Right now I'm reading

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Bram
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Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram »

Just finished John Hersey's Hiroshima.

The book was originally published a year after the dropping of the first atomic bomb, with an afterword added forty years later. It's sat on the bookshelf for months, but with the recent invasion of Ukraine, it seemed the right time to pick a book up on the horrors of war.

It covers six normal citizens -- a minister, a priest, a housewife, a clerk, and two doctors -- and what their experience was. The book starts early in the morning of the bomb drop then follows them through their first day, then days, weeks, months, and years. There is terrible destruction and foulness. But I was struck by how resilient and dedicated these people were to life. And it puts things in perspective. Losing your friends, family, and all your belongings in an instant, and then being faced with decades of internal affliction from radiation poisoning...well, a lot of normal things one might bitch about seem worthless. And it also felt like a call to enjoy the life that we have already.

Short read too.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee


motherjuggs&speed
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. Alternately haunting and hilarious. I wish I'd read it a long time ago. For some reason I often don't understand something until I read it, or sometimes when someone says it. There are parts of this book that hit me so hard. Things I wish I'd understood a lot sooner. Faulkner writes about life and does so in a way that sticks. That's how people are, I say to myself, that's how it is. Mostly. It's written as a series of first person narratives, and some of them I just don't buy. I mislike it when an author tries to give us the thoughts of a character he doesn't understand. Authors will often tell us what they think a person like that thinks, if that makes sense. But it's not at all believable when the writer doesn't understand people like that. This connects with something Bill James has said, that you have to understand something deeply in order to analyze it. Some of these people Faulkner does understand deeply and those narratives connect, hard. And there are times when he puts something in which is so good that I don't think about the voice or perspective. But there are some that I don't believe. I also found the ending both rushed and lazy, like he had to finish somehow. But it's still great.

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Never read Faulkner, thanks for the review!

Let’s see…

A Gentleman in Moscow might be my favorite fiction book of all time.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone was a funny and informative look at the world of therapy.

And Powder Days was a look at the history of skiing in America, specifically the history and culture of being a ski bum. And it asks if that path is still viable. Being new to snow culture, I deeply appreciated a timely, passionate overview of it. The second half is mostly gloom and doom — racism, global warming, suicides, inflation, alcoholism — which sucked some of the joy out of the book, even though all of it felt relevant.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee

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odin
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Post by odin »

Merlin by Robert Nye. It’s both obscene and obscure. I read it as a young teenager (it was in my dads library) and pre redtube I found the descriptions of nuns finger blasting themselves massively arousing. Dunno if it’s declining t levels but this time around I’ve been more struck by the authors knowledge of Hebrew cosmology and the work of the Golden Dawn hermetics.

7/10

Listening to The Path by Michael Puett which is good. A summary of Taoist and Confuciun ideas applied to modern life. Throw in a masturbating nun and it would get a 9, but it lingers on 8/10 instead
Don't try too hard, don't not try too hard


Luke
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Post by Luke »

odin wrote: Fri Jul 15, 2022 7:49 pm Dunno if it’s declining t levels but this time around I’ve been more struck by the authors knowledge of Hebrew cosmology and the work of the Golden Dawn hermetics.
Hahahaha


lenny
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Post by lenny »

Working out, Working Within
The Tao of Inner Fitness Through Sports and Exercise
It has instructions on how to use Taoist breathing, visualization, affirmations etc.. Excellent material.

Calculus Third Edition by Michael Spivak. Math was my major. It's a 600 page book. I got through about 120 pages 15 years ago, including most of the homework problems at the end of the chapters. I got to the chapter entitled 3 Hard Theorems and quit. It was about the same place in college where I lost interest in theoretical math. I want to see if I can finish the book this time.

The Essential Lenny Bruce. This is taken verbatim from some of his routines. He never did them the same way twice and was an unbelievable social satirist. Here are two of his routines.

This one is called, "Are there any niggers here tonight?" It's missing a few words at the very end where he says, "Zug gornisht (Yiddish for say nothing) gives it the power, Jim."

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaRqDc41IFQ[/youtube]

How to Relax Colored People at Parties.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua0TT87KNwo[/youtube]

I'm in the middle of reading a few others in Hebrew, but I don't think that would interest anyone here.


lenny
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Post by lenny »

In the routine entitled How to relax colored people at parties, Eric Miller says, "Here's to the Mau Mau," at the very end. The Mau Mau were a violent revolutionary group that helped Kenya liberate itself from the British.


lenny
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Post by lenny »

If anyone is interested I found what appears to be a much better calculus textbook by James Stewart entitled Calculus.

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Ronald RayGun
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Post by Ronald RayGun »

Just cracked into the 3rd Hellboy Omnibus. Absolutely loving the culmination of fable, religion, old wives tales & all that in conjunction with a very chill dude that happened to be summoned to earth circa WW2 via Nazi SciAlchemy. Super fun books with a very serious yet comical tone. Some of the most fun comics I've read in years.
"Sorry I didn't save the world, my friend. I was too busy building mine again" - Kendrick Lamar

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tough old man
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Post by tough old man »

Re- reading the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry. Aalso reading Armor by John Steakley again.
"I am the author of my own misfortune, I don't need a ghost writer" - Ian Dury


"Legio mihi nomen est, quia multi sumus."


Bennyonesix1
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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

Re-read the Pehov (Pekov) books. Excellent straight ahead fantasy. "Derivative" I guess but really enjoyable and expertly done. Even in translation.

Read the Powder Mage trilogy. First book was free and decent. Interesting. Especially for a first novel. But jfc the guy sold out to his editors and the last two were just a race to boredom and midwit women are LITERALLY the same as men but subtly better. It could have been worse. No real Anti-racism or Alphabet People nonsense but blech.

Read Shankle's books. Very Abercrombie inspired and readable.

Just read Haggard's SHE. I put off reading it because I had heard so much about the Jungian Anima aspect. It turned out to be fascinating because of that. Not heavy handed at all and the book has been in my head for a week. Fascinating perspective on it. Cool untrustworthy narrator stuff which is also not heavy handed.

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nafod
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Post by nafod »

This is a cool short story

*******

Sticks
by George Saunders

Every year Thanksgiving night we flocked out behind Dad as he dragged the Santa suit to the road and draped it over a kind of crucifix he'd built out of metal pole in the yard. Super Bowl week the pole was dressed in a jersey and Rod's helmet and Rod had to clear it with Dad if he wanted to take the helmet off. On the Fourth of July the pole was Uncle Sam, on Veteran’s Day a soldier, on Halloween a ghost. The pole was Dad's only concession to glee. We were allowed a single Crayola from the box at a time. One Christmas Eve he shrieked at Kimmie for wasting an apple slice. He hovered over us as we poured ketchup saying: good enough good enough good enough. Birthday parties consisted of cupcakes, no ice cream. The first time I brought a date over she said: what's with your dad and that pole? and I sat there blinking.

We left home, married, had children of our own, found the seeds of meanness blooming also within us. Dad began dressing the pole with more complexity and less discernible logic. He draped some kind of fur over it on Groundhog Day and lugged out a floodlight to ensure a shadow. When an earthquake struck Chile he lay the pole on its side and spray painted a rift in the earth. Mom died and he dressed the pole as Death and hung from the crossbar photos of Mom as a baby. We'd stop by and find odd talismans from his youth arranged around the base: army medals, theater tickets, old sweatshirts, tubes of Mom's makeup. One autumn he painted the pole bright yellow. He covered it with cotton swabs that winter for warmth and provided offspring by hammering in six crossed sticks around the yard. He ran lengths of string between the pole and the sticks, and taped to the string letters of apology, admissions of error, pleas for understanding, all written in a frantic hand on index cards. He painted a sign saying LOVE and hung it from the pole and another that said FORGIVE? and then he died in the hall with the radio on and we sold the house to a young couple who yanked out the pole and the sticks and left them by the road on garbage day.

In the contributor's notes in "Story" magazine, George Saunders writes, "For two years I'd been driving past a house like the one in the story, imagining the owner as a man more joyful and self-possessed and less self-conscious than myself. Then one day I got sick of him and invented his opposite, and there was the story."
Don’t believe everything you think.

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