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Old 02-23-2003, 11:30 PM
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The Return Of... So what are you reading?


I havent really posted in a long time but it appears there isnt a current reading thread anymore. Heres my list of current books and my opinion on them:

-Eating Chinese Food Naked by Mei Ng
This is the story of a chinese immigrant family living in America. I am only about 15 pages into it but it seems like a depressing tale of a disfunctional family trying to survive.

-Memoirs Of A Revolutionist by Peter Kropotkin
Kroptkin was one of the most important anarchist revolutionists in russian in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Memoirs is an autobiographical account of his life and describes in detail his beliefs on everything.

What books is everyone else reading? discuss.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:39 PM
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-Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson
A book in the Stephen King tradition (i.e. probably twice as long as it needs to be) about code-breakers during WWII and the adventures of their granchildren in the present day. The books has a tendency to go off on a lot of rambling tangents, but since they're generally entertaining rambling tangents it's forgivable.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fibber McGee
-Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson
A book in the Stephen King tradition (i.e. probably twice as long as it needs to be) about code-breakers during WWII and the adventures of their granchildren in the present day. The books has a tendency to go off on a lot of rambling tangents, but since they're generally entertaining rambling tangents it's forgivable.

Not by me. I read 100 pages. A friend borrowed it. Never bothered to ask for it back. And I'm not "sciencephobic".

Just TOO big a novel for a pseudo-scientific thriller.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:50 PM
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I'm reading Year Zero by Jeff Long. It's a speculative novel about a plague with 100% mortality. The disease started when someone opened a vial in a relic that contained blood from the time of Christ. One of the main characters is a child prodigy geneticist that does such things as mixing human and frog DNA to create a sort of amphibian ape and cloning people from bones found in the newly discovered charnel pit at Golgotha and from the jawbone of a Neandethal. She can accelerate the clones' growth to adulthood, and they somehow retain some memories of their first lives. The other is a disgraced mountaineer/archaeologist who has to escape from a Nepalese prison and trek across a plague-stricken Asia alone to get back to America.

I'm about a third into it, and am really hoping he makes it make sense, somehow. It is clearly an attempt at science fiction by someone who knows little about science and not much about SF. He puts in way too many far-out elements for the world to seem real in any way. But I'm one of those people who generally will finish a book once I start it, even if it doesn't seem very good, so I'll keep going.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:53 PM
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Just finished Divine Secrets of Ya Ya Sisterhood, which was suprisingly good. I put off reading it for a long time because I thought it would be smarmy. It wasn't.

Currently reading Pillars of the World by Ken Follett, Elvenblood by Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton, Crossroads to Twilight by Robert Jordan, and The Queen's Gambit by Deborah Chester. (Do you see a pattern developing?)

I have been floundering for something good to read, suggestion are welcome. Preferably a big thick book that I can sit up all night reading. I will soon have much more free time since Buffy isn't going to be on anymore.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:53 PM
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I'm reading the Kate Seredy novels The Good Master and The Singing Tree. I was recently reunited with these books via one of the "Identify from a vague description" thread here on the Dope.

I'm also reading Infinite Jest, but that's sort of a multi-year hobby.
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Old 02-24-2003, 12:02 AM
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The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill

More than 600 men work together on a daring escape from a WWII German POW camp.
Later made into a movie in 1963 starring Steve McQueen.
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Old 02-24-2003, 12:11 AM
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I just finished Friday, by Robert Heinlein, and enjoyed it until the action stopped and... well, I won't spoil the ending. I just didn't care for it.

Next, I'm probably going to start one of the Tom Clancy books that I haven't read yet.
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Old 02-24-2003, 12:12 AM
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Sorry, that was me, not Jerseydiamond.
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Old 02-24-2003, 12:14 AM
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This is the first time one of these threads have come up when I'm actually reading something!

I'm in the middle of The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, which I started reading almost immediately after I saw Adaptation. I'm really enjoying it so far, and I'm surprised that it's not nearly as dry as the movie makes it seem. Turns out the movie's not that bad an adaptation after all.
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Old 02-24-2003, 06:28 AM
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I am currently reading The Father Thing by Philip K Dick. It is a collection of some of his short stories. The quality varies from ok to really great. The stories are short enough that I can usually read one on my daily commute.
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Old 02-24-2003, 06:39 AM
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Currently in the middle of The Subtle Knife, book two in the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman - an amazing series of books for children. Next book up is The Amber Spyglass, which is the third in the series.

I've also got a pile of books by my bed that I'm dipping into occasionally, including The Orchid House by Phyllis Shand-Allfrey, A Caribbean Life, Phyllis Shand-Allfrey's biography by Lizbeth Paravascini-Gebert (sp?), The Road to McCarthy by Pete McCarthy, All the Blood is Red by Leone Ross, Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, and The Trial of Henry Kissenger by Christopher Hitchens.
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Old 02-24-2003, 06:54 AM
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Rereading Wyrd Sisters and Moving Pictures by Pratchett.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:00 AM
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Dune by Frank Herbert. I tried reading it twice before over the years, but never got into it. Now it's working for me.

A couple of days ago I finished Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Last week I read The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, and the week before that I read Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Books.

I started War and Peace. I'll probably pick that one up again in a couple of weeks. A Clockwork Orange is on its way.

I just love Easton Press books.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:17 AM
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Heinlein's Double Star.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:18 AM
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I'm reading two.

The man who stayed behind by Sidney Rittenberg and Amanda Bennett. A remarkable book about how Rittenberg lived in China during and after the civil war. Became a member of the Party and hung around with people like Mao Zedong. The most enjoyable and informative book I've read in a long time. Thanks jjimm

American Tabloid by James Ellroy. I read a lot of Ellroy a few years ago and got tired of his style and content but enjoyed the books. Really enjoying this though.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:27 AM
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The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:29 AM
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Currently reading The Burning City by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Just finished The Barbed Coil by JV Jones.

Both are very good.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:31 AM
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If Chins Could Kill, by Bruce Campbell. He's the star of various B-movies (including the Evil Dead series) and of TV's Brisco County, Jr. I'm enjoying it immensely -- he's an entertaining guy. He comes off as a pretty earthy, decent fellow, and not at all arrogant.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:33 AM
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Currently reading Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. Good enough so that I enjoy it when I pick it up, but not gripping enough to make me want to read it every spare second.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:35 AM
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Well, I have plenty of time on my hands to read nowadays <sigh>

Just finished S.M. Stirling's newest, Conquistador, about a WWII vet who discovers a doorway into an alternate America where white men never settled. He gets his Army buddies to help colonize it, and then the action switches to 2009, when a Fish and Wildlife agent stumbles onto the secret by discovering a cache of long-extinct animals in a warehouse. A well-written page-turner.

Right now, I have several books that I'm working on:

The Mathematical Universe by William Dunham (who used to teach at my college). It's an alphabetical survey of famous proofs and personalities in the history of mathematics (e.g., D is for Differential Calculus, E is for Euler). It's an enjoyable and accessible book for the reader who is not allergic to equations.

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich. It's a history of Hollywood in the 1940s that focuses less on famous stars than on the influence of HUAC on Hollywood politics and blacklisting, the Owens Valley water theft, and the clashes between the different strata of LA society from studio heads to stars to gangsters.

Pulp Friction, edited by Michael Bronski, a social history of gay erotica from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Household Gods a novel about a woman who is bitter about her divorce and her job , and is transported to a Roman garrison town in the second century, where she finds out both the difficulty of life in a preindustrial sexist era and the inner strangth to triumph over her difficulties.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AlbertRose
If Chins Could Kill, by Bruce Campbell. He's the star of various B-movies (including the Evil Dead series) and of TV's Brisco County, Jr. I'm enjoying it immensely -- he's an entertaining guy. He comes off as a pretty earthy, decent fellow, and not at all arrogant.
GREAT BOOK!!! I had mine signed by the man, the myth, the legend, at a convention that I specially went to in order for him to sign it.

Let's see, what am I reading?

Well, I just finished Bad Astronomy by our very own doper The Bad Astronomer, I thought that was a great book and easy to understand. I liked the style and the way the book flowed. It made me think that I, too, could be an astronomer one day (granted I know I won't be, but it's nice to think I could be).

I'm also reading:
Evolutionary Wars
Return of the King
Bored of the Rings

and I'm about to start Ender's Game and Robert Heinlen's The Number of the Beast.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:53 AM
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I'm reading The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It's actually putting some sound theoretical basis to my beliefs about communism. Plus it was only three quid and therefore perfect for my delightful student budget.
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Old 02-24-2003, 08:09 AM
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Right now, I'm reading Barry Malzberg's The Engines of the Night, a collection of essays on science fiction writing, and Dawnthief, a fantasy novel by James Barclay which, so far, is much better than it should be, given that it seems to be a novelized gaming session.

I've recently re-read P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves in the Offing, in the lovely new Overlook Press hardcover (which is giving me great excuses to read Wodehouse books regularly).

And I just finished Donald E. Westlake's Under an English Heaven, which makes me wish that he'd written more non-fiction books (though I suppose he could still start now). Actually, I wish he'd written more books period -- there can never be enough Westlake in this world.

And earlier last week, I read another old odd Westlake book, Kinds of Love, Kinds of Death, a serious detective novel published as by "Tucker Coe."

Coming up next, I think, will be S.J. Perelman's The Ill-Tempered Clavichord (though I do have another Overlook Wodehouse book waiting for me...)
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Old 02-24-2003, 08:29 AM
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Just finished "The Art of Travel" by Alain de Botton, and "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel, both of which were excellent reads.

Almost finished "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", but its hard work, and making a start on the Gormenghast Trilogy, and "The Thought Gang" by Tibor Fischer.

Interestingly I also made a start on Marx and Engels' "Communist Manifesto", but after the first few pages I found their assertions so positively disgusting I had to put it down.
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Old 02-24-2003, 08:31 AM
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The Baseball Prospectus - 2003. Math and baseball. What more could anyone want?

I just started Seventh Son, by Orson Scott Card again for lunchtime light reading.
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Old 02-24-2003, 08:38 AM
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I have wandered into "junk food for the brain" territory in my reading of late, and have spent the last couple days catching up on light mystery series and random fast stuff:

Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries (two so far);
MC Beaton's Hamish MacBeth stories (just finished Death of a Celebrity);
A couple of Erma Bombeck collections I found at a thrift store for 20 cents each;
Maeve Binchy's London Transports, a collection of short stories;
and The Group by Mary McCarthy - so far it's boring me to tears, but it's a book I've always meant to read.
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Old 02-24-2003, 09:50 AM
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Have just finished Lovely Bones for the SDMB Bookclub.

For my IRL bookclub, we picked Carter Beats the Devil.

The authors of these books are married to each other.

Have just been on a Jane Austen kick as well - rereading Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensability. Needed it after last month where I read Handmaids Tale and Maus back to back.
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Old 02-24-2003, 09:52 AM
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Well I just finished "The Gospel according to Jesus Christ" by Jose Sarmago (A book I can not reconmmend enough to people - though a tough read due his writing style). I'm now reading "The Stone Raft" also by Saramago. Once I finish that I will commence with something more light - "Manifold-Time" by Stephen Baxter
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Old 02-24-2003, 11:02 AM
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I just finished "The Long Goodbye," by Raymond Chandler, last night. Next in line - "Women in Love," by D. H. Laurence.
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Old 02-24-2003, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fibber McGee
-Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson
A book in the Stephen King tradition (i.e. probably twice as long as it needs to be) about code-breakers during WWII and the adventures of their granchildren in the present day. The books has a tendency to go off on a lot of rambling tangents, but since they're generally entertaining rambling tangents it's forgivable.
Yeah, this book probably would have been better had Stephenson cut out most of the Lawrence Waterhouse material. I dug Shaftoe and Randy much more... I ended up blipping over a lot of the Lawrence stuff. Although his description of Manual Overrides, along with the accompanying graphs and descriptions of equations, was enough to amuse a huge geek like me.
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Old 02-24-2003, 11:24 AM
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I'm about halfway through The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer. It's a pretty good quick read.

I recently finished Botany of Desire, which I heard of in one of these other threads. It was interesting, but didn't really captivate me. Most every review I've heard has been real positive, so maybe it's just me.

Next up will either be Guns, Germs & Steel or Dead Men Do Tell Tales, both thanks to my fellow Dopers.
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Old 02-24-2003, 11:33 AM
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In Darwin's Shadow, by M. Shermer about Wallace. I'm halfway through and it's so-far very interesting.

The Philosphical Biography of Nietzsche. It's more interesting than it sounds. Seriously!

The last novel I read was Prey, by Crichton. It was so-so-- interesting ideas and scary in the middle with good suspense, but kinda fell into corny-land at the end.
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Old 02-24-2003, 11:37 AM
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I'm reading Marcel Pagnol's "Jean de Florette" and "Manon des Sources", which I've intended to read for a long time, but I get a case of mind-blank whenever I visit the library.

I haven't read anything this good in many, many years. I'm not into comparing literary works, but as a frame of reference, they remind me strongly of "Tortilla Flat" and "Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck. Instead of lovable drunks and paisanos, however, we have not-so-lovable Provencal peasants.

Lyllyan, I highly recommend these to you, if you haven't already read them. In addition, Pagnol's "The Glory of My Father" and "The Castle of My Mother" are lovely reads.
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Old 02-24-2003, 12:16 PM
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Currently, You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers.

Up next: Dead Cities: a Natural History by Mike Davis and
Njals Saga, translated by Magnus Magnusson (the Icelandic saga tales)
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Old 02-24-2003, 12:37 PM
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I am rereading The Throat by Peter Straub in an effort to garner SOME understanding of his Blue Rose Trilogy. After that I plan to read Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk.

jjim, I really liked His Dark Materials. I read it over the summer and was pretty impressed. Damn heavy stuff for kids' lit.

Johnny LA, you have great taste in books. Too bad I can't make it to Dopefest West to talk to you about them in person.
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Old 02-24-2003, 01:01 PM
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Gods Bits of Wood by Oussman. (I just know I spelled that wrong.)

Coming of Age in Mississippi--I regret to say I don't remember who wrote this....but it's a great book.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
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Old 02-24-2003, 01:10 PM
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Oliver Twist.... but I usually only get about half way through before I get bogged down by the plot and all the unexplained people and Dickens' neverending sentences.

And I managed Lord of the Rings with no problems!
  #39  
Old 02-24-2003, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Johnny LA, you have great taste in books.
The writings, or the editions?

I forgot to say that I read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells before The Diamond Age. And I read Ursula K. LeGuin's The Disposessed and Azimov's The Gods Themselves rather recently as well. (The S.F. seems to be coming faster than the Classics.)
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Old 02-24-2003, 03:07 PM
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Yeah - I've been reading a lot lately....


I joined Jadis' 50 Books Challenge community over on LiveJournal and have been pretty busy.

My last 2 reads (commented on in the above community) were The Harlan Ellison Hornbook and The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick - Vol 3 - which includes "The Father Thing", coil. I don't recommend reading both of these authors concurrently, unless you LIKE feeling rather depressed for a bit

I also recently read the His Dark Materials trilogy recently jjim -- if you feel like talking about them, let me know.

scout1222 - I read DMDTT and part of GG&S last summer - for me, Dead Men was an easier read in terms of the writing. GG&S was just too textbooky for my tastes at the time.

Comments on everything I've read so far this year
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Old 02-24-2003, 03:24 PM
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Right now (I think) I'm reading four books:

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I read Anthem a couple of years ago. I don't like her too much, but my dad does. That's irrelevant anyway, because I have to write an essay on it.

Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad is my fun happy book. I got it because I like Husker Du, Sonic Youth, Beat Happening, Mission of Burma, and the Replacements, but it has also gotten me curious about the Minutemen, and has reinforced my belief that Henry Rollins is an asshole.

I am also reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard for my English class. I have to do a seminar on it, but at least I got to pick what book to read.

I started 1984 by George Orwell a few months ago, but it's been pushed to the backburner by all the other books I have to read (including the Harry Potter books).
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Old 02-24-2003, 03:54 PM
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The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. A first hand account of the ill-fated SCott expedition to the South Pole. A little dry and slow at first it really picks up when Cherry-Garrard describes the hellish Winter Journey to the Emperor Penguin rookery.

On deck...
The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinnis
L.A. Confidential James James Ellroy
  #43  
Old 02-24-2003, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Meatros
Well, I just finished Bad Astronomy by our very own doper The Bad Astronomer, I thought that was a great book and easy to understand. I liked the style and the way the book flowed.
Hey, thanks! That's always nice to hear. I'm glad you liked it.

And, to stay with the OP, I am reading Beyond Velikovsky by Henry Bauer. It's a pretty fair assessment of the whole Velikovsky affair. Bad science never stops...
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Old 02-24-2003, 04:27 PM
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Re: Yeah - I've been reading a lot lately....


Quote:
Originally posted by Politzania
[I read DMDTT and part of GG&S last summer - for me, Dead Men was an easier read in terms of the writing. GG&S was just too textbooky for my tastes at the time.
That's good to know. I like to balance my reading out. One light, easy read, then I'll delve into something deeper.

Since I'm reading fluff right now, I guess GG&S will be up next if it's a little more "academic".

I just can't be too intelligent for too long of a stretch.
  #45  
Old 02-24-2003, 05:02 PM
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swannguy, I've just recently "discovered" Saramago for myself. I just finished All the Names and I really liked it, though I see what you mean about his style. I want to find Blindness soon and see what that's like.

Right now I'm wading through the biography John Adams by David McCullough. It slow reading, but good stuff. McCullough really does a nice job capturing the time, and he has a lot of interesting insights to share.
  #46  
Old 02-24-2003, 05:23 PM
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Just read and loved "Salt" by Mark Kurlansky. A strong reccomendation to young readers and their teachers.
To celebrate the season:"Lincoln and the Law, " Lincoln in New York" and AnthonySampson's "Mandela" (four stars) also "Real Thai-Best of Thailand's Regional Cooking"
  #47  
Old 02-24-2003, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rubystreak
jjim, I really liked His Dark Materials. I read it over the summer and was pretty impressed. Damn heavy stuff for kids' lit.
I tried to read them last summer and couldn't get past the first one - they kept losing me. I may try again soon, if I can find them in the library.

My current reading includes Free Expression in the Age of the Internet, The Digital Dilemna: Intellectual Property in the Age of the Internet, The Responsive Public Library and a bunch of articles on reserve in the library.

Beyond class, I'm not finding much reading time lately, so for light reading just before bed, I pulled Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban off the bookshelf - because I've read it before, I won't get so sucked in that I forget to go to sleep.
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Old 02-24-2003, 06:22 PM
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I'm about to start with Gogol's Dead Souls and Proust's Swann's Way. I've been told to drop the latter. Let's see.
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Old 02-24-2003, 06:28 PM
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Johnny LA, I don't know much about the "editions," but I've enjoyed most of the books you listed. If you haven't read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, you should. I'm a big fan of speculative fiction. Though I am an English teacher and I should be reading The Classics, I enjoy sci fi/horror/fantasy a hell of a lot. I also like fiction with a twist, like The Lovely Bones. Basically, during the school year, I want to read books that are FUN, not ponderous. I think enough on the company's dime.
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Old 02-24-2003, 06:51 PM
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Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct

I just read Dorothy Allison's Skin: Writings on Race, Class and Gender and George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. Both of them were excellent.
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