Right now I'm reading

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JimZipCode
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JimZipCode » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:17 pm

Range by David Epstein.
Highly enjoyable.
“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JimZipCode » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:18 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:56 pm
In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick
My wife loved In The Heart Of The Sea.
“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Fat Cat » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:22 pm

It's a good book. She might enjoy this one then, its superb adventure tale:

Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/03161 ... bl_vppi_i0

"The true story of twelve American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the perilous heart of the Sahara."
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Sua Sponte » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:32 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:19 pm
Bronze Age Mindset by Bronze Age Pervert

The most unique book I have read a very long time, I will have to read it again as the first time through it's pretty overwhelming. I give this book my highest recommendation.
This turned out to be quite good, unexpectedly, but it took months to get through. Without taking the time to chase after the countless arcane historical and philosophical references, many of which were the key to some subtle but very funny jokes, the whole purpose and context would have been lost to me. And it does demand another read.

More of late, I've been going back through Oscar Wilde, Call of the Wild and White Fang, a couple of boyhood favorites. If you like the outdoors and dogs and believe that ancestral spirit still exists deep in them, they're worth a serious adulthood read. Picture of Dorian Gray not as good by far as I remembered it.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by DrDonkeyLove... » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:02 am

For those interested in an epic of the millenarian religion of Bolshevism and how they cannabilized themselves. Really gets into the personal lives of early Soviet leaders and their families and their victims. Some might find it tedious. I found it that and fascinating at the same time. Uses a famous Soviet apartment building "The House On The Embankment" as the touchstone for the stories. Lots of old photos.

NYT review for your reading pleasure

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The real House On The Embankment

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bennyonesix1 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 2:13 am

Funny. I just read Wilton's Russia's Agony and The Last Days of the Romanov's. Can't recommend them enough. Wilton was chief correspondent for the leading British paper at the time of the recolution and saw everything first hand. It is heavy on the pro-English and anti-german stuff which is annoying and wrong but he was there and honestly reported the facts. Of course, he got blacklisted afterward....

Sebag-montifiore's bio of Stalin is good as well. But the tyrants are always boring people in the end.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram » Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:49 pm

JimZipCode wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:17 pm
Range by David Epstein.
Highly enjoyable.
Got through the first 40 pages or so, and it seemed he was just making the same point over and over. A good point, but a bit repetitive. Did you find it broke this pattern as you continued?

Finished "Republic of Thieves," book 3 in the Gentleman Bastards series. Think Ocean's 11 in a fantasy setting. Great dialogue, such as "I wouldn't shit on his head to give him shade from the sun." Some twists towards the end to keep an overall theme of menace and intrigue going strong.

Half-way through "The Blade Itself," book 1 of the First Law Trilogy. Fantasy, violence, funny, grotesque, political...about 5 stories (so far) woven together in a world of magic and horrible death.
Be careful with your words, for someone will agree with them. Be careful of your conduct, for someone will imitate it.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Fat Cat » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:44 am

The Glass Key by Dashiel Hammet (Miller's Crossing is a portmanteau of this and his other novel Red Harvest). Basically, between them they inspired Yojimbo, A Fistfull of Dollars, Last Man Standing, and Miller's Crossing.

How to Wind Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie...what can I say, I was given an assistant this past year and for the first time in my life I have to manage someone in a professional context. It's an easy read and surprisingly insightful.

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe...already been discussed here at length. Among other things, the guy had an astounding vocabulary.

My Life as an Indian by J.W. Schultz...headed west, married a squaw from the Blackfeet tribe and lived among them from 1880 to 1906.

Just starting on The Empire of the Summer Moon now about the history of the Comancheria, will report back.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Turdacious » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:23 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:44 am
Just starting on The Empire of the Summer Moon now about the history of the Comancheria, will report back.
Please do. Heard the author on Rogan-- one of the few episodes of his show I actually listened to in its entirety.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Fat Cat » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:24 am

Comanche were bad motherfuckers and I'm looking forward to it.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by johno » Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:49 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:44 am
The Empire of the Summer Moon now about the history of the Comancheria, will report back.
A fascinating read. And a good antidote to the noble savage myth. Those fuckers were the Hells Angels of Oklahoma-Texas.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

W.B. Yeats

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Wild Bill » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:33 am

Bram wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:49 pm
Half-way through "The Blade Itself," book 1 of the First Law Trilogy. Fantasy, violence, funny, grotesque, political...about 5 stories (so far) woven together in a world of magic and horrible death.
Just yesterday ended "Little hatred" (sequel to First Law Trilogy.).
Not as good as First Law, but still a pageturner.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram » Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:46 am

Wild Bill wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:33 am
Bram wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:49 pm
Half-way through "The Blade Itself," book 1 of the First Law Trilogy. Fantasy, violence, funny, grotesque, political...about 5 stories (so far) woven together in a world of magic and horrible death.
Just yesterday ended "Little hatred" (sequel to First Law Trilogy.).
Not as good as First Law, but still a pageturner.
Glad to know there's more in that universe and appreciated the suggestion!

Finished Book 1 in a week, Book 2 in half-a-day. The man can write an engrossing book.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Sangoma » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:47 am

I've gone slightly mad and now am reading this:

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Inspired by a short trip to New Caledonia at the beginning of January.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JohnDoe » Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:28 pm

Working on the Bible in a year with a generic pacing plan.

Working on Range, by David Epstein.

Working on From Dawn to Decadence, 1500-Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, by Jaqcues Barzun

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by nafod » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:31 pm

I just finished Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, gets two thumbs up. Very tense book, sci-fi. Let someone else read the first few pages, and they insisted I loan it to them, then and there.

Rolled right into its sequel, Authority, which builds on the tension from the first book. Page turner. Will get to third book in the trilogy (Acceptance) in short order, I'm sure.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Fat Cat » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:31 pm

JohnDoe wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:28 pm
Working on the Bible in a year with a generic pacing plan.
Is it a two-track plan, like one for OT and one for NT, or is it a cover to cover plan?
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Wild Bill » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:45 pm

Bram wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:46 am

Glad to know there's more in that universe and appreciated the suggestion!

After First law trilogy were separate sequels. "Best served cold", then "Heroes" (Heroes is great! Highly recomend), then "Red country".
And now "Little hatred" is first book of new trilogy, already next generation.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JohnDoe » Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:10 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:31 pm
JohnDoe wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:28 pm
Working on the Bible in a year with a generic pacing plan.
Is it a two-track plan, like one for OT and one for NT, or is it a cover to cover plan?
Two track. Three-ish chapters of the OT and slower through the NT. I like the two track for variety's sake, especially reading it before bed. I'm a history teacher, so reading the King James is almost professional development for European history. I've got two young kids and work in an Episcopal school, so I'm hoping to grow into some faith to help anchor me a little more and provide a little help with being a father. We'll see.

There's a new history of the Bible that I'd like read now too, though I'll wait until I get further along. It's A History of the Bible: The Story of the World's Most Influential Book by John Barton.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:35 pm

JohnDoe wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:10 pm
Fat Cat wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:31 pm
JohnDoe wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:28 pm
Working on the Bible in a year with a generic pacing plan.
Is it a two-track plan, like one for OT and one for NT, or is it a cover to cover plan?
Two track. Three-ish chapters of the OT and slower through the NT. I like the two track for variety's sake, especially reading it before bed. I'm a history teacher, so reading the King James is almost professional development for European history. I've got two young kids and work in an Episcopal school, so I'm hoping to grow into some faith to help anchor me a little more and provide a little help with being a father. We'll see.

There's a new history of the Bible that I'd like read now too, though I'll wait until I get further along. It's A History of the Bible: The Story of the World's Most Influential Book by John Barton.
Thanks, that's the most common way and the way in which I did it. I hope it profits you.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JimZipCode » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:29 pm

JohnDoe wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:10 pm
Two track. Three-ish chapters of the OT and slower through the NT. I like the two track for variety's sake, especially reading it before bed. I'm a history teacher, so reading the King James is almost professional development for European history.
For the OT, you may want to consider reading the books in the order that the Jewish Bible places them, which is slightly different than how the Christian Bible orders the books.

I don't remember the exact details; but the reasoning comes from Jack Miles' book God: A Biography, which I found fascinating when I read it ~25 yrs ago. As I remember, it's something like: after the confrontation with Job, in the Hebrew Bible God sort of "falls slient". You got the Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes and stuff; but not much of God actually doing something. Then, in the wake of that "silence", the New Testament is sort of an explosion. Miles said that you miss that effect, when you read the OT books in the order that the Christian Bible places them.

Miles also contends that the standard translation of Job's final speech to God is wrong, one key word is mistranslated which dramatically changes the story. He offers an alternate translation. Compelling: worth checking out.
“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JimZipCode » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:40 pm

Bram wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:49 pm
JimZipCode wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:17 pm
Range by David Epstein.
Highly enjoyable.
Got through the first 40 pages or so, and it seemed he was just making the same point over and over. A good point, but a bit repetitive. Did you find it broke this pattern as you continued?
I don't really remember: but probably not. The thing you're describing seems pretty standard across nonfic. The author has one major point to make; and he makes it pretty early, so the rest is just different examples etc. A lot of nonfic sort of peters out after the first half. (Doesn't apply to history, of course; nor I guess math & science.) Range might have followed that template, without me really noticing it.


Bram wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:49 pm
Half-way through "The Blade Itself," book 1 of the First Law Trilogy. Fantasy, violence, funny, grotesque, political– about 5 stories (so far) woven together in a world of magic and horrible death.
I didn't get thru more than two chapters of The Blade Itself. My bro-in-law, whom I highly respect, gave me the trilogy one year for Christmas. It's one of those, "If you liked Song of Ice and Fire, you'll love this!" I found the comparison stupid. First couple chapters of Blade Itself read like a middle-schooler wrote them. Annoying and juvenile.

If you tell me it gets better, maybe I'll give it another chance.
“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JimZipCode » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:16 pm

Detective novels!

Loved the movie Knives Out. Saw it with the wife and 10yo (his review: Captain America makes the movie); then took my mom & stepdaughter to see it a couple weeks later. Gave me a yen for some old-style locked-room whodunnit action. While stepD was home for break, she & I watched three Hercule Poirot movies (Orient Express 1974; Death On The Nile 1978; Evil Under the Sun 1982).

This all sparked a curiousity about "gentleman detective" novels. Not Phillip Marlowe / Spenser -style hard-boiled private eyes: more the nonviolent, "genteel" investigator. I picked a couple series in the genre to check out:
  • Finished: Cover Her Face by PD James
  • In progress: A Mind To Murder by PD James
  • Next up: Odds Against by Dick Francis.
I was shocked how much I enjoyed Cover Her Face. First three chapters read like an English character study of a family – the prose is very similar to Patrick O'Brian, which I did not expect at all. (Love POB.) The murder doesn't happen til the end of chapter three; the detective is just another member of the ensemble cast. Book has kind of a wistful & melancholy tone, which was another surprise.

The second PD James book is very different. The murder happens immediately, and the detective comes onstage right away. He's much more the main character this time out. This one is not as compelling as the first; but it has gotten more interesting here in the second ~50 pages. I'm looking forward to checking out more of James.
“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bennyonesix1 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:36 pm

Powered through the first three books listed in link for ISRAEL FINKELSTEIN (looooool I laugh out loud every time oh jesus that name mel brooks is like that's too over the top c'mon).

He's a minimalist biblical archaeologist and a solid writer. The third book he wrote in conjunction with Mazar who is more of a moderate and the debate is probably the state of the art wrt to ancient Israel history.

All of the books are worth the read. The third may be too detail oriented for some. And I'm not sure if they would be interesting to people who are unfamiliar with the OT stories and the general history of Ancient Israel archaeology. That being said, if the most recent state of the scholarship of that era is of interest, give one of them a read.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9 ... inkelstein

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bennyonesix1 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:47 pm

Another good book on the subject is Friedman's Exodus. He's not an archaeologist but a literature guy. It's a minimalist take wrapped in a goofy psuedo-maximalist package. Idk I found it brilliant and absurd: the argumentation brilliant and the rationalization absurd. He basically comes down to a position of yeah the Exodus was a small group of non Israelitic refugees (Levites) who then merged with the Israelites and took over and wrote the OT as ahistorical propaganda for their own will to power. BUT, it's really really REALLY great propaganda and we all knew it was BS in our hearts anyway and racism is bad amirite you aren't a racist are you? Or an anti-semite?

PS. "Wrote" in the above is a complicated term obv. The process was long and convoluted and involved original creation but mostly co-optation of indigenous Israelitic traditions.

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