Right now I'm reading

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by nafod » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:46 am

Sangoma wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:26 am
Off children's theme. Joseph Brodsky scribbled the list of books for his students they should read "in order to be able to have a basic conversation"... Eighty three of them; basic my ass...

http://www.openculture.com/2013/11/jose ... ation.html
I took a look at that list. Haven't read too many of them at all, and fewer for reasons other than my teacher told me to. Just googled on Octavia Paz, and got this nugget:
Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature – if that word can be used in reference to man, who has 'invented' himself by saying 'no' to nature – consists of his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgic and in search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.[2]
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Yes I Have Balls » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:07 pm

I'm reading: Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.

As a child I loved "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" and as an aside you can go through the list of Newbery Award winners for celebrated children's books (though some are for older younglings and young adults).

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Shapecharge » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:21 pm

Yes I Have Balls wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:07 pm
I'm reading: Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.

As a child I loved "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" and as an aside you can go through the list of Newbery Award winners for celebrated children's books (though some are for older younglings and young adults).
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:29 am

"Eiger Dreams" - recommended to me by an Irongarm cellar dweller, was excellent

"IQ" and the sequel "Righteous" - young black Sherlock Holmes in South Central. Funny, addictive reading. Second one had too much action, too convenient of plot resolutions and not enough intelligence for a Holmes inspired story, but still a good time.

Currently reading "Irresistible" about the rise in technology addiction and addiction in general. Great book at the half-way mark, full of practical information. I've massively reduced my online habits (games, apps, youtube, changed some settings on my phone) to get myself away from as much compulsion as I've had lately.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Alfred_E._Neuman » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:27 am

Waking up by Sam Harris. Just finished Dawkins' The God Delusion.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by tough old man » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:24 pm

Rereading Dune.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JimZipCode » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:09 pm

Whole buncha piano-related books.

Turns out there's this whole sub-genre of, middle-aged man decides that he's always wanted to get serious about piano and buys one. And I've been devouring them like a housewife reads Harlequin romances. These books are catnip to me.

Piano Lessons by Noah Adams
NPR reporter and Volvo driver buys a piano and starts trying to learn to play. Each "chapter" is a month, and at Christmas he wants to play Träumerei for his NPR-reporter wife. In the meantime he talks to teachers and famous players, goes to a camp, etc. A little fru-fru, like an NPR piece, but pleasant. Short book.

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart
American expat in Paris walks by a piano shoppe every morning while taking his kid to school. Goes in one day, makes friends with the owner, eventually buys one. Turns out he used to take lessons as a child, and the book alternates between his recollection of lessons and the present day, where he talks to teachers and players, takes lessons, etc. This one is enjoyable, esp if you like Paris (which my wife & I do) because there's a fair amount of French scene-setting and description.

Play it Again by Alan Rusbridger
By far the best of these books, and one I totally recommend. The writer was editor-in-chief of the Guardian, and the period covered is also the period of WikiLeaks and the UK phone-tapping scandal. Big book, ~350 pages. Diary of a year that this guy gives himself to learn to play one of the most formidable pieces in the repertoire, a Chopin Ballade. He's the most accomplished player of all of these writers, but this piece is one that challenges virtuosi, and the guy has a full-time job. Lots of super interesting stuff about his job: like he takes meetings with Julian Assange, etc. Great book.

Next up:
Grand Obsession by Perry Knize.
Woman in her 40s buys a piano and starts to get serious again about music, which she gave up in her twenties. I'm going off the Amazon review here: I haven't read this yet. Looks like she tries to re-create the certain sound of an instrument her family had when she was a kid, and she dives into the world of piano tuners and "voicing" a piano etc etc. Can't wait.

Outside the subgenre ghetto, some other piano-related books:

Playing The Piano For Pleasure by Charles Cooke (1941)
This is an old classic of the "You can learn to play!" sort, intended to be inspirational. 200 pages plus a few appendixes, it's a very quick read. There's a newer edition, edited and released I think 2011. An Amazon reviewer said they edited out all the good stuff that was particular to the era, so I made sure to get the old one from the library. Fun.

Piano Lessons by Russell Sherman
This one sucks. I only got a couple pages into it, I'm gonna drop it. The writer is a concert pianist; the book is a collection of short essays (as short as a paragraph or so) and epigrams about his impressions. It's incoherent, makes no goddam sense, ridiculous.
Sample entry:
When the shepherd sings, the earth moans, the wind murmurs, the aspen trembles. Each refrain is but a response to a chorale audible only to Schumann's elect, to the better and silent portion of human character. When Artur Schnabel said the he played the rests, if not the notes, better than other pianists, he was acknowledging that subliminal choir only silence can reveal.
I mean, WTF?
“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.”
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:43 pm

JimZipCode wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:09 pm
Sample entry:
When the shepherd sings, the earth moans, the wind murmurs, the aspen trembles. Each refrain is but a response to a chorale audible only to Schumann's elect, to the better and silent portion of human character. When Artur Schnabel said the he played the rests, if not the notes, better than other pianists, he was acknowledging that subliminal choir only silence can reveal.
I mean, WTF?
Goddamn I hate when people talk or write like that :vom:
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by DrDonkeyLove » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:40 pm

JimZipCode wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:09 pm
Whole buncha piano-related books.

Turns out there's this whole sub-genre of, middle-aged man decides that he's always wanted to get serious about piano and buys one. And I've been devouring them like a housewife reads Harlequin romances. These books are catnip to me.

Piano Lessons by Noah Adams
NPR reporter and Volvo driver buys a piano and starts trying to learn to play. Each "chapter" is a month, and at Christmas he wants to play Träumerei for his NPR-reporter wife. In the meantime he talks to teachers and famous players, goes to a camp, etc. A little fru-fru, like an NPR piece, but pleasant. Short book.

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart
American expat in Paris walks by a piano shoppe every morning while taking his kid to school. Goes in one day, makes friends with the owner, eventually buys one. Turns out he used to take lessons as a child, and the book alternates between his recollection of lessons and the present day, where he talks to teachers and players, takes lessons, etc. This one is enjoyable, esp if you like Paris (which my wife & I do) because there's a fair amount of French scene-setting and description.

Play it Again by Alan Rusbridger
By far the best of these books, and one I totally recommend. The writer was editor-in-chief of the Guardian, and the period covered is also the period of WikiLeaks and the UK phone-tapping scandal. Big book, ~350 pages. Diary of a year that this guy gives himself to learn to play one of the most formidable pieces in the repertoire, a Chopin Ballade. He's the most accomplished player of all of these writers, but this piece is one that challenges virtuosi, and the guy has a full-time job. Lots of super interesting stuff about his job: like he takes meetings with Julian Assange, etc. Great book.

Next up:
Grand Obsession by Perry Knize.
Woman in her 40s buys a piano and starts to get serious again about music, which she gave up in her twenties. I'm going off the Amazon review here: I haven't read this yet. Looks like she tries to re-create the certain sound of an instrument her family had when she was a kid, and she dives into the world of piano tuners and "voicing" a piano etc etc. Can't wait.

Outside the subgenre ghetto, some other piano-related books:

Playing The Piano For Pleasure by Charles Cooke (1941)
This is an old classic of the "You can learn to play!" sort, intended to be inspirational. 200 pages plus a few appendixes, it's a very quick read. There's a newer edition, edited and released I think 2011. An Amazon reviewer said they edited out all the good stuff that was particular to the era, so I made sure to get the old one from the library. Fun.

Piano Lessons by Russell Sherman
This one sucks. I only got a couple pages into it, I'm gonna drop it. The writer is a concert pianist; the book is a collection of short essays (as short as a paragraph or so) and epigrams about his impressions. It's incoherent, makes no goddam sense, ridiculous.
Sample entry:
When the shepherd sings, the earth moans, the wind murmurs, the aspen trembles. Each refrain is but a response to a chorale audible only to Schumann's elect, to the better and silent portion of human character. When Artur Schnabel said the he played the rests, if not the notes, better than other pianists, he was acknowledging that subliminal choir only silence can reveal.
I mean, WTF?
I like living in a world where esoteric interests are so easily accessible.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JimZipCode » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:49 pm

DrDonkeyLove wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:40 pm
I like living in a world where esoteric interests are so easily accessible.
#MeToo
“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 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:09 am

Bram wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:29 am
"IQ" and the sequel "Righteous" - young black Sherlock Holmes in South Central. Funny, addictive reading.
Goddam, the first chapter of IQ was thrilling. Reminds me a little of Travis McGee - if McGee were black and instead of a houseboat he lived in the dad(Lawrence Fishbourne)'s house from Boyz In The Hood. I'm hooked.

Thanks
“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 DrDonkeyLove » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:20 am

JimZipCode wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:09 am
Bram wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:29 am
"IQ" and the sequel "Righteous" - young black Sherlock Holmes in South Central. Funny, addictive reading.
Goddam, the first chapter of IQ was thrilling. Reminds me a little of Travis McGee - if McGee were black and instead of a houseboat he lived in the dad(Lawrence Fishbourne)'s house from Boyz In The Hood. I'm hooked.

Thanks
Going to give it a go.
Mao wrote:Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by nafod » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:32 pm

tough old man wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:24 pm
Rereading Dune.
Tried to hit the like button on your post
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:54 am

JimZipCode wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:09 am
Bram wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:29 am
"IQ" and the sequel "Righteous" - young black Sherlock Holmes in South Central. Funny, addictive reading.
Goddam, the first chapter of IQ was thrilling. Reminds me a little of Travis McGee - if McGee were black and instead of a houseboat he lived in the dad(Lawrence Fishbourne)'s house from Boyz In The Hood. I'm hooked.

Thanks
Glad you liked the start! I tore through it, paper heroin.
"If you live through defeat, you are not defeated. If you are beaten but acquire wisdom, you have won." - RZA

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:56 am

Half-way through Altered Carbon, sci-fi crime noir.

In the future you don't die, you just get downloaded into a new body. Fun read. Just turned into a show on Netflix but delaying that until I finish the book.
"If you live through defeat, you are not defeated. If you are beaten but acquire wisdom, you have won." - RZA

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:02 am

Finished "Altered Carbon," deeply enjoyed it. Started the sequel, which had lukewarm reviews, made it through a paragraph and passed on it.

Read "Deep Thinking," Gerry Kasparov's take on artificial intelligence and the quest to make a world beating chess program. There were some interesting insights into excellence (he repeatedly speaks about working on your weaknesses and being willing to be uncomfortable). He also bitches quite a bit about being beaten by Deep Blue, blaming the IBM team for acting like shady cunts.

Read "Stealing Fire," a book that states that your brain enters the same state during meditation, being in "flow," or on psychedelic drugs. Bounces around from Burning Man triggering "flow," to the Navy Seals using sensory deprivation tanks to learn languages faster. There's some interesting stuff, I learned about a number of athletes and authors I was unfamiliar with, but it's got this grating, giddy optimism that I found annoying. Also, the idea that psychedelic's have negative side effects is extremely glossed over.

Read "Mastery," by George Leonard. Leonard seems like a bad-ass. A World War 2 airplane instructor who ends up an Aikido master. The entire premise is that mastery of any kind requires you to spend most of your time stuck on plateau after plateau, so if you want to get good at something, be prepared to grind - or better yet, to embrace it. I immensely enjoyed this book. Lots of insights on things that can knock you off the path and keep you going on it.

And just started "Daemon" - murder mystery carried out by the internet. Gripping so far.
"If you live through defeat, you are not defeated. If you are beaten but acquire wisdom, you have won." - RZA

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Wild Bill » Thu May 03, 2018 7:02 am

Alexey Pehov "Shadow prowler" (i am reading in Russian)
Somewhat like Glen Cook's Garret's adventures.
Starting a bit slow, but then gather speed. Yeasterday i lost some sleep hours by reading it. Not finished yet.
After centuries of calm, the Nameless One is stirring.An army is gathering; thousands of giants, ogres, and other creatures are joining forces from all across the Desolate Lands, united, for the first time in history, under one, black banner. By the spring, or perhaps sooner, the Nameless One and his forces will be at the walls of the great city of Avendoom.Unless Shadow Harold, master thief, can find some way to stop them.Epic fantasy at its best, Shadow Prowler is the first in a trilogy that follows Shadow Harold on his quest for ...
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http://bookscafe.net/book/pehov_alexey- ... 69796.html

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Fat Cat » Thu May 03, 2018 7:24 am

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Right.

My wife and I got hooked on the Hulu show and then I stumbled upon a pdf of the book. It's amazingly well written, just a pleasure to read.

As a work of historiography it probably isn't sufficient, but as a popular history of the genesis of Al-Qaeda and the events leading up to, but not following, 9/11 it's a great read.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by JimZipCode » Thu May 03, 2018 1:28 pm

Dubliners by James Joyce.

My wife & read this in the AV Club, about how to tackle Ulysses:
https://www.avclub.com/ulysses-turns-10 ... 1823524706

And we were like, what the hell. So this is step one.
“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 JohnDoe » Thu May 03, 2018 1:30 pm

Antifragile by Taleb. Hopefully it gets better. Not sure how it'll end up being a book.

Command and Control by Schlosser. Fascinating and terrifying history of America's nuclear arsenal and who gets to do what with it interwoven with an account of the Damascus Incident, when a Titan II's fuel blew up and potentially would have detonated a warhead in Arkansas.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by nafod » Thu May 03, 2018 2:47 pm

JohnDoe wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 1:30 pm
Antifragile by Taleb. Hopefully it gets better. Not sure how it'll end up being a book.
I am pretty sure this is the prologue to the book. If so, you've already read it. If not, or if someone else takes a look at this post, this is all you need to read to get what he's saying.

http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/prologue.pdf
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Yes I Have Balls » Thu May 03, 2018 10:26 pm

State of War by James Risen

Just finished I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle MacNamara about the Golden State Killer.

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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by The Ginger Beard Man » Fri May 04, 2018 3:06 am

http://www.amazon.com/Popskis-Private-A ... dpSrc=srch

Popski’s Private Army.
And Athletics, by Percy Cerrutty.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Sangoma » Fri May 04, 2018 9:59 am

Some time ago I read The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. The fate of the novel is quite fascinating - it was published posthumously, eleven years after the author committed suicide, thanks to the insistence of his mother.

The novel is good fun.
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Re: Right now I'm reading

Post by Sangoma » Fri May 04, 2018 9:37 pm

Just finished Nassim Taleb's Skin in the Game.
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