What Book Are You Reading?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Matz Contributor

    Matz

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    Rural Southern Virginia
    #6751
    On Writing is one of my favorite King books; and it’s unlike any book on writing that I have read.

    You hit the nail on the head. Laziness is probably the single largest source of friction on my path to meaningful change. So I’m taking the approach of re-reading GTD with the idea of making incremental changes over time, rather than the all or nothing fantasy I held on to when I was younger.
    A seminal book, imho. Probably next on my list to re-read after GTD.
     
  2. Mefisto macrumors 6502a

    Mefisto

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    #6752
    Started reading Mortimer J. Adler's "How to Read a Book" yesterday. Or rather the revised edition he worked on with Charles Van Doren. I got it as a gift some time ago and haven't gotten to it before now.

    I still chuckle when picking up and reading a book on how to read a book. I think it'll turn out that this one will warrant a reread when I'm done, maybe a couple. Which will possibly lead to me rereading all of the books on my shelf.
     
  3. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

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    #6753
    Yep, I keep re-reading and using it. His newest book ("Digital Minimalism") is also a very good complement to it.
     
  4. JamesMike macrumors demi-god

    JamesMike

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    #6754
    I finished " Churchill: Walking with Destiny". This was one of the easiest histories reads in spite of being over 1000 pages in a long time. The author, Andrew Roberts, did a fine job of portraying Churchill quills and all. It is on my short list of books worth reading again.
     
  5. Gutwrench, Apr 28, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019

    Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #6755
    The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 28, 2019 ---

    Have you read; Churchill, The Power of Words (Gilbert)? I enjoyed it very much. Btw, I don’t think any book on Churchill is < 1000 pgs. Haha.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 28, 2019 ---
    Googling.
     
  6. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
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    Texas
    #6756
    Room to Dream by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna (2018).
    I seldom - if ever - read books by and about movie/arts celebrities, but I do credit Mr. David Lynch's work with changing my life twice. Room to Dream is Lynch's biography and autobiography all in one; I found it very interesting, and it gave me some understanding of his mentality and process. A good book on a mind that knows how to think different.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. AngerDanger, Apr 29, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019

    AngerDanger macrumors 601

    AngerDanger

    Joined:
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    #6757
    I'm rereading a piece of historical… science-fiction(?) that I read in my early teens. I member thinking it had to be my favorite book of all time, and I wanted to see if that appraisal was accurate a decade later. It is.

    40293.jpg

    In a utopian future, historians have the technology to view the past as one would watch a movie. One new acceptant into the Pastwatch program performs the requisite practice of tracing her lineage back generation by generation, but she becomes fixated on her ancestors' enslavement, publishing papers on the lives of slaves rather than prominent historical figures.

    She is appointed leader of a new group focused solely on slavery when a coworker shows her something he's found: right before their violent death at the hands of European invaders, a pair of Mesoamericans have a vision that they're being watched, describing the two historians' physical appearances.

    This plot is intercut with the story of Christopher Columbus' rise to prominence from his childhood as the son of a Genovan weaver who aspires to nobility, his near death experience out at sea, to his inexplicable decision to sail west. The main historian, her coworker, their eventual daughter, a cantankerous historian famed for his discovery of the actual Noah's ark event, and a newbie whose ideas were were rejected by the rest of Pastwatch (he believed he had evidence that there was a technically advanced Mesoamerican culture that conquers an alternate Europe weakened by a series of crusades) all try to determine what—if anything—can be done to remold history.

    It's such a complicated narrative very well told. Not only does the author make it easy to understand the logistics of the plot, but he handles the humanity of it very well. I empathize with all parties and feel a sense of tension, knowing how decisions described in Columbus' story will play out and how deeply Pastwatch historians care about possibly sacrificing their utopia for the sake of a better past. Columbus' tenacity and desire to navigate the unknown is mirrored in Diko's (the main historian's daughter) drive to to do the same—temporally rather than spatially.

    I'd highly recommends Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: the Redemption of Christopher Columbus.


    Ooh, I might have to check that one out. :)
     
  8. RootBeerMan macrumors 65816

    RootBeerMan

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    #6758
    Pastwatch was a great book. Pretty much the last good thing Card wrote before he went off the deep end. As you said, it was a complex story and had great characterisations. One of my favourites.

    Right now I am about halfway through Terry Pratchett's "Pyramids". Yet another highly amusing Discworld novel. I've never run across a bad one!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #6759
    Sounds like an interesting read and one that I would like to explore

    On to another free book... The Three Musketeers
    I wondered if this book would hold my attention, but early on, it definitely has
     
  10. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6760
    Philippe Sands: East West Street - On The Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.
     
  11. Sword86 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    #6761
    First Blood. The Battle of Kasserine Pass 1943 by Charles Whiting
     
  12. millerj123 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    #6762
    [​IMG]
    Something MYTH Inc. Robert Asprin wasn't kidding. I loved this series back in the '80s, but now I'm mostly reading them for completeness than anything else. At least they are short and fast.
     
  13. Dave Meadows macrumors 68040

    Dave Meadows

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    #6763
    Just started this. A recommendation from my sister.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Scepticalscribe, May 2, 2019
    Last edited: May 2, 2019

    Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

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    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #6764
    An interesting read (and the second book in the trilogy has been published, sometime last year, I think) , but - to be honest - not a patch of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. But then, nothing much could be.

    The other thing I have noticed is the portrayal of some of the female characters is a lot less impartially generous than was the case in Captain Corelli, or in some of his other earlier works (even if some of the female characters were treated horribly).

    There is an edge, a sharpness, to the rendition of their characters, (it becomes especially pronounced in the second book) which I am sure is unconscious, but which I am equally certain may well have some roots in the somewhat acrimonious way his own marriage ended.

    Now, "Notwithstanding" - a series of short stories set over a period of decades in an English village (okay, very Home Counties) is different; bitter-sweet, yet heart-warming.
     
  15. pachyderm macrumors 603

    pachyderm

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    Smyrna, TN
    #6765
    I love the title.
     
  16. RootBeerMan macrumors 65816

    RootBeerMan

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    Jan 3, 2016
    #6766
    I loved the MYTH, Inc series! Asprin was such a good writer who could write comedic fiction really well. I was sorry to hear about his death.

    And, speaking of deceased author...I am currently reading Robert Conroy's Alt-History novel "Rising Sun", where the US Pacific forces lost the battle of Midway and Japan was dominating that war. So far, so good! Conroy was a master, along with Harry Turtledove, of Alternate History and I have really enjoyed all of his works that I have read!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

    Joined:
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    Catskill Mountains
    #6767
    Melinda Gate's book The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.


    Melina Gates Moment of LIft - cover art.jpg


    Pretty good read. Could seem a stroke of good luck for the planet that she and Bill Gates ran into each other on the job and eventually got married and somehow turned into a couple of the world's better known philanthropists... but it wasn't just luck.

    Today Melinda Gates is widely viewed as one of those people who ends up "making a difference" but she had a couple of women back in her high school days who made a huge difference for her as a student at a pair of Roman Catholic high schools in Texas, an arrangement where the boys came to the girls' campus to take typing classes and the girls went to the boys' campus for math and science. But a teacher, a Mrs. Bauer, reached into her own pocket and time to go take computing courses at night so she could help 600 girls learn how to make use of 5 Apple II+ computers and one thermal printer... equipment that Mrs. Bauer had arm-twisted the principal, Sister Rachel, into somehow finding money for in the budget for the girls' school.

    And so the future Mrs. William Gates was off to higher education that included a bachelors in computer science and an MBA from Duke... perfect for landing a slot at the then startup outfit Microsoft where she worked for almost a decade. There have been jokes over the years about how she rescued Bill Gates from being just a wealthy and somewhat scruffy geek, but however their philanthropic interests developed, her book details Bill's and her exploration of helping women expand their own potential all around the world. She credits importance of listening to women explain what's wrong with some well-intentioned charitable efforts in order to help transform those efforts into more empowering and client-driven enterprises.
     
  18. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    Colorado
    #6768
    Love alternative history. Will download a sample of this to my Kindle.
     
  19. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #6769
    I love Terry Pratchett, his world, his works.

    Apart from his effervescent wit and dazzling creativity, I love the humanity and sympathy for the underdog that is evident in his work.

    Terrific post, and one that shows, yet again, how key interventions at significant times from one or two adults who are important or influential in the lives of teenagers or kids can be utterly transformational in that how that kid's life turns out, and the life chances that are possible for the kid to be able to reach or access.

    This is the kind of thing that good teachers do - because they wish to, they choose to, they see the need for it and want to try to address it - often in their own time and out of their own resources - that cannot be measured on any management metric, the kind of intervention that often transforms young lives by opening up opportunities and allowing them to see their own potential in a way that hadn't existed before that teacher made that key intervention.

    And this is one of the many reasons why education matters, and why the humanities matter.
     
  20. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    Catskill Mountains
    #6770
    I find it shameful that teachers in the USA often have to reach into pocket to fund purchase of basic supplies for kids in districts with underfunded school budgets. Wrong thread to pursue this so I'll just drop that in and move on.

    Education is paramount to helping anyone make the most of human potential we're born with. And humanities, yes. Paring back or outright elimination of majors like history or literature out of American college and university options has got substantial backlash lately, to point where some decisions have been reversed. One wonders how long it takes to rebuild a department that got the axe though.

    [ Just noticed I managed to get the apostrophe wrong in part of my post on the Gates book... I'm forever going that when a person's last name ends in an 's'. For the record then, what I'm reading is Melinda Gates' book not Melinda Gate's book. :rolleyes: I'm not going back to fix my original post, but to Ms. (and Mr.) Gates, my apologies! ]
     
  21. AngerDanger macrumors 601

    AngerDanger

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    #6771
    Giving the Lynch bio a whirl. I’m not far into it and found the part not written by the subject kind of lacking in tone. “Everything was really great for David, and nobody knows where his morbity came from.”

    Then you get the to first chapter that’s autobiographical, and it’s like, “My childhood was great and my parents were so good. My father took me hunting, killed a porcupine on the way there, and there were dead flies circling it on our way back! I had a new girlfriend every year. Once I shot a bird by mistake, and it was an explosion of feathers that fell down into the river below and swirled away! I once kissed my dad’s boss’s daughter. Then my friends and I found a dead cow and decided to pop it!”

    Very Lynchian after all.
     
  22. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6772
    The next book by Guy Gavriel Kay - whose writing I love - is due to be published on May 14; I have already ordered a copy in advance - in hardback - in a bricks and mortar bookstore.
     
  23. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #6774
    In the past I have enjoyed bios about or memoirs by celebrated individuals and "ordinary people" as well, but in the past five or six years I feel I have run into some dreadful efforts by or about celebrities, even if a co-author with some writing credentials got into the act.

    Honestly sometimes I can't tell if it's the writing or (also?) just the ways of the person whose accomplishments are chronicled. It can be pretty difficult for anyone including the subject to help a biographer really get arms around a person's creativity. So maybe it's just "the observer effect" kicking in, i.e. that the very process of trying to assess something may alter what's being looked at in some way.

    That outcome seems possible when we ask a creative person to examine his own creative process. At the very least we're stirring up a lot of neurochemistry there in just asking such questions. What an interviewer gets could be pretty random and not replicable from one day to another. Great for a jazz album's liner notes, maybe not so great for a biography or memoir.

    Still, I used to finish reading all such books I borrowed or bought, meanwhile figuring "well at least this must be better than the movie" :rolleyes: especially if the book was about a figure involved in movie making. I could sometimes flash such a book as forerunner of some screenplay for "the making of..." heh, the making of the filmmaker's take on himself, so on to a dizzying infinity of funhouse mirrors.

    Lately though I am more impatient, if the writing itself seems poor or lacked a good editor. I'm tempted to return some library books after only 50 pages (and a little skipping around to see if things get better, or at least different). I use Overdrive's app Libby to read books borrowed from my public library system, and in its "shelf mode" -- where you see info about the books you have checked out-- it summarizes any waiting list for each book. I admit sometimes hoping next time I open the app, it will say at least "1 person waiting" for some book I'm struggling to finish, so I have an excuse to throw in the towel early.
     
  24. Scepticalscribe, May 4, 2019
    Last edited: May 5, 2019

    Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6775
    Terrific post.

    When I was younger, I loved reading biographies, but now, I realise that my patience with them - as you explain so eloquently in your post - has worn quite thin, and I am a lot less tolerant of poorly written examples of the genre than I used to be.

    I want the book to be well written, seriously well researched, and to have some sort of sense of critical analysis, or, if it is an autobiography, some sense of critical or - at least - a questioning self-awareness, something thoughtful and interesting to say, rather than an account of boundless self-absorption and self-regard.
     

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