Author Topic: What Are You Reading?  (Read 7362 times)

Recusant

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #105 on: May 09, 2018, 10:40:55 PM »
In the end, neither of the books I mentioned upthread demanded to be read immediately. :lol:

Both are fairly weighty physically and I had a long journey pending, so one or the other would have had to really get a good grip to be brought along. Instead I took up with The Story of English in 100 Words, which is physically light and yet eminently worthwhile.

A few books later, I've just finished Britain AD: A Quest for Arthur, England and the Anglo-Saxons, which doesn't focus on King Arthur so much as the historical concept of the Anglo-Saxon invasion/settlement of Britain. The author, archaeologist Francis Pryor, presents his case supporting the idea that no such large-scale historical event occurred, and that what actually took place was a process of cultural change, in which there were indeed some elite and powerful people who came from the continent to Britain and had influence on the culture, but that they were never particularly numerous. Pryor thinks that the Romano-British people were always the vast majority and over a period of one or two centuries various driving factors (for instance perhaps elite dominance, explained in "Why did the Anglo-Saxons not become more British?") ensured that these people came to identify themselves with the "Anglo-Saxon" culture and adopt the language we know as Old English. Clearly this is not the narrative that holds sway in popular culture but as Pryor explains, variations on it have become much more predominant among specialists in this pivotal era in British history. That's not to say it's universally accepted, of course.

Now, for some lighter fare I'm reading The Long Mars, which I've enjoyed mostly by employing an easy-going suspension of disbelief, borrowed from my approach to co-author Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. If people pick this up expecting something along the lines of that superb work perhaps they'll be disappointed, but this collaborative effort has its own attractions, being closer to hard science fiction but not all that close. I'd suggest starting with the first of the series (The Long Earth) however.
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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #106 on: May 10, 2018, 01:55:40 AM »
I'm currently reading two books while I wait for the new power ranger issues to be released and I can download them to my kindle.

They are the last two books I need to read before I go for my Personal Trainer Certification Exam.

"Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning - Fourth Edition"

&

"NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training - Second Edition"

They are the latest edition. And there is another book that is actually about the form but they have online videos that explain everything in better depth and can see how it works in motion. So I've opted for the videos instead. I might go back to the book when that is over. But for now the two books work out.

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Icarus

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #107 on: June 26, 2018, 02:42:12 AM »
My usual fare is technical stuff or some sort of international intrigue.

 I deviated to a fiction bit by Karl Hiaasen Skinny Dip is the title of the improbable but humorous tale of an ass hole husband who murders his wife by tossing her off a cruise ship.  Plenty of laughs and a sufficient amount of romance and satisfying come uppence for the bad guy.  Easy read, fun stuff there.

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #108 on: June 26, 2018, 05:02:53 AM »
I'm rereading the entire Stainless Steel Rat series (Harry Harrison) on my Kindle. Great fun and political incorrect, since it has a macho hero and lots of beautiful women.
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
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Icarus

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #109 on: October 20, 2018, 01:51:27 AM »
I checked out a book from the library a couple days ago.  It is titled; Prius or Pickup.  The two authors are Political Science professors at University of North Carolina.

The book disects and establishes with obvious accuracy, the differences in attitude of the conservative side and the liberals side.   One side is likely to drive a Prius, have more than a high school education, and prefer foods other than the fare at McDonalds or KFC.

The driving force of those with conservative insistence is actually veiled fear.  Fear of the people who are different from themselves, fear that the hated liberals will  take their guns away, provide abortions for their wayward daughters, allow us to be invaded by foreigners who will take our jobs.   The authors call the two sides Fixed and Fluids.  You can guess who are members of the fixed side. 

Altogether a brilliant analysis of the way things are going here in the US of late........and perhaps for some time in the past as well.

I heartily recommend the book to people who are thinkers.......that would adequately describe my friends here at HAF.

Velma

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #110 on: October 21, 2018, 12:16:37 AM »
I'm reading more fiction. John Scalzi's The Last Colony, the third in his Old Man's War series. It follows the two main characters in the series as they leave the colony world they settled after leaving the Colonial Union army to help govern a new colony. Since this new colony is illegal from the view point of the alien confederation, known as the Conclave, I'm sure they will have their hands full.

In keeping with the time of year, I am also reading The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero. So far a bit predictable - man inherits a fortune and a house from a relative he didn't know he had. I'm not very far into it, but there has already been the expected small, odd happenings that could be put down to imagination, dreams, or stress of such a change of lifestyle. However, given the characters, it should be fun as long as it loses a bit of the predictable soon.
Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of the astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.~Carl Sagan

Icarus

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #111 on: October 21, 2018, 12:56:13 AM »
In addition to the previous Prius and Pickups book, I am into the vicious screed by Malcolm Nance: the Plot To Destroy Democracy.  Nance is almost livid in his depiction of the current political scene.  Lord  God help us if what he so eloquently describes as the current and recent past state of political affairs. 

I recommend Nance's book but only if you hold it  at a length from your face. Some of the stuff in the book is just too incendiary to be real.  I fear that it might not be as from the the truth  as I would approve.


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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #112 on: October 21, 2018, 05:06:31 AM »
I am reading a biography of Tennessee Williams by John Lahr. It is a fascinating look at a man who remained essentially lonely and insecure, despite his well-earned fame as a playwright. I love his plays not just for their plots, but also his masterful use of English, which is also shown in the many extracts of letters he wrote to friends and theatre people like Elia Kazan.


Icarus

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #113 on: November 07, 2018, 12:14:44 AM »
The new book from the library is titled; Underbug.  It is more than you might want to know about Termites.  It seems that there are a gazillion kinds of these Underbugs but all of them share somewhat similar characteristics.

Why in hell do we care about termites?  Well for more than one thing they have some exotic chemistry going on in their guts. The next thing is that by weight, globally there are more of them than 100 times the weight of all the humans on earth. The chemicals are useful in pharmaceuticals. Some of those research meds are aimed at brain treatments. Alzheimers and the like.   Continuing, there are great hordes of the bugs that digest grasses, not just wood fibers as we mostly presume.  What can we do with termite digestions of grass, wood and other natural items?  We may be able to make fuel such as that that powers your automobile. 

Termites???? whod'a thunk it?

So alright already.  I have an attraction for oddball books.  The one mentioned is published by Scientific American Press. So this is probably a more serious subject than one might first presume.

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #114 on: November 08, 2018, 10:50:44 PM »
It sounds fascinating, not oddball at all.

I’ll now lower the tone; i’ve just finished reading ‘67 People I’d Like to Slap’. by Ian Collins. It was a sort of grumpy old men tome but not particularly funny. I wouldn’t recommend it.
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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #115 on: November 09, 2018, 06:16:14 AM »
The Idiot Chronicles, or as some may call it, the newspaper.

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #116 on: December 12, 2018, 08:32:15 PM »
I’m excited to have found a writer new to me; Elena Ferrante, having watched a wonderful TV series called ‘My Brilliant Friend’. She wrote four Neapolitan novels. I’d be interested to hear if any of you know her writing and what you think.
Hell is empty and all the devils are here. Wm Shakespeare


Icarus

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #117 on: December 15, 2018, 01:10:15 AM »
One of my most fascinating but not so pleasing to contemplate books : Kickback ...Exposing the global corporate bribery network.   By David Montero  who is a prolific writer and authority on this particular subject.

Some of the stuff that he reveals is stunning and well documented. Who knew that Siemans, General Electric, Exon Mobil, and damned near every other big corporate entity unhesitatingly bribes the person or person who can lead them to juicy contracts.  Damn!  No one is immune to this behavior it would seem.  I mean what the hell, some of the smaller government officials are taking big bucks from Huawei  the Chinese mega power in the electronics field..........and Pfizer, Bayer, Lilly, Norvartis and all the rest of the pharmaceutical houses spend gazillions to bribe doctors and hospital officers to specify their criminally overpriced drugs. .  The beat goes on.

Having read this book it made me examine some of the behaviors that we generally believe to be acts of kindness or generosity.  My wife is a very active E bay seller.  She buys from certain specialty retail stores when items are on sale or when she has discount coupons that are advantageous.  She turns right around and sells the stuff on E bay for list price and often more than list price.  People in Blowtorch Nebraska and elsewhere  buy her things, mostly of the cosmetic type, because it is easier than going to a distant retail store themselves,. Many times there are no retailers of that kind in their area.  On the other hand many of her customers are in Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and plenty of other places where the same retail stores are easily located.

It is the Xmas season of good cheer and all that stuff. Elaine bakes cookies and other niceties then delivers them to the clerks at the stores where she buys.  She is sincere about that kind of thoughtfulness.  She does not see that kind of thing as a form of bribery.  Nonetheless the clerks will tell her about good deals that are not openly apparent to the ordinary customer.  Neither she nor the recipients regard Xmas cookies  and other small goodies as bribery but there is some mileage derived from those simple acts of kindness. 

I suspect that we could get into a philosophic discussion about behavior such as Elaines.  I dearly hope that thoughtful and appreciative acts are not to be regarded as bribes.  But maybe they are bribes even though innocently done. 

An intrigue mixed and  interesting book that details much of the detail about things that we do not want to believe drives world commerce.  This is reality not conspiracy theory.  The author of Kickback is good at his job.


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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #118 on: December 21, 2018, 08:40:19 PM »
Just finished my second Umberto Eco book - "The Name of the Rose".  It was a movie with Sean Connery in the late 80's, and I liked it.  I also liked the book, but there were lots of Latin phrases that I didn't understand.  It's a 14th Century murder mystery that took place in a Benedictine abbey in northern Italy.  The background is a theological dispute between Pope John XXII in Avignon and the Holy Roman Emperor in Germany about whether the poverty preached by the Franciscans is heresy.  The protagonist of the book is an English Franciscan, William of Baskerville, who comes to the abbey with his apprentice, young Adso of Melk, a Benedictine novice. Adso narrates the book in his old age.  Over 500 pages, and quite interesting if you are attracted to the period and obscure theological debates.  While William is at the abbey, monks begin to turn up murdered, and that drives the plot.  I give it an 8 out of 10, but it takes some investment to get into it. 

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #119 on: December 21, 2018, 08:45:37 PM »
Just finished my second Umberto Eco book - "The Name of the Rose". 

That's one of my favorite books, and favorite movies.  I love the Sherlock Holmes vibe of the book and the movie is a book lovers dream.
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