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What are you reading?

rousseau

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Picked up some books on Mesopotamia yesterday. One of them a series of lectures on how the original civilization came to be (very interesting), and a few other basic histories. Also read through a history of Rastafarianism this afternoon.
 

GenesisNemesis

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How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan, and Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz.
 

Goodchild

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On a Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony. My wife is re-reading it as well at the same time. We're considering reading the entire Incarnations series.
 

marc

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On a Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony. My wife is re-reading it as well at the same time. We're considering reading the entire Incarnations series.

I read those a long time ago. I think “On a Pale Horse” and “For Love of Evil” were the best of the series.
 

rousseau

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Picked up two new ones from the library yesterday:

Sexual Behavior in the Human Female

Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion


I read a bit of both of them last night and was impressed by the former, done by Kinsey. I wasn't expecting something with so much rigor and depth, but it looks like he really went the full mile with his study.
 

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I Passed for White (1955) by Reba Lee. Published when I was one year old. A time capsule of race relations from the still-remembered past.
 

rousseau

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Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion

Got about 100 pages deep into this one over the past few days. I was shocked at how developed a Chinese city was in the 13th century. Not too dissimilar from modern times, except sans oil and electricity.
 

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Recently finished Sujata Massey's The Sleeping Dictionary. Massey is excellent with protagonists who seem to be betwixt and between various levels of social standing, whether it be classes or cultures.

Just started a complete collection of Dorothy Sayers short stories.

Rob
 

rousseau

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Took the day off and spent about two hours in my local today. I walked out with a history of Africa from pre-history to 1800 (a compilation of essays/research), a source-book of Ancient Egyptian writing, and a social history of the Aztecs.

Amazing what I can find in there when I actually give myself some time, rather than rushing through only giving a cursory glance at everything. Also finally got to use some hardcover credit, so got the book on Africa for free.
 

Wiploc

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Good Omens, by Neil Gamin and Terry Pratchett.

I read it when it was new, and was disappointed. Now I find every page delightful.
 

DrZoidberg

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I read this book on how to design a LARP. Because a girl I'm seeing now had it. So now I know everything about designing a LARP. It didn't have the most crucial information in it, which is, why on Earth would anybody ever participate in a LARP. Something which still eludes me. I fail to see where the fun is found.

https://nordiclarp.org/wiki/Larp_Design:_Creating_Role-play_Experiences

Still enlightening. Now this cultural phenomena is a bit less mysterious to somebody like me, who have never come even close to that world.
 

marc

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I read this book on how to design a LARP. Because a girl I'm seeing now had it. So now I know everything about designing a LARP. It didn't have the most crucial information in it, which is, why on Earth would anybody ever participate in a LARP. Something which still eludes me. I fail to see where the fun is found.

I played in a LARP for 10 years. Had lots of fun for the most part. :D
 

Wiploc

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I read this book on how to design a LARP. Because a girl I'm seeing now had it. So now I know everything about designing a LARP. It didn't have the most crucial information in it, which is, why on Earth would anybody ever participate in a LARP.

Reminds me of a recipe in The Haphazard Gourmet. It ends something like this: "And now you know how to make jellied moose nose, though I can't for the life of me think of why anybody would want to."
 

DrZoidberg

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I read this book on how to design a LARP. Because a girl I'm seeing now had it. So now I know everything about designing a LARP. It didn't have the most crucial information in it, which is, why on Earth would anybody ever participate in a LARP. Something which still eludes me. I fail to see where the fun is found.

I played in a LARP for 10 years. Had lots of fun for the most part. :D

Aren't you confusing LARP with just having a job?
 

bigfield

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Recently read Ogilvy on Advertising and The Adweek Copywriting Handbook.

It's research for work rather than for fun, but it's also an insight into human psychology. As a side benefit, it also makes ads something fun to analyse rather than merely tolerate.
 

marc

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I read this book on how to design a LARP. Because a girl I'm seeing now had it. So now I know everything about designing a LARP. It didn't have the most crucial information in it, which is, why on Earth would anybody ever participate in a LARP. Something which still eludes me. I fail to see where the fun is found.

I played in a LARP for 10 years. Had lots of fun for the most part. :D

Aren't you confusing LARP with just having a job?

Naaaa, jobs don't usually let you hit other people with boffer weapons. :poke_with_stick:
 

ideologyhunter

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Cross Creek (1942), by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Often cited as classic regional writing and belles lettres, and that's partly true. But the racial attitude throughout is depressingly predictable given its vintage. Rawlings was a capable writer but in no way rose above the stereotypical thinking of the time.
 

Wiploc

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Master and Commander. I can't believe how good it is, even though I've read and listened to it multiple times before.
 

spikepipsqueak

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Master and Commander. I can't believe how good it is, even though I've read and listened to it multiple times before.

I'm in the middle of book 8 ATM. I reread them all every couple of years.

The edition I have from the library labels book 7 as The Surgeon's Mate although the storyline doesn't support that.

There are all sorts of printing and editing errors. Does anyone know if the latest edition has been cleaned up?
 

DrZoidberg

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The Way of the Superior Man - David Deida

It's a self help book, I think targeted at New Age men to become more manly. I have read it before. I remember liking it. Since then I've been to workshops based on the book, which I think have been awesome. So I decided to read it again, to freshen up. Now I think it's absolute fucking garbage. There's a core in there which I like. But most of it is swill.

I think the book can be boiled down to:
1) The masculine is the stable, protecting, predictable force
2) The feminine is the creative, wild and unpredictable force
3) Both men and women can be both, but men tend to lean more towards masculine, a women the feminine.
4) If one partner is one thing, the other partner will be the other thing. Because we need polarity in relationships. If we don't get it, it's boring and we break up. Both are needed.
5) Men and women won't understand each other and that's not only fine, but good.

So many pages to write this fairly simple thing. It's full of flowery New Age language. It's frustratingly vague and waffly at times.
 

rousseau

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The Way of the Superior Man - David Deida

It's a self help book, I think targeted at New Age men to become more manly. I have read it before. I remember liking it. Since then I've been to workshops based on the book, which I think have been awesome. So I decided to read it again, to freshen up. Now I think it's absolute fucking garbage. There's a core in there which I like. But most of it is swill.

I think the book can be boiled down to:
1) The masculine is the stable, protecting, predictable force
2) The feminine is the creative, wild and unpredictable force
3) Both men and women can be both, but men tend to lean more towards masculine, a women the feminine.
4) If one partner is one thing, the other partner will be the other thing. Because we need polarity in relationships. If we don't get it, it's boring and we break up. Both are needed.
5) Men and women won't understand each other and that's not only fine, but good.

So many pages to write this fairly simple thing. It's full of flowery New Age language. It's frustratingly vague and waffly at times.

It seems like there's a lot of that with popular non-fiction (which is why I tend to avoid it). They lean toward pseudosciency ideas, and spend 200 pages writing mostly noise to flesh out what is an otherwise simple idea that's mostly just useful for selling books. The last book I read like that was Ed Slingerland's 'Trying Not to Try'. Decent concept, but tons of fluff.
 

Politesse

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The Way of the Superior Man - David Deida

It's a self help book, I think targeted at New Age men to become more manly. I have read it before. I remember liking it. Since then I've been to workshops based on the book, which I think have been awesome. So I decided to read it again, to freshen up. Now I think it's absolute fucking garbage. There's a core in there which I like. But most of it is swill.

I think the book can be boiled down to:
1) The masculine is the stable, protecting, predictable force
2) The feminine is the creative, wild and unpredictable force
3) Both men and women can be both, but men tend to lean more towards masculine, a women the feminine.
4) If one partner is one thing, the other partner will be the other thing. Because we need polarity in relationships. If we don't get it, it's boring and we break up. Both are needed.
5) Men and women won't understand each other and that's not only fine, but good.

So many pages to write this fairly simple thing. It's full of flowery New Age language. It's frustratingly vague and waffly at times.
Haha, neither of my major relationships would have flown if that were true. But then, we don't read many self-help books either.
 

Wiploc

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Master and Commander. I can't believe how good it is, even though I've read and listened to it multiple times before.

I'm in the middle of book 8 ATM. I reread them all every couple of years.

The edition I have from the library labels book 7 as The Surgeon's Mate although the storyline doesn't support that.

There are all sorts of printing and editing errors. Does anyone know if the latest edition has been cleaned up?

These days, I always do the audiobook. Tull's reading is sublime.
 

bigfield

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The Way of the Superior Man - David Deida

It's a self help book, I think targeted at New Age men to become more manly. I have read it before. I remember liking it. Since then I've been to workshops based on the book, which I think have been awesome. So I decided to read it again, to freshen up. Now I think it's absolute fucking garbage. There's a core in there which I like. But most of it is swill.

I think the book can be boiled down to:
1) The masculine is the stable, protecting, predictable force
2) The feminine is the creative, wild and unpredictable force
3) Both men and women can be both, but men tend to lean more towards masculine, a women the feminine.
4) If one partner is one thing, the other partner will be the other thing. Because we need polarity in relationships. If we don't get it, it's boring and we break up. Both are needed.
5) Men and women won't understand each other and that's not only fine, but good.

So many pages to write this fairly simple thing. It's full of flowery New Age language. It's frustratingly vague and waffly at times.

It seems like there's a lot of that with popular non-fiction (which is why I tend to avoid it). They lean toward pseudosciency ideas, and spend 200 pages writing mostly noise to flesh out what is an otherwise simple idea that's mostly just useful for selling books. The last book I read like that was Ed Slingerland's 'Trying Not to Try'. Decent concept, but tons of fluff.

There's a book out, with a bright orange cover (smart move by the publisher), titled "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck".

I feel that buying and reading such as book would be giving far too many fucks.
 

DrZoidberg

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The Way of the Superior Man - David Deida

It's a self help book, I think targeted at New Age men to become more manly. I have read it before. I remember liking it. Since then I've been to workshops based on the book, which I think have been awesome. So I decided to read it again, to freshen up. Now I think it's absolute fucking garbage. There's a core in there which I like. But most of it is swill.

I think the book can be boiled down to:
1) The masculine is the stable, protecting, predictable force
2) The feminine is the creative, wild and unpredictable force
3) Both men and women can be both, but men tend to lean more towards masculine, a women the feminine.
4) If one partner is one thing, the other partner will be the other thing. Because we need polarity in relationships. If we don't get it, it's boring and we break up. Both are needed.
5) Men and women won't understand each other and that's not only fine, but good.

So many pages to write this fairly simple thing. It's full of flowery New Age language. It's frustratingly vague and waffly at times.

It seems like there's a lot of that with popular non-fiction (which is why I tend to avoid it). They lean toward pseudosciency ideas, and spend 200 pages writing mostly noise to flesh out what is an otherwise simple idea that's mostly just useful for selling books. The last book I read like that was Ed Slingerland's 'Trying Not to Try'. Decent concept, but tons of fluff.

I'd say 90% of it is New Agey nonsense. "Feeling your deepest most heart to spread light and love". And stuff like it. I mean... wtf. What does that even mean? It also goes into the importance of acknowledging our darker sides. Yes, great. But they goes on about how our destructive darker sides can help us spread light and love. Ehe? Mixing metaphors hurts my brain.
 

rousseau

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Lovers and Lesser Men by Irving Layton.

Reading through Leonard Cohen's 'Book of Longing' recently, I noticed he dedicated the work to another Canadian poet who had influenced him: Irving Layton. And I ended up coming across the above at a used bookstore in a city nearby two weekends ago. Some inspiring stuff in it, and now I only wish I had picked up a few of his other titles from the shop.
 

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went to a local book sale and picked up biographies of William S. Paley, Leonard Bernstein, Adam Clayton Powell, Moss Hart, Ingrid Bergman and Franz Joseph, among others. Am currently reading the biography of Paley.

Rob
 

rousseau

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I found two more by Irving Layton at my local: Final Reckoning and Gucci Bag.

Lovers and Lesser Men had some good stuff in it, but there were a few hints of 'I'm great' in it. Gucci Bag was his last title where he wrote quite a bit about his recent divorce. Lots of insight into himself, little into his former wife beside her being an object in his life. Seems like in the end all he had left was his image of himself as a great poet.
 

spikepipsqueak

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The Surgeon of Crowthorne. Simon Winchester.

The tale of one man and a great big book. Suit people who love words for themselves.
 

rousseau

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Kenneth Tynan's Curtains, pub. back in '60. It's a collection of his theatre criticism of the 50s...brilliant writing. He crafts seemingly effortless similes and metaphors for the acting and production design -- every page has some striking image or citation. Especially interesting, to me: his appreciation for a very young Richard Burton in a supporting role (1951), and his dislike for The Sound of Music in its first incarnation (1959.) How do you solve a problem like Maria? Sic Tynan on her.

Kenneth Tynan's Curtains, pub. back in '60. It's a collection of his theatre criticism of the 50s...brilliant writing. He crafts seemingly effortless similes and metaphors for the acting and production design -- every page has some striking image or citation. Especially interesting, to me: his appreciation for a very young Richard Burton in a supporting role (1951), and his dislike for The Sound of Music in its first incarnation (1959.) How do you solve a problem like Maria? Sic Tynan on her.

Thanks for the tip, I'll have to find a copy of this.

I took out three books on African religion last week, but after browsing through them this weekend learned that they've mostly the missed the mark of what I wanted to read.

Finally got my hands on a copy of Curtains out of storage in the university library. I'd have to agree with ideologyhunter's assessment of it, now I just need to get my own copy.
 

Tharmas

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I’ve just finished (Kindle) The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Hershel Shanks. Shanks is a traditional scholar who gives a good overview of the scholarly consensus regarding the scrolls, as of about twenty years ago. Some of the questions he leaves open were answered by the 50 minute DVD The Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which I watched at the same time.

Then I read (also Kindle) Elements of Pantheism by Paul Harrison, an overview of the different types of Pantheism and how they look at the world, and how they differ from other related philosophies such as Atheism or Zen Buddhism, etc. A bit simplistic, but then the subject isn’t a complicated one.

I’m still working on (dead tree editions) Bart D Ehrman’s The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World, a good and detailed history of the first few centuries of Christianity, and also The Beat Hotel by Barry Miles, a thorough but entertaining history of some Beat writers (primarily Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Gregory Corso, but including many lesser-knowns as well) who lived in or hung out at a comically decrepit Paris hotel in the late fifties/early sixties. The story picks up right after Ginsberg’s “Howl” had made him famous, and Kerouac’s On the Road had brought the Beats to the attention of Time and Life and the general public. Burrough's Naked Lunch came out during this period. Interestingly, both Howl and Naked Lunch were the subject of obscenity trials in the US. How times have changed.
 

rousseau

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A few weeks back I ended up taking a book on Dinosaur Paleobiology out of the library, and quite enjoyed it. Enough so that I reckon it's going to usher in a period of reading about biology (which is my original background in university). I was finding it pretty fascinating to re-visit some of those old subjects over ten years, and hundreds of books later.

So on that note, I'd been wanting to find a good book on Ornithology (birds, for the unwashed) for a few years now, and ended up taking out Ornithology: Foundation, Analysis, and Application today. Nearly one thousand pages of goodness on the subject, published in 2018. Mainly, I want to read about bird vocalization, in which it contains about 60 pages of text. That might be about the most fun I have all year.
 

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In the middle of That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the finest short stories ever written David Miller.

... which is a big ask and the book doesn't fulfil the promise, IMO, but a niceish read, and I didn't previously know that Roald Dahl wrote the screenplays for You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so that's something.
 

rousseau

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Went on a bit of a buying spree this weekend:

Curtains by Kenneth Tynan. Found a cheap copy on Amazon Canada, on it's way in the mail.

The Complete Georg Trakl. Poetry recommended to me by the owner of a local bookstore who's deep into literature, also on it's way in the mail.

On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius. I visited a bookstore outside of London I hadn't heard of before on Friday, and the owner had recently bought the collection of a man who had accumulated different copies of this book (including some dating back to the early 16th century, but mine was from Indigo). The work itself is by an early atheistic Roman, who wrote a kind of natural philosophy. Started reading it, and actually pretty interesting.

Living by Zen by D.T. Suzuki. Also picked this up at bookstore outside of London. Not my most desired by Suzuki, but for 6.50 CDN why not?

New Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke. At local bookstore on Thursday. I don't like it as much as Trakl, but worth a look.
 

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On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius. I visited a bookstore outside of London I hadn't heard of before on Friday, and the owner had recently bought the collection of a man who had accumulated different copies of this book (including some dating back to the early 16th century, but mine was from Indigo). The work itself is by an early atheistic Roman, who wrote a kind of natural philosophy. Started reading it, and actually pretty interesting.
“The sum of things is ever being renewed, and mortals live dependent one upon another. Some nations increase, others diminish, and in a short space the generations of living creatures are changed and like runners pass on the torch of life..”
 

rousseau

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The Complete Georg Trakl. Poetry recommended to me by the owner of a local bookstore who's deep into literature, also on it's way in the mail.

Got this in the mail last night, really enjoying it. Seems like Trakl was a bit of a depressive, not getting many hints of happiness in his poetry. And he died (probably suicide) at 27, so it doesn't seem like he made it passed his youthful angst.

But there's something about his writing I've never seen before, and quite enjoy, a few Amazon reviews sum it up well.

Twenty Poems of Georg Trakl
 

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Spied two books I’d like to read:

The Huntress by Kate Quinn - Historical fiction about Russian “witch pilot”

In Regalia by Erin McCormack - Contemporary interplay between white eastern woman and native nieces she needs to go care for
 

WAB

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Am currently reading The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding. Am frankly surprised that it's as good as it is told to be, as novel writing was still relatively new at that time (1749). Beats Defoe.

The only supernatural agents which can in any manner be allowed to us moderns, are ghosts; but of these I would advise an author to be extremely sparing. These are indeed, like arsenic, and other dangerous drugs in physic, to be used with the utmost caution; nor would I advise the introduction of them at all in those works, or by those authors, to which, or to whom, a horse-laugh in the reader would be any great prejudice or mortification.

Henry Fielding. History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (Kindle Locations 5545-5548).
 

Rhea

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Am currently reading The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding. Am frankly surprised that it's as good as it is told to be, as novel writing was still relatively new at that time (1749). Beats Defoe.

The only supernatural agents which can in any manner be allowed to us moderns, are ghosts; but of these I would advise an author to be extremely sparing. These are indeed, like arsenic, and other dangerous drugs in physic, to be used with the utmost caution; nor would I advise the introduction of them at all in those works, or by those authors, to which, or to whom, a horse-laugh in the reader would be any great prejudice or mortification.

Henry Fielding. History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (Kindle Locations 5545-5548).

That is a great quote!
 

Rhea

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Currently reading "In Regalia" by Erin McCormack. I'm about 1/2 way through and really enjoying her subtle but detailed characters with very genuine story lines.

Basic Premise - a sister is called upon to provide help for the twin children of her estranged sister, who passed away the year before. They don't want her to take the kids, just provide help navigating a serious allergy problem while their other aunt, and main caregiver, is about to give birth.

It is keeping me hooked while not being ENDOFTHEWORLD! kind of story line with someone in imminent risk of dying. It's real, believable and very interesting.

In contemporary New England, forty-year old Helene Roy Bradford has worked hard to leave her troubled family history behind – her parents’ early deaths, a brother adrift, and an estranged younger sister in chronic addiction. Into her comfortable, well-ordered life comes a summons to assist her now deceased sister’s young twins by her Native American husband, serving time for charges related to his activism. But what kind of help? Conflict arises when the resources that Helene can offer don’t match the needs and values of the Native community, leading to crisis and change while discovering what is best for the children and for herself. A story in three voices: Helene's narrative; the journal pages of sister Renee; and blog posts on contemporary Indian life from brother-in-law Izzy; each is bound by family ties and the need to understand and to heal.
 
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