Does anyone read? Part II

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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby analog » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:10 pm

Was delighted to hear of someone picking up Conrad....

I really like Conrad, find each of his stories a character study.
"Narcissus" contrasts a weasely little hyena of a white guy with the noble "Ni**er", perhaps narcissus is an allusion to social attitude of that time? Twain did similar thing in Huck Finn.

"Typhoon" I thought studied quiet strength in a captain generally regarded as a bumbler, and I could only think of Pres Bush.

"Lord Jim" the poor guy spent rest of his life trying to atone for an act of cowardice - how many of us have a 'Patna' buried in our psyche? Haven't read it since high school, still remember his anguish.

"Heart of Darkness" was i thought a condemnation of colonialism & conquest mindset; it starts with review of Romans and in last lines the darkness radiates out from around Liverpool harbor, heart of British commerce. Most powerful scene for me is the old native workman dying of starvation under the shed where they're rebuilding the steamboat, nobody notices. And who were the two old ladies running that trade office? England and France? Belgium?


My favorite is "Youth", reminiscence of the exuberance we had way back when. Poor kid signs on a coal hauler, fights storms and leaks and fires for months and is equally delighted to arrive at 'The Orient' in a lifeboat as if it were a luxury liner!

I doubt i understand Conrad's stories deeply but they leave me with these unsettled feelings that i'd like to know his characters better, talk to them at length and find out what life experiences molded them..

Yes his prose is baroque but English was his second language, learnt in his twenties while he was a sailor. I think he was Polish - if that language is complex like German it sorta explains his corduroy style. I have same complaint about Zbigniew Brzeszinski.

Recently read Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia", his account of going to Spain to fight for the socialists in winter of 1935-36. One sees how he got shaped to write Animal Farm so much later.



Also an old collection of Theodore Sturgeon short stories from early fifties, i'd forgot how well he develops personalities too.
"Extrapolation" - a strong lady stands by her man, apparently up to treason, and the planet is saved
"Wages of Synergy" a whodunit where an insensitive workaholic scientist wakes up and tries to win back his estranged wife, again the planet is saved
"Make room for me" three college kids go their separate ways and save the planet
"The Incubi of Parallel X" The planet has been saved but all the women are gone...
"Heart", a woman breaks a man's heart...really

I think perhaps Sturgeon was having relationship difficulties when he wrote these.
Still, fascinating how he takes you inside his characters' heads, like Saul Bellow but lighthearted. Theodore Sturgeon in his good years - some of his later stuff was awful. The collection is "Sturgeon in Orbit".

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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby barfle » Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:32 pm

Just finished Dan Brown's latest, The Lost Symbol. Living near deecee as I do, I recognized several of the locations, although I suspect several of them are as fictitious as Robert Langdon.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby analog » Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:21 pm

read and rested this weekend..

Liar's Poker" by Michael Lewis - sad tale of a newbie learning the ropes on Wall Street. If accurate, it's as bad as we all think. So intriguing and conversationally written it's hard to put down.

"5000 year leap" by W C Skousen - An easy to understand and well written narrative covering basic principles of US constitution. Draws liberally from writings of our 'Founding Fathers', old Greek, French and British philosophers, even Moses, whose names we all know but whose thoughts i'd sure never tied together.. He does an amazing job of weaving a tale of how five thousand years of ideas came together.
First couple chapters sound like he's campaigning for organized religion and it was tempting to put it down. But "In God We Trust" is on our seals and money because in God those guys DID trust ; religion (read ethical behavior) was their check and balance on the volatile combination of human nature wth liberty. Author soon moves on and his skill at teaching rivals Asimov's..
First time i understand why they had senate appointed by legislatures. Many such epiphanies in the book, it really lifted my spirits. Definitely a book worth sharing and i just mailed it to my socialist stepson (who's mellowing now he's entered the workforce and beginning to pay taxes :D ).

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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby piqaboo » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:02 pm

Some good ideas to add to my reading list on these last two pages. Thanks, all.
Specially the chinese stuff and that last book in the last post. Always good to know more about gov't.

Just read a book of short stories by Louis LAmour, published posthumously. (sp?)
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:03 pm

Now reading Tears In The Darkness: The Story Of the Bataan Death March And Its Aftermath by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman.

The story is well told. It primarily focuses on the story of Ben Steele, a Montana farmhand who experienced the fall of Bataan and the death march. We are introduced to other soldiers, American, Filipino, and Japanese, but Mr. Steele's story is central core of the book, as we learn about his childhood, early adulthood, time in service, and life after the war. The book is illustrated with drawings made by Mr. Steele after the war.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:37 pm

"1001 books you must read before you die," Boxall, ed.

Well, I've read 41 of them--not bad considering I don't read much fiction. Each book has a couple of paragraphs in which a critique is given. I wonder what the criteria was? There is a heavy emphasis on late 20th century books, but that may be due to the shear number of them. Also very Eurocentric. Followed by American. I was disappointed that two of my favorites, "Tale of Genji" and Dream of the Red Chamber were not included. Is Stendahl's The Red and the Black more important in some way--and just who has read that anyway? Mishima but no Murasaki? Inexplicable.

Tender is the Night only had a synopsis. No discussion of style or technique.

So I'll be reading Gertrude Stein now.
Thinking is overrated
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby piqaboo » Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:01 am

Books 1 - 8 of The Boxcar Children, received by Altoid for Xmas, w #9-16 on their way.
Not too awful on the gender/task stereotyping, considering they were written in the 40's.
I've only felt compelled to cross out two lines so far.
Must be nice to have a rich Grandpa.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Schmeelkie » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:42 pm

Working our way through the Narnia series with Pumpkin. Saving the 'prequel', for the end. Halfway through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader now. Had reread the first three recently, and I know I've read them all, but don't remember so well. So it's like new reading for me now. Husband started in on Eregon with Pumpkin on Sunday - now replacing their 'afterschool' reading - had been The Spiderwick Chronicles for a while - read them through at least 4 times.

Gave a set of Ramona books to one neice and Fudge books to another - they had read both sets of books in Spanish and had asked their mom for the books in English, but she wouldn't get them, so I get 'favored Aunt' status! This year, got all neices and nephews a book (or set) and a toy. All seem to be big readers, so this went off well. Also got for Pumpkin and Bella, Where the Sidewalk Ends - loved these poems as a kid and figured they were old enough for them. Looked up and read the poem 'Sick' (begins: I cannot go to school today, said little Peggy Ann McKay, I have the measles and the mumps, a gash, a rash and purple bumps....) as soon as it was unwrapped - my absolute favorite! Actually had it memorized in high school and used it as a monologue to audition for a play.
"Up plus down equals flat" Pumpkin, 3 yrs, 10 mo, July '07
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:53 am

Heh. Good on you for the Favored Aunt book points.

As a teen, I had Jabberwocky memorized (still do, as a matter of fact) and my kid sister and I could do it. Dramatically. In stereo. Gave Farmor the screaming meemies. :twisted:
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:48 pm

Speaking of Conrad, Well, we were speaking of Conrad I see that his works are falling to the whims of the political correctness gurus, as well: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,582491,00.html?test=latestnews

Image

Pathetic...
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:35 am

We were soldiers once... and young by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway.

I've seen the movie, so I thought I'd read the book. This is the story of the battle of La Drang, the battle which marked the beginning of the U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.

I've also purchased, and intend to read next, Hell in a very small place, by Bernard B. Fall. This is the story of the siege of Dien Bien Phu, which basically marked the end of French colonialism in what had been up to that time, French Indochina. The title of the book is also the title of one of the chapters in Lt. Gen. Moore's story. I believe it comes from a series of New York Times articles written by Mr. Fall during the war.

I realize I'm reading them out of sequence, but I've already read about the the end of the war, as told by President Nixon and others, and about the beginning of the war, as told by Bernard Moitessier, so now I'm selectively reading about the battles.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Schmeelkie » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:31 pm

One chapter away from the end of Eragon - had to skim a few 'scary' parts for Pumpkin - any long drawn out fight scenes caused great anxiety, so I'd skim a bit and get to the part where we knew Eragon was OK, then keep reading as usual. Skipped one hint at 'adult situations', hoping there aren't more in the later books. But overall, not too much editing needed... it's a bit predictable (especially if you're at all familar with standard fantasy and Star Wars), but Pumpkin's really enjoying it. We got the two-books in one, so already have the sequel. Will have to pick up the third next time we're at the bookstore.

When I have time to read for myself, it's either the newspaper or articles for my class (lovely things like, 'Methods for assessing responsiveness: a critical review and recommendations' and 'Being inconsistent about consistency: When coefficient alpha does and doesn't matter'). Or I'm catching up on Eragon as my husband will read a chapter after Pumpkin gets home from school, so I can read another chapter at bedtime and not be lost.
"Up plus down equals flat" Pumpkin, 3 yrs, 10 mo, July '07
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu May 06, 2010 8:18 am

Just finished Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire - it's the second book of a trilogy, and the third one is due out a little later this month. I have it pre-ordered for my Kindle.

On a related note, I need to review my Astrid Lindgren books. Maybe the grandson can help with that.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Schmeelkie » Fri May 07, 2010 11:36 am

Only about 150 pages to go in Eldest - sequel to Eregon. Apparently the author discovered a Thesaurus or the thesaurus function on his word processing software before writing the sequel and never seems to write more than two sentences without putting in words I have to explain to Pumpkin. When I think it's unnecessary, or are taking a long time getting through a page, I edit by using 'easier' words. Usually I wouldn't do this - never bad to expand your vocabulary, but sometimes, in this book, it really gets excessive.

Pumpkin and Bella's favorite library finds are currently Scranimals by Jack Preslusky - set of poems about interesting animals you don't find in the zoo like the Potatoad, Broccolion, Mangorilla, etc. Pumpkin's favorites are the Bananaconda and Radishark. The other favorite is Take me out of the Bathtub and other Silly Dilly Songs - new words to familiar children's songs. Pumpkin's favorite is 'Cranky Poodle' to the tune of Yankee Doodle, and 'Take me out of the Bathtub' to the tune of Take me out to the Ballgame. Bella and I like 'Go, go, go to bed' to the tune of Row, row, row your boat.

I recently read Starfleet Academy: Collision Course by William Shatner - wasn't expecting much - worried he'd make the young Jim Kirk into someone with no flaws, but turned out to be pretty good. Not sure if I'd have enjoyed it as much if I had come in with higher expectations.... My mom had passed it on to me - she's a HUGE Trekkie - at least for the original series. I'm assuming there is at least one sequel, probably more, will have to look into it...
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby piqaboo » Mon May 10, 2010 9:50 am

Jus tfinished reading my small collection of Tom Holt novels. Need to get more:
Who's Afraid of Beowulf?
Expecting Someone Taller
Flying Dutch.

hilarious.
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Tue May 11, 2010 11:55 am

Reading Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt.

This is the third of his biographical books on Rome, following Cicero and Augustus, neither of which I've read. The book does a good job of tracing the life of the Emporer, while producing a decent snapshot of the Roman Empire at the time.

also: Ancient Rome: From the Republic to the Empire by Duncan Hill.

More of a picture book, this one traces the history of Rome, with photos of structures and artifacts from the various timeframes discussed. I find it a good visual accompaniment to reading Hadrian.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Haggis@wk » Fri May 14, 2010 4:13 pm

Marye wrote: For "English cosey" M.C. Beaton and the Agatha Raisin series.... Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death is the first one. Fun


The MRHYN turned me onto Agatha Raisin and she's a hoot. Selma I think you would love her. She's kind of like a Miss Marple with an attitude. When someone sitting behind her begins complaining about her smoking in a restaurant she asked the waiter to re-sit the complainer because he's disturbing her smoke.

MC Beaton’s the author
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Mon May 17, 2010 8:35 am

Oh, dear. I may be in trouble. The kindle finds 50 "M. C. Beaton" books; there are the Agatha Raisin, another bunch of Hamish Macbeth Mysteries, a Seven Sisters collection, some Regency novels...

I will definitely have to try this Beaton author.
(I'd like to point out that this sort of discovery is the reason the kindle is such a good idea for me. I can get, and read, all of 'em without buying another bookcase.)
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon May 24, 2010 8:39 am

Selma in Sandy Eggo wrote:Oh, dear. I may be in trouble. The kindle finds 50 "M. C. Beaton" books; there are the Agatha Raisin, another bunch of Hamish Macbeth Mysteries, a Seven Sisters collection, some Regency novels...

I will definitely have to try this Beaton author.
(I'd like to point out that this sort of discovery is the reason the kindle is such a good idea for me. I can get, and read, all of 'em without buying another bookcase.)


The hamish MacBeth series is more dramatic that Agatha Raisin. The BBC made HM into a TV show that lasted three years. Hamish has a secret admiration of Wild West lawmen and has a six shooter and a sheriff's badge. The TV series is good but the books are better. But read an Agatha Raisin and you'll be hooked on the series.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby piqaboo » Thu May 27, 2010 12:30 pm

Got another Tom Holt "Ye Gods" & another Terry Pratchett "The Monstrous Regiment"
Both completely hilarious. Both won permanent shelf-space, an honor accorded to very few new books and none-to-many of the re-reads, these days.

Another Simenon Maigret too, inspector whats-his-name. Also a keeper.
Altoid - curiously strong.
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