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Author Topic: Reading anything?  (Read 122038 times)
JaseSF
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« Reply #1215 on: December 31, 2012, 07:13:24 PM »



Started this one while the power was off the other night (we had a power outage). Seemed appropriate somehow...
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« Reply #1216 on: January 01, 2013, 04:47:36 PM »

Received up "Lint" by Steve Aylett for Christmas. It's a satirical biography of a fake science fiction author (based on Phillip K. Dick).
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
FatFreddysCat
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« Reply #1217 on: January 08, 2013, 09:14:49 AM »



I just finished this excellent (although depressing, infuriating and horrifying) book on the infamous 2003 "Great White Nightclub Fire" in Rhode Island, written by one of the lawyers involved in the class action lawsuit on behalf of the survivors and the victims' families.

I wrote a review of it on my blog here....

http://hub.me/aeIxW
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indianasmith
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« Reply #1218 on: January 08, 2013, 06:04:35 PM »

I just finished re-reading Doris Kearnes Goodwin's TEAM OF RIVALS: THE POLITICAL GENIUS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. This is far and away the best Lincoln book I have ever read, and maybe one of the best ever written.  Certainly by the end of it you really get a feel for Lincoln as his contemporaries saw him, and as history has judged him.  A bit on the lengthy side, but never a dull moment. The garrulous Seward, the serene and competent Edward Bates, the ever ambitious and double-dealing Salmon Chase, and the anal retentive Edwin Stanton all are wonderful extras in this great literary stage piece.
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FatFreddysCat
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« Reply #1219 on: January 15, 2013, 03:52:12 PM »

"Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota" by Chuck Klosterman.

Since he published this debut book a few years back, Klosterman has gone on to become an in-demand pop culture writer, music critic and occasional VH1 commentator ("I Love the 80s"). Here he recalls his formative years growing up in a hick town, when he was obsessed with the music of Poison, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses and the like.

Some funny stuff here, but be warned that Klosterman has apparently grown up into one of those snide, hipster douches who says "Oh yeah, I used to listen to that stuff, then I grew up." So if you're one of the humorless, diehard "metal warrior for life" types this book is just gonna p*ss you off. However, if you can look back on the '80s rock era with a healthy dose of irony, you're gonna laugh a lot.
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Andrew
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« Reply #1220 on: January 15, 2013, 05:03:50 PM »

Fat Chance by Lustig. It's a study about a driving factor of metabolic disease. Yes, obesity but he is more focused on the disease of which obesity is just a symptom.
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Andrew Borntreger
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« Reply #1221 on: January 16, 2013, 11:24:14 PM »

Almost finished with Carrie by Stephen King (first time reading it).

Before that I blazed through this:


I highly recommend Bizarro Fiction to everyone on this site (shameless plugging: activated). Seriously, for everyone of us who love bad/b/z/cult/strange/horror/sci-fi movies, there is a literary equivalent.

http://bizarrocentral.com/
Check it out! Please! There are pickled meats! And squid jerky!
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1222 on: January 19, 2013, 01:04:16 PM »

Ye-es!

Chaucer's Canterbuyr Tales
Adapted into graphic format by Chawst.

Probably the greatest work to come down to us in Middle English. And probably one of the greatest unfinished works in English Lit. While there were suppose to be anywhere from 60 to 120 stories in the collection, we get only get from 40% to 20% of that number, before the author quit. For reasons that are still unclear. But what we get is prime stuff, and a good look at what life was like in medieval England.

The problem is to find a format in which to read the stories. For even if the stories are translated into modern English, they can prove to be a bit of a slog. A good way, I have found to read them, is to read them in a children's adaptation of the story, but the problem with that is the more risque of the stories are often omited. So a graphic format may be the best way yet.

The BBC a number of years ago did do a series based on the stories updated to modern times, which I saw when I was in the U.K. But the problem with that was that you needed some knowledge of the stories to understand the series. Even earlier there was a stage musical version of the stories, which I also saw, when I was in the U.K. While not a complete collection of stories, at least you needed no prior knowledge of the stories to understand what was going on.

And a bit of a warning. While not rare for those days, the author's anti-semitism is strong enough to make one squirm. On the other hand, his Wife of Bath is one of the great liberated female characters in English lit, especially one for that day and age.

Also Matt Phelan's "Around the World"

Some of the best books are for children and/or teens, and this is one of them. The story of three Americans who soloed around the world. Thomas Stevens a Colorado miner and bicyclist, who was the first man to bicycle solo around the world in 1884. Nellie Bly a New York reporter who was the first woman to solo around the world in 1889. And Josh Slocum a Massachusetts sea captain who was the first man to sail solo around the world in 1895. All three of whom who wrote best sellers.

M. J. McGrath's White Heat

A mystery set in northern Canada and Greenland. Knowledgable on that area, maybe because she has written five previous non-fiction books on that subject. The problem is that there are too many villains with too many different motivations. But she does have a recent sequel out. Another mystery, but this one is set in Alaska.

Ann Parker's Meercury's Rise.
The 4th in the Silver Rush mystery series

About a single woman in 1870's Colorado Territory, who not only has to face the problem of murder, but life as a single woman in that place and time. All the titles are recognizable because they all have an element of the periodic table in them

Next time: 2984
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bob
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« Reply #1223 on: January 24, 2013, 11:39:51 PM »

Inspired by the upcoming film adaptation and by my Cracked article I'm going to be giving The Great Gatsby another read.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #1224 on: January 24, 2013, 11:58:15 PM »

I just finished RICHARD AND JOHN: KINGS AT WAR by Frank McLynn.  This is a fascinating look at the life and reigns of the two children of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II who both became kings of England.  The five children of that famous couple were nicknamed "the Devil's Brood" by their contemporaries, and several of them lived up to the name! While modern revisionism has done its best to besmirch and downplay the accomplishments and character of Richard and tried to rehabilitate the reputation of John, McLynn uses extensive primary source research as well as careful scholarship from later authors to confirm that what the bards said was true: Richard was a brave, skilled, and ferocious warrior, a careful and capable diplomat, and a largely honorable and admired king, while John was, in fact, pretty much the toad he has always been portrayed as.  Written in fine prose, this book runs a bit dry in places, but then serves up some wonderful verbal nuggets that make you glad you kept reading.  A really excellent work of medieval history.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1225 on: January 26, 2013, 04:01:28 PM »

Ye-es!

"2984," which is actually two books by Charles A. Mann.

"1491," which covers the Americas and its inhabitants up to Columbus' discovery, and "1493," which the sequel and which covers the Americas and its inhabitants after Columbus' discovery, and which I like better, as it also covers the inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and Europe and takes the story up to the 1st half of the 20th century.

What both books due, having the latest information available, is to show how much of what we thought was true was actually false. It is not that people set out to be false, but that they were working with information that was often incomplete, and as people have dug down deeper--both literally and figuratively--the information has become more complete, and thus more true.

This has nothing to do with the book, but it is an example of what I mean. For a long time, it was thought that there was no such thing as a distinct period known as childhood in the Middle Ages. That is because almost everything that came down to us from that time showed children as being no more than little adults. But as people have dug down into the earth and found toys for children, they have discovered that there was a phase known as childhood which was distinct from adulthood. No idea of how long it lasted, but there was something known as childhood which was distinct from adulthood.

The 1930's. A bad time for the world economy, but a good time for the comics. 1929 to 1939, was indeed the Golden Age of Comics.

Some of the characters which got their start at that time and still strive and thrive today and are still some of my all time favorites include . . .

Batman -- Superman -- Blondie -- Buck Rogers --  Dick Tracy -- Flash Gordon -- Jungle Jim -- Lil' Abner -- Mandrake the Magician -- Popeye -- Prince Valiant -- Secret Agent X9 -- Tarzan -- Terry and the Pirates -- TinTin.

And some of the illustrators and writers include . . .

Calkin -- Caniff -- Capp -- Davis -- Eisner -- Falk -- Foster -- Gould -- Hammet -- Herge -- Raymond -- Young.

The only problem is that most likely we'll never see its like again.

Next time: a little more Batman.

 
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« Reply #1226 on: January 29, 2013, 04:19:20 PM »

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein (reading for Women's Studies class): Talks about screwed up the media, commericalization, and the idea of pretty and pink is screwing up young girls, leading to premature sexualization, depression, increase rates of narcissim, etc.

As Long as They Don't Move Next Door by Stephen Grant Meyer (reading for U.S. History class): Looks at the dark side of the North states regarding their own racism and segregation when it came to neighborhoods.

Rule and Ruin by Geoffery Kabaservice (reading for personal interests): Focuses on the downfall of moderation and destruction of the Republican Party, saying it did not start with the Tea Party but truly began when Eisenhower left office back in 1960.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1227 on: February 07, 2013, 04:12:46 PM »

Ye-es!

A little Batman.

Batman has always been one of my favorite comic characters, but he has never been one of my favorite comic characters to read. Reasons for which we will get to later. Here are at least some I found readable. Not good. Only two  or three stories, excluding the early comics, which have never been topped (IMHO), have I found to be good, but at least they are readable. Unlike most of the Batman stories.

Paul Dini's "Streets of Gotham: Hush Money."
Yoshinori Natsuma's "Batman: Death Mask"
Chuck Dixon's "The Chalice"
"Batgirl, the Greatest Stories Ever Told"
Kevin Smith's "Batman: Cacophny"
Judd Winick's "Batman; Long Shadows"
Grant Morrison's "Batman: R.I.P."

As to reasons I dislike so many of the stories . . .

Maybe it is the way that they are drawn, but I often find the secondary villains, or the "hired help," as I call 'em, overshadow the primary villains.

The confusion. I find the stories often to be confusing. And the pictures as well, especially if they are trying to express any type if action.

But mostly it is the lack of . . .

Consistency. It may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but I like it. Snow White is the same as she was 76 years ago, and she will be the same 76 years from now. And I like that. I don't like the lack of consistency in Batman. Not so much the pictures, which I understand, but in the storytelling, which seems to be going off in all directions.

There are, though, a couple of things I found in all these. First, Commissioner Gordon, seemingly, has become the heart and soul of the stories. And if Commissioner Gordon is the heart and soul, then Alfred is the rugged rock round which all the ragged characters run.

Next time: Something different and new.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1228 on: February 16, 2013, 04:53:00 PM »

Ye-es!

Hugh Aldersey-Williams'
"Periodic Tables: a Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc"

The periodic table from a cultural perspective (art, literature, music, etc.) While he does not cover every element in the table, he does make those he does cover more interesting. At least more interesting that the ones we learned about in school.

Richard Coniff's
"Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time: My Life Doing Dumb Stuff with Animals"

A man who travels the world writing essays for magazines on the subject of animals and the people who study them. And believe me. If there is an animal out there, there is someone somewhere studying it. The title comes from his swimming in a tank of piranhas in an aquarium. And their reputation is worst than their bite.

Hal Foster's
"Prince Valiant"
v.4 v.5

Every volume covers two years, so v.4 covers 1943 and 1944, and v.5 covers 1945 and 1946. With the page size being the same size at the comic in the Sunday papers. Foster probably the greatest Sunday comic cartoonist who ever lived. Even Barks, who knew something about drawing the Sunday comics, bowed to the superior skills of Foster.

More next time . . .
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ER
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« Reply #1229 on: February 21, 2013, 05:54:01 PM »

My buddy Rob sent me what he claims is a leaked page from the upcoming Sandman prequel. It certainly looks authentic, and the story seems Gaiman-esque. It might be the real deal...
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