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Author Topic: Reading anything?  (Read 121910 times)
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1350 on: October 29, 2013, 06:46:28 PM »

Ye-es!

The Annotated Bros. Grimm
edited and annotated by Maria Tater
13th annotated book in the series
3rd by her and 7 more non-fiction by her

Almost up to the last moment before they both died, they were editing and revising their first edition of fairy tales.

before: oral tradition and first edition by the Grimm Bros.
after: last edition by the Grimm Bros.

before: told by adults to adults
after: told by adults to children

before: written down for scholars
after: written down for children as moral lessons

before: sex is acceptable
after: sex is unacceptable

before: paganism is acceptable
after: paganism has been replaced by Christianity.

before: basically unreadable
after: more readable

before: short versions
after: longer versions

And 180 years of commentaries by everyone from Atwood to Yolen.

Next time: Chicago. Chicago. That toddlin' town
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #1351 on: October 30, 2013, 09:42:58 AM »

Just picked up



Looking forward to it.
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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
ER
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« Reply #1352 on: November 02, 2013, 11:38:11 PM »

Berlitz' German in Thirty Days

I may have to quit, though, since it feels too much like I'm cheating on the English language.
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Javakoala
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« Reply #1353 on: November 03, 2013, 09:04:44 AM »

The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth

I remember wanting to read this when I saw it while shelving books at Hastings a lifetime ago. An easy read that gives a reasonable sense of the communities that have grown in the vast depths of the world under New York City.

Given that this book in nearly 20 years old, it makes me wonder what changes have taken place in those communities.
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ER
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« Reply #1354 on: November 04, 2013, 12:09:37 AM »

I've been told by a friend in New Jersey who works in New York City (for the health department, no less) that Superstorm Sandy brought massive flooding into those tunnels and it's thought there was some loss of life among the mole people communities, as well as a great deal of destruction of what they'd established.
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Javakoala
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« Reply #1355 on: November 04, 2013, 06:36:43 AM »

I've been told by a friend in New Jersey who works in New York City (for the health department, no less) that Superstorm Sandy brought massive flooding into those tunnels and it's thought there was some loss of life among the mole people communities, as well as a great deal of destruction of what they'd established.

I hadn't even thought about that. Good lord, I hope someone tried to hustle them out before all that hit.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1356 on: November 06, 2013, 05:12:52 PM »

Ye-es!

Thomas Dyja's
The Third Coast :
When Chicago Built the American Dream

An cultural history of Chicago between the wars. The wars being WWII and the War in Vietnam. The most surprising thing I learned from the book is how many people "came of age" (i.e. got their start and/or gained their first fame)  in that time, or just before it, and in that place. They included, but are not restricted to . . .

aretha franklin -- barbara harris -- burr tillstrom -- carl sandburg -- chuck berry -- curtis mayfield -- chess brothers and Chess Records -- dave garroway -- dinah washington -- Downbeat -- Ebony -- ed asner -- elaine may -- Esquire -- fran allison -- gwendolyn brooks -- hugh downs -- hugh hefner and Playboy -- irv kupcinet -- Jet -- john cage -- kurt vonnegut -- laszlo moholy-nagy -- leo burnett -- lorraine hansberry -- marlin perkins -- mies van der rohe -- mike nichols -- mike wallace -- mortimer j. adler -- nat king cole -- nelson algren -- philip johnson -- Poetry  -- ray kroc -- richard wright -- saul bellow -- severn darden -- shelley berman -- walter gropius -- william paley -- and willie dixon.

And they had names then. Others include, but are not restricted to . . .

bo diddley -- buckminster fuller -- howlin' wolf -- little walter -- muddy waters -- studs terkel -- sun ra -- and . . .

probably one of the greatest names ever given to a child maha-LIA JACK-son.

But all is not sunshine and roses, the author also talks about the . . .

corruption -- drug usage --drunkedness -- greed -- jealousy -- mental illness -- plagarism -- promiscuousness -- racism -- sexism -- and violence . . .

that affected Chicago at that time and how Chicago was a great city, but it could have been greater if the politics of Chicago had not made it banalville.

There is one other thing that is odd, or at least, I found odd, it seem to me that the author saw everything through a "gay" filter. Or, maybe I should say "bisexual" filter, as the author is married and has children.

Next time: since we are celebrating the 150 anniversary of the Civil War, a book to celebrate the celebration.
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ER
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« Reply #1357 on: November 14, 2013, 11:41:54 AM »

The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Well-written and approachable history of American politics a century ago concentrating on the biographies of two of the key players who shaped that era by first working together, and later working against one another: to the painful regret of each. She tells how (hometown favorite) William Howard Taft was probably far too kind a man to ever be happy as President, and how Theodore Roosevelt was a god in mortal form. The best lesson I took away from the book was Goodwin's analysis of how Roosevelt's courage was not one of nature but of will. In other words, he was not innately brave, he taught himself to be so despite whatever fears he may have harbored during his surprisingly difficult and at times tragedy-filled life. I was moved by that and found a strong lesson there. If this book doesn't win a slew of awards next year I'll be very surprised.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1358 on: November 16, 2013, 04:35:05 PM »

Ye-es!

Allan C. Guelzo's
Gettysburg :
the last invasion

After 150 years and an unknown number of books on the subject, is there anything more that is new to say. Actually, yes. Which we'll get to later, but first, what has been said before, even if here, the author sometimes says is better.

Civilians
More so than most writers on the subject, he includes the civilian side of the story, and he tells it well.

Courage
You can say whatever you want about either side, but you cannot fault the courage that both sides showed.

Lee
The case from the writer is not so much the North won, but the South lost, and part of the lost can be attributed to Lee's leadership, who fought this battle like every other battle he had previously fought, seemingly not taking into consideration the changes that had occured, especially the personnel changes in the army.

He also makes this point about Lee, which I call "being able to see the trees, but not seeing the forest." The threat to the South was not so much in the East, as Lee thought, but in the West at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Thus by not peeling off as many men as he could to go to the relief of Vicksburg, which he refused to do, he kept them in the East to protect his home state of Virginia. And thus, with the fall of Vicksburg being assured, the South still might have lost the war, but they would have lost it later rather than sooner.

"U.S. amateur hour"
Reading this book, the mind boggles how either side could have accomplished anything, as the armies of both sides were not only filled with amateur soldiers, but led by amateur officers for the most part.

"You are there!"
More than any other book I have read about the Civil War, he gives you the feeling that you are actually there.

As for what is new . . .?

Pickett's Charge
He makes the case, Pickett's Charge was not as boneheaded as I have always thought, that there was a chance, however slim, that it could have succeeded in doing what it was suppose to do.

Politics
If the Southern army was riven by personality differences, then the Northern army was riven by political differences. And the sad thing about both differences is that at times they had a negative effect on the way the war was waged.

Rifling
Rifling musketry was not the advance that we have always thought. Yes, you could shoot farther, but you still had to see what you shot at, and till the invention of smokeless powder, the battlefield became so besmeared with smoke, you could no longer see your target, but just fired in the general direction of the enemy.

That is not too say, that I don't think any mistakes were made, but . . .

Maybe not so much a decision by the writer, but a decision by the editor, and it all depends upon how you define the word "last," but the subtitle seems to preclude the later Southern invasions by Hood into Tennessee and Price into Missouri.

And he argues that the South should have taken the offensive more often against the North, when I, and most other writers on the subject, think the South would have been off to take a more defensive posture, if it wanted to win the War.

Next time: something from a man who could do almost anything.
 
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whatwasthatmovie
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« Reply #1359 on: November 26, 2013, 05:39:01 PM »

Might as well jump in - currently reading "Physics Made Simple"....voluntarily...because I'm just that kind of a nerd...
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1360 on: November 27, 2013, 04:46:41 PM »

Ye-es!

B. Kingston's
"Messages in a Bottle"
Greg Sedowski, ed.

Or a selection of the comic book art of Kingston, one of the great comic book artists of the past century.

I am not as big on the artist's art as the editor of this collection. Though the way he does draw some of the characters does add immeasurabely to the stories. Some of which are actually stronger than the ones I have normally found.

What grabs my attention is the artist's ability to illustrate almost any type of story . . .

adventure -- Biblical -- biographical -- crime -- historical -- horror -- juvenile -- literary -- mystery -- romance -- science fiction -- war -- and western.

Examples of all of which are included in this collection.

Highly recommended!

Next time: they are not like you and me.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #1361 on: November 27, 2013, 06:13:29 PM »

ER and Kevin - both of those are on my "To Read" list!
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ChaosTheory
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« Reply #1362 on: December 04, 2013, 03:43:39 PM »



Greg (O Hai Mark) Sestero's account of meeting & befriending Tommy Wiseau, and the making of THE ROOM. 
Wiseau is even more insane than any of you imagine.  It's marvelous.
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #1363 on: December 16, 2013, 04:36:24 PM »







« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 04:41:09 PM by Kooshmeister » Logged
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1364 on: December 18, 2013, 04:12:52 PM »

Ye-es!

They're not like you and me. Oh, they have one head, one body, two arms, two hands, two legs, two feet, and I presume ten toes and ten fingers, but if you take one of the people pictured in the book's photos and/or illustrations and put 'em in today's crowd. They'd stand out. Just as if you took one of us and put us into a crowd a century ago, we'd stand out. Thus, the best part of the book is the photos and illustrations.

Sarah Warwick's
Upstairs and Downstairs :
the Illustrated Guide to the Real World of "Downtown Abbey."

While the book covers the years 1825 to 1945, it concentrates on the years 1901 to 1910. And some statistics from that time.

20% of the servants were male.
80% were female.
Thus, having male servants gained you a higher prestiege than just having female servants.

5% of the total population of the U.K. worked as servants.
11% of the total working population of the U.K. worked as servants.
40% of the total female working population worked as servants.

There were few if any child labor laws and little in the way of social security, so a servant normally started working at the age of 14 and might continue working, if able, past the age of 70.

What a servant had to endure.
1. The hours were brutal. They often got up at 4:00 a.m. and might work to midnight.

2. Commons ailments common strictly to servants included such things as "housemaid's knees," because of the time she spent kneeling on the floor scrubbing it.

3. A servant could be fired for any reason or no reason at all with little recourse.

4. Boredom was common. While there might be between a dozen to two dozen type of servants on an estate, a servant did the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month for years.

5. Sexual abuse often raised its ugly head. If a female servant was caught with a man in her room, she could be dismissed for immorality and without references, which meant she was forced to turn to working the streets as a whore, as few people would hire someone without references. And while female servants were more vulernable to sexual abuse than the male servants, the male servants were not immune, as it ranged from rape or attempted rape from the master to seduction or attempted seduction by the mistress, especially for those who were young and/or pretty.

6. Hypocristy ran rampant. At weekend house parties, the guests had their names put on the doors of the bedrooms, so they could find the right bed, even if it was not the bed they were originally assigned. As for the servants, see #5 above.

7. There was little if any privacy.

8. Mandatory religious services. While most estates did not have a chapel and/or chaplain of their own, there was most always the local church, which the family and servants attended together,  and if not that, then the master held religious services, which the servants had to attend.

As to the reason people became servants. Probably the most important reason . . .

Money. The beginning salary of a servant was equivalent of the salary for the average working man in the U.K. And a servant could triple or even quadruple that before they retired.

Tips. More work, but a servant working in a house that was holding a weekend house party could expect to earn a month's salary in tips over that one weekend.

As to why a decline in servants, several reasons.

1. It was the beginning of the Social Welfare state in the U.K., which meant an increase in taxation. More outgo. Less income to spend.

2. The minimum wage raised the wages of servants and others.

3. Other opportunities for women arose, which gave 'em an opportunity to work at something other than as a servant.

4. The War. It not only almost wiped out a generation of masters, but it almost wiped out a generation of male servants. Thus those that survived found that demand  exceeded supply which also raised wages.

5. The War also brought about a new sense of egalitarianism among the people. After equally sharing the hardships of the trenches, it was hard to go back to a sense of the master being the superior and the male servant being the inferior in the relationship.

6. And labor saving devices made less the need for servants.

Next time: 6 of 1. Half a dozen of the other.
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