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Which book are you reading now? Volume XI

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by NedimNapoleon, Apr 19, 2012.

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  1. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltasar_and_Blimunda

    Yeah. Magic!

    Magic realism, in fact, I think.

    Bluminda can see into things if she's fasting. So, as soon as she wakes she eats some bread before opening her eyes so that she cannot see into the soul of Baltasar, an ex-soldier with a hook instead of his left hand.
     
  2. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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  3. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Funny, dark, and darkly funny.
     
  4. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Undercity by Catherine Asaro. Action novel in a scifi setting. Decent book. Some oddity to the premise.

    Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea. I've only just started this one, and I don't know what to think. The narrative sections read like they were written in another language, and then translated by computer. But the dialog is written clearly and is normal for an American novel. It's kinda offputting, and I may give up on the book.
     
  5. Snerk

    Snerk Smeghead

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    Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. Somewhat difficult keeping up with all the facts but still interesting.
     
  6. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    I just finished Selma 1965 and Here Comes Everyone.
     
  7. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Economic Statecraft and Foreign Policy: Sanctions, Incentives, and Target State Calculations by Jean-Marc F. Blanchard and Norrin M. Ripsman. These Routledge books are like catnip to me.

    Anyway, the authors develop a formula for determining compliance with economic incentives and sanctions. The first parameter is Threat to Strategic Interests (TSI) for compliance (TSI-C) and noncompliance (TSI-N). Higher TSI-N means lower compliance is expected.

    The second parameter is Stateness, which is the ability of the executive department to carry out their policies. It consists of Autonomy, Capacity (resources to ensure compulsion, both economic and military), and Legitimacy. Higher Stateness means the leaders' decision to comply or not is more likely to happen.

    The authors use a number of case studies from less-known incidents of economic statecraft: US incentives to Jordan to make peace with Israel, Indian sanctions on Nepal, threatened Arab League sanctions on Canada, Japanese incentives to Russia regarding the Kuril Islands, etc. Overall, their model holds quite strongly among all the cases including anti-apartheid sanctions against South Africa, a well-studied incidence of sanctions success.
     
  8. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    Finished up Breaking through Concrete: the Urban Farm Revolution, contemplating Many Thousands Gone: the First Two Centuries of Slavery in America.
     
  9. JohannaK

    JohannaK Ghost of Christmas Past

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    Waiting For The Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee. Wonderful book. First person narrative of a year in a frontier outpost of the Empire, governed by the Magistrate and narrator. A preciously detailed tale of life and humanity. 9/10
     
  10. Verarde

    Verarde Pondering Wearing A Hat

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    Decided to restart the Harry Potter series. I never finished it back in grade school. I am now currently on Goblet of Fire, and I'm enjoying these a lot more now than I did when I was younger.

    I'm also about 150 pages into A Game of Thrones, which is excellent.
     
  11. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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  12. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    I've gotta get back to it -- I forget where I left it, but it was utterly, utterly brilliant.


    Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, Jim Webb

    It quotes a lot from Churchill's history of the English-speaking peoples so far..
     
  13. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Finished The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, English translation by Tim Parks. Not quite Realpolitik: the Book. Seems like it oversimplifies the world. Funny assumption that reputations aren't something to be considered. I don't see why it's considered so evil when it doesn't even delve into the details enough.
     
  14. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    It's unclear whether Machiavelli intended the book as satire or not (or rather, really bad advice for nefarious reasons). If so, lauding the arts of skulduggery and deceit makes sense if you're attempting to actually bring down the reader (Lorenzo di Medici, ruler of Florence).
     
  15. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Perhaps we should consider it part satire but not so much a How to? guide - which it definitely isn't. It's supposed to be rather early politicology though.

    J. Huizinga, Erasmus. Getting this close to a person is never wholesome to someone's view of him - evne in language as dated as it is here.
     
  16. Verarde

    Verarde Pondering Wearing A Hat

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    I picked up The Winter of Our Discontent, by Steinbeck. Now I've got that and The Red Pony to read over summer.
     
  17. Kozmos

    Kozmos Jew Detective

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    The Kindly Ones, by Johnathan Littell. Hard to read in public as it deals with SS, detailed execution procedures, explicit sex scenes and so and on. A bit slow to read because the author digresses to various topics which are interesting nonetheless.
     
  18. Joecoolyo

    Joecoolyo 99% Lightspeed

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    Finished Dead Wake by Erik Larson. Never had a professor assign a book that didn't come out until mid-semester. I enjoyed it though. Never realized how involved the Lusitania was, and that being said I never knew much about the ship at all, it always being just a footnote on the path to war.
     
  19. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    I just finished Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta. I really liked her writing style, and her future, post-environmental-crisis world was plausible and compelling. The idea of a tea master being an important figure was creative and made sense. At the beginning of the story, the author dwells a little too long on the environmental disaster that set the stage a century or two before the story begins, but she weaves nice details of the effect of the altered climate on the characters' lives, such as having to wear insect hoods during Summer.

    Much of the book felt like a setup for a sequel, or even a trilogy, hinting at a conspiracy and a chase. And then the author says "HA HA" like Nelson in The Simpsons and the story simply ends, as though the author got bored, or remembered she had an appointment and had to run. I was reminded of the dud of an ending that originally concluded the PC RPG Fallout 3, which the developers later revised with a patch. If Itäranta ever wants to take a mulligan, rewrite the last 50 pages of this book and then write a good sequel, I'd be up for it.

    2/5 stars, until then.


     
  20. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Modern Italy by Martin Clark, 3rd edition. 500-something-page-doorstopper, quite detailed but I wish it covered the Risorgimento. It's like a history of modern Germany that skips the events of 1848 to 1871.
     
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