Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by EnglishEdward, Dec 16, 2019.
Author video blog: Patrick Rothfuss. Entertaining guy.
Yesterday, I finished reading:
J T Nicholas
It is a Sci-Fi book combinng:
(c) Evil Corporations
(d) Spacer heros.
Some of the characterisations seem a bit larger than life, but
it was alright, and once I got into it, I definitely wanted to finish it.
Apparently he is a bloke with glasses and a beard.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler (1989 New Canadian Library Edition, with afterword by David Carpenter that provides brief character and book analyses) is the story of the titular young Jewish boy's relentless pursuit of property. It deconstructs the notion of the self-made man, noting the importance of relationships with others. Simply written, the book is a moralistic tale of how those who coldly use others for their own gain are left alone in the end. Its rightful position as a classic of Canadian literature also owes much to how the book shows Jewish life in 1930s-1940s Quebec in a frank and humorous manner.
I finished reading a hundred years of solitude earlier today. It's quite a rollercoaster, and honestly a page-turner. I was kinda delighting in the magical realism stuff but like by the end it is very miserable.
In the end I feel it's a book about how everything is terrible. reading through most of it I didn't quite feel like the solitude theme, but by the end now and looking back I can feel it.
Also weird attitudes about sex, I suppose
Some of the old EC comics. I always liked their lineups like Tales from the Crypt. Also reading a book on a napoloeiac general name General Radszsky and his 1848 Italian campaign it’s heavy ready.
I had to read it ages ago for high school. Which of course means that, as happened with Borges, I'd have to reread it to really appreciate as anything other than a textbook.
Regarding the weird attitudes about sex, this is a part of the world in which men can get elected into office using ‘I am strong and heterosexual and deflower virgins’ for self-promotion without significant backlash.
I just put this book on hold at my local library:
Book of Proof by Richard Hammond is on mathematical proofs, covering techniques like direct, contrapositive, contradictory, and inductive proofs. Chapters on sets, logic, counting, relations, functions, and cardinality provide background and expansion. Exercises with included solutions illustrate the material well.
thats my jam
I assume you are reading this for a course of some kind.
No, just general interest.
Finished up Rome's Gothic Wars by Michael Kulikowski. Good overview of Rome's early interactions with "the Goths", and did a good job laying out the historiography behind the 'ethnogenesis' of the Goths. Kulikowski is a good writer and did an excellent job of illustrating how Alaric tried to work within the Roman structure; its a shame his book ends with Alaric's Sack of Rome in 410 and didn't go on to cover the establishment of the Gothic kingdom in Aquitaine. Nothing new compared to Heather and Halsall, and less discussion on historical concepts like the implications/ technical aspects of foedus than I would like, but still a good read. Recommend the book to anyone interested in the fall of the Roman Empire and are a put off by Halsall or Heather's early works.
It was interesting comparing this book to writings on the same topic by Peter Heather and Guy Halsall (they are Brits while Kulikowski is American). To use the Treaty of 382 (which 'resolved' the Gothic problem in Thrace following the military disaster at Adrianople) as an example, we have no surviving records of what the treaty looked like. We have some panegyric poems which reading between the lines show the treaty was not a clear Roman win, along with some scraps elsewhere and looking at what did happen. Halsall and Heather spend a lot of time trying to tease out what the terms of the treaty might have been, by looking at what unfolded and how Roman treaties often worked, along with reading between the lines of the panegyric poems. Kulikowski glosses over that with "No way for us to figure it out, so not going to bother trying". That might just be because this is an introductory text, but Kulikowski pulls a similar "No way to know, not going to waste time speculating" with the potential connection between the Weilbark and Chernjakov material cultures and the Goths. Heather spends a lot of time trying to demonstrate that although the account in the Getica is clearly nonsense, the proto-Goths potentially followed the Amber routes down the Dneiper and Vistula from eastern Poland to western Ukraine/Romania/Hungary where after interactions with the Roman state established the first Gothic Kingdom. (That narrative is dependent on viewing the Chernjakov material culture as being an outgrowth of Weilbark.) Kulikowski effectively says "Chernjakov drew from lots of other earlier material cultures, so take that Heather" without addressing the very real argument that population migrations do occur and that the Amber routes were developed enough by the Imperial period to see a proto-Gothic migration along them.
Starting on Science for Welfare and Warfare: Technology and State Initiative in Cold War Sweden, a compilation of essays on the use of state intervention in the Swedish economy to maintain an independent arms industry and domestic consumer goods sector - exemplified by Saab making both cars (welfare) and fighter jets (warfare).
Having nothing better to do, I have begun reading several books on Argentine history, including:
-María O'Donnell's Aramburu (2020), journalistic research into the kidnapping, ‘popular trial’ and ‘execution’ of general Aramburu in 1969, which was really a couple dozen young rich idiots (what would today be trust-fund children) proclaiming themselves to be fighting for freedom (as seen from an extreme rightwing ultra-Catholic lens), which authorised them to kidnap an old man who had been the head of a junta government a decade earlier, throw charges at him over the killing of political enemies and would-be coup performers, and then shoot him and bury him in a basement, all in the name of the people, and some of them to this day (quoting emails, WhatsApp and personal interviews) still claim it was the right thing to do and that it is not right to exclude them from the political party system. It goes on to later depict the path of the Montoneros organisation (the rich idiots in question) and how utterly… insane they were. Utterly. They would calmly bomb a house with children inside for the revolution, but wouldn't desecrate an actual corpse because that is not done.
The problem is that a part of them reconverted and preached the crap gospel that became today's insane ruling alliance that has become a big-tent party for flat-earthism, anti-vacciners, and various people who against ‘the western imperialistic consensus’.
Incidentally, they are the same group of little monsters who celebrated the attacks on the USA on September 11th, 2001 and hail the great leaderships of Muammar Gaddafi and Islamic Iran.
-General Lanusse's Mi testimonio (My testimony - 1977), his autobiographic account of the erratic ‘Argentine Revolution’ junta government (1966-73), which he eventually came to head. The first de facto president, General Onganía, was borderline insane. He really thought the time was ripe for a corporatist experiment and everyone would eventually understand him, if only they'd give him a few decades of absolute power. Up against him were the various extremisms: Soviet/Chinese-inspired leftwing revolutionaries, extreme rightwing Peronist militias such as the entryist Montoneros and the later-known AAA (Anti-imperialist/Anti-communist Argentine Alliance) whose only purpose was the return of exiled Nazi General Perón (ousted by Aramburu in 1955). Caught in between was civil society.
Eventually Lanusse himself toppled Onganía (a personal friend) when it became clear that Onganía had lost touch with factual reality and claimed to be ruling in the name of the Armed Forces while refusing to acknowledge their authority and threatening to relieve them of their posts. Lanusse took power personally in 1971 after General Levingston briefly acted as interrex and just held elections in 1972 and retired from public life until his death in 1996.
-Silvina Bullrich's Reunión de Directorio (Board meeting - 1955), not really a work of history but a thinly-veiled parody of the local governments who wanted to modernise people against their will and impose all sorts of self-aggrandising projects for the people's own good.
The above's just a sample, but what's painful is how all of the above is still in force. For over half a century the country has been mired in a backwards morass. After the 1966 attack on universities (Noche de los bastones largos) Argentina, which had already had 5 Nobel prizes IIRC (or 4 plus one in the making) has not produced any more Nobel prize winners except a peace prize winner, and he has since emulated Aung San Soo Kyi by doing his best to emulate them.
At the time Argentina had its lowest, single-digit poverty rate. Since then, successive crises have increased the country's poverty rate by 5 percentage points every time, on average, and one of the richest countries in the world has come to surpass 50% poverty twice (2002 and 2020, assuming statistics are believable) and taken 14 zeroes off its currency, as well as having curiously enriched some sections of its ruling class by amounts suspiciously correlative to the increase in the country's sovereign debt. Which has resulted, as well, in the country joining the rest of the region in being the most unequal part of the world as a block in terms of income and opportunities. The younger you are, the poorer you are.
And I can't get out. Soon I'll be Argentina's aronnax.
Sounds interesting, is the book in English?
It was just published in Spanish now during the ongoing quarantine. Which has long exceeded its literal meaning, because it'll be 150 days of shutdown. Perpetrated by the political descendants of the would-be totalitarian guerillas (who also said that they intended to kill up to a million people undesirable elements in order to reshape the country), or, in a few cases who were young enough back then to still be around today, the actual same.
So you'll have to wait for the translation.
Or get it in Spanish and practice.
Ended Count Belisarius by Robert Graves. I have no doubt that Mr Graves wasted a lot of time searching for info and creating a well documentes novel, but I found it tedious, i have not read this year a book wich I disliked more.
Started El último arpón (The last harpoon in English) by Gaizka Arostegi. A fiction novel about a guy in the XVII century from who escaping from a hitman, ended in Terranova in a basque whaling ship.
Heh. Quoted from Wikipedia: Count Belisarius is largely based on Procopius's History of Justinian's Wars and Secret History. However, Graves's treatment of his sources has been criticized by the historian Anthony Kaldellis, who writes that "There are many historical novels set in the early sixth century, but none can be recommended that are both historically accurate and well-written. R. Graves's Count Belisarius... is at least well-written."
I can not agree with well-written. I found it very tedious, we can blame the translation, though
I have started reading:
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Separate names with a comma.