What are you reading now?


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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:47 am

odelltrclan wrote:
gh wrote:Has long been a dream of mine to get my French skills up to the point where I could read Monte Cristo in the original, but alas....

I'll not be rereading the copy I have, that's for sure. Hardback published in London, I believe in the 1890s, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it's in 5-point type. Nearly blinded me even when I was a lad with 20-20.


Get an e-reader. You can adjust the font size as fits your needs. Plus, you can get a copy of that book very cheap.


I'm guessing I'm gonna be a Luddite when it comes to e-readers. There's nothing quite like the smell and feel of book.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:52 am

gh wrote:[I'm guessing I'm gonna be a Luddite when it comes to e-readers. There's nothing quite like the smell and feel of book.

Second the luddite movement.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby dj » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:46 pm

gh wrote:I'm guessing I'm gonna be a Luddite when it comes to e-readers. There's nothing quite like the smell and feel of book.


C'mon, GH. Can't you go another step and rid yourself of just one more e-gadget?

:)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby odelltrclan » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:27 pm

gh wrote:
odelltrclan wrote:
gh wrote:Has long been a dream of mine to get my French skills up to the point where I could read Monte Cristo in the original, but alas....

I'll not be rereading the copy I have, that's for sure. Hardback published in London, I believe in the 1890s, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it's in 5-point type. Nearly blinded me even when I was a lad with 20-20.


Get an e-reader. You can adjust the font size as fits your needs. Plus, you can get a copy of that book very cheap.


I'm guessing I'm gonna be a Luddite when it comes to e-readers. There's nothing quite like the smell and feel of book.


While I agree that the look and feel of a book is desired and comforting at times, I enjoy having an e-reader (NOOK) as I can take an almost unlimited number of books anywhere I want to go, not to mention being able to change the way it reads (font, point size, etc.) if I so choose. That comes in handy frequently, though I still do by some books in paper form as well.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:07 pm

26mi235 wrote:The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Rhodes), probably the best/most interesting book I have read in several years


One of the great books I have ever read. It was followed by a sequel called Dark Sun - or effectively the Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. That was also great, but still not quite as good as the original.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:09 pm

lonewolf wrote:
gh wrote:[I'm guessing I'm gonna be a Luddite when it comes to e-readers. There's nothing quite like the smell and feel of book.

Second the luddite movement.


Until 1 month ago, I agreed with you. Then I got both an iPad and a Kindle. They are amazingly easy to use (prefer the iPad), and I'm not sure now I'll ever read another "popular" book in hardcopy form. Some of the arcane Olympic and track and sports stuff I get is not available in those formats so will still get hardcopies of those.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:27 pm

bambam wrote:
26mi235 wrote:The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Rhodes), probably the best/most interesting book I have read in several years


One of the great books I have ever read. It was followed by a sequel called Dark Sun - or effectively the Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. That was also great, but still not quite as good as the original.


I met Rhodes when he had just begun this book & it was interesting getting a sense of his excitement about the subject. He lived 2 blocks from me at the time and his wife was a close friend of my wife's. It IS a real classic of history writing.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bad hammy » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:49 am

gh wrote:I'm guessing I'm gonna be a Luddite when it comes to e-readers. There's nothing quite like the smell and feel of book.

That was me before I developed a number of hand/wrist problems two years ago. Managing books with my mitts is now a problem, whereas the use of the Kindle could not be much easier.

In anticipation of the upcoming publication of volume four, my current read is volume three of Robert Caro's seriously epic and most-excellent bio of LBJ, easily the best written bio I've come across. Note that I thought pretty much the same thing about Taylor Branch's three-volume MLK bio, until I got to volume three. That last volume was unreadable.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Marlow » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:24 am

bad hammy wrote: That last volume was unreadable.

Speaking of which, has anyone else tried to read the Autobiography of Mark Twain that just got published last year? Samuel Clemens was an AWESOME writer, humorist, and social philosopher, but Holy Mackerel, his autobio is absolutely unreadable. It's just random remembrances and misanthropic rants. I will not be getting the next volume of it.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:45 am

kuha wrote:
bambam wrote:
26mi235 wrote:The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Rhodes), probably the best/most interesting book I have read in several years


One of the great books I have ever read. It was followed by a sequel called Dark Sun - or effectively the Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. That was also great, but still not quite as good as the original.


I met Rhodes when he had just begun this book & it was interesting getting a sense of his excitement about the subject. He lived 2 blocks from me at the time and his wife was a close friend of my wife's. It IS a real classic of history writing.


I have Dark Sun on the bookshelf to read in the not-too-distant future. Unfortunately I read too slowly and get waylaid by wasting too much time on the computer (getting better at that even though my presence here would indicate the contrary (I am leaving more thread unread these days).

This thread is by far my favorite, at least in the Things Not T&F (although there are so many T&F ones, not sure which I would list ahead of this one). One of the reasons is probably that I get to see other sides of posters that provide different perspectives on the people behind the nyms.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bad hammy » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:53 am

Marlow wrote:
bad hammy wrote: That last volume was unreadable.

Speaking of which, has anyone else tried to read the Autobiography of Mark Twain that just got published last year? Samuel Clemens was an AWESOME writer, humorist, and social philosopher, but Holy Mackerel, his autobio is absolutely unreadable. It's just random remembrances and misanthropic rants. I will not be getting the next volume of it.

I'd been warned about that by early reviewers and passed.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:56 pm

How The Cows Turned Mad by Maxime Schwartz of the Pasteur Institute. Not sure I'd recommend it to anybody without a decent grounding in bio-sci (or the desire to pick up some elevated knowledge along the way), but was a great "detective mystery" spanning centuries of development.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gm » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:30 pm

gh wrote:How The Cows Turned Mad by Maxime Schwartz of the Pasteur Institute. Not sure I'd recommend it to anybody without a decent grounding in bio-sci (or the desire to pick up some elevated knowledge along the way), but was a great "detective mystery" spanning centuries of development.


Interesting to me in that the fear of CJD transmission is why I cannot donate blood, according to those who make such decisions.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Pego » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:00 am

gm wrote:
gh wrote:How The Cows Turned Mad by Maxime Schwartz of the Pasteur Institute. Not sure I'd recommend it to anybody without a decent grounding in bio-sci (or the desire to pick up some elevated knowledge along the way), but was a great "detective mystery" spanning centuries of development.


Interesting to me in that the fear of CJD transmission is why I cannot donate blood, according to those who make such decisions.


What is their listed reason for you being high risk? Living in UK?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:34 am

Pego wrote:What is their listed reason for you being high risk? Living in UK?

Living in the UK when the 'tainted' meat was in general circulation. For the same reason I cannot give blood here either.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:30 am

And after having read the book, I definitely don't want your blood! (seriously)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:01 am

The book will give me a much better handle on the issues and the facts. However, the subsequent distribution of cases has made the more dire set of possibilities less likely.

In Wisconsin we have the idiocy that 'hunting farms' helped cause and worsen the spread of related disease (CWD) in deer. Daisy probably knows more about this than I do.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:36 am

26mi235 wrote:The book will give me a much better handle on the issues and the facts. However, the subsequent distribution of cases has made the more dire set of possibilities less likely.....


Thanks for reminding me: I did fail to mention that the book is now almost a decade old, and there have certainly been other developments (like possibilities playing out), so my sourcing certainly not perfect. But I did do some surfing after finishing the book, and I see nothing to dissuade me from thinking that there could still be nasty surprises waiting in the blood supply.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:44 am

gh wrote:
26mi235 wrote:The book will give me a much better handle on the issues and the facts. However, the subsequent distribution of cases has made the more dire set of possibilities less likely.....


Thanks for reminding me: I did fail to mention that the book is now almost a decade old, and there have certainly been other developments (like possibilities playing out), so my sourcing certainly not perfect. But I did do some surfing after finishing the book, and I see nothing to dissuade me from thinking that there could still be nasty surprises waiting in the blood supply.


Boy, am I glad to see your response because I was afraid I would have to significantly revise my assessment of the level of risk. I seem to recall that they had models of the expected number of cases given certain assumptions. The number has been so much at the low end that there has been little additional 'news' on this front that I have seen. I pay some attention because my wife is in Risk Analysis/Bayesian Statistics and some of her colleagues know some of this stuff etc.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gm » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:27 pm

Daisy wrote:
Pego wrote:What is their listed reason for you being high risk? Living in UK?

Living in the UK when the 'tainted' meat was in general circulation. For the same reason I cannot give blood here either.


Spot on. The last time I tried to donate, the lady looked at me like Satan incarnate when she read that I had lived in the UK during the height of the issue. And I ate more beef, probably, than any 20 normal people in Britain.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:16 pm

Mad Cow Disease - gave new meaning to Do not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:06 pm

gm wrote:
Daisy wrote:
Pego wrote:What is their listed reason for you being high risk? Living in UK?

Living in the UK when the 'tainted' meat was in general circulation. For the same reason I cannot give blood here either.


Spot on. The last time I tried to donate, the lady looked at me like Satan incarnate when she read that I had lived in the UK during the height of the issue. And I ate more beef, probably, than any 20 normal people in Britain.


oh crap! you and I ate dinner together once... we didn't kiss goodnight did we?!
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gm » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:18 pm

gh wrote:
gm wrote:
Daisy wrote:
Pego wrote:What is their listed reason for you being high risk? Living in UK?

Living in the UK when the 'tainted' meat was in general circulation. For the same reason I cannot give blood here either.


Spot on. The last time I tried to donate, the lady looked at me like Satan incarnate when she read that I had lived in the UK during the height of the issue. And I ate more beef, probably, than any 20 normal people in Britain.


oh crap! you and I ate dinner together once... we didn't kiss goodnight did we?!


No, but IIRC you did ask me to demonstrate the feeding protocol for peregrine falcons and their young. That could be problematic? :lol:
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:26 pm

Just finished Banana ("The Fate Of The Fruit That Changed The World").

I hasten to add that I wouldn't normally pick up a book with a title like that, but my voracious-reading brother-in-law recommended it highly, and he was right. I was hooked on the first page with factoids like this:

if you're a 40-year-old American you've probably eaten 10,000 bananas.

Probably the first fruit you ate as a kid, and may be the last in old age.

This was a stunner: Americans eat more bananas a year than apples & oranges combined.

And the real kicker: there's a disease for which there is no cure killing off the entire world crop of the banana that North Americans think of as the banana.

(And we later find that this happened not so many years ago, and that the banana we eat today—the Cavendish—doesn't have the same taste/texture that bananas of the '50s—the Gros Michel—did, because that variety is now extinct.)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:55 am

Bananas are eaten in large quantities because they are cheap. Same with potatoes, I think.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:39 pm

I already know whta my Xmas present book will be:

<<Inferno
The World at War, 1939-1945
By Max Hastings
(Alfred A. Knopf; 729 pages; $35)

If there is a contemporary British historian who is the chronicler of World War II, it would be Max Hastings. In book after book, he has zoomed in on individual theaters and arenas in the global conflict, which continues to fascinate historians and readers more than 65 years after it finally came to an end.

If you want to know all about the Battle of Britain or the United Kingdom's Bomber Command or Winston Churchill's pivotal role in the war, Hastings' studies are the ones to go for. If you want a detailed account of the Normandy Invasion, there's his definitive "Overlord." How did the Allies finally conquer Germany and Japan? "Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945" and "Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45" will each give you a detailed account of how these monumental feats were accomplished.

The great virtue of this culminating volume "Inferno" is that it provides the whole six years as only someone as knowledgeable as Hastings can do....>>

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... z1fFqnLB5K
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:14 am

I am reading the fourth/last volume of biography on George C. Marshall; so far quite good:

"George C. Marshall: Statesman 1945-1959", Forrest Pogue, written in 1987.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Helen S » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:36 am

It seems that many people justify purchasing a reading machine because it can hold numerous books at one time. I always read one book at a time- does everyone else read numeous ones depending on what they feel like reading just them when the opporunity strikes?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:21 pm

Helen S wrote:I always read one book at a time- does everyone else read numeous ones depending on what they feel like reading

I've had three books on the go at one time before. Usually reading along with my kids, like Harry Potter. On top of that possibly a fiction and a non-fiction book. Finally, many science papers for work, and those can add up to a big pile.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:18 pm

gh wrote:I already know whta my Xmas present book will be:

<<Inferno
The World at War, 1939-1945
By Max Hastings
(Alfred A. Knopf; 729 pages; $35)

If there is a contemporary British historian who is the chronicler of World War II, it would be Max Hastings. In book after book, he has zoomed in on individual theaters and arenas in the global conflict, which continues to fascinate historians and readers more than 65 years after it finally came to an end.

If you want to know all about the Battle of Britain or the United Kingdom's Bomber Command or Winston Churchill's pivotal role in the war, Hastings' studies are the ones to go for. If you want a detailed account of the Normandy Invasion, there's his definitive "Overlord." How did the Allies finally conquer Germany and Japan? "Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945" and "Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45" will each give you a detailed account of how these monumental feats were accomplished.

The great virtue of this culminating volume "Inferno" is that it provides the whole six years as only someone as knowledgeable as Hastings can do....>>

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... z1fFqnLB5K


Speaking of Hastings, via Tom Ricks,

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... TopOpinion

http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/20 ... _the_big_s
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:56 pm

I do not intentionally read more than one book at a time..
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:01 pm

I regularly juggle two books, but it's always a hardback and a paperback (reflecting the general content of each: one for edification the other for mindless entertainment).
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:44 am

I typically am reading several books at once. Often something scientific or two (usually different areas), sometimes history (e.g., Marshall, mentioned above and am reading the beginning of 'Chaos', but it might be too dated).

I find gh's suggestion/introduction to Hastings quite tempting and put it as item on on my Christmas list.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Pego » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:24 am

lonewolf wrote:I do not intentionally read more than one book at a time..


So do I.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:05 am

Pego wrote:
lonewolf wrote:I do not intentionally read more than one book at a time..

So do I.

Certainly it slows you down. But I'll sometimes just jump right to the end to find out 'who did it'.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:34 am

Daisy wrote:
Pego wrote:
lonewolf wrote:I do not intentionally read more than one book at a time..

So do I.

Certainly it slows you down. But I'll sometimes just jump right to the end to find out 'who did it'.


Yes, sometimes I just want to find out if those neutrinos beat their PR again in the short 700km dash. :lol:
Last edited by 26mi235 on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:44 pm

I just started a new book written by one of our regulars here.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:07 pm

Conor Dary wrote:I just started a new book written by one of our regulars here.

It better have lots of pictures otherwise I'm not interested. ;)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:50 pm

I have to cop to committing a cardinal sin as I've always understood the rules of bibliophiling. It's worse than walking out of a movie: I put a book down without finishing it!

Very (very-very) well written: The Black Swan ("The Impact Of The Highly Improbable") by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

At this point in my life my brain just can't stay wrapped around deep philosophical concepts. I wanna be a sponge and swim around in hard facts, not have to actually analyze every sentence.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:22 pm

gh wrote:I have to cop to committing a cardinal sin as I've always understood the rules of bibliophiling. It's worse than walking out of a movie: I put a book down without finishing it!

Very (very-very) well written: The Black Swan ("The Impact Of The Highly Improbable") by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

At this point in my life my brain just can't stay wrapped around deep philosophical concepts. I wanna be a sponge and swim around in hard facts, not have to actually analyze every sentence.


I agree - I finished it but did not like it very much either.

I hope you're right about World at War 1939-45 because I got it for my iPad 2 days ago
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