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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. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    After about six months without much progress, I'm somewhat back on track on the Essay a Day Challenge. Primarily due to reading most days while on public transit. I've read:

    Leo Tolstoy - Happily Ever After, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Cossacks. 322 pages in all. The former is a portrait of a relationship and the perils that can threaten it; the middle is a haunting portrait of the mind of a dying man as his body and faculties gradually weaken, and the latter is a story of the lives of the cossacks on the steppes in the mid-1800s, and their interactions with the Russians. Of the three, The Cossacks was my favorite, though they all were good enough to continue reading.

    Next came 541 pages of Polybius's histories. A very interesting piece for someone interested in history, and all in all quite well written, too. The author was a contemporary to some events, and spoke with contemporaries to most of the rest. I'm quite happy with my choice for the first contemporary Roman history I've read, and only wish more of his work had survived.

    Currently I'm reading a selection of stories by Alexander Pushkin. The first was an incomplete story whose name may not be appropriate for this forum, but which unfortunately was just starting to hit its stride when it was abandoned. Now, I'm reading Dubrovsky, which hit the gate running early.

    Even considering what I've read in the past 4 months, I'm still a bit behind the 10 pages/day rate of the challenge - I'm probably in the 900s over about 120 days. If I kept up my weekday rate during weekends, I'd be there. But it's much closer than I would have been in 2014.

    I considered picking up Ulysses from the bookstore where I picked up the Tolstoy and Polybius volumes, but decided to stick with easier reading to start with based on my reading rate in 2014. Having enjoyed the books I did pick up, I'm happy with that choice.

    In January I mentioned that I thought I might read the Decameron next; that hasn't happened, as I've opted for lighter (weight-wise) books that are more amenable to carrying in a backpack every day.
     
  2. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    It should be perfect, then. The Cold War was essentially the reason why Airlift Mobility Command has the resources and purpose it has today.

    Anyway, Counter Terrorism by Benoît Gomis is a monograph from the future (publication date of 2016, you tell me how that works) that covers the definition of terrorism, the dangers of overreacting to it, and policy recommendations to avoid said overreactions. A good introductory text.
     
  3. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    I'll look into it once I work down my current reading list a bit.

    Speaking of which, one more book has been completed!

    The Submerged State by Suzanne Mettler - The book's thesis is that government policies have been largely shifted from direct programs to indirect tax expenditures, which most citizens do not understand and most special interest lobbies are quite adept at manipulating. Thus, these government programs become "submerged" and hidden from view. She then looks at a few case studies from the Obama administration's efforts to reform the submerged state, particularly the student loan issue, where she thought the administration did a good job of reforming the system and communicating it to voters, and health care, where she thought the opposite.

    Parts of the book are a bit data-heavy and dry (tons of charts), so if you are looking for a light read I'd keep looking. However, I think I recommend it to people who want to understand the US government and the policy space where reform happens.
     
  4. Takhisis

    Takhisis daria dance party

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    I'm re-reading Stanislaw Lem's Tales of Cadet Pirx.
     
  5. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    The Rape of Nanking, part of a series on WW2. Unfortunately this is practically the only thing my public library has on the Sino-Japanese front, aside from a slight mention in Time-Life's The Rising Sun. I'm planning to borrow or purchase a couple of works to fill in the gaps...possibly Forgotten Ally or When Tigers Fight.
     
  6. Takhisis

    Takhisis daria dance party

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    …Or Tora, Tora, Tora!

    (seriously, the parts depicting the Japanese side are good for immersion. It's almost like another planet the first time you watch it.)
     
  7. Kozmos

    Kozmos Jew Detective

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    Distress by Greg Egan. He's becoming one of my favorite SF authors quickly.
     
  8. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    I rewatched it a couple of weeks ago. Right now, film wise, I'm halfway into Run Silent, Run Deep. Same theater, much different experience..
     
  9. Takhisis

    Takhisis daria dance party

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    No, I haven't watched that one.
     
  10. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Which of his stories have you read so far?

    (I admit I haven't yet read Distress. :shifty:)
     
  11. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    I love the holidays because I have time to read. Just finished Intuition by Allegra Goodman. It's fiction (dear god, I've read two fiction books recently, what's wrong with me?), describing a lab group associated with Harvard. One of the disgruntled post-docs manipulates his data to yield much more promising results to cure a type of cancer with a viral agent, but his ex (who is also a post-doc) figures it out.

    I enjoyed it, particularly because I recognized all the local landmarks. But also, the story is basically a grad student's worst nightmare.
     
  12. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    How's the science in that one?

    Anyway, Super-Resolution Microscopy Techniques in the Neurosciences, edited by Eugenio F. Fornasiero and Silvio O. Rizzoli. Title says it all.
     
  13. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    Going to see my parents at Christmas has become an excuse for me to pack in a section of last-minute reading before the New Year. :)
     
  14. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    When I was in Norway I read Hyperion by Dan Simmons. I started on my flight to Oslo, read it here and there on the trip (during downtime, before bed, during rainy days, etc.) and finished it on the flight back to Canada 5 weeks later. Very good book, I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. It's a very well written story with engaging characters and an interesting and thought provoking plot.

    I have the sequel, The Fall of Hyperion, and I am maybe 70 pages into it, but I haven't picked it up in months. I am probably going to have to re-read the beginning. It was engaging, but life happened.. or wait.. no.. it was just me being lazy.

    I also just asked for the other 2 books in the series for Christmas, so I should really get off my butt and find some time to read
     
  15. Kozmos

    Kozmos Jew Detective

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    Quarantine and Permutation City. I don't necessarily agree or understand completely with everything he writes, but damn he makes it interesting.
     
  16. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton How much Parmesan to put on your umbrella?

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    Have read a lot of mediocre fantasy/adventure stuff. The best book I recently read hasn't even been released in English, so little sense in mentioning it.
    However - I have a particular book to warn anyone from reading it.

    Terry Goodkind for sure produced the worst fantasy novel I have ever read. That "Terry Goodkind is the true inherent of J.R.R. Tolkien" graces the cover in silver letters has been a constant itch and juicy irony every since I started to read it.

    Without making any kind of cohesive effort I am going to guess by page 300 out of a thousand that he did everything awful and wrong one can do with a fantasy novel.

    Generic story of the chosen hero defeating the evil - Check

    Dull plot of travel group facing soulless easily replaceable monsters like in a computer game - Check.

    Stereotype dead template characters - Check
    - complete with dead template means to convey their emotions - for instance the warrior seems to automatically string up his muscles when anything carrying some kind of tension happens (not just a physical threat - which would barely make sense - but any kind of emotional tension). How convenient. And how utterly nonsensical.

    A consistently inter-personally forced narrative focusing on things such as how special a person is or how friendly different persons with each other are without any consideration for the the actual human condition and its complexities.

    And as an abjectly awful bonus: The author employees an by me never before seen style of telling whatever little trivial uninteresting and totally irrelevant thing is happening in a given scene in a series of choppy sentences.
    For instance: Telling me that somebody has a lamp on a table, while telling me in the next sentence that somebody removed that lamp from the table.
    Relevancy? Zero. Thanks for the info! It becomes easy to reach over 1000 pages this way.

    Besides this the novel is full of implausible character behavior in the service of the toddler-minded plot.

    The novel is called "Wizard's First Rule"

    What a piece of garbage.
     
  17. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    Do you mean Terry Goodkind? If so, there's a lot more wrong with his books than just writing fantasy clichés.
     
  18. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton How much Parmesan to put on your umbrella?

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    I do, have corrected it.
    And yes there is! But I couldn't have written a whole essay on it, I gathered.
    But I feel you refer to something else than the low literary quality?
     
  19. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    It's the increasingly heavy focus on Objectionist screed that is probably his main failing, where his hero-character starts to spend whole pages just yammering about how amazing fantasy Ayn Rand would be.
     
  20. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton How much Parmesan to put on your umbrella?

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    Just when I thought I couldn't be any more disdainful of his work.

    I knew something was off when I saw his weird portrait in the book cover.

    But being the open-minded guy I am, I wasn't stirred.
    If only.

    Feeble minds think alike, I suppose.
     
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