What are you reading now?


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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Double R Bar » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:51 pm

Just finished "River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey" by Candice Millard. I loved it. I love reading about the American presidents and this book is excellent. I don't think President Roosevelt (Teddy) knew what he was getting into when he decided to explore part of the Brazilian Amazon. He came very close to dying in South America.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby KDFINE » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:08 am

"A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson, about hiking the Appalachian Trail. Its a nice read for anyone who needs something light.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:39 am

"Ratification" by Pauline Maier- the history of the ratification of the US Constitution after the Constitutional Convention. Pretty good so far. Also bought the new Washington bio by Ron Chernow but haven't really started it yet. Continuing on my interest in revolutionary America.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby dukehjsteve » Sun Oct 31, 2010 1:01 pm

KDFINE wrote:"A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson, about hiking the Appalachian Trail. Its a nice read for anyone who needs something light.


Loved the part about his fellow hiker Katz !
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:31 pm

1421: The Year China Discovered the World. Apparently most mainstream historians have thoroughly debunked its claims, but it's an enjoyable read. I don't actually have a problem with the idea that medieval Chinese sailors reached Australia, or the Pacific coast of North America. If the Vikings can hop from Iceland to Greenland to Newfoundland, I don't see why Asian ships couldn't follow a similar path past Korea, Manchuria, up past what is now Vladivostok, to cross the Bering Straits.

But that's not what he's claiming. Or able to prove either.

Still, I think of it as a kind of medieval science fiction.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby rasb » Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:34 pm

Some are opining the total reach of the Vikings as being much further afield than Newfoundland, which also makes sense to me. Part of "Vinland" may have been as far
South as what is now the East Coast of the USA (many hundreds of years before Columbus of course), and they may have travelled much further West in what is now Northern Canada than Newfoundland. The search for artifacts is ongoing.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:05 pm

Nordic runestones have been discoverd in Maine, Minnesota and Oklahoma, believed to date variously to the 7th, 10th and 12th century.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:34 pm

KDFINE wrote:"A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson, about hiking the Appalachian Trail. Its a nice read for anyone who needs something light.


ANY book by Bryson should be mandatory reading.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Per Andersen » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:37 pm

IanS_Liv wrote:1421: The Year China Discovered the World. Apparently most mainstream historians have thoroughly debunked its claims, but it's an enjoyable read. I don't actually have a problem with the idea that medieval Chinese sailors reached Australia, or the Pacific coast of North America. If the Vikings can hop from Iceland to Greenland to Newfoundland, I don't see why Asian ships couldn't follow a similar path past Korea, Manchuria, up past what is now Vladivostok, to cross the Bering Straits.

But that's not what he's claiming. Or able to prove either.

Still, I think of it as a kind of medieval science fiction.

Fiction all right!
What do you mean "I don't have a problem with the idea that Chinese sailors reached Australia" when it did not happen. How can you compare that huge distance distance to the distance the Vikings covered when they at first were driven off course across the Davis Strait. You can fly across the Davis Strait in little over 1/2 hour. You should not be far from the coast of Western Greenland before some of the 7000ft mountains of Baffin Island become visible.
Once the Norsemen reached Iceland it was only a question of a little time before Greenland was reached. They had the ships, they had the know-how and the climate was quite conducive compared to now.
For Australia the prevailing winds are northerlies. You don't just happen upon Australia from the north.
Last edited by Per Andersen on Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby rasb » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:57 pm

lonewolf wrote:Nordic runestones have been discoverd in Maine, Minnesota and Oklahoma, believed to date variously to the 7th, 10th and 12th century.


Yes, I've read of those, and many others as well, LW. Still a lot of debate, as far as I can discern, regarding the authenticity of many of the findings. Some say that pre-Vikings came across the Atlantic in dugout made of animal skins, perhaps as early as 6,000 B.C., and that the Vikings likely landed at many points between Greenland and Florida, and maybe even travelled up the Mississippi River, as well as down the Nelson from Hudson's Bay into what is now the USA.
Others are still trying to debunk that any Vikings made it much past Newfoundland.
I was there, so I know, but I'm not allowed to tell :)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby rasb » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:04 pm

Whoops, I meant to put dugouts in quotes. I know what a dugout is, so I should have said --- "things that float on water" or something like that...
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:51 am

Vikings were almost a decade in the far reaches of the New World but unlike Iceland and Greenland (Inuits did not compete with them on Greenland for a couple centuries, I think), they had to compete with the natives and did not have the numbers/technology (and germs? especially since the Norse were not living in big cities that led to development of more germs, and they hardly had a lot of steel, as Greenland did not have the material to make it) advantage of the Spanish close to half a millennium later. Some artifacts made their way south from trading, no doubt, but Oklahoma is a stretch, but Maine is not, since it is coastal and they .
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby dukehjsteve » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:21 pm

For just plain old entertaining fiction reading, anyone ever read some of them by Greg Iles ? I recommend them.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby rasb » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:53 pm

26mi235 wrote:Vikings were almost a decade in the far reaches of the New World but unlike Iceland and Greenland (Inuits did not compete with them on Greenland for a couple centuries, I think), they had to compete with the natives and did not have the numbers/technology (and germs? especially since the Norse were not living in big cities that led to development of more germs, and they hardly had a lot of steel, as Greenland did not have the material to make it) advantage of the Spanish close to half a millennium later. Some artifacts made their way south from trading, no doubt, but Oklahoma is a stretch, but Maine is not, since it is coastal and they .


The Vikings and others from that area of the World were far more than just coastal explorers.
They made some of their boats specifically for river travel, and were able to take them out of the rivers, and drag them around obstacles or over to other river systems. They got down to the Middle East that way, through what is now Russia. They got down to Minnesota that way from Hudson's Bay in Northern Canada, and so on. There really is nowhere in the Americas that wasn't within the reach of these peoples, and their much earlier ancestors, who may have been in New England between 6000 and 9000 years ago. Google "Red Paint Peoples" or "Marine Archaic Peoples"...
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:04 pm

Per Andersen wrote:What do you mean "I don't have a problem with the idea that Chinese sailors reached Australia" when it did not happen.

For Australia the prevailing winds are northerlies. You don't just happen upon Australia from the north.

I've never seen anything outside this book that does claim Chinese sailors reached Australia. I've seen one or two things that speculate about people crossing the Pacific to the Americas, although evidence is thin on the ground.

What I mean is that I don't necessarily think it's impossible that people reached Australia before the 17th century, whether it happened or not. Let's face it, the Aborigines got there 60,000 years ago! And I know that sea levels were much lower then, but at some point they would have had to sail/raft/whatever to actually reach Australia.

The Chinese at that point (1421) were already trading with places in Malaysia and Indonesia. Is it so far-fetched to believe that it was possible for ships to travel down through Malaysia, Indonesia and maybe reach Papua New Guinea and then cross to the north of Australia?

I'm not saying they did, and I know the waters and winds there are terrible to navigate. I'm just saying I don't find it impossible.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:35 pm

Yep, we don't know exactly when or how but over the span of a couple of million years, we all came "out of Africa" to populate the entire globe..
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gm » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:51 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:For just plain old entertaining fiction reading, anyone ever read some of them by Greg Iles ? I recommend them.


Love his stuff, Steve. Very well-crafted stories that make it hard to put the book down.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:44 am

Lord of the Rings -- to my 2nd grader. It is a little bit above his head and early so not that exciting so it is good at putting him to sleep, but it will take a long time to go through it. I have not read it since the 70s, I think.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:30 pm

26mi235 wrote:Lord of the Rings -- to my 2nd grader. It is a little bit above his head and early so not that exciting so it is good at putting him to sleep, but it will take a long time to go through it. I have not read it since the 70s, I think.


having done extensive readings (out-loud version, that is), you'll have them completely mesmerized when you get to the Ents in volumn 2. Well, so long as you do a passable Treebeard imitation that is :mrgreen:
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:36 pm

gh wrote:
26mi235 wrote:Lord of the Rings -- to my 2nd grader. It is a little bit above his head and early so not that exciting so it is good at putting him to sleep, but it will take a long time to go through it. I have not read it since the 70s, I think.


having done extensive readings (out-loud version, that is), you'll have them completely mesmerized when you get to the Ents in volumn 2. Well, so long as you do a passable Treebeard imitation that is :mrgreen:


You have to bark out his parts don't you? :D

Having read the Thurin/Hurin book this summer, I wonder if I will pick up things differently? I suspect that I should read the Silmarillion (reading to my son is going very slowly, but he goes to sleep nicely :) :) :) )

I have been at a bit of a loss for what to read, as the time is not ripe for several things that I have started.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby jamese1045 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:21 am

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.]


When I'm not working on my concordance of Finnegan's Wake :mrgreen: , I'm reading I, SNIPER by Stephen Hunter. I appreciate a strong story and attention to detail You sort of need some background and interest in guns, of course; but this is a cracking good story per se. I say per se because it's got the larger-than-life non-ex-marine :) as hero(s) pulling off amazing derring-do. And shooting. I mean I was a pretty good ratkiller when I was a tadpole on a ranch, but these cats, these snipers have racked op nearly a hundred--recorded--kills.

Well, never mind that there's some overblown heroism and marine corp hoorah, just read it for good story-telling and a welter of gun and shooting details.

p.s. my wife doesn't want t me to take the book out of the house or let anyone know I read such burgoise trash--hell, I can't even spell burgeoiuse....
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:08 am

Sniper was great; turned into a fairly decent action flic with Mark Wahlberg called Shooter

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0822854/

There are sequels to the book, but I've never read.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:44 am

Somebody with a lot of time on their hands could try this: reading the entire OED!


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/books ... ker-t.html
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:19 am

I am reading Oxygen; I am not sure what I expected but this is different.

One interesting item concerns the diffusion of Oxygen into tissues and into the cell powerhouse. Oxygen, of course, is a very dangerous substance and has to be carefully managed in an organism. If the concentration is not limited to very low levels the cells get trashed (Daisy can weigh in here). Basically, organisms have evolved to deal with the concentration of Oxygen that they face. The cover has a dragonfly from an era with a concentration of 35% (vs 21% now); the size is twice as large because the body can be bigger since the Oxygen can diffuse further in.

Now go to track, particularly distance running. animals that have lived many generations at altitude probably have less 'filtering' to the cells with the lower partial pressure of Oxygen. When the pressure is higher (sea level) are there negative consequences? I also remember reading that populations in three high-altitude regions, Tibet, Peru, and Kenya?, had different adaptations (Heamotocrit (sp?) in Keyna,...)

Anyone have any insights/comments.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:37 pm

gh wrote:Somebody with a lot of time on their hands could try this: reading the entire OED!


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/books ... ker-t.html


There is a Sherlock Holmes story, The Red-Headed League, where Professor Moriarty concocks a plot to break into a bank through an adjoining business, by getting the owner out with a cock and bull story about a will and a pointless job of copying encyclopedia from A to Z.

This sounds just as useful.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby jeremyp » Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:34 pm

Don't know if he's been mentioned before, but I heartily recommend Peter Hessler. He writes about China, non fiction. "Country Driving," "Oracle Bones," and "River Town." He's funny, insightful, and shows a China we know little about. He has driven across China, lived in villages, factory towns, Beijing, and he looks at China from a personal story view. After reading these books you won't see China as such a big threat.......yet. I'd recommend starting with his most recent: "Country Driving."
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:05 pm

jeremyp wrote:Don't know if he's been mentioned before, but I heartily recommend Peter Hessler. He writes about China, non fiction.


And he is/was a runner! Some good bits about running in China in at least one of his books...
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:41 pm

kuha wrote:
jeremyp wrote:Don't know if he's been mentioned before, but I heartily recommend Peter Hessler. He writes about China, non fiction.


And he is/was a runner! Some good bits about running in China in at least one of his books...



He is also a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I have read quite a bit of his stuff in the New Yorker.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby jeremyp » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:26 am

Conor Dary wrote:
kuha wrote:
jeremyp wrote:Don't know if he's been mentioned before, but I heartily recommend Peter Hessler. He writes about China, non fiction.


And he is/was a runner! Some good bits about running in China in at least one of his books...



He is also a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I have read quite a bit of his stuff in the New Yorker.


Haven't got to the running bit yet. I knew about the Peace Corps. I was in it as well (Indonesia/Thailand), but was amazed that China, of all countries, would let them in.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Friar » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:11 pm

I had a three musical autobio week. Lieber/Stoeller, Kooper, and the current best seller Life by Keith Richards.
My only answer as to why he's still alive to complete Life, is a sturdy gene pool/luck. The book was a bit different than I'd expected. A pleasing conversational style but nothing special in terms of content.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby IanS_Liv » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:17 pm

After the Ice, a history of the human race between 20,000BC and 5,000BC by Steven Mithen. It's a big hefty book, but if you're interested in prehistory, the beginnings of agriculture, etc, it's well worth a read. It draws together information from archaeological digs around the world about the development of the human race over those 15,000 years up until civilisation, writing and history begins.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Cooter Brown » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:33 am

gh wrote:ANY book by Bryson should be mandatory reading.



Just finished his new one, At Home. Like his other books, it's difficult to put down. the first chapter is about the Crystal Palace. As an amurkin, I had no idea it was a actual structure and not just a place for track meets.

Now I'm on to Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter which is my first book on my new Kindle.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mike renfro » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:27 am

Just before the Xmas break, I read "Just Kids" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo". Both were pretty good. I was a Patti Smith fan back in the day, and the sad story of her and Maplethorpe was interesting. The Girl was well written for the genre and I will read the other two. The town of Stragnas, where some of the action takes place (suburb of Stockholm) is where my brother lives in the summer. Next up will be the current "Wheel of Time" volume. Hernia time :D
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:03 pm

I just read The Mother Tongue (English & How It Got That Way) by Bryson. For at least the third time. I picked it up to reference an obscure word and got hooked and ended up reading the whole thing. Bryson really is addictive.

Have now moved on to The Knife Man (Blood, Body Snatching, And The Birth Of Modern Surgery). It's a biography of renowned 18th-century pioneer John Hunter, by Wendy Moore. Only a couple of chapters in, but I'm hooked. Fascinating character, and Moore is really bringing him to life.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:46 pm

I may terminate that book early! A few more sections like the one I just endured on the era's procedure for lithotomies (removal of bladder stones)....

I thought I was reading A Dummy's Guide To The Inquisition, by Torquemada.

(and if you're thinking Al Swearengin's stone in Deadwood, you ain't even close!)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Cooter Brown » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:39 am

Tough Trip Through Paradise by Andrew Garcia.

It's a memoir that probably was never meant to be published. It was supposedly found in a trunk after Garcia had died. Garcia was a settler of Montana in the late 1800s. It's an unbelievably detailed first person account of pioneer life and a quickly disintegrating Indian culture. There's more adventure and tragedy in this book than pretty much any dozen westerns you could name. It may be up there with Blood Meridian as one of the greatest westerns ever written.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mump boy » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:12 am

i only really read history books this year so far i've read

A biography of Julius Ceasar by Adrian Goldsworthy (really interesting one of those people you've always known but realise you don't really know anything about)

Biogrophy of Jean Harlow called Tarnished Angel by David Brett (one again really interesting but one of the worst written books i've ever read)

A novel called Heartstone by CJ Sandson it's a kind of detective story set in Tudor times

and She Wolves the stories of 4 women who rules england (somewhat tenuously) before the first official Queen Mary I and her better known sister Elizabeth I

Image

next i've got biographies of Stalin to finish and then We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:04 pm

Just finished a non-stop reading of the the Stieg Larsson trilogy..Girl With Dragoon Tattoo, Girl Who Played With Fire and Girl Who KIcked Hornets Nest.. riveting and ultimately satisfying stuff..
Question for the Swedish posters: Are the geographical and place references accurate or fictional?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby jeremyp » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:34 am

lonewolf wrote:Just finished a non-stop reading of the the Stieg Larsson trilogy..Girl With Dragoon Tattoo, Girl Who Played With Fire and Girl Who KIcked Hornets Nest.. riveting and ultimately satisfying stuff..
Next try the movies, way more satisfying.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Friar » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:52 pm

Did the new bio's on Jim Thorpe, Karen Carpenter, Bobby Fischer. Big talents with a few problems.
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