What are you reading?

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SadisticCynic
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 17 Oct 2018 14:55

More books.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This was excellent and I enjoyed it more than No Country... but maybe not more than Blood Meridian. I got a very strong vibe of The Last of Us, which is one of the best story-telling games I've played.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. This was a a masterpiece of English writing but it didn't have quite the fully developed sarcasm I loved in Pride and Prejudice. Austen manages some amazingly polite brutality though: "She was not a woman of many words: for, unlike people in general, she proportioned them to the number of her ideas; and of the few syllables that did escape her..." :lol:



In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays by Bertrand Russell. Every word Russell writes is pure gold. From Fascism to Communism to Socialism to the effects of architecture on society (and in this, especially women's rights). He even has a short essay on why he believes the idea of the gold standard is nonsense, and everything is presented with the crisp clear reasoning one expects from one of the premier logicians of the last century. His dry wit certainly doesn't detract from the enjoyment of reading his thoughts either.

Tamed: Ten Species that Changed Our World by Alice Roberts. Roberts is an anthropologist from England who has featured in several BBC documentaries on human history. In this she tracks the history of a list of species which, through their close association with humans, changed their nature completely and by converting to human allies changed human culture and society equally dramatically. In particular, I liked that she didn't spend time on explaining how evolution works or why it's true but instead emphasises how incorrect it is to think of humans being the masters of their domain and selecting certain species to tame. It was a more slow and mutual transformation that didn't really have anything to do with foresight on the part of our ancestors.

God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens. I don't need to be converted, but I do wish I'd read this in 2008 instead of 2018. Differently to the usual New Atheist style of scientific refutation of religious claims, Hitchens focuses on antitheist arguments, which personally I generally find more convincing. Sadly, now I can just read it for pleasure and in memory of Hitchens.

In the meantime, I picked up a copy of Eye by Herbert. Completely slipped my mind that he had short fiction I should try. As I checked the Wikipedia page I noticed a few more posthumous novels since High Opp. I remember the fuss about that one, but did anyone here know about Angel's Fall, A Game of Authors or A Thorn in the Bush?
Ah English, the language where pretty much any word can have any meaning! - A Thing of Eternity

distrans
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby distrans » 19 Oct 2018 08:00

not eye!

havnt seen that book since the 80's when it couldn't hold my attention and as I recall I only finished one of the stories

white plague showed up and i grabbed it but no inclination to start in
still sitting on children of dune and finishing up the first book of kim stanley robinsons mars trilogy
all the protagonist get gifted with life extension and the psycological impacts of this on recipents who lived to 50 before the idea was anything but fantasy seemed interesting when i read this 20 years ago and im looking forward to catching all the stuff i missed then

on the serious side its "city of inmates"
kelly lytle hernandez

and im looking for this documentary
http://thelongshadowfilm.com/

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Omphalos
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 22 Oct 2018 10:12

I thought Eye was awesome. IMHO it was the best of Herbert's several volumes of short fiction, plus it has the only non-novel length Dune entry by Herbert.

I always liked Bertrand Russell too. I first encountered him when I took a philosophy class in college. Never read that collection of essays before, but I may give it a go.

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SadisticCynic
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 22 Oct 2018 13:46

I finished up Eye last night and I agree, it's awesome. So many wacky ideas in such a short space of pages. It was pretty cool to revisit Dune and Jorj McKie. This also contained the short original version of The Dragon in the Sea. I miss Herbert's psychological style of writing characters, I don't think anyone does it quite like him.

I knew about Russell from uni as well, but from the perspective of mathematics and logic mostly. I was reading a lot of that stuff at the time. Now I find his philosophy and politics a bit more to my taste.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 24 Oct 2018 06:00

Oh, before I forget, there was a short story in Eye called Murder Will In, in which a parasite type of mind occupies a person's body and more or less eliminates the previous personality. This reminded me a lot of Butler's Patternist books, in which Doro (sp?) does something similar.

I couldn't quite remember if I had the correct title, and googling 'frank herbert murder will in' brought me to Omphalos Book Reviews, where I was able to confirm. :D Cheers, Omph!
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 24 Oct 2018 12:35

:D

Still, it lives.

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SadisticCynic
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 18 Nov 2018 08:49

Finally got round to reading a bit more China Mieville, with This Census-Taker and The Last Days of New Paris. They're a pair of novellas that I have to say I didn't enjoy as much as i have his other writing. TLDoNP was definitely the better of the two, having a kind of surrealist (literally) urban fantasy setting during WWII.

On the other hand I read The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer, which has the best feminist quote I've ever read: "The cunt must come into its own." :lol: There's a lot of weird stuff in that book, but I'm skeptical that it's Greer's fault; most of what she's responding to seems to be clueless attempts at categorising women based on the pseudoscience of psychoanalysis.
There's a lot in here that fits with general humanist (and possibly anarchist, but that might be my own bias) themes and I like that a lot. It's not how feminist activists are usually portrayed in the media, and only the outrageous and ridiculous ones ever get air time on the news. I'm learning that more and more as I read pieces of feminist literature. A good example was Atwood's article on the MeToo movement a while back, in which she criticised the movement for not using it's momentum to continue to change things instead of continuing to just make allegations. It was a good, well reasoned article and like anything interesting was lambasted on Twitter. This was described in the news as 'feminist backlash', which is just bizarre given that Atwood is in fact the noted feminist author, not some twat on Twitter. /rant

Finished Antony Beevor's The Battle for Spain after having started it back in June. :shock: Took ages, but was well worth the read. Think I might try and keep up the trend of reading a couple of large history books a year in parallel with everything else.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Serkanner » 18 Nov 2018 15:27

SadisticCynic wrote:
Finished Antony Beevor's The Battle for Spain after having started it back in June. :shock: Took ages, but was well worth the read. Think I might try and keep up the trend of reading a couple of large history books a year in parallel with everything else.


I have read a lot of Beevor's work and he has become one of my favorite historians. At the moment I am reading Arnhem, his latest book.

I agree about Mieville. The two novellas don't come close to the quality of his other work. Hopefully future work will thrill me as much again as City&the city did.
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

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and wrote a Dune Novel."

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SadisticCynic
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SadisticCynic » 02 Dec 2018 05:38

I'm reading The Conquest of Bread by Pyotr Kropotkin and came across this passage:

There are, in fact, in a modern State established relations which it is practically impossible to if one attacks them only in detail. There are wheels within wheels in our economic organisation - the machinery is so complex and interdependent that no one part can be modified without disturbing the whole. This becomes clear as soon as an attempt is made to expropriate anything.


I haven't really seen that phrase often anywhere other than Herbert. Just thought it was cool.

I'm also reading Neal Stephenson's Seveneves and he used the word 'woolgather', which I've also pretty rarely seen outside God Emperor.
Ah English, the language where pretty much any word can have any meaning! - A Thing of Eternity

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Omphalos » 03 Dec 2018 12:29

my mom used to ask me all the time if I was "woolgathering." She was asking if I was lost in thought.

distrans
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby distrans » 10 Dec 2018 22:42

I always perk up when I hear the word

its been mabe 4 times ever...


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