Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 637188 times)

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Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8440 on: November 01, 2017, 09:31:44 AM »
Anne Bronte: Agnes Grey....


The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline LKB

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8442 on: November 03, 2017, 11:49:05 AM »
Blue Highways

William Least Heat Moon

Traveling,

LKB
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8443 on: November 06, 2017, 06:04:49 AM »


This must be the most defamatory book I've ever read about anything and anyone.

What does one learn from it? Well, many lovely things such as:

1. All along the 19th century, but with roots in its deepest history, the Russian society was a stultifying, soul-poisoning mixture of madhouse and prison, marked by extreme vicioussness, depravity and perversion of both mind and body in all social strata.

2. All Russian composers from Glinka to Medtner, with the possible but improbable exception of Borodin but including Scriabin, were:

(a) emotionally repressed / immature / unstable;

(b) unable or unwilling to initiate, nurture and preserve healthy relationships with women, be it as wives, mistresses or friends;

(b) either very effeminate or aggresively mysoginistic, both instances betokening either latent / repressed / inveterate homosexuality or impotence, in many cases probably both;

(c) heavy drinkers (all things considered, though, this appears as their lesser, even endearing, vice) and heavy masturbators;

(c) damned if they did, damned if they didn't: Mussorgsky was freakish for drinking himself to death, but so was Balakirev for being a teetotaller; Mussorgsky (again; for Bowers he is clearly the poster boy for everything that was physically repugnant and morally repulsive in Imperial Russia) is chastised for willingly mingling with, and greatly enjoying the company of, the lowest scums, while Taneyev is reprimanded for being austere, polite and pudic.

3. The famous piano teacher Nikolai Zverev was actually an inveterate pederast for whom the piano lessons were only so many opportunities to pervert his innocent pupils (among his victims, Scriabin himself but also Rachmaninoff, Igumnov and Goldenweiser).

And all this marvelous stuff is scattered through the introductory chapters only. I guess, and expect, that the chapters dedicated to Scriabin proper will reveal more information.  ;D

One cannot help but wonder: how could such miserable, wretched and (depending on the readers' own moral stance) either despicable or pitiful human beings, fit rather for the mental asylum than for the salons, social circles and concert halls where they spent their lives,  have composed at all, let alone compose such music as they have composed.  :o

Seriously now, the book is funny (pun) in its own peculiar way.  :laugh:
Music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.. - Mozart

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8444 on: November 06, 2017, 12:03:42 PM »
An excellent history of the "hillbilly" music of North Carolina, Virginia and the Piedmont area.  Tells a lot of the settlement and economic history of this region as well as focusing on the musicians and music from the turn of the 20th century to post-WWII country music.



Good book and great music !
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline LKB

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8445 on: November 06, 2017, 02:25:13 PM »
I read that ages ago, but remember liking it.

I did as well, when it was a bestseller in the early '80's. But l don't think l finished it the first time, as l was easily distracted in those years. I probably abandoned it for the latest Niven-Pournelle opus...

In any case, Moon/Trogden gives the personalities he encounters the respect they deserve, even those who serve more as comic relief than as a source of local info or color. It is very much the successor of Travels with Charley, though the author's intent and motivations differ significantly from Steinbeck.

I recommend Blue Highways to anyone and everyone who enjoys reading in English.

Wandering,

LKB
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 02:29:52 PM by LKB »
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

Spineur

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8446 on: November 08, 2017, 12:22:35 PM »
Got myself a copy of this year Goncourt prize



It is the story of compromision: how the Krups, the Schindler, the Pecht met in 1933 to decide what they should do about the rise national socialism party.  This leads into to all the austrian compromisions when the Anschlutz came.

This still seems as relevant today as it was.

Also got Claudio Magris most recent book Blameless



Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8447 on: November 09, 2017, 04:43:56 AM »

Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy
by Jeffrey Meyers

Tell me more!

Thread Duty:

The autobiography of the extraordinary (and extraordinarily witty) Philip Proctor:

Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8448 on: November 09, 2017, 05:44:46 AM »
Jeffrey Meyers was one of the authors who contributed to the recent PBS film on Poe and I enjoyed his interview segments.  He displayed a sense of humor and casualness about Poe which brought a freshness to the subject.  I, like many other Americans, have grown up with Poe's poetry and tales -
 having read them in grade school - and somewhat taking him for granted.  While watching the film it occurred to me that Poe, the person, had become obscured by the myth and legend.

Meyer's biography is well done, imo, and since most of the others were decades old, I decided to read his.  Poe's upbringing was tragic, having lost three maternal figures to early deaths in less than two years, the experience left an indelible mark on his psyche.  Of course he was self-destructive as well.  I was also interested in revisiting Poe since reading the book on Mallarme who revered Poe's work, as did many French writers at the time.  My impression is that Poe was more famous and acknowledged in France than the US, surely that was the case during his lifetime.

If you are interested in Poe beyond the literature, watch the film and/or read this book.  The film was a bit melodramatic at times and your reaction to the actor playing Poe will determine whether you would enjoy it more or less.  The book, however, is a good read with no distracting aspects.

Exactly what I was hoping, Poe was one my earliest literary loves . . . and a sane bio has been wanted for a long time, it seems.

(. . . and then, to be sure, I wandered to the University of Virginia, which maintains a kind of Poe shrine adjacent to The Lawn.)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Online Alberich

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8449 on: November 10, 2017, 01:10:51 PM »
Has anyone else read Herman Melville's "Mardi: and a Voyage Thither"? I'm re-reading it for second time and enjoy the book immensely. Sure the plot gives eventually way to philosophical ponderings but considering how greatly portrayed those ponderings are, the plot derailment doesn't bother me that much. Plus the scenery, as the protagonists travel across Mardi, is absolutely gorgeous.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline NikF

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8450 on: November 12, 2017, 11:03:46 AM »
Unforgivable Blackness - a biography of Jack Johnson, by Geoffrey C. Ward.



A tentative start to unpacking boxes of books has revealed a number of books I'd forgotten I bought.
"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Offline NikF

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8451 on: November 14, 2017, 07:51:54 AM »
My book guy knows that the condition described as a 'reading copy' doesn't mean I'll refuse to buy.

"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8452 on: November 14, 2017, 09:24:07 AM »
Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy
by Jeffrey Meyers

This is good, I am inhaling it.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8453 on: November 14, 2017, 09:31:23 AM »
second Stephen King book I have read (The Shining was the other), entertaining enough and much creepier than the 80s adaptation (have not seen the new movie) The descriptions of characters inner thoughts get tedious (surprise, the bully kid is beaten by his father).



Interesting guy, who rediscovered Boolean logic and developed the basis for digital computing while still a grad student



Both a debunking of alot of traditional rules of thumb (like pitcher wins and saves being worthless stats) and  a look at modern analytics where teams like the Astros are employing comp science PhDs to digest the terabytes of game data now available


Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8454 on: November 14, 2017, 10:18:05 AM »
second Stephen King book I have read (The Shining was the other), entertaining enough and much creepier than the 80s adaptation (have not seen the new movie) The descriptions of characters inner thoughts get tedious (surprise, the bully kid is beaten by his father).



Interesting, thanks.  The summer that I worked at the Viking-Penguin return center (then in East Rutherford, NJ) this was The Big Title.  I never read it (i.e., never read It) . . . have been idly curious, but never curious enough to, you know, read the book.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8455 on: November 14, 2017, 10:19:08 AM »
Further parenthesis:  that was the summer (and the place) that I discovered T. Coraghessan Boyle.  I still love Water Music inordinately.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8456 on: November 18, 2017, 01:20:27 AM »
Finished:



Started:


Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8457 on: November 18, 2017, 03:11:31 AM »
Francis MacManus: The Greatest of These....


The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Offline Todd

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8458 on: November 18, 2017, 07:29:47 AM »



Harlow Giles Unger's First Founding Father, about Richard Henry Lee, of the Northern Neck Lees, back when Virginia politics really mattered.  Unger specializes in bios of Founding Fathers, including The Last Founding Father James Monroe, as well James Quincy Adams, one of the most impressive political personages in US history, if not a particularly good president.  The only other Unger work I've read is the JQA bio, and this book has the same easy familiarity with the subject matter as that one.  It's fairly slim at only 258 text pages, but it quickly and efficiently conveys pertinent information and leaves out fluff.  The story of the era is well known, of course, but some of the additional details are most useful, and the inclusion of the complete Leedstown Resolves from 1766 is a nice touch.  One also gets to read the final portion of Patrick Henry's most famous speech in context, and one can't help but notice that the name George Washington pops up a lot.  My only gripe is how the author frequently cites what certain things cost and then attempts to put a modern price tag on it, which is neither accurate nor necessary.  I should probably get that Monroe book.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

kishnevi

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8459 on: November 20, 2017, 06:57:14 PM »
I may be visiting Gettysburg this spring, and having never read a dedicated account of the battle, have found a few books to fuel my knowledge. First off was this one, which I just finished tonight

At times a moment by moment account, almost homeric in tone by the time it reaches Pickett's Charge, trying to set the whole campaign in the context of the war's politics and strategy, and carries through to Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg address. He tries to skewer a few sacred cows along the way, too. It's very detailed-- perhaps to the point of confusion--but certainly gives a clear picture of how the battle was almost a disastrous defeat for the North. The Union army in essence just barely outlasted the Confederate assaults--but that was enough to decimate Lee's army and ensure the rest of the war was fought on Southern territory and Northern terms.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 07:01:58 PM by Jeffrey Smith »