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What Are You Reading?: January 2008

A few classics along with some basic instruction books for me.



Unbelievably dense. Each chapter in the first section left me contemplative over a few ideas that had been introduced. Kundera can be overly explicit in expressing his ideas, but that doesn't keep this from being any less wonderful.



The first time I tried to read this, the prose style put me off. Now it feels compulsively readable.



A suggestion from an ex-girlfriend that left me interested. Haven't touched the book yet. Highly recommended?



This stuff just intrigues me. And it can't hurt to know.



Having recently decided to independently relearn the piano, I picked this up off Amazon. Hope it works.

What are you guys into?
 

valparaiso

I had an Al Sharpton friend...Once! Well not a friend really, but we talked a few times. Well one time. Well I yelled out my window "GET OFF MY LAWN!"
i just asked for a couple of books by easton ellis, because white man recommended his work and i am pretty gay for white man.
 

Futureman

Member
I'm just finishing up the Selfish Gene, next I will read The Ancestor's Tale. I also started Yiddish Policeman's Union when it came out, but stopped about 100 pages in. I think I'll pick back up on that.





 
I'm on a Heinlein fix.





Not sure if I'll get to World War Z or Good Omens before the month is up. Been doing a lot more writing at night.
 

WedgeX

Banned
The list for now until probably May (as it stands now):

People's History of the United States - Howard Zinn
I've had this for about a year (it was also incorporated into my high school history class, so I wasn't too anxious that I was missing much) and decided to get it done over break, (about 2/3rd done now).

Khruschev: The Man and His Era - William Taubman
Half-way done with this, stopped reading it to finish up Peoples History

The Civically Engaged Reader

Its a compilation of a bunch of works, used it for a class last winter but didn't get the chance to read through all of it. It may get pushed back.

A Brief History of Time (The illustrated) - Stephen Hawking
Another that I read halfway through, although its very nearly above anything I can actually comprehend. Still, seeing Hawkings floating through space is almost enough for me to pick it back up.

Things I overheard While Talking to Myself
- Alan Alda

Born Standing Up - Steve Martin

Fair Game - Valerie Plame Wilson

Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years - Cal Sandburg
I read Team of Rivals about a month ago, not too sure I'll be wanting any more Lincoln by the time I get around to this.

The Letters of Noel Coward - edited by Barry Day

A Life of Picasso (1917-1932) - John Richardson

The Conscience of a Liberal - Paul Krugman
Not too sure I actually want to read it, but since it was a gift I might anyhow.

I really need to find some more fiction to read (got done with the Dark Tower series in September and haven't found anything that really interested me since).
 

saelz8

Member
Reading this right now. I'm at variational evolution.


I have wanted this book for the last year, but never gotten around to getting it. I'm hoping I'll get it this month as my next read.


I have also been reading a little bit of the Muhammad Asad translation of the Qur'an.
 

Gruco

Banned
I put it down after being slow getting into it a couple months ago, but I picked up Focault's Pendulum again recently, and...thanks, GAF.
 

Tokubetsu

Member
No idea what came over me but I finally picked this up while killing time in B&N waiting for AVP-R to start:


After about 2 years of meaning to pick it up. I'm enjoying it so far.
 

Stinkles

Clothed, sober, cooperative
WHAT THE SHIT IS THIS!

George R R Martin - 2006 said:
Hay guys if u got this far in Feast For Crows I just chopped two books in half and the new one will be out in a month or two lol

Just finished Feast For Crows WTF.
 

impirius

Member


It's not the smoothest read, as Dennett apparently likes to qualify everything, but it's some interesting stuff nonetheless.

Also, OP: I learned piano as a kid using the Alfred's books. From what I remember, they're pretty good, even if I'm not. :D
 
Currently Reading "I am America (And So Can You!)

Purchased today:

The paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
The Wisdom of Crowds

If I can finish those before month's end, I'll start reading A Game Of Thrones.
 
JzeroT1437 said:
A few classics along with some basic instruction books for me.


Hey, me too! High five.

After that I'm going to try tackling this big mammajamma:


With all the other stuff I'm playing with and studying I probably won't be able to read much else this month, but if I find the time I plan on finally reading Player Piano and Sirens of Titan... really, any K.V. I have yet to read.
 

xir

Likely to be eaten by a grue
just finished:

The Road. sad. Watched NC4OM and got interested. Oprah?


Travels in the Scriptonorium. good but not great, i enjoed auster's ex-wife's


more. Lydia Davis is amazing.


Gentlemen of the Road OR Jews with Swords was great. Genre fiction with art by the guy who draws prince valiant, my #1 skipped over comic strip in the newspaper. Chabon is really something else.
 

BlueTsunami

there is joy in sucking dick
I just finished this...



I absolutely loved it. I thought it would be some boring futuristic military novel (was getting extremely disinterested around page 100) but it then kicks into how Mandala copes with Time Dilation that he needs to go through when traversing to different battle fronts. It had me hooked and I literally ate the book up from that point on. Definitely recommend it.

Big thanks to Eric P for recommending it in the other "What are you reading?" thread

I need to pick up something later, I'm in a Fantasy/Adventure mood (in the same spirit of LotR)
 

John Dunbar

correct about everything
Terry Pratchett - Feet of Clay
Yasunari Kawabata - The Old Capital
Yukio Mishima - The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Dostoevsky - White Nights

I'm not that fast of a reader, though, so I might not finish them all this month.
 

eznark

Banned
Re-reading

Father and Son - Larry Brown
very Faulkner-esque. It's an excellent read.

Reading

Radicals for Capitalism
so far fantastic, about half way through
 

Eric P

Member
BlueTsunami said:
I just finished this...

foreverwar.jpg
I'm glad you liked it.

I just finished a really short book from subterranian press called D.A.




It seems like an intro to a longer work than an actual story in and of itself.

Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected as an IASA space cadet, and therein lies the problem. She didn't apply for the ultra-coveted posting, and doesn't relish spending years aboard the ship to which she's been assigned.

But the plucky young heroine, in true Heinlein fashion, has no plans to go along with the program. Aided by her hacker best friend Kimkim, in a screwball comedy that has become Connie Wills' hallmark, Theodora will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied.

Very light, very breezy. I finished it in approximately an hour or so.

PKD fans may be interested in this, Ubik The Screenplay by Philip K Dick

Subterranean Press is proud to make Philip K. Dick's screenplay adaptation of one of his signature novels available for the first time in more than twenty years. Copies of the first edition of Ubik: the Screenplay now fetch more than $100 on the collector's market, when you can find them. In addition, the screenplay features an ending that differs markedly from that of the novel.

"Dick included far more parenthetical description and interpretation than can be standard for screenplays, and so we have here his considered, after-the-fact portraits of Glen Runciter, Ella Runciter, Joe Chip, Pat Conley, and Ubik itself. And too, with a facility that's scarce among novelists, he smoothly adapts his story to the wider, deeper ranges of the film medium. The Ubik 'ads' are much more effective as actual intrusions than as chapter headings, the soundtrack becomes a central element (and makes us wonder what music Dick would have chosen to complement some of his other novels), and he presents the dysfunctions in time and perception even more effectively when he imagines them enacted on a movie screen. In some ways, in fact, it almost seems as though we're getting a purer version of UBIK—something closer to the original conception than the text of the novel."
 

BlueTsunami

there is joy in sucking dick
Yep, The Forever War. Also, there was an Ubik screenplay? (as in it was going to be turned into a movie?) Wow. That would be extremely interesting if they did it in the same style as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" but Blade Runner'esq.
 

FnordChan

Member


The Repairman Jack binge continues with his third novel which appears to be an out of print paperback from the prices it's fetching at Amazon; fortunately, my local Borders had a copy on the shelf and waiting.

Next on the paperback front will be more magic noir novels, including a straight-up romance novel, which should make for an interesting change of pace. For hardcover, I'm still hoping to get a chance to dig into Gibson's Spook Country.

FnordChan
 

Eric P

Member
FnordChan said:


The Repairman Jack binge continues with his third novel which appears to be an out of print paperback from the prices it's fetching at Amazon; fortunately, my local Borders had a copy on the shelf and waiting.

Next on the paperback front will be more magic noir novels, including a straight-up romance novel, which should make for an interesting change of pace. For hardcover, I'm still hoping to get a chance to dig into Gibson's Spook Country.

FnordChan

i've got every book after that, if you run into problems, let me know and i'll get them to you.

All the Rage is OK, but Hosts and the Haunted Air are both excellent. Then Gateways picks up and the party don't stop rockin.

rumour is that it's Ryan Renolds that they've got as repairman jack for the movie for now.
 

FnordChan

Member
Eric P said:
i've got every book after that, if you run into problems, let me know and i'll get them to you.

I think the only one not currently in print of the bunch was Conspiricies, but thanks for the offer! I've already got three other later books on hand that I picked up used before the holidays, so I hope to be set for a while.

All the Rage is OK, but Hosts and the Haunted Air are both excellent. Then Gateways picks up and the party don't stop rockin.

Awesome. I'm psyched. I'm also curious to see if they can kick this off as a film franchise.

FnordChan
 

thomaser

Member
Almost done with "Life - A User's Manual" by Georges Perec. One of those books that tries to encompass everything. And it's remarkably successful at it.



Also reading a smutty classic: "Philosophy of the Boudoir" by Marquis de Sade. A couple of really depraved guys and a similarly depraved woman set out to teach a 15-year old girl how to be depraved. Lots of depravity ensues.

 

KingGondo

Banned
World War Z--Max Brooks
I Am America (And So Can You!)--Stephen Colbert
A Clash of Kings--George R.R. Martin

I'm about halfway through A Clash of Kings, and it just started getting really good.
Renly Baratheon was just killed, and it seems that Tyrion is about to set his plan into motion... good stuff
 

Eric P

Member
FnordChan said:
Awesome. I'm psyched. I'm also curious to see if they can kick this off as a film franchise.
FnordChan

if you read his blog it's been slooooooow going, but that's to be expected.

i like ryan as an actor, but think he may be too "pretty" to play someone who just blends into crowds. dunno. I doubt they can really mess up the formula too much.

I'm still reading Spin. I'm about half way through and it's still a great book. I know it's going to all end in tears though. There's really no way it can't.
 


Ghost Wars - I'm at the year 2000. Not much left in the book but I highly recommend it to anyone who is curious about the political and religious affairs of Central and South Asia.

I need to get a new batch of books. I forgot all about The Selfish Gene, I might need to get that along with a couple of others.
 
Well, after tearing myself away from Morrowind, I managed to read a novel or two:

Malazan: Memories of Ice (Book Three) by Steven Erikson.


I was lukewarm on my first read-through of Gardens of the Moon (Book One). Quit pretty much halfway through. (I'd still only count it as solid these days) Gave Deadhouse Gates (Book Two) a chance on the recommendation of two of my favourite authors. The Chain of Dogs storyline really captured me, and Ganoes' little sister is compulsively entertaining, however screwed up she is. I finally ended up getting it. The world is unique (which can be quite alienating to start with, in the first book at least) and fully realized, and I'm liking what I've read so far in Memories of Ice. Great fantasy. I'd also like to comment that Erikson really writes some of the best death scenes in the business.
Gruntle and Duiker. :tear Although there is hope for the latter.

Rumpole on Trial by John Mortimer


I have a fetish for good court-room comedy-drama. Maybe Denny Crane, ah, Boston Legal has spoiled me, but I've finally found something on par. Rumpole is the barrister who fights not for money, but for principle. He is disenfranchised from the "good ol' boy" mentality that dominates the rest of the profession, and while I agree that the independent Bar system of most Commonwealth nations promotes justice ahead of confrontation and theatrics, Mortimer's observation that criminal law is by its very nature confrontational and is at the fundamental epicenter of what is important in the legal system is well put out.

The fact that the barristers themselves think of working in the criminal sector as "slumming it" and defending as ill-regarded in comparison to prosecuting brings out the rigid focus on prestige that many barristers and other such legal people are often guilty of. We see judges often pushing the jury towards accepting the prosecution case regardless of circumstance. Rumpole, however, is the eternal anti-thesis of this, and for that reason, his career suffers in terms of prestige, but we often see him acknowledged as the master of criminal defense. However, the humour is what really makes this story work. Mortimer possesses a cracking wit and utilizes it well. The family sub-plot also works, and Rumpole's relationship with his domineering wife Hilda is unforgettable - as is his relationship with near-everyone else. A great cup of English tea.

Aubrey-Maturin: Desolation Island (Book Five) by Patrick O'Brian


Also cleaned up some of the fifth installment in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, Desolation Island. Napoleon-era British navy yarn primarily from the perspective of the captain and his surgeon. Nothing will beat Hornblower in my mind, but this is perhaps more realistic.

Also trying to finish the conclusion of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, Thorn trilogy in To Green Angel Tower - Part Two and the latest addition to the Honor Harrington series by David Weber in At All Costs. They're both formulaic genre pieces but are backed by some solid storylines and characters. A bit disappointed about the direction of the latter, though.
 

Mr. Hyde

Member
I just finished reading "South of the Border, West of the Sun" by Haruki Murakami. I'm now starting his short story collection "The Elephant Vanishes". I'm also reading Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll while I'm half asleep at night.
 

FnordChan

Member
George MacDonald Fraser is dead, alas. Fraser was best known for his vastly entertaining novels about Harry Flashman, a mid-19th century British soldier who in public was the hero of the empire and in private was an utter sonuvabitch who survived to old age by being a cowardly, greedy, alcoholic, womanizing bastard, which is obviously a lot more entertaining than reading about, say, righteous schoolboys like that asshole Tom Brown.



I've pimped Flashy here before, but the occasion of Fraser's passing makes for an excellent chance to do it again: if you think the second half of the 19th century makes for dull reading, you obviously didn't realize that a total scoundrel stands ready to make it terrific fun. Start with Flashman and learn about how the British first got their asses handed to them in Afghanistan. From there the series bounces all over the place, as Flashy answers the Schleswig-Holstein Question ala The Prisoner of Zenda (filmed as a fun romp starring Malcolm McDowell by Richard Lester), finds himself exploring every angle of the slave trade, and, in a terrific two-parter, inadvertantly leads the Charge of the Light Brigade before ending up smack in the middle of the Indian Mutiny of 1858. From there, many other adventures await. I can't pimp these enough.

FnordChan
 

Eric P

Member
Tim the Wiz said:
Rumpole on Trial by John Mortimer


I have a fetish for good court-room comedy-drama. Maybe Denny Crane, ah, Boston Legal has spoiled me, but I've finally found something on par. Rumpole is the barrister who fights not for money, but for principle. He is disenfranchised from the "good ol' boy" mentality that dominates the rest of the profession, and while I agree that the independent Bar system of most Commonwealth nations promotes justice ahead of confrontation and theatrics, Mortimer's observation that criminal law is by its very nature confrontational and is at the fundamental epicenter of what is important in the legal system is well put out.


.

i've always been intrerested in this series but have never read any thing in it.

can you make a suggested place to start for me?
 
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