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HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion

Sandra Craft

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HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« on: October 16, 2020, 11:21:01 PM »
Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American at Home and Abroad, by Firoozeh Dumas. A collection of humorous vignettes by the author of Funny in Farsi, primarily centered on the misadventures of her Iranian immigrant family.  (256 pages)

Monster of God: The Man Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind, by David Quammen.  The significance of alpha predators (specifically, in this book, the Asiatic lion, crocodiles, tigers and brown bears) and the humans who live alongside them.  (528 pages)

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard.  Dillard's personal narrative highlights one year's exploration on foot in the Virginia region through which Tinker Creek runs. The result is an exhilarating tale of nature and its seasons.  (288 pages)

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, by Lydia Kang and Nate Pederson.  Looking back with fascination, horror, and not a little dash of dark, knowing humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable, history of medical misfires and malpractices.  (344 pages)

Annals of the Former World, John McPhee.  The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years.  Like the terrain it covers, Annals of the Former World tells a multilayered tale, and the reader may choose one of many paths through it. As clearly and succinctly written as it is profoundly informed, this is our finest popular survey of geology and a masterpiece of modern nonfiction.  (720 pages)

The Sky's the Limit, by Anna Magnusson.  In 2004, Vicky Jack completed the Seven Summits - the highest mountains in each of the seven continents. Whilst pursuing her climbing dream, she also carried on a high-flying career. This book tells her story.  (212 pages)

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: a memoir, by Haruki Murakami.  Based on Murakami’s journal about training for the NYC marathon, it’s about writing, running and how they intersect.   (188 pages)
Sandy

  

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Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2020, 01:53:04 AM »
I am having a hard time with Quackery.  I'm getting thru it, but the writing style is really getting on my nerves -- it's too jokey and talk-showish for me.  And half of what I've read so far was already covered in The Poisoner's Handbook, which I guess was to be expected but without any new information to add it's leaving me rather flat.
Sandy

  

"Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet."  Sarah Louise Delany

Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2020, 06:20:26 PM »
I am having a hard time with Quackery.  I'm getting thru it, but the writing style is really getting on my nerves -- it's too jokey and talk-showish for me.  And half of what I've read so far was already covered in The Poisoner's Handbook, which I guess was to be expected but without any new information to add it's leaving me rather flat.
I barely started because I was finishing a larger book. I'm glad, I guess, to have some solidarity because I was having the same feelings.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2020, 08:18:06 AM »
I am having a hard time with Quackery.  I'm getting thru it, but the writing style is really getting on my nerves -- it's too jokey and talk-showish for me.  And half of what I've read so far was already covered in The Poisoner's Handbook, which I guess was to be expected but without any new information to add it's leaving me rather flat.
I barely started because I was finishing a larger book. I'm glad, I guess, to have some solidarity because I was having the same feelings.

It is a bit of a relief not to be alone in this.
Sandy

  

"Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet."  Sarah Louise Delany

Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2020, 02:13:16 PM »
My brief review.

The book covers many quack means of curing people of their ailments from snake oil to not masturbating.

I don't much care for the writing. It was snarky and repetitive. One chapter is the same as the next if you replace the topic. The pattern was: Here's a dumb thing people did, good thing we know better, here's a news style pun about it. Rinse and repeat for the whole book. I prefer them to go more into why the people thought what they did, try to get into their heads a little more. What this ended up being wasn't much more than looking up each topic on wikipedia and then riffing on it.

There were some interesting things in it, I made mental notes when I found the interesting things, but forgot about them from the very repetitive style of the writing. I will say that I think the book did get a little better in the last ≈15% where they did spend a little more time getting into the mindset of the people falling for the quackery.

It was not the worst book I've ever read. I'd put it a zero where -3 is the worst and 3 is the best.

I'm sorry I recommended it for the book club.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

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Re: HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2020, 02:40:40 PM »
I didn't read the book, but now I don't think I will. ::)

I prefer them to go more into why the people thought what they did, try to get into their heads a little more.

Have you read Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time? I haven't read it yet so I can't say for sure whether Shermer is better at explaining the reasons why, but since he's a psychologist I'm going to assume for now that he is.  ;D
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Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2020, 03:12:37 PM »
I didn't read the book, but now I don't think I will. ::)

I prefer them to go more into why the people thought what they did, try to get into their heads a little more.

Have you read Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time? I haven't read it yet so I can't say for sure whether Shermer is better at explaining the reasons why, but since he's a psychologist I'm going to assume for now that he is.  ;D
I have not, maybe a good suggestion for the book club.

I think the Poisoner's Handbook did a really good job at getting into why a person might come to the conclusions that they did.

Also, that A Fly for the Prosecution book did some of that as well.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2020, 08:54:04 PM »
I didn't read the book, but now I don't think I will. ::)

I prefer them to go more into why the people thought what they did, try to get into their heads a little more.

Have you read Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time? I haven't read it yet so I can't say for sure whether Shermer is better at explaining the reasons why, but since he's a psychologist I'm going to assume for now that he is.  ;D
I have not, maybe a good suggestion for the book club.


Definitely a good suggestion.  And don't feel bad about Quakery, I was the one who suggested The Great Gatsby, after all.
Sandy

  

"Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet."  Sarah Louise Delany

xSilverPhinx

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Re: HAF Book Club: November poll and discussion
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2020, 11:02:00 PM »
I didn't read the book, but now I don't think I will. ::)

I prefer them to go more into why the people thought what they did, try to get into their heads a little more.

Have you read Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time? I haven't read it yet so I can't say for sure whether Shermer is better at explaining the reasons why, but since he's a psychologist I'm going to assume for now that he is.  ;D
I have not, maybe a good suggestion for the book club.


Definitely a good suggestion. 

Cool  ;D
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need