What are you reading now?


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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:35 pm

Rummaging through a box of books inherited from my father. Found a nicely bound little tome, "The Campaign Speeches of James G. Blaine" c 1884, that he inherited from his father who must have obtained it from his father, possibly to take along for light reading when he "went West young man" to homestead in Western Kansas before before turning South to Oklahoma to homestead again when the Kiowa-Comanche reservation was opened for homesteading in 1902.

I skimmed a few speeches. Seems acrimony in politics is nothing new.

The book is in good but rather fragile condition. Although my great-grandfather's penciled signature, "his Book", is boldy enscribed on the front fly leaf, the book appears to be on loan from the Des Moines, Iowa Library, which is puzzling since my great-grandfather lived in NW Missouri, having migrated there from Kentucky. I am hesitant to return it. The late fees must be astronomical.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby tandfman » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:04 am

lonewolf wrote:the book appears to be on loan from the Des Moines, Iowa Library, which is puzzling since my great-grandfather lived in NW Missouri, having migrated there from Kentucky. I am hesitant to return it. The late fees must be astronomical.

On the other hand, if they ever declared a temporary amnesty on late fees, as part of a campaign to get people to return books, you could be their poster boy. :)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:49 am

Just finished The Children Of Húrin, a must-read for any hardcore Tolkien fan. It's credited to J.R.R, with editing by son Christopher.

If you've read The Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales then you've seen less polished versions of this story, now all brought together in a finished format.

I've long thought that tale of Túrin would make a stunning—albeit unrelentingly bleak—movie. With a suitable Wagnerian score of course. (rated S: not to be watched by those with Suicidal tendencies)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Brian » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:31 pm

Why, the Track & Field News website "Things Not T & F" forum on the message board, of course!

Seriously, just made a BIG mistake: As part of (read: only, in last 10 years) Spring Cleaning, I got the idea to re-file magazines and books.

Entire floor is covered with piles of said volumes, as I cannot go more than a few hours without stopping to re-read something.

Fool, fool, fool...!
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:23 pm

Brian, I've often thought there should be a company that can provide the reorganisation and filing away for book fans. I'm reorganising one bookcase and there are still piles there a week later and I've got that much re-reading to do I'm not sure when exactly they're going to make it back onto the shelves. I don't have an impatient spouse to, er ... encourage me to hurry up.

gh, I've seen The Children of Hurin on the bookshelves of my local book shop and wondered whether it was worth buying. I haven't finished the Silmarillion yet and haven't read the Unfinished Tales, being rather a latecomer to the Tolkien world. Is it worth investing in? I had heard it had attracted criticism from the hardcore fans.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:56 am

Does "it" mean Unfinished Tales or Húrin?

In any case, none of the pre-Rings material has remotely the same tone. As with Silmarillion I find that all those early things read much more like scholarly tomes than entertainment fit for adult and child alike.

I'm not remotely a Tolkien-ologist, but I believe that a lot of the criticism of these works is from those who think that Christopher took too many liberties in competing dad's work. I've approached all of them (and have read multiple times) as merely being there for entertainment value, filling in earlier holes, and explaining some of the myths inside a myth that are so frequently referenced in Rings.

Put another way, I believe the critics are like wine snobs who are so busy putting down the new winemaker's interpretation on an old favorite that they've completely lost track of the fact that it's still many delicious mouthfuls to be consumed!
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:05 pm

something I'm going to have to pick up soon is The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (author of Moneyball), even though I'll probably only understand about half of it.

This is a stunning look at the whole Wall Street collapse (and how morally bankrupt the system is).

60 Minutes devoted two episodes a couple of weeks back, links to both are in this URL

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/ ... ncol;lst;2

Or, for a shorter version (in far more amusing terms), you can catch his chat with Jon Stewart (go to the third white dot in the slider):

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episod ... hael-lewis
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Brian » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:11 pm

IanS_Liv wrote:Brian, I've often thought there should be a company that can provide the reorganisation and filing away for book fans. I'm reorganising one bookcase and there are still piles there a week later and I've got that much re-reading to do I'm not sure when exactly they're going to make it back onto the shelves. I don't have an impatient spouse to, er ... encourage me to hurry up.


Neither do I. Right now, to me, this would be the best possible argument for the institution of marriage.

And since I seem to be doing my "Annual Spring Cleaning" in conjuction with the US Census, there may be stacks in various places for the next decade. Sigh.

Went to visit a friend of similar mind (T&F guy, avid reader) in Minneapolis during state hockey tournament a few weeks back, and mentioned I was re-doing my books and how doing so was taking a long time. Before I could finish, he said, "Let me guess, you're too busy re-reading them to put them away...?"

I felt better; it's good to have friends.

:]
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:01 pm

gh wrote:Does "it" mean Unfinished Tales or Húrin?

I actually meant Hurin gh. Although I suppose the question could apply equally to Unfinished Tales as I've yet to buy that. And, having sampled several online 'fandoms' over the past few years, I completely agree with your views on the hardcore critics! I'm really asking whether you (or anyone else on the board) think they're good entertainment. Even if they're bleak.

Either way, they're going to have to wait as the Royal Shakespeare's own Complete Works complete with introduction, essays on each play and notes in the margin, plopped onto my doormat as a birthday present last week and I want to browse through that first.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby LopenUupunut » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:45 am

The simplest test is this. Most editions of Lord of the Rings have some 100 pages of appendices at the end. If you enjoy those as much as the actual story, you should definitely buy Unfinished Tales; then, having read Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, there's no reason not to do Húrin as well.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:38 am

IanS_Liv wrote:
gh wrote:Does "it" mean Unfinished Tales or Húrin?

I actually meant Hurin gh. Although I suppose the question could apply equally to Unfinished Tales as I've yet to buy that. And, having sampled several online 'fandoms' over the past few years, I completely agree with your views on the hardcore critics! I'm really asking whether you (or anyone else on the board) think they're good entertainment. Even if they're bleak......


I've read Unfinished Tales three times. Next question? :-)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby az2004 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:57 am

just finished tramps abroad by samuel clemens.....not as good as innocents abroad...but anyone who's been in heidelberg or switzerland would get a kick out of it
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:24 am

gh wrote:I've read Unfinished Tales three times. Next question? :-)


What's the meaning of life? And why does the toast always fall butter side down?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby HiddenDepths » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:07 am

Bill Bowerman and the men of Oregon.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Brian » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:23 am

IanS_Liv wrote: And why does the toast always fall butter side down?



That's easy. Because the butter adds slightly to the weight on that side of the bread so it pulls it down (if dropped high enough). Or because God hates you. I can't remember.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mike renfro » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:51 am

I'm about half way through the 7th Henning Mankell "Wallander" novel. No, I'm not reading it in Swedish :) We started reading them after the BBC ran 3 of them last year. Pretty good work.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:24 pm

Brian wrote:
IanS_Liv wrote: And why does the toast always fall butter side down?



That's easy. Because the butter adds slightly to the weight on that side of the bread so it pulls it down (if dropped high enough). Or because God hates you. I can't remember.


Yes, but a cat always lands feet-first, so what happens if you strap a piece of bread to a cat's back, butter up?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby tandfman » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:02 pm

gh wrote:
Brian wrote:
IanS_Liv wrote: And why does the toast always fall butter side down?

That's easy. Because the butter adds slightly to the weight on that side of the bread so it pulls it down (if dropped high enough). Or because God hates you. I can't remember.

Yes, but a cat always lands feet-first, so what happens if you strap a piece of bread to a cat's back, butter up?

Maybe that depends on whether God hates the cat.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:30 pm

tandfman wrote:Maybe that depends on whether God hates the cat.


:D

The philosophers of yore spent entire careers on such profound subjects!
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:36 am

how many cats can stand on the point of a pin?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Brian » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:02 pm

tandfman wrote:
gh wrote: Yes, but a cat always lands feet-first, so what happens if you strap a piece of bread to a cat's back, butter up?

Maybe that depends on whether God hates the cat.


Makes sense.

God is dog spelled backwards.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:32 pm

Don't forget that cats aren't mentioned in the Bible. Lions, yes. Ordinary puss cats? No.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Brian » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:18 pm

IanS_Liv wrote:Don't forget that cats aren't mentioned in the Bible. Lions, yes. Ordinary puss cats? No.


Most books in the Bible written by Hebrews. Cats were big with the hated Egyptians ("Let my people go", etc.), so possible snub from that perspective.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:23 pm

I am in the process of re-reading Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon. A fascinating book of all deaths in Grand Canyon. Anyone who spends any time in the wilderness would appreciate this book, by reminding you what not to do.

There is also a companion book, Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mamo » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:35 pm

And don't forget "Death In Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park" by Lee Whittlesey. With boiling geysers and pools, Yellowstone has its share of enticing dangers. One example, the guy who followed his dog into a near-boiling pool (to save it) and of course we know what happened.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:41 pm

mamo wrote:And don't forget "Death In Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park" by Lee Whittlesey. With boiling geysers and pools, Yellowstone has its share of enticing dangers. One example, the guy who followed his dog into a near-boiling pool (to save it) and of course we know what happened.


Thanks! I will have to find that. Also there is the annual Accidents in Mountaineering published by the American Alpine Club.

PS. Just ordered the book on Amazon.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mamo » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:52 pm

One of my favorite books is "Touching The Void" about Joe Simpson and Simon Yates and their amazing mountaineering experience in the Andes in 1985. Simon had to cut the rappelling rope to avoid death with Joe, and that's only one climax to the true story. Joe's other books are awesome too, as are Simon's. There was even a great BBC docu featuring Joe and Simon years later.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:57 pm

mamo wrote:One of my favorite books is "Touching The Void" about Joe Simpson and Simon Yates and their amazing mountaineering experience in the Andes in 1985. Simon had to cut the rappelling rope to avoid death with Joe, and that's only one climax to the true story. Joe's other books are awesome too, as are Simon's. There was even a great BBC docu featuring Joe and Simon years later.


Yes, it is a great book. Never saw the movie though.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:41 pm

top-of-the-headlines death-by-mountain story:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 1COHL4.DTL
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mump boy » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:08 pm

Race of A Lifetime: How Obama Won the Whitehouse

very interesting
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:32 pm

For you mathematicians out there I just finished an interesting book called Perfect Rigor the story of a Russian mathematician who solved the Poincarie Conjecture. Anyways, besides the fact the guy turned down a million dollars for solving the prize, it is a fascinating look at mathematical competitions.

In the US the big college mathematical competition is the Putnam exam. I took it once and got 5 points of 120 and beat over half the entrants.

http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Rigor-Mat ... 885&sr=8-1
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Friar » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:54 pm

Something in the air says after Beamon's WR jump, he went into a "Cataplectic seizure."
Plus 2ft. to a pr can do that.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:41 pm

Conor Dary wrote:For you mathematicians out there I just finished an interesting book called Perfect Rigor the story of a Russian mathematician who solved the Poincarie Conjecture. Anyways, besides the fact the guy turned down a million dollars for solving the prize, it is a fascinating look at mathematical competitions.

In the US the big college mathematical competition is the Putnam exam. I took it once and got 5 points of 120 and beat over half the entrants.

http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Rigor-Mat ... 885&sr=8-1


Took the Putnam once - think I got a 2 1/2. Didn't beat half the entrants

Just finished reading Quantum, pretty good read about the history of quantum mechanics and its development.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby rasb » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:24 pm

Haven't started it yet, but just received "The Book of Awesome" from my daughter for Father's Day - sound like fun...
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:10 pm

Just finished the 6 books that comprise the prequel to Dune, as written by Frank Herbert's son and another scifi dude. They don't write half as well as dad did, but still compelling enough to make me launch into Dune itself for what I'd guess is about the 40th time. IMHO, unquestionably the greatest scifi novel ever written, with second place so far behind (yes, including Asimov's Foundation stuff) I'm not even sure w hat it is.
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Re:

Postby jamese1045 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:16 pm

gm wrote:Re: string theory...
I'll ask the neighbor's cat. That damn thing seems to play with string all the time in the yard!

:? That would be Mr. Schroedinger's kitty, dang thing! Oh well, that's neither here nor there, but I really enjoy Mr. Hawking's BLACK HOLES AND BABY UNIVERSES, and Other Essays. I like the simplicity of these essays, I like his plain sense of humor, and i like that he shows respect for religion AND science. And I like that he recognizes the really higher science---music, and Mozart.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:56 pm

History of Caldwell County, MO, c 1884, the county from which my grandfather migrated in the 1880s to homestead in Gove County, western Kansas where he and a brother "proved up" on 640 acres each. My grandfather returned to Missouri, married my grandmother and when the Kiowa-Comanche reservation was opened to settlement in 1902, homsteaded again the farm on which I was born in Kiowa County, Oklahoma. The brother stayed behind in Kansas and farmed the 1280 acres, from which he refused to evacute when the area was a WWII bombing and strafing range, until his death in 1945. This book was among his meagre effects.
I learned that my paternal great-grandfather was born in Chester Co, England in 1817. I only knew that he had migrated through North Carolina and Kentucky before settling in 1842 in Caldwell County, which was first settled in 1831. Although only 25 years old, he was elected and repeatedly re-elected County Probate Judge. Apparently a legal degree was not a strict requirement for a judge on the frontier.
Amazingly, in the 1890s, when he was over 70 years old, he sold his Missouri farm and homesteaded in Washita County, Oklahoma.
Well, I thought it was interesting. Sorry.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:59 am

I find it interesting that there's a Washita County in Oklahoma. I'm assuming this is yet another variant of the school Ouachita Baptist in Arkansas, and Wichita in Kansas. A native-American word with multiple frontier spellings?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:49 am

The tribe is the Wichita. The "mountains" and river in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas are the Ouachitas, the spelling influenced, no doubt, by the Louisiana Purchase from France. The river in western Oklahoma, scene of a memorable massacre of Indians, is the Washita.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:53 am

bambam wrote:
Took the Putnam once - think I got a 2 1/2. Didn't beat half the entrants


The year I took it back in the 70's the median score was zero.
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