What are you reading now?


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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby dukehjsteve » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:05 pm

Churning through the third book in William Manchester's Churchill trilogy, " Defender of the Realm 1940-1965. " He did not have it quite done before his health failed, but prior to his death he worked out a deal with Paul Reid to finish it for him.

I've read every book Manchester wrote.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:08 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:I've read every book Manchester wrote.


He lived and taught very close to where I grew up, so he was probably the first "name" historian I was aware of. I remember reading "The Glory and the Dream" very intently when it first came out (ca. 1974?).

Edit: Just found this book on the shelf and was surprised to find it autographed. At some point, I guess, I met him or went to a book signing. I read this book to death--its value as a collectable is minimal.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:40 pm

Another airline flight...just finished David Byrne's "How Music Works." Very interesting overview of music and the biz, from a personal & insider's perspective. Will probably be of more interest to those who followed his great band Talking Heads in the old days...
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:20 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:Churning through the third book in William Manchester's Churchill trilogy, " Defender of the Realm 1940-1965. " He did not have it quite done before his health failed, but prior to his death he worked out a deal with Paul Reid to finish it for him.

I've read every book Manchester wrote.


Oh, this is awesome news! I've read the first two books twice, and every once in a while went looking to see if anybody else had picked up the torch for him, but I guess it has been a while since I did that. Question is, do I slog through the other two yet again first?!
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby DrJay » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:18 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:
DrJay wrote:Is "The Godfather" worth reading if one has seen the entire movie two or three times and probably nine or ten times if you splice together all the partial views I've had while lazing about channel surfing, stretching on the carpet, etc?



Quite readable and entertaining. It's interesting to see how the movie differs from the book. Not a drastic difference however.


Halfway through it, enjoyable vacation read. About as easy as scratching one's bum. Fills in the movie material well.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mump boy » Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:55 pm

I was given a copy of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe for xmas. I'm not going to pretend it's a page turner but it a beautifully written and observed book from an african perspective which is very refreshing

I've only read the first part because Judge Judy keeps interrupting but i'll get there :D
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:27 pm

DrJay wrote:
dukehjsteve wrote:
DrJay wrote:Is "The Godfather" worth reading if one has seen the entire movie two or three times and probably nine or ten times if you splice together all the partial views I've had while lazing about channel surfing, stretching on the carpet, etc?



Quite readable and entertaining. It's interesting to see how the movie differs from the book. Not a drastic difference however.


Halfway through it, enjoyable vacation read. About as easy as scratching one's bum. Fills in the movie material well.


Sorry, I didn't catch your Q earlier; I would have said go for it. As you say, not a tough read, and a well written book (which this is) always adds some depth and breadth that the movie version can't. I remember sitting for 6-7 hours straight reading to finish it, so enraptured was I (a Sunday in September of '71 if memory serves).
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:32 pm

mump boy wrote:I was given a copy of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe for xmas. I'm not going to pretend it's a page turner but it a beautifully written and observed book from an african perspective which is very refreshing

I've only read the first part because Judge Judy keeps interrupting but i'll get there :D


You have reminded me of this fine novel.

http://www.amazon.com/Palm-Wine-Drinkar ... e+drinkard

I've had fresh palm wine. It is very good.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:19 pm

On 19 Jun 2011, mump boy wrote:I'm on Game Of Thrones which is amazing and just bought the next 2 more to come. This could take a while :D

I got sucked into this series. I'm not sure if I really like the way he crafts the story but his characters are what keeps me riveted.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mump boy » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:33 am

Daisy wrote:
On 19 Jun 2011, mump boy wrote:I'm on Game Of Thrones which is amazing and just bought the next 2 more to come. This could take a while :D

I got sucked into this series. I'm not sure if I really like the way he crafts the story but his characters are what keeps me riveted.


There's WAY too much info, people keep going on a journey and you don't come back to them for 2 books !! i wish he's just get on with it :?

I couldn't put them down but they do become a bit tiresome in the end
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:29 am

Mump, My feeling exactly. I keep thinking I won't buy the next one but the characters draw me back.

He needs a good editor to keep the storyline on track. Rowling had the same problem with her Harry Potter series.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby deweyward » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:49 pm

I am reading steve Job's Biography and i m loving it :)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:54 pm

gh wrote:What, did we all give up reading over the summer?!

With so much time in hotel rooms/on planes I steered clear of my normal dose of "intellectual" reading and instead went for visceral pleasures that could be grabbed in tiny doses. Spent lots of time catching up on the Elmore Leonard canon. I think I've now read 40 of his 44 books. Came across a great character in The Cool Kid who is a U.S. marshall chasing bank robbers in depression-era Oklahoma. Not sure it wasn't originally sketched out as a Raylan Givens project. Everything fits (which also means it was a great read if you're into that kind of stuff).


And now I just finished Raylan, which to viewers of Justified will seem verrrrry familiar. I thought that old Elmore had gotten lazy and was cribbing from himself, but it turns out (from the notes at the end of the book) that at the behest of the director and Tim Olyphant after the TV show started he wrote another book. And while he was crafting it, he'd send drafts and say "feel free to use this any way you want."

So in the end, the book read rather disjointedly to me, jumping as it seemed from plotlines from multiple threads across a couple of years of the TV show. The TV people had just picked and chose from various chapters and recrafted. If you'd never seen the TV you might have thought it a good book, but it left me pretty cold.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:11 pm

The Battle of Bretton Woods - while on a trip to a meeting in Japan. Tough sledding, but pretty interesting. Its about the international conference of 1944 that set up the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as a way to set up the post-WW2 economic structure. It was held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, near Mount Washington. Still about 100 pages to go - I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:51 pm

we can see how it's turning out, and it ain't good! :evil:
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:57 am

I don't think Bretton Woods is the cause of our present day troubles and certainly not the main problem with Europe.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:13 pm

Daisy wrote:We're overdue, with respect to a pandemic.


Here comes H7N9?

http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/H7 ... 446898.php
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:49 pm

gh wrote:
Daisy wrote:We're overdue, with respect to a pandemic.


Here comes H7N9?

http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/H7 ... 446898.php


I'll get worried when the people really know the science get worried ... Opps, that was Daisy posting, now I am worried.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby KDFINE » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:11 pm

I just finished "Flyboys" by James Bradley, whose wrote 'Flags of Our Fathers" and whose father was one of the flag raisers at Iwo Jima. (This was loaned to me by a 90 year old friend who was an aircraft mechanic during WW2 in Europe.) The book is about flyers in the Pacific Theater, concentrating on those unfortunate to be shot down and captured at a place called Chichi Jima. Its not just an account of what happened (I knew about P.O.W.s being beheaded and about the fire bombing of Tokyo), but also goes back to the opening of Japan by Admiral Perry, and some of the background for why governments "thought" it was O.K. to conduct certain policies. Its an eye opener and worthwhile.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby KDFINE » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:42 am

And I just started "Isaac's Storm," by Erik Larson. It's about the 1900 Hurricane that demolished Galveston, Texas. Larson also wrote "Devil in the White City" and "In the Garden of Beasts". He is one fabulous writer.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:19 pm

KDFINE wrote:And I just started "Isaac's Storm," by Erik Larson. It's about the 1900 Hurricane that demolished Galveston, Texas.


I bet that's good - have to get it. I just bought The Year Without a Summer about the explosion of Mount Tambora circa 1915. Haven't started it yet. Same idea though.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:29 pm

bambam wrote:
KDFINE wrote:And I just started "Isaac's Storm," by Erik Larson. It's about the 1900 Hurricane that demolished Galveston, Texas.


I bet that's good - have to get it. I just bought The Year Without a Summer about the explosion of Mount Tambora circa 1915. Haven't started it yet. Same idea though.

Apropos of nothing, my maternal grandmother was born in Galveston and survived that storm.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 9:19 am

About to start The Sleepwalkers - history of how WWI started
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby scottmitchell74 » Thu May 02, 2013 11:03 am

I've been reading Berard Cornwell's Saxon series in a frenzy, and I'm about to start book #6 - Death of Kings.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby KDFINE » Thu May 02, 2013 11:31 am

My problem with this Cornwell series is that I started when the first book came out, and it has been too long between books. I liked his three book series from the late 14th century much more: Archers Tale, Heretic and Vagabond. Of course all were already out when I discovered them.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu May 02, 2013 12:12 pm

I think we have another book to consider by one of our members:

Bijan C. Bayne is the author of the upcoming book, Elgin Baylor: The First Superstar.

Are others besides bambam authors of mainstream books?
(I have one, but it is from an academic press, and not in the same ballpark of consideration or general interest.)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Thu May 02, 2013 3:07 pm

I am not clear on whether it is permissable to mention personal involvement in publishing but while I am not the author, I edited and published Ghazal Omid's "Living in Hell", A True Odyssey of a Womans Struggle in Islamic Iran Against Personal and Political Forces. (Park Avenue Publishers, c-2005)
You can Google her.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby scottmitchell74 » Fri May 03, 2013 8:30 am

KDFINE wrote:My problem with this Cornwell series is that I started when the first book came out, and it has been too long between books. I liked his three book series from the late 14th century much more: Archers Tale, Heretic and Vagabond. Of course all were already out when I discovered them.


Yeah, I'm lucky in that regard. All are already out for me to binge on all at once. I've read 1356 as well, and after the Saxon series I'm going to go back for all the Archer tales. I've also got my eye on the Arthur tales and Stonehenge - 2000BC ]


Concerning taking forever to get the next novel of a series out...avoid George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire until it's finished. 5 books in 17 years!!!
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby KDFINE » Fri May 03, 2013 1:12 pm

I enjoyed "Stonehenge."
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mump boy » Sat May 04, 2013 1:37 am

I've just finished Chinua Achebe's The African Trilogy which includes Things Fall Apart

It's absolutely amazing. It's a hard read because the subjects are so alien and i never did get to grip with everyone's names but it is so interesting to read on a subject and perspective that i have never read about before.

100% recommend
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby scottmitchell74 » Wed May 15, 2013 7:03 am

Team of Rivals - The Politcal Genius of Abraham Lincoln - Doris Kearns-Goodwin

About 1/4 of the way through, so far very interesting.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mump boy » Wed May 15, 2013 2:56 pm

Conor Dary wrote:
mump boy wrote:I was given a copy of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe for xmas. I'm not going to pretend it's a page turner but it a beautifully written and observed book from an african perspective which is very refreshing

I've only read the first part because Judge Judy keeps interrupting but i'll get there :D


You have reminded me of this fine novel.

http://www.amazon.com/Palm-Wine-Drinkar ... e+drinkard

I've had fresh palm wine. It is very good.


Looks great but it's $103 :shock:
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu May 16, 2013 8:24 pm

scottmitchell74 wrote:Team of Rivals - The Politcal Genius of Abraham Lincoln - Doris Kearns-Goodwin

About 1/4 of the way through, so far very interesting.


Looks promising, I will have to look this one up.

Thanks, another example of why this is about my favorite thread.

This was spurred by Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Many years ago I read Freeman Dyson's book Disturbing the universe; I suspect it is a bit dated now because its main topic is nuclear disarmament, as a lot has changed in that sphere (thank goodness, although not enough -- no putting that genie back in that bottle).

As long as I am going back two + books by John McPhee:
Curve of Binding Energy
Annals of the Former World

The former is about the mass reduction that occurs when you join atoms (below iron) and the energy released via E = MC^2
The latter is a re-release of four books on geology wherein he travels across a type of terrain with a geologist of note, with the story also about the geologist. I would be interested in what our resident geologist thought of these books (if he has read them). I read them individually near the time they came out and then re-read them, with pleasure, several years ago. I rarely re-read anything since there is SO much to read and I read so slowly (those dyslexia and add things :evil: ).
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby scottmitchell74 » Fri May 17, 2013 2:47 am

That's some heavy reading, 26 miler.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Fri May 17, 2013 6:34 am

No, none of those books is particularly 'heavy' (other than the actual weight of the 4-volume compendium of McPhee). Dyson's book was one of the first of a series by something like the Sloan Foundation that 'commissioned' a series of books by scientists.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Fri May 17, 2013 10:26 am

A little lighter by John McPhee - Levels of the Game - a book about professional tennis in the late 1960s - one of the best sports books I've ever read.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Sat May 18, 2013 8:08 pm

26mi235 wrote:[As long as I am going back two + books by John McPhee:
Annals of the Former World

The latter is a re-release of four books on geology wherein he travels across a type of terrain with a geologist of note, with the story also about the geologist. I would be interested in what our resident geologist thought of these books (if he has read them). I read them individually near the time they came out and then re-read them, with pleasure, several years ago. I rarely re-read anything since there is SO much to read and I read so slowly (those dyslexia and add things :evil: ).

I read Basin and Range when it was released.. did not know there were four books..
As one of the resident geologists, I thought it was the best presentation of geology to laymen I have ever read..I still have it around here somewhere... unless my geologist daughter has pilfered it...now I gotta scare up the missing volumes.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Sun May 19, 2013 10:29 am

I loved Basin and Range when I first read it years ago. I have the "Annals" book that 26 mentions on the very top of (one of my) reading stacks. McPhee is a truly brilliant literary craftsman, who is eloquent regardless of what the subject may be. Coincidentally, I just met his daughter, a fine contemporary photographer, two days ago.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:27 pm

Well, apparently, how we all spent our summer vacations wasn't reading! :-)

I'm embarrassed to admit that in a very busy, fragmented year, I've devoured a dozen fluffy paperbacks (working on series by Sue Grafton, John Sandford and the Frank Herbert Estate) that go down well on planes and in hotel rooms, but I haven't read anyting of substance in months, even though my library shelf continues to pile up with new hardbacks courtesy of my good friends at Amazon, who now hold a second mortgage on the house.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mcgato » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:22 pm

On another thread, I mentioned Nate Silver's book "The Signal and the Noise." gh asked why I didn't mention it on this thread, and how was it. So I'll cross reference my review from over there to here.

Since I am a statistician by trade, most of what he covers about trying to predict things is what I do for a living. He isn't really going to teach me anything about statistics or statistical thinking in the book. That said, I am not really the target audience for the book. My sister got it for me for last Xmas, so I decided to read it. So my review for others follows.

I think that it is a well written book that covers a lot of basic statistical concepts in a very understandable way. He really doesn't get into any details of statistics, but he gets into good case studies of how the predictions were made and communicated, and how that affected a lot of things beyond the prediction. He covers:
--the housing bubble
--his attempts at predicting future success in baseball based on minor league information
--the success of the National Weather Service of doing a better job at prediction than in years past
--unsuccessful attempts at predicting earthquakes
--the aforementioned attempts at predicting disease propagation
--why loud and opinionated political pundits are usually the worst at predicting things
--his attempts at making a living playing poker
--why stock market analysts usually recommend that you buy a stock

There are a few chapters on how predictions can be improved moving forward. I think if someone is interested in some of these areas, it is a very interesting read. Worst case, you will have a better understanding of what the predictions that you read about in the news are really worth, if anything.

He has a very good chapter about global warming, addressing reasons why people are skeptical about the predictions coming out of that area. Note that I am a global warming skeptic, and I think that he gave a very balanced and interesting account of the subject.
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