Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 620695 times)

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Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8460 on: November 22, 2017, 12:07:55 PM »
A friend’s (someone I have indeed met) recent Facebook update:

“Let’s drive to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.”

And one reply:

“Yup... We’re still stuck just on the other side of the GW Bridge.... Oi, what were we thinking, driving NYC the day before Thanksgiving??”
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 #8461 on: November 27, 2017, 09:36:01 PM »
Finished:



Absolutely brilliant. Possibly the best book I've read this year.

Started:


Offline LKB

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8462 on: November 27, 2017, 10:56:49 PM »
After a detour of several days to read James Clavell's Shogun, I'm back to Blue Highways. Hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow.

Weaving,

LKB
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

Offline Crudblud

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8463 on: December 03, 2017, 03:39:21 PM »
More Die of Heartbreak by Saul Bellow

I rather enjoyed it. Reminded me quite a lot of Philip Roth, but maybe a bit warmer, if you like. Of course, I know Bellow came first.

Offline -abe-

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8464 on: December 04, 2017, 12:37:06 AM »
I finished reading Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March a few months ago. It held my interest to the end (it's a long book) but it seemed to fall apart at the end.

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8465 on: December 04, 2017, 01:38:04 AM »
Beowulf....


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

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8466 on: December 04, 2017, 02:43:40 AM »
For me, so many books: so little time  :'( :'(  :(

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8467 on: December 04, 2017, 06:14:28 AM »
Enjoyable fantasy series, original world with a story and characters that do not stray too far from the normal tropes of the genre

Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline Todd

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8468 on: December 05, 2017, 07:00:54 AM »



Having read bios of three of McKinley's most important subordinates - TR, Root, and Hay - and with a new bio out, I thought it was about time to read up on the third president to be assassinated and the first proper imperialist to occupy the White House.  Well researched and a nice one-volume length of 488 text pages, Mr Merry's bio flows along nicely enough and covers the big issues in sufficient detail (eg, tariff issues, monetary issues, McKinley’s war service, US imperialism in its early stages).  I've not made it through all the imperialist portions yet, but based on the solid coverage so far, I have a pretty strong idea of what those chapters will be like.  The relative brevity of the book does mean that coverage of McKinley’s tenure as Governor of Ohio is breezy, with more focus on the financial scandal he faced, but even in its brevity, the book takes a stab at rehabilitating Mark Hanna and covers recurring themes in US politics: the prevalence of gerrymandering, demonstrated by the fact that McKinley’s district was changed pretty much every two years by Dems; nasty infighting among Republicans; insurgent groups inside the Republican Party; the flexible use of non-treaty tools to pursue foreign policy objectives, here the annexation of Hawaii; martial provocations, with sending the USS Maine to Havana Harbor reminiscent of Polk sending Zachary Taylor to the Rio Grande; and deliciously nasty personal attacks against political foes, exemplified by TR’s attack on William Jennings Bryan, something nearly Trumpian in nature, though much longer than 140 or 280 characters.  Also, McKinley's first presidential campaign was the first one that can be considered modern, with targeted mass-mailing and a professional organization.  This is one thing that attracted Karl Rove to McKinley and spurred him to write his own book, but I wasn't so interested in that one.

I'm not convinced that McKinley can be called the architect of the American Century - no one person can, of course - but he was more important than is usually mentioned.  While reading, it became evident that my long interest in reading bios of some less well known figures from the era needs to expand.  I need to get my hands on a good Cleveland bio (Robert McElroy's just will not do), a good one on Hayes, and one on James Blaine (Neil Rolde’s Continental Liar from the State of Maine: James G. Blaine is already on my wish list). 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Crudblud

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8469 on: December 05, 2017, 07:53:34 AM »
I finished reading Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March a few months ago. It held my interest to the end (it's a long book) but it seemed to fall apart at the end.
Heartbreak is my first time reading Bellow, so I can't comment much on his other work. In a sort of "comic realist" fashion, it ends on a deliberately unsatisfying note, I think.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8470 on: December 05, 2017, 08:05:04 AM »
I plan to start this one tommorow:



James Joyce - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The golden mean, the truth, is no longer recognized or valued. To win applause one must write stuff so simple that a coachman might sing it, or so incomprehensible that it pleases simply because no sensible man can comprehend it. - Mozart

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8471 on: December 05, 2017, 10:24:53 AM »
I plan to start this one tommorow:



James Joyce - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In Romanian?  wonder how it translates
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8472 on: December 06, 2017, 12:06:53 AM »
I can't imagine anyone not finding Finnegans Wake incomprehensible - not that that should stop everyone from enjoying it, of course.


Trying to logistify it in traditional terms will inevitably result in that conclusion but the truth is that the book is so dense (with every kind of word-play I know of + ). Plus the way that it treats time, in a non-linear way, how there are so many timelines mirroring each other at the same time and how these stories are constantly repeating themselves in different ways - akin to a fractal), combined with the constant references (and jokes too!) is a complete mindfuck. But a good mindfuck is good and this mindfuck in particular is an amazing one)

It's reputation (as it's often classified as an "avant garde" book) has resulted in three fascinating frames of thought to do with how people interpret it:

A. It's random (which is a bullshit assertion, but an understandable first reaction for seeing a page from it for the first time)
B. It is completely open to interpretation (outside of general subjectivity) but not random
C. It has a definite story but nobody has worked it out (or the reader is unaware of the re-evaluated consensus on that)


But there are lots of scholarly analysis books (one of them being Joseph Campbell's famous Skeleton Key), that offer lots of insight. And I think Crudblud is right in saying that nobody has agreed to a single interpretation of the overall story, despite the structural devises I mentioned above. Yet, that is kind of a contradictory thing, when first of all, it's not a singular (there are many parallel, multiple) linear story to begin with.


Aside from the technical stuff, it is the most equally entertaining and profound book I think I've read (in general western literature) and it's a book that is impossible to exhaust.  :-*


p.s. if there are any other Joyce fans around, I salute you  :D
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 12:13:36 AM by Le Moderniste »

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8473 on: December 06, 2017, 05:21:38 AM »
I am re-reading this:



While reading this in parallel:

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 k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8474 on: December 07, 2017, 06:56:09 AM »
I am re-reading this:



And this is the review I have just posted on Amazon:

The Fortune Cookie That Got Away

It isn’t enough to say, this is the More Sugar you’ve clamored for all these years. We’ve all yearned for that second tub of slaw, and here the justly celebrated and certified pre-cloned Philip Proctor has drawn the curtain at last to reveal the flaming Ford.

Has he told us too much? You’ll never know until you follow the yellow rubber line to your seat. As we begin reading this Psychic, Psurrealistic Pstory with all its rich detail, the author’s winning, humane tone (which grounds the elemental force of his quicksilver sense of humor), and with the seemingly inexhaustible cast with which the stage of his life has been peopled, the good Proctor’s head-spinning autobiographical no-regrets vignettes have us by the thrusters.

My mind, too, by design owes more to the 4 or 5 Crazy Guys than my analyst could, without violating confidences, attest to, let alone relate. Had I stumbled upon the vast alien warehouse in which my several grammar schools have been tidily crated & stacked (and I know they have, I just haven’t found the warehouse yet) the awe thus inspired would scarcely vie with the candid tour of his life whereon Phil P. leadeth us.

In writing his stories and novels, P.G. Wodehouse arranged his narrative so that the reader would be sure to find a laugh on every page. Mr. Proctor does this, and more; for I find not only amusement on each page, but something educative, as well. (“Unless you’re careful,” as my late Dad was wont to say, “you’ll learn something new every day.”)

With all good-faith attempt not to spoil anything for anyone – nowhere else, but in Gospodin Proctor’s non-noir memoir, have I learnt:  the real purpose of Soviet-era movie-houses;  the flight path of Og’s pants;  the true story behind “Yale Distorts”;  how a theatrical professional copes with the irresistible reflex provoked by the appearance of a cross-eyed cat wrangler;  just how tough Vaughn Meader’s luck was;  the product which an industry paid out $650K to bury forever – “Nasal Hipstick”;  and much else which propriety and fairness to the author suggests I ought to leave it to you, Gentle Reader, to buy the book and find out for your own self.

All right, so I’ve absorbed a great load of learning, and was amused practically beyond human endurance in the process, but is it any use?  Is anything any use?  As Bartholomew Fayrsijn, the great Phleggmish philosopher and mutton confectioner argued, “Just dig a hole deep enough, and if you’re not in orbit in those dark times then, when will you ever be?  Folk you, too.”  Sure, you could be sealed in a steel box just like Nino, but what chance do you stand of thinking your way out again, if you don’t read this book?  Twenty years later, and it will still knock you out.

From here, the story is visualization.  Reading this book did what I asked of it, but it did far more, and we’re still trying to put the kitchen garden back in order, a week later.  What did I expect of the book?  That it would fill me in on the History, Linear and Otherwise, of The Firesign Theatre;  that it would instruct me in a great deal else of Philip Proctor’s activity, at least of all that has so far been declassified;  and that I would know more of Phil (I call him “Phil,” though he’ll wring my neck if he catches me at it) as a person, as a Mensch, как человек, as a result.  Well, seekers, I have been informed, at my hotel.  I was re-grooved, without the need of being taken away, no zizzing or dripping.  But if I expected a Groupon for appetizers for two and a pitcher of apple-cinnamon mojitos at Ernie’s Chock-o’-Taqueria in San Clamarón, well, I’ve got another think coming, and I can wait.

If I have not yet left you with the semi-delible impression that this is the best book I have read this year, let me conclude with the straightest poop of all, an instance of instant inspiration from one of innumerable, hefty slices of life under which this literary pie plate groans so copiously.  We learn that Phil’s maternal grandmother’s family, the Stivers (this is in the chapter which, in an unauthorized pirate edition, was headed “Encounter in Goshen”) were makers of furniture and coffins.  In a flash, it was revealed to me:  And what is a coffin, but the last piece of furniture you’ll ever need?”

I read this book (I first saw it in the author’s own hands, not in vain but in Washington, D.C.), I love it – the book, not the District – and I encourage any of you who can still read, at any time when you come down out of the tree where you’ve sat to learn how to play the flute, to read it and love it yourselves.

Read it, love it, read it again.

Karl Henning
Boston, Mass.

[The substitution Folk was made because the original text caused the Amazon algorithm to reject the review at first.]
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

kishnevi

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8475 on: December 07, 2017, 08:34:19 PM »

Offline LKB

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8476 on: December 07, 2017, 10:06:41 PM »
Space Chronicles by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

Offline milk

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8477 on: December 08, 2017, 01:10:59 AM »

Offline nodogen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8478 on: December 11, 2017, 12:59:07 AM »
A Guide to the Good Life (the Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)

- William B. Irvine

A very readable introduction to Stoic philosophy. Stoicism is a very practical, rational, suck-it-up philosophy of life and Irvine tries to show how it is still as relevant today as it ever was in times past. I'm not fully on-board with all of it, but then Stoicism expects critical thinking ☺️



« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 01:03:05 AM by nodogen »

Offline Alberich

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8479 on: December 11, 2017, 07:17:17 AM »
Just ordered Wilkie Collins's "No Name". I can't wait to get my hands on it, The Moonstone was absolutely wonderful.
"Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars."
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