What are you reading now?


A place for the discussion of all things not closely related to the sport and its competitive side. (as always, locked for the duration of major international championship)

Postby Per Andersen » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:17 pm

ed gee wrote:Hans Fallada's Alone In Berlin.

Good stuff! Hans Fallada, one of the great underrated writers. I think "Kleiner Mann was nun" (Little man what now) is even better.
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Postby Dietmar239 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:49 am

The Bible. That's my typical morning routine.
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Postby dal4018 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:25 am

"Havana Nocturne" by T.J. English its about how the Mafia gained complete control over the poor people in Cuba from the 40-50's very interesting and they had full and complete support from the US/Cuban Governments before Castro came on the scene.
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Postby lonewolf » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:17 pm

Directions to install a new printer/fax/scanner.
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Postby bad hammy » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:28 pm

lonewolf wrote:Directions to install a new printer/fax/scanner.

A page-turner, no doubt . . .
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Postby Daisy » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:57 pm

http://www.michaelpollan.com/indefense.php

Interesting mix of biology, politics and business.
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Postby cacique » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:21 pm

gh wrote:I'm now into (while taking a mid-book hiatus from The Collapse Of The Third Republic) the Simon Winchester work The Map That Changed the World, about stratigrapher William Smith. If Winchester's name is vaguely familiar that's because he wrote The Professor And The Madman about the creation of the OED.


he also wrote a short but very interesting book on krakatoa and javanese society at the time...
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Postby Vielleicht » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:27 pm

I'm reading something a German wrote on the far east history in the early 20th century - mainly for honing my German reading but it's also great to know how occidental people think of the spell in history, being a Chinese as I am.
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Postby bad hammy » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:47 am

Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-1945, by Max Hastings, an excellent telling of the last year and a half or so of WWII in the Pacific theater.

By 1944 it was clear that Japan was going to lose, but many many thousands were yet to be killed and maimed on all sides before the Japanese actually surrendered. Hastings does a great job of discussing the macro side of the story (countries, political and military leaders, strategies, etc) while also looking at it from the perspective of the grunts on the ground/on the ships/in the subs/in the planes. Doesn't get lost in the minutia of discussing every maneuver by every company in every battle.

Currently I am a bit over half way through and can highly recommend it. Hastings has another similar book I have not yet read - Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 - that will soon make an appearance in the bad hammy household.
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Postby dal4018 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:17 am

Now I'am in the grips of reading a book called "Warlords" this book is about how Roosevelt,Churchill,Stalin,Hitler played mind games with each other during WWII.
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Postby Pego » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:25 am

I just finished Bill Bryson's "A short history of nearly everything." What we know, how we came about to know it, what we don't know. I learned a lot. Highly recommended.
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Postby kuha » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:29 pm

On a recent trip I finished:

-Fareed Zakaria's "The Post-American World"; not particularly original in any way, but very sensible and--overall--surprisingly optimistic.

-Simon Ings's "The Eye: A Natural History" (this is a British edition; I think it's published in the US under a slightly different title); a genuinely fascinating study of an ability that is at once astonishing and taken-for-granted. I really enjoyed the overview of a wide range of (to me) new material. (A caveat: there was one small section that dealt with my area of specialty, and I was dismayed that it was very shallow. I'm not sure if hard-core scientists would say that about the rest of the book, but I honestly found the rest fascinating.)
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Postby Cooter Brown » Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:50 pm

Been into travel bum non-fiction lately. Just finished "God's Middle Finger" recently. Definitely killed any desire to travel to Sierra Madre and was pretty informative about the roots of the drug violence in Mexico.
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Postby Double R Bar » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:24 am

Just about finished reading "Split Seconds" by Jackson Scholz (1927). I had heard that he was good writer and wanted to read something he wrote. It's a book of about ten short stories, each one about a college track and field coach and some of his athletes. It's a bit corny, but the writing is good.
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Postby bad hammy » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:16 am

Just finished a book called My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs and Shakespeare. An inventive and entertaining read that juxtaposes William Shakespeare's life at age 18 with 1980's era doppelganger Willie Shakespeare Greenburg, a slacker grad student at UC Santa Cruz. Drugs taken by both allow for some interesting cross pollination between the two lives. Lots of sex too. Supposedly the first of a trilogy. Highly recommended.
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Postby jules » Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:20 pm

I'm getting ready for Berlin with "Hotel Berlin '43" by Vicki Baum.
She wrote the book that "Grand Hotel" was based on.
There is also a movie from this book with Peter Lorre.
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Postby gh » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:09 pm

OK, finally finished The Collapse Of The Third Republic, whilst reading 3-4 other potboilers in the interim.

Now to find some light reading for a month in Europe. Next on my "serious reading" list, as it has been for 4-5 years now, is Stephen Jay Gould's The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory, but at 1400-odd pages and 5.1 pounds, not sure I want to give it its own suitcase!

Has Ludlum written anything lately?
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Postby lonewolf » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:25 pm

gh wrote:Has Ludlum written anything lately?

Ludlum died in 2001. I chanced on his last book, entitled "The Sigma Protocol" c 2001 in the Eugene airport. Not exactly recent but I have about a dozen Ludlums and this one had slipped by. I dont know if any have been realeased since his death
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Postby bad hammy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:32 am

lonewolf wrote:
gh wrote:Has Ludlum written anything lately?

Ludlum died in 2001.

Sooooo, that would be a no??
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Postby jules » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:04 am

gh wrote:OK, finally finished The Collapse Of The Third Republic, whilst reading 3-4 other potboilers in the interim.

Now to find some light reading for a month in Europe. Next on my "serious reading" list, as it has been for 4-5 years now, is Stephen Jay Gould's The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory, but at 1400-odd pages and 5.1 pounds, not sure I want to give it its own suitcase!

Has Ludlum written anything lately?


A good one that I read recently is "A Small Death in Lisbon" by Robert Wilson. It won a best crime novel award. It takes place in 1940's Germany and 1990's Portugal.
Another topical read is "Berlin Noir" by Philip Kerr. It is actually 3 novels in one that take place before, during and after WWII.
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Postby gh » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:20 am

lonewolf wrote:
gh wrote:Has Ludlum written anything lately?

Ludlum died in 2001. I chanced on his last book, entitled "The Sigma Protocol" c 2001 in the Eugene airport. Not exactly recent but I have about a dozen Ludlums and this one had slipped by. I dont know if any have been realeased since his death


I guess I should have put a smiley on my statement.
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Postby lonewolf » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:14 pm

gh wrote:
lonewolf wrote:
gh wrote:Has Ludlum written anything lately?

Ludlum died in 2001. I chanced on his last book, entitled "The Sigma Protocol" c 2001 in the Eugene airport. Not exactly recent but I have about a dozen Ludlums and this one had slipped by. I dont know if any have been realeased since his death


I guess I should have put a smiley on my statement.


I went to Google. Actually there have been several "Ludlum" books released since his death, authorized by his estate and authored/edited by selected authors.
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Postby gh » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:51 am

Just finished Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky.

A history of man's production of salt, which on the surface sounds dreadfully boring, I know, but it actually opens up a whole side of our back story (with interesting sidebars on gastronomy) that I hadn't realized.

I had no idea of the way wars have raged and empires have risen and fallen with salt as a major underpinning.

Remember the old dictum (Napoleon) of "an army travels on its stomach"? Living off the land rarely a complete option, so for thousands of years armies had to have preserved food and the only preservative known, basically, was salt. So if you didn't have a large and ongoing salt supply (and some countries, surprisingly enough, do not), then you can't keep a large army in the field.

And then there's the invention of gunpowder, which requires salt... you get the picture. (as did the Confederacy, too late)

At any rate, for anybody with an eye for history this should be a terrific read.
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Postby kuha » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:22 am

Recently finished "Hard Road West" (2008) by Keith Heyer Meldahl, which I thought was really excellent. It's a seamless interweaving of two powerful stories: the ordeal of the travelers on the Oregon & California trails of the 1830s-60s, and a geologist's interpretation of the land through which they passed.
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Postby Marlow » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:43 am

Marlow wrote:Any one else read The Road, soon to be a movie? Very :(


Last chance to read this VERY moving book before the movie comes out soon.
It's not often a sci-fi-ish, apocalyptic story gets the Pulitzer.
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Postby tandfman » Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:56 am

gh wrote:Just finished Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky.

Is reading it bad for one's blood pressure? :-)
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Postby lonewolf » Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:17 pm

National Geographic, January 1918 issue devoted to the airwar in France.
The French were anxiously awaiting the arrival of "America's Air Fleet."

Subscription to NG was $2.00/year, which puts my (very) late father-in-law's wedding gift to his bride in 1916 of a $50 lifetime subscription, which she enjoyed for seventy years before willing the complete collection to me, in perspective.

Also, you could buy a new Dodge sedan for $1350 or roadster for $885, f.o.b. Detroit. NG subscription is now $34/year. At same percentage increase the sedan would now be $22,950 and the roadster $15,045.

I don't know if that is gooder or badder. Anybody bought any Dogge roadsters lately?
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Postby 26mi235 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:30 pm

A Distant Mirror, Tuchman (history of the 14th century)

Men of Mathematics, E>T>Bell

Einstein: his life and universe‎ - by Walter Isaacson [just beginning]

Alpha Girls, Dan Kindlon [just beginning]
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Postby gh » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:51 pm

tandfman wrote:
gh wrote:Just finished Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky.

Is reading it bad for one's blood pressure? :-)


Not if you take it with a grain of salt.
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Postby bambam » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:01 pm

Collider - about particle physics
Talent is Overrated (somewhat like Outliers)
Olympic Dreams - Beijing Olympics
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Postby gh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:33 am

The lead of Scott Ostler's column today:

<< I've been rethinking Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth.

I've always had Robinson as my No. 1 courageous pioneer, and Ruth as the athlete with whom I'd most like to have a beer. Obvious, right?

Wrongo!

Satchel Paige now tops both my lists, since reading "Satchel," by Larry Tye (Random House), the new and well-researched Paige biography....>>

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 1A32SB.DTL
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Postby Mighty Favog » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:38 am

My Life In France, by Julia Child.
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Postby jules » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:14 am

gh wrote:Just finished Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky.

A history of man's production of salt, which on the surface sounds dreadfully boring, I know, but it actually opens up a whole side of our back story (with interesting sidebars on gastronomy) that I hadn't realized.

I had no idea of the way wars have raged and empires have risen and fallen with salt as a major underpinning.

Remember the old dictum (Napoleon) of "an army travels on its stomach"? Living off the land rarely a complete option, so for thousands of years armies had to have preserved food and the only preservative known, basically, was salt. So if you didn't have a large and ongoing salt supply (and some countries, surprisingly enough, do not), then you can't keep a large army in the field.


And then there's the invention of gunpowder, which requires salt... you get the picture. (as did the Confederacy, too late)

At any rate, for anybody with an eye for history this should be a terrific read.


Sounds good to me, I'll have to get it.
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Postby jules » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:22 am

26mi235 wrote:A Distant Mirror, Tuchman (history of the 14th century)

Men of Mathematics, E>T>Bell

Einstein: his life and universe‎ - by Walter Isaacson [just beginning]

Alpha Girls, Dan Kindlon [just beginning]


If you like Bell's book, here are some suggestions.
2 bios of Paul Erdos : My Brain is Open by Bruce Schechter and The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman.

Hilbert by Constance Reid. She has written other math bios but I think this one is the best.
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Postby Conor Dary » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:33 am

jules wrote:
26mi235 wrote:A Distant Mirror, Tuchman (history of the 14th century)



Men of Mathematics, E>T>Bell

Einstein: his life and universe‎ - by Walter Isaacson [just beginning]

Alpha Girls, Dan Kindlon [just beginning]


If you like Bell's book, here are some suggestions.
2 bios of Paul Erdos : My Brain is Open by Bruce Schechter and The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman.

Hilbert by Constance Reid. She has written other math bios but I think this one is the best.


Yes, the Hoffman book on Erdos is a fine read. Erdos, was quite a character. His letters usually started with no greeting, just 'Let f(x) be a function...'

Also if you liked Hilbert, her companion piece Courant is a good read.
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Postby gh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:44 am

I don't have enough space on my shelves for any Hilbert.
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Postby TrainerPhil » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:47 am

Michael Connelly's Black Ice..........I like a good "whodoneit."

Waiting to dig into Dan Brown's latest. I suspect it will be an easy read and entertaining like his previous books...
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Postby Conor Dary » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:49 am

You mean you have no Hilbert Space?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert_space
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Postby jules » Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:05 am

gh wrote:I don't have enough space on my shelves for any Hilbert.


Good insider pun.
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Postby tandfman » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:28 am

Sailed right over most of our heads, I'm sure.
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