", by Peter Ross Range (Little, Brown and Company 2020)

If one reviews the life histories of the three human monsters of the 20th Century - Hitler, Stalin, and Mao - the most improbable rise to absolute political power was Hitler's. Exhibit A for my thesis is Range's latest book. From the signing of the Armistice on 11/11/18 to Hitler's appointment as Chancellor of Germany on 01/30/33, his pathway to dictatorship was marked by twists, turns, reverses, betrayals, and surprises that would be considered absurdly unbelievable in a cheap novel if they hadn't actually occurred in real life. Range documents all the incidents and individuals that, had they been aided with just the tiniest flicker of Fate's dial of capriciousness, could have consigned Hitler to historical oblivion. Even if you have already read a whole bunch of treatises about Der Fuhrer, this book is definitely worth your time.
I’ve got to stop reading this thread. I have already purchased and begun reading Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica And The Plot To Break America by Christopher Wylie and Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking Of America and Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire both by Kurt Andersen.

I don’t read as quickly as I once did, so I’m losing ground :D Add one more book to the pile.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:10 pm I’ve got to stop reading this thread.
What is really a killer is when someone hooks you on a crime novel and you need to start at the beginning of the 10-15 book series to really do it justice. Fortunately a lot of early books can be had on Libby through local libraries.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
MP173
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by MP173 »

Just finished John Verdon's first novel - "By the Numbers". This is a series featuring a retired NYC detective - Dave Gurney. Excellent mystery.

Currently reading David Housewright's "First Kill the Lawyers" about a Twin Cities private detective...another mystery. I have read most of Housewright's Rushmore McKenzie series, very entertaining.

I would recommend both of these authors to those looking to pickup mystery writers.

Also reading "The Official Rules" by Paul Dickson, a listing of "5427 Laws, Principles, and Axioms to help you cope with crises, deadlines, bad luck, rude behavior, red tape, and attacks by inanimate object"....just a list of great "rules" such as "only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked." (Warren Buffet) Another..."never send masking tape to do duct tape's job." All sorts of great sayings and rules...5427 in total.



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

Post by jebmke »

The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley

Historical fiction about 14th century Greenland inhabitants. Simultaneously tedious and difficult to put down, oddly. I almost gave up after 100 pages but I keep picking it up and now about 40% in.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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Ramjet
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ramjet »

Back Mechanic by Stuart McGill. This book has helped me more than any physical therapist, back, or sports/medicine doctor I've ever been to. Finally feeling better after constant pain the past year and a half
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

Twilight of the Gods, by Ian W. Toll.

This is third in a series of three books about World War II in the Pacific. The book covers the last year of the war from summer 1944 through the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

In addition to descriptions of battles (the Marianas, Peleliu, the Phillipines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa) this history of the end of the Pacific war has a lot of emphasis on political, diplomatic and intra-service issues both in the U.S. and Japan. I recommend this book. The entire trilogy is good.
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FreeAtLast
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by FreeAtLast »

"Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs", by Nancy Thorndike Greenspan (Viking-Penguin Random House 2020)

No matter how many books you have already read about matters relating to the Manhattan Project, you are going to want to read this one. Nobody has performed a deep dive into the life of the enigmatic Fuchs like Greenspan has just done. There is much to admire about him. As a young man in Germany, during the rise of the Nazis, he courageously fought against their thugs in street battles and had some front teeth knocked out as a result. During this frightening turmoil, he studied to become a theoretical physicist, having transferred from his original choice of mathematics. Eventually, he had to flee and become a refugee in Britain, because his dedication to the Communist Party made him persona non grata to the Gestapo.
While in Britain, his brilliance was recognized and rewarded for a short time. When WW2 started, he suddenly became an "enemy alien" and along with many other German refugees from Nazism, was treated deplorably and sent to a miserable concentration camp in Canada. When the research on "tube alloy" was started, the overarching need for scientists of his competence freed him to resume research on the potential for atomic explosives. Further on, he wound up in Los Alamos working amicably with folks like Oppenheimer, Bethe, Feynman, and Von Neumann.
The big question of the book is how did MI5/MI6 miss out on the evidence of Fuchs's Communist leanings? A lot of ink is spilt on this question and you can read it all for yourself and make up your own mind. My humble opinion is as follows: Fuchs was an absolutely top notch theoretical physicist. He made significant contributions to the development of the uranium and the plutonium bombs, while holding his own against the formidable minds listed above. Britain and the US were in desperate straits early on and required rare talents like his to ensure the Project was successful. So inquisitive eyes were averted and incriminating reports were buried during the War, which resulted in a major scandal in 1950 when Fuchs eventually confessed. The account of the investigation that "caught" him is very detailed and reads like a classic le Carre story. Just a fascinating book.
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Norris
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Norris »

"Blackout" by Candace Owens. Just received it this afternoon and am well into it. It's a good read and I recommend it!

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

Post by Barkingsparrow »

The Worst Journey in the World - Aspard Cherry-Garard

This is the author's first-hand account of the 1910-1913 Scott Antarctic expedition. The author wrote this book as a way of dealing with his PTSD - his suffering from this expedition emotionally and physically devastated him the remainder of his life. However, the title of the book does not refer to the actual Scott South Pole journey - but to the author's journey with two other members of the expedition to Cape Crozier, with the aim of collecting Emperor Penguin eggs. The journey was a round-trip of about 130 miles in the dead of winter through constant darkness, where the temps were consistently -40F to -75F, pulling a sledge all the way. It was so cold that the author broke some of his teeth due to chattering. A unforgettable account of tremendous hardship and suffering. After this "Winter Journey" the book then deals with the tragedy of the "Polar Journey" - adding in sections from the diaries and letters from the members of the Polar journey to flesh out the account.

The book is somewhat dense with copious details which can be a little tedious at times. I also felt the author went out of his way to describe the members of his team as larger than life out of nationalistic pride, possibly in reaction to Amundsen reaching the South Pole before Scott. That said, I can highly recommend this book, it is consistently listed as one of the best all-time travel books, and for good reason.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Nicolas »

Barkingsparrow wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:25 pm The Worst Journey in the World - Aspard Cherry-Garard

This is the author's first-hand account of the 1910-1913 Scott Antarctic expedition. The author wrote this book as a way of dealing with his PTSD - his suffering from this expedition emotionally and physically devastated him the remainder of his life. However, the title of the book does not refer to the actual Scott South Pole journey - but to the author's journey with two other members of the expedition to Cape Crozier, with the aim of collecting Emperor Penguin eggs. The journey was a round-trip of about 130 miles in the dead of winter through constant darkness, where the temps were consistently -40F to -75F, pulling a sledge all the way. It was so cold that the author broke some of his teeth due to chattering. A unforgettable account of tremendous hardship and suffering. After this "Winter Journey" the book then deals with the tragedy of the "Polar Journey" - adding in sections from the diaries and letters from the members of the Polar journey to flesh out the account.

The book is somewhat dense with copious details which can be a little tedious at times. I also felt the author went out of his way to describe the members of his team as larger than life out of nationalistic pride, possibly in reaction to Amundsen reaching the South Pole before Scott. That said, I can highly recommend this book, it is consistently listed as one of the best all-time travel books, and for good reason.
I enjoyed this book also. I would warn potential readers not to attempt the book in January. :D

Next you should read Cherry -- A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard by Sara Wheeler.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Barkingsparrow »

Nicolas wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:25 pm
Barkingsparrow wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:25 pm The Worst Journey in the World - Aspard Cherry-Garard

This is the author's first-hand account of the 1910-1913 Scott Antarctic expedition. The author wrote this book as a way of dealing with his PTSD - his suffering from this expedition emotionally and physically devastated him the remainder of his life. However, the title of the book does not refer to the actual Scott South Pole journey - but to the author's journey with two other members of the expedition to Cape Crozier, with the aim of collecting Emperor Penguin eggs. The journey was a round-trip of about 130 miles in the dead of winter through constant darkness, where the temps were consistently -40F to -75F, pulling a sledge all the way. It was so cold that the author broke some of his teeth due to chattering. A unforgettable account of tremendous hardship and suffering. After this "Winter Journey" the book then deals with the tragedy of the "Polar Journey" - adding in sections from the diaries and letters from the members of the Polar journey to flesh out the account.

The book is somewhat dense with copious details which can be a little tedious at times. I also felt the author went out of his way to describe the members of his team as larger than life out of nationalistic pride, possibly in reaction to Amundsen reaching the South Pole before Scott. That said, I can highly recommend this book, it is consistently listed as one of the best all-time travel books, and for good reason.
I enjoyed this book also. I would warn potential readers not to attempt the book in January. :D

Next you should read Cherry -- A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard by Sara Wheeler.
Thanks! I've added that book to my wish-list.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ginstwin »

Currently halfway through Brad Thor’s Scott Harvath series . Excellent James Bond type thrillers .

Also reading Ben Greenfields Boundless following a recommendation here. Very interesting life- health - fitness book.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

The Moth Catcher, by Ann Cleeves.

This is a mystery involving three murders, in a Northumberland valley populated by retirees.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by chuckb84 »

ruralavalon wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:22 pm Twilight of the Gods, by Ian W. Toll.

This is third in a series of three books about World War II in the Pacific. The book covers the last year of the war from summer 1944 through the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

In addition to descriptions of battles (the Marianas, Peleliu, the Phillipines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa) this history of the end of the Pacific war has a lot of emphasis on political, diplomatic and intra-service issues both in the U.S. and Japan. I recommend this book. The entire trilogy is good.
I'm also reading this (All 900+ pages!) and it's excellent. Learning things I never knew and boy is this comprehensive. I agree the trilogy is very worth reading.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Steve K »

Beartown by Fredrick Bachman. About half way thru, enjoy it so far.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by mega317 »

Bungo wrote: Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:03 pm slowly making my way through The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard Evans.
I'm considering this series. This is the only mention I can find in the thread. Any update on this book from Bungo or anyone else read this, or something better on the Third Reich?
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Fallible »

VictoriaF wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:12 am
Fallible wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:50 pm
VictoriaF wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:34 am
Getting back to your question, Stanovich believes that if you understand the practical implications of the axioms of rationality and high-level probability rules, you can avoid many of the System 2 decision mistakes. He also believes that you can train your System 2 to override System 1 when it encounters challenging questions. I am still trying to understand the latter part. I have downloaded a number of papers by Stanovich and others but have not had a chance to read them yet.
Victoria
Thanks and I'll check out the book. I assume by "challenging questions" you mean biases. It would seem possible, probably for some more than others, to "train" System 2 to override System 1 provided one is willing to work hard at it. Of course, human aversion to hard work is what gets us into System 1 thinking in the first place, and it doesn't help that System 2 is considered to have a lazy streak of its own.
Some "challenging questions" are the ones that System 1 does not know how to answer. Kahneman's example is multiplication of 18 x 24. But these could also be questions for which the WYSIATI heuristic conflicts with something else one knows. For example, the bat and the ball problem has an easy heuristic, i.e., if together they cost $1.10 and the bat is $1 more expensive, then their respective prices must be $1 and $0.10. A lazy System 2 would endorse it. But System 2 is also aware that this is a trick question and upon some additional work would override the heuristic answer. What I am trying to understand is whether the trigger for additional verification comes from System 2 (as I wrote above) or System 1 itself flags judgments it's not sure about.

I would love for you to check out this book and be able to discuss it with you.
Victoria
I'm two-thirds into the book and, since I was looking for more on bias, especially liked the chapter on "Myside Processing," or myside bias, and its relation to "higher intelligence" and to overconfidence. Some interesting points:

_"People not only evaluate arguments in a biased manner, they generate arguments in a biased manner as well."

_There is a "tendency to have misplaced confidence in our ability to control events." (Bogleheads would be familiar with this one, i.e., forecasting, predicting.)

_Findings by Justin Kroger, etc., that illustrate "how automatically we egocentrically project what we know into the minds of others."

_"...most social and cognitive biases that have been uncovered by research operate unconsciously. Thus, when we go on the introspective hunt for the processes operating to bias our own minds we find nothing."

The book's main theme, of course, is about rational thought (judgement and decision-making skills) vs. the intelligence (algorithmic) assessed in IQ tests. To this layperson, it seemed straightforward, but what did you think of the term he invented: "dysrationalia" (inability to think and behave rationally despite having adequate intelligence) and other psychology lingo such as "dysrationalia as an Intuition pump"? Sheesh... Maybe fodder for a standup routine? :)
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by The Outsider »

ginstwin wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:37 pm Currently halfway through Brad Thor’s Scott Harvath series . Excellent James Bond type thrillers .

Also reading Ben Greenfields Boundless following a recommendation here. Very interesting life- health - fitness book.
I'm a big fan of Brad Thor and the S Harvath series. Thor's the best there is at that genre.
quantAndHold
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by quantAndHold »

The Magus, by John Fowles.

I remembered the title from one of those best novels of the 20th century lists, and it turned up in the Little Free Library down the block last spring when all the libraries were closed and I was desperate for something that wasn’t a romance novel. Anyway, it was written in the 1960’s by a white guy with an Oxbridge education who spends inordinate amounts of space in a 650 page book showing how many other dead white guys he’s read, so I almost didn’t get past the first hundred pages. But then it turned into a crazy psychological thriller that is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. It’s taken awhile to finish, because besides being long, it was actually pretty stressful to read, and I kept having to put it down. But like the main character, I kind of got obsessed with finding out what happened. Highly recommend, eventually.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by retire14 »

The color of law....an eye opening book given the current climate. If you are interested in the racial divide in our country, this is a compelling and a must read. Meticulous research and well written.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Mr. Rumples »

The Loyalist Conscience: Principled Opposition to the American Revolution by Chaim M. Rosenberg

We are now under the impression that the American Revolution was a popular uprising against British oppression. That's one part of the story. The other side is of those colonists of all walks of life, rich and poor, laborers and the educated who remained loyal. (William Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's son, was an outspoken Loyalist.) This book explores those Tory Loyalists. It explores their lives which in the end for most resulted in fear and loss and in modern terms depression and anxiety from having their foundation for living ripped away.

In the end, they were lost. Those who went to Canada or to Britain were never accepted and most of those who remained fell on hard times. (Though the exception is John Wickham. The defense counsel for Aaron Burr, he was under sentence of death in NY for being a Loyalist - he disputed it - but found a new, successful career in Richmond as an attorney; his house is now a museum.)
quantAndHold
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by quantAndHold »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 5:22 am The Loyalist Conscience: Principled Opposition to the American Revolution by Chaim M. Rosenberg

We are now under the impression that the American Revolution was a popular uprising against British oppression. That's one part of the story. The other side is of those colonists of all walks of life, rich and poor, laborers and the educated who remained loyal. (William Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's son, was an outspoken Loyalist.) This book explores those Tory Loyalists. It explores their lives which in the end for most resulted in fear and loss and in modern terms depression and anxiety from having their foundation for living ripped away.

In the end, they were lost. Those who went to Canada or to Britain were never accepted and most of those who remained fell on hard times. (Though the exception is John Wickham. The defense counsel for Aaron Burr, he was under sentence of death in NY for being a Loyalist - he disputed it - but found a new, successful career in Richmond as an attorney; his house is now a museum.)
Interesting. I read Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton recently, and one of the things he mentioned almost in passing, was that the British occupied New York City for most of the war, and many of the merchants in NYC were Loyalists. After the revolution, the economy of NYC pretty much cratered for several years, because those people all packed up and left.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Finridge »

retire14 wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:04 am The color of law....an eye opening book given the current climate. If you are interested in the racial divide in our country, this is a compelling and a must read. Meticulous research and well written.
This sounded interesting enough for me to order a copy. I discovered that there is more than one book with the title, "The Color of Law" - this is the one to get: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated, by Richard Rothstein
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius »

Just finished Two on a Tower, by Thomas Hardy (best known for The Master of Casterbridge, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and The Return of the Native.) What a stinker! But it held my interest from beginning to end... partly for weird reasons.

I had finished reading W. Somerset Maugham's Cakes and Ale, which is excellent. One of the main characters, Edward Driffield, either is or is not based on Thomas Hardy. I'm not sure if I've ever actually read anything by Thomas Hardy--The Mayor of Casterbridge was read in my high school but I don't think I read it. So I thought it was long overdue to try.

I was very intrigued by Two on a Tower because of its astronomical theme. It is set in the late 1800s, and one of the protagonists is a twenty-year-old amateur astronomer, without money or social status, but with ambitions of someday becoming the Astronomer Royal.

The astronomical detail really is interesting to someone nerdy. Perhaps the biggest insight is that his emotional response to the sky is fear. I'd never thought about it, because of course I was brought up on books that begin by explaining the immensity of a known universe and the length of a light-year, but in the 1880s they would have just experienced a sudden expansion of the known universe by many orders of magnitude. For example, instead of the 3,000 stars visible to the naked eye, there are, he says, 20 million visible through a telescope
'So that, whatever the stars were made for, they were not made to please our eyes. It is just the same in everything; nothing is made for man.’
He falls in love with a wealthy twenty-eight-year-old woman, whose abusive husband has been absent for eighteen months doing something or other in Africa. This being the Victorian era, the loving couple doesn't do anything. Then one day the news arrive that her husband died. (Hooray!)

That is approximately 1% of the plot, which is sort of like a less-plausible "I Love Lucy" episode, but tragic, rather than funny. Or like the soap opera plot Dustin Hoffman's character brilliantly improvises on the spur of the moment in "Tootsie."

Anyway, they get married, but for reasons I still can't understand they think it is absolutely necessary to keep their marriage totally secret. Trying to keep it secret is extremely awkward, of course. One might say, hilarity ensues, except that none of it is funny. Every time some simple resolution seems just within reach, Hardy yanks it out of their grasp.

Get this: long after they are secretly married, they learn that her former husband is, indeed, yes, dead--but that he actually died after their marriage, so their marriage is no longer valid.

Because of a rich great-uncle's will, leaving him £600/year to pursue astronomy provided he doesn't get married before he is 25--no, that's not why they are keeping the marriage secret--he runs off to South Africa to observe the 1882 Transit of Venus, and work on astronomy for three or four years. For soap opera reasons, he intentionally leaves no forwarding address or way to reach him, so she is unable to inform him of her discovery--just after his departure--that she is pregnant.

And here's the grand denouement. He returns, at age 25--proceeds to the stone tower which he'd used as his observatory, finds his wife and toddler son on top of it. But, get this--at age 33, his wife is now so physically aged that he is shocked by her appearance. So much so realizes that he does not love her any more. She senses this instantly. Sad conversation ensues. He turns to leave, but finally turns back around and decides to do the right thing: "‘Viviette, Viviette,’ he said, ‘I have come to marry you!’"

And she is so overcome by joy that her weak heart--which he has never mentioned up until this point--fails, and she drops dead on the spot. THE END.

So, just to be clear: 90% of the plot is driven by the necessity to keep their marriage secret, and I've read over the relevant chapters twice and I still cannot understand why, apart from the explanation that "otherwise, there would be no story."

Now I really need to read one of Hardy's more-respected books, but I need a good long rest before I tackle that.
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