What are you reading now?


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Postby mike renfro » Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:28 pm

Last I read was "The Secret Speech" by Tom Rob Smith. It is a follow on to his first novel "Child 44". The protagonist is a MVD (then KGB) officer who got involved in solving murders (in the workers paradise, can't happen). Smith is a Brit, the books are pretty good. My next will be Joseph Kanon's new one, "Stardust". It takes place in Hollywood in the late 40s, early 50s during the the HUAC witch hunts. His 1st two were his strongest, IMO, Los Alamos & The Good German. The Prodigal Spy was okay, Alibi weak. Last chance Joe.

Oh, just remembered, one of Mary's tutees loaned her the new Dan Brown opus, "The Lost Symbol". I will probably read it, but I know how it will play out. The least likely suspect will turn out to be Dr Evil.
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Postby 26mi235 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:51 am

Conor Dary wrote:
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.


I have (and read) the Erdos book by Hoffman -- while we are on that topic, I think my number is 3, but it might be 4; I will have to talk with my wife, whose number is one better. [A friend/colleague's husband did the first 'real' proof (one that could be really verified) of the four color problem - he needed it as lemma for another result and did not trust the overly-long computer proof.]

The pun by gh was very good; maybe I will search out that Hilbert book.
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Postby jules » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:54 am

gh wrote:I only decided Harry Potter might be worth reading after sharing a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt a few years ago and the guy next to me was a 40-something computer nerd and he was reading it in the German version, so I decided it muust have some redeeming value.

Most certainly did. Have read them all twice now except the last, which I'll do before the movie comes out. (make that movies, plural; last book is going to be made into a pair of flicks, apparently)


I only read the Harry Potter books because of GH. Before talking to him I thought they were kids' books.
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Postby gh » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:00 am

they are.... big kids!
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Postby jules » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:03 am

gh wrote:they are.... big kids!


May we always be!
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Postby bambam » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:18 pm

26mi235 wrote:A friend/colleague's husband did the first 'real' proof (one that could be really verified) of the four color problem - he needed it as lemma for another result and did not trust the overly-long computer proof.


Good data, 26mi235. I was not aware that the four-color theorem had been proved in the "old way" rather than the poorly considered computer proof. Good to know.
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Postby jules » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:56 pm

Remember when Scientific American had an April 1st cover about the 4-color theorem?
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Postby Conor Dary » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:04 pm

bambam wrote:
26mi235 wrote:A friend/colleague's husband did the first 'real' proof (one that could be really verified) of the four color problem - he needed it as lemma for another result and did not trust the overly-long computer proof.


Good data, 26mi235. I was not aware that the four-color theorem had been proved in the "old way" rather than the poorly considered computer proof. Good to know.


I wasn't aware of that either. So that is 2 things I have learned on this thread. The other being that gh knows what a Hilbert Space is.
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Postby gh » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:24 pm

gh wouldn't know a Hilbert Space if he tried to park in it; like a parrot, I just know the words.
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Postby IanS_Liv » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:34 pm

gh wrote:gh wouldn't know a Hilbert Space if he tried to park in it; like a parrot, I just know the words.


Maybe you're more Dilbert Space?
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Postby richxx87 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:13 pm

gh wrote:What's a "DK"?


When I see DK, I think of Democratic Kampuchea, better known to most people as the Khmer Rouge... as well as the best band in history, the Dead Kennedys.

And to get back on topic, I'm reading The Subterraneans by JK.
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Postby gh » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:31 am

OK, I just finished a stunning little tome. Let's see if anybody can figure out what it's about, since it contained about a word-per-page that I was unfamiliar with. Fortunately, most made sense in context.

What book would contain these words?

rheology
teocuitlatl
abstergents
refection
transfection
encopresis
Stercoranists
frass

(extra points for being able to define all the words)

(all without looking of course!)
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Postby Pego » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:16 am

gh wrote:OK, I just finished a stunning little tome. Let's see if anybody can figure out what it's about, since it contained about a word-per-page that I was unfamiliar with. Fortunately, most made sense in context.

What book would contain these words?

rheology
teocuitlatl
abstergents
refection
transfection
encopresis
Stercoranists
frass

(extra points for being able to define all the words)

(all without looking of course!)


Encopresis and transfection are the only words above I am familiar with. No idea about the book.
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Postby SQUACKEE » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:39 am

Pego wrote:
gh wrote:OK, I just finished a stunning little tome. Let's see if anybody can figure out what it's about, since it contained about a word-per-page that I was unfamiliar with. Fortunately, most made sense in context.

What book would contain these words?

rheology
teocuitlatl
abstergents
refection
transfection
encopresis
Stercoranists
frass

(extra points for being able to define all the words)

(all without looking of course!)


Encopresis and transfection are the only words above I am familiar with. No idea about the book.


Those are all pizza toppings in latin of course.
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Postby dukehjsteve » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:39 am

For light reading, a few months ago I discovered the novels by John Sandford, centered around Twin Cities cop Lucas Davenport, who tracks down BAD, repeat BAD guys. Good stuff.

For knowledge reading, it is a constant array of non fiction history narratives. Too many to list here.
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Postby gh » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:17 am

I gave Sandford props near the end of page 2, after rereading the whole set during my 2 trips to Beijing (and the OT). You wouldn't want that guy on your tail!
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Postby lonewolf » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:59 am

gh wrote:OK, I just finished a stunning little tome. Let's see if anybody can figure out what it's about, since it contained about a word-per-page that I was unfamiliar with. Fortunately, most made sense in context.

What book would contain these words?

rheology
teocuitlatl
abstergents
refection
transfection
encopresis
Stercoranists
frass

(extra points for being able to define all the words)

(all without looking of course!)

I went 0 for 8. :oops:
I am trying to read a 940 page doorstop Theodore Roosevelt biography ,"Wilderness Warrior", focused on his lifelong interest in stuff like that. I am almost duty bound to read it and report back to my only Republican daughter who gave it to me, unaware that, rather than being politically historical, it is largely dedicated to meticulousy enumerating every bird and animal he collected and stuffed and how he arranged them on the shelf from age eight on. (Ok, slight exaggeration but not much)
Last edited by lonewolf on Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Marlow » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:18 pm

lonewolf wrote:rheology
refection
frass

I got those 3 - no idea what the book is but obviously science-based.
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Postby gh » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:52 am

The book's title is

Merde (Excursions in Scientific, Cultural, and Socio-Historical Coprology)
by Ralph Lewin

Merde, of course, is the French word for shit.

This excerpt gives you an idea of where teh guy goes:

http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/disp ... ew=excerpt
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Postby Speedfirst » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:59 am

The Meaning of Evolution..........George Gaylord Simpson

Interesting read :lol:
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Postby gh » Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:20 pm

This was the best word out of Merde:

teocuitlatl

It's a combination of two Nahuatl words, meaning "god" and "shit." It was their word for gold!
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Postby gm » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:44 pm

Glad to see so many of you folks have all the right answers! What a relief.
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Postby Pego » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:48 pm

gm wrote:Glad to see so many of you folks have all the right answers! What a relief.


You are welcome.
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Postby 26mi235 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:59 pm

As this is the bi- and sesqui-centennial of Darwin and TOOTS, I thought that next year I would search out some good books on evolution (have read some of Gould in the past). I will take nominations from this crowd! I just finished Guns, Germs, and Steel, which touches on some of that stuff. On to Lewis and Clark in the form of Ambrose's book.
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Postby gh » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:38 am

My paper just had a review on Richard Dawkins' latest work The Greatest Show On Earth, and it may well fit your evolution bill.

Lengthy review here:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 1A8NU9.DTL
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Postby Speedfirst » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:13 am

The Revolt of The Black Athlete----Dr. Harry Edwards
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Postby 26mi235 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:16 am

gh wrote:My paper just had a review on Richard Dawkins' latest work The Greatest Show On Earth, and it may well fit your evolution bill.


Thanks. I have stayed away from some of the polemical argument books because for me I am not interested in a book aimed primarily at a debate rather than in the somewhat educated, non-polemical reader. This sounds like it might fit the bill.
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Postby bambam » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:19 am

Just finished Superfreakonomics (not as good as Freakonomics) and What the Dog Saw - a new book by Malcolm Gladwell which is a compilation of his New Yorker columns. Pretty good, as he usually is.
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Postby kuha » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:35 pm

That reminds me. I've been on a bit of binge lately (lots of reading time on planes) and have ripped through a stack of things, including:

Levitt & Dubner, "Freakonomics"
Arthur Goldwag, "Cults, Conspiracies, & Secret Societies"
Jeffrey McMillan, "Delightfulee: THe Life and Music of Lee Morgan"
Raymond Chandler, "The High Window"
Edward Larson, "Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory"
Rick Shenkman, "Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter"
David Byrne, "The Bicycle Diaries"
T. S. Eliot, "Selected Prose"
Tanenhaus, "The Death of Conservativism"
Paul Boghossian, "Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism"
David Drake, "Sartre"
James Wood, "How Fiction Works"

There are about a dozen 10-foot stacks still to get to...
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Postby Marlow » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:06 pm

kuha wrote:That reminds me. I've been on a bit of binge lately (lots of reading time on planes) and have ripped through a stack of things, including:

**way too many high-falutin' intelleckchul books**

There are about a dozen 10-foot stacks still to get to...


WTF are you doing HERE??!! :shock:
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby jamese1045 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:26 pm

trig wrote:Okay, we had the thread on the number of hours read. But what exactly are you reading?

I am reading Rex Stout's "Death of a Doxy", a Nero Wolfe mystery and
the DK "World War I".

By the way, I had a good idea what it meant but I looked it up to be sure.


–noun . 1. an immoral woman; prostitute.
2. Archaic. a mistress.

[Origin: 1520–30; of obscure orig.]


James Lee Burke's THE RAIN GODS, William H. Holden's SACRAMENTO,; MIXED BLESSINGS (multicultural art) by Lucy Lippard. I won't say which one is the bathroom book. 8-)
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Postby gh » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:18 am

Al2O32SiO22H2O

That's the formula for "perfect" clay, as expounded in
Clay
(The History & Evolution of Humankind's Relationship With Earth's Most Primal Element)


Actually far more interesting than it sounds, as it ranges far and wide into food preparation and storage, housing and architecture, etc., as well as just making pots.
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Postby bambam » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:45 am

gh wrote:Al2O32SiO22H2O

That's the formula for "perfect" clay, as expounded in


We knew that, Garry. Pretty obvious to us I would think.
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Postby mike renfro » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:48 pm

The most recent book I finished was Joseph Kanon's "Stardust". Much better than his last effort. I have gotten way behind on my reading. Hell, I still have a half finished copy of Ulysses, which I picked up for something to read during my free time at the '01 worlds. I guess the novel is timeless, so it will keep.
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Postby Helen S » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:16 am

Just finished "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein- the life of a race car driver narrated by his dog, Enzo. Brought me to tears near the end.
Currently skimming through "Apeoples History fo the United States" by Howard Zinn. I never knew Chris Columbus was such a badguy.
Waiting in the wings- "Small Wonders" by Barbra Kingsolver- somehow missed this one amongst all of her others.
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Postby lonewolf » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:53 am

Just about finished Allie Reynolds bio, starting on Abe Lemmons.
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Postby mike renfro » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:02 pm

I finally started the lastest Robert Jordan (although finished up by another since RJ died). I picked that up in Oct. It is not very well written, but I like the story, so .....
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Postby gh » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:45 pm

as also posted on the Xmas Books thread:


<<I went the SciFi route, got the trilogy that's the prequel to Frank Herbert's awesome Dune series. Co-written by his son and a pro. Halfway through the first one (The Butlerian Jihad) and it's almost as good as dad himself could have done.>>

Since my original assessment, my praise for the book has gone way up. They're juggling about 6 threads at once, but they're handling it very well by keeping chapters to 3-4 pages, which means it's never too long before you've had a refresher on all the relevant bits.
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Now

Postby Bijan » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:12 pm

Review copies of "Pops" by Terry Teachout, and "Martin Luther King" by Godfrey Hodgson, but not in that order. Can't wait to dig into the Armstrong bio.
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Postby lonewolf » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:58 pm

Finally got around to the Abe Lemons bio.. He was funnier in person than in 287 pages of one-liners... the author did not include Abe's advice on coaching quarter milers but did mention Abe ran a 64 second quarter mile on Walters, OK mile relay team circa 1937.
I don't remember the context but my favorite quote from the book, "Doctors bury their mistakes, ours are still on scholarship". :)
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