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Author Topic: So what have you read lately  (Read 964290 times)
baleful_regards
Imperfect Uncertainty: Guardian of indecision is a
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« Reply #3840 on: December 18, 2012, 9:26:27 PM »

Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue. Just finished it. Not sure if I liked it or loved it.

I read this ages ago. I didn't like it at first...but honestly I recall far more about it than some books I loved.

This indicates ( for me) that it was a powerful read.
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marlborough
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« Reply #3841 on: December 19, 2012, 2:53:43 AM »

I can recommend Andrew Miller's Pure as a solid historical novel--young engineer in 1788 Paris is sent to empty the Les Innocents cemetery and ends up destabilizing the whole neighborhood.  Very 18th century, and not shy about the smells and chamber pots and unpleasant life details.  Kind of like the movie Ridicule, if you liked that one.    
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 2:54:22 AM by marlborough » Logged
llanfair
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Whither Canada?


« Reply #3842 on: December 19, 2012, 8:27:30 PM »

My dad, of all people (think skeptical, non-religious engineer) sent me Eben Alexander's Proof of Heaven.  I zipped through it last night - it's a quick read - and found it both interesting and believeable.  It jives a lot with the SO's near-death experience (car accident) 25 years ago.
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Stop looking for zebras when the horse is already standing on your foot.
history_grrrl
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« Reply #3843 on: December 20, 2012, 2:27:41 AM »

Confession time. I haven't finished Geraldine Brooks' March , dammit, because I paused to read a book lent to me by a local shopkeeper. I've gotten tired of my giant "to-do" piles, so I picked up the damn book and read it (so I could finally return it). The book is called . . . ummm . . . something like The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It's written by the same guy who wrote a book called Tuesdays with Morrie, which was urged on me by a colleague a few years back (I never read it). Both of these people are middle-aged white guys. Is there something about this author that appeals to that demographic? And, has anyone else read this guy's (whose name I can't remember and don't feel like looking up) stuff? I guess it's supposed to be some kind of armchair philosophy, but otherwise I can't think of how to describe it. What's the appeal?
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arizona
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« Reply #3844 on: December 20, 2012, 9:19:26 PM »

Confession time. I haven't finished Geraldine Brooks' March , dammit, because I paused to read a book lent to me by a local shopkeeper. I've gotten tired of my giant "to-do" piles, so I picked up the damn book and read it (so I could finally return it). The book is called . . . ummm . . . something like The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It's written by the same guy who wrote a book called Tuesdays with Morrie, which was urged on me by a colleague a few years back (I never read it). Both of these people are middle-aged white guys. Is there something about this author that appeals to that demographic? And, has anyone else read this guy's (whose name I can't remember and don't feel like looking up) stuff? I guess it's supposed to be some kind of armchair philosophy, but otherwise I can't think of how to describe it. What's the appeal?

His name is Mitch Albom. I've never read any of his books, but I know people who have. Most of them thought it was deep, man. 

The Five People You Meet in Heaven was eagerly consumed and discussed by my sister-in-law and all her friends--think college-educated women who all aspired to (and eventually did) move to the same suburban area in which they grew up to become homemakers.
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mickeymantle
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« Reply #3845 on: December 24, 2012, 8:15:07 PM »


Joseph Epstein, Essays in Biography.  A 600+ page collection of the author's biographical essays, some excellent (on George Washington, Henry Adams, and Henry James, for example), a few irrelevant (Henry Luce?), and a few axe-grinding (enough about how Saul Bellow was supposedly a flawed novelist and decrepit human being.)

Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve.  I tend to be skeptical of the winners for the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction (overrated?), but Greenblatt's account of how Renaissance humanists rescued Lucretius's On the Nature of Things from oblivion is not only fascinating because of the ancient text (which I read recently and enjoyed) but also extremely well-written.

Jeremy Gray. Henri Poincare: A Scientific Biography.  Princeton University Press has been recently releasing an excellent series of biographies on scientists, and this one relates Poincare's multifaceted career in an accessible way.
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #3846 on: December 25, 2012, 8:33:06 AM »

Confession time. I haven't finished Geraldine Brooks' March , dammit, because I paused to read a book lent to me by a local shopkeeper. I've gotten tired of my giant "to-do" piles, so I picked up the damn book and read it (so I could finally return it). The book is called . . . ummm . . . something like The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It's written by the same guy who wrote a book called Tuesdays with Morrie, which was urged on me by a colleague a few years back (I never read it). Both of these people are middle-aged white guys. Is there something about this author that appeals to that demographic? And, has anyone else read this guy's (whose name I can't remember and don't feel like looking up) stuff? I guess it's supposed to be some kind of armchair philosophy, but otherwise I can't think of how to describe it. What's the appeal?

His name is Mitch Albom. I've never read any of his books, but I know people who have. Most of them thought it was deep, man. 

The Five People You Meet in Heaven was eagerly consumed and discussed by my sister-in-law and all her friends--think college-educated women who all aspired to (and eventually did) move to the same suburban area in which they grew up to become homemakers.

I read both those books because I generally read most things that spend some time on the new books shelves in the small local public library of whatever town I am currently residing.  I agree with Arizona about the appeal.  People who enjoyed college and got through by reading a few books, writing boilerplate discussions, and skimming those B's and C's at a directional branch college get to relive that level of discourse through reading books like Albom writes.  Those ideas are deep to people who don't generally think too much about anything.  The appeal is that the ideas are written in readily accessible language and aren't very threatening to many people's worldviews.  The payoff is a feeling of an intellectual experience without much of the painfully hard work associated with confronting one's deeply held beliefs or wrestling with very foreign ideas.
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llanfair
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Whither Canada?


« Reply #3847 on: December 25, 2012, 11:17:41 AM »

I've nearly finished The Abacus and the Cross: The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages by Nancy Marie Brown.  It's about Gerbert of Aurillac, who became the "Scientist Pope", Sylvester II.  A great read!
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prof_smartypants
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You're getting hosed by small minds with no game.


« Reply #3848 on: December 25, 2012, 12:27:00 PM »

I finished The Alienist. It was OK. I can see why it is popular with folks in my field, but it isn't my normal fare, and I doubt I will read the sequel.

Speaking of sequels, I am reading I am the Chosen King, which is the (so far), very strong sequel to The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick. Very cool books about Saxon England that you historical fiction buffs would really like.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!
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qrypt
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I just LOVE that VOICE. It's so NICE


« Reply #3849 on: December 25, 2012, 1:32:46 PM »


Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead -- really absorbing.  I bought it because she had an op-ed in (I think) the NY Times, and the writing was so good that buying the book was a no-brainer.  Very much living up to expectations. 
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tinyzombie
She of the Badass Abs, and a
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elevate from this point on - chuck d


« Reply #3850 on: December 25, 2012, 1:34:18 PM »


Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead -- really absorbing.  I bought it because she had an op-ed in (I think) the NY Times, and the writing was so good that buying the book was a no-brainer.  Very much living up to expectations. 

I have been wondering if I'd like it - now I will definitely check it out.

I'm almost done The Paris Wife. It's a bit long. I think I like it more than some reviewers have.
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mickeymantle
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« Reply #3851 on: December 26, 2012, 11:27:23 AM »


Finished all 13 hours of the 1981 Brideshead miniseries, and I'm glad I did.  A few longeurs, but what superb writing and acting.  Anthony Andrews unfortunately never had the career that Jeremy Irons enjoyed.

As for the novel, while superbly written, I prefer Waugh the social satirist rather than Waugh the conservative defender.
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llanfair
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Whither Canada?


« Reply #3852 on: December 26, 2012, 12:42:43 PM »

... I am reading I am the Chosen King, which is the (so far), very strong sequel to The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick. Very cool books about Saxon England that you historical fiction buffs would really like.

I loved both those books.  The sequel was even better than the first!
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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #3853 on: December 26, 2012, 3:32:52 PM »

I just finished Isaac's Storm, a look at the 1900 Galveston hurricane that focuses on several people in the city and the then-US Weather Bureau. The blurbs make it seem like the whole arrangement of the USWB changed because of this storm, but the book fails to deliver on discussing that count. It does do a very good job of detailing the storm in vivid fashion while providing the historical narrative of the storm. Weather and true-adventure buffs (as well as old navigators, like me) would enjoy this book, IMO.
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neutralname
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« Reply #3854 on: December 26, 2012, 6:20:25 PM »

I read an advance copy of a book about young adult professional women, who apparently have difficulty taking risks in relationships and asserting their agency in ways that make their lives whole.  It was a fun read, but it doesn't seem that surprising.  I can't help wonder whether the publisher (a university press) wasn't at least partly motivated by the fact that the book contains plenty of interviews of young women talking freely about their sex lives. I mean, would a university press publish a book examining how older men continue to struggle with their identities as providers for their families in the modern world? 
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"My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music." Vladimir Nabokov
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