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Shafpocalypse Now
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Post by Shafpocalypse Now »

Bennyonesix1 wrote: Thu Dec 29, 2022 3:26 pm Viriconium: ehhhh. *shrug* I am not a fan of the whole "writer's writer" thing. Technically quite good. Pacing was (intentionally) ponderous. Ponderously ponderous. Heavy influence from Gene Wolfe and Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance and Lord Dunsany. Lethargically lethargic. Dying world stuff. "Hmmm how unpleasant and boring can I make this reading experience and still keep them reading?". He's good enough to make it very very unpleasant and boring.

Moorcock Hawk moon series: reading this as antidote to above: excellent. Just as technically skilled but it moves quick. The bad guys are as close as I have come to seeing the reality of the imperialist hard Right depicted. This is Nazism and Imperial Japan. It's not Portugal or Spain or Italy or Lebanon though. So, it's not " fascism" but it is Nazism and Imperial Japan.

Barry Hughart's Number Ten Ox series: re-read. Absolutely fantastic. Makes me happy. Chinese Taoism mystery story. It sounds lame and hippie but it isn't. It's beautiful. Can not recommend this any more strongly. Please read. It will make you happy. Hughart made the world a better place with this series.

If any of you uses Fbook (spit) and haven't blocked the preposterous Steve Shafley tell him I demand he read the Hughart books. The peculiar and worrisome Fatcat too.
I am way ahead of you, BenE. I bought The Bridge of Birds when it first came out and I regularly reread these almost on a yearly basis. I absolutely love those books. When I see someone start to criticize them because of his portrayal of women in them, I just know they are woke cunts. They are beautifully told, and Hughart was completely unappreciated.

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Post by Shafpocalypse Now »

I read Hughart when it was new, BenE

Hawkmoon was read as a teen. So good

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Post by Shafpocalypse Now »

For the manly men (or the swashbuckling women).

If you want a fucking fantastic story that gets your blood worked up read The Religion by Tim Willocks and the sequel "Twelve Children of Paris"

Like Benny, I love Hughart and recommend everyone read them. But for my boys, guys who like to read books written for a male audience, "The Religion" is so fucking good. It is fucking massive as well, but it goes quick.

It's a fictional story set during the Siege of Malta.

I cannot recommend this enough.

Benny, I demand you read this. You too TOM. If you like Ledger you will like this.

https://a.co/d/gujw69R


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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

I ordered it. 700pgs!

Steven have you read The Frontiersmen by Ekhart?

Or Hopkirk's books about The Great Game?

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Post by Shafpocalypse Now »

I have not. I will check them out.

My high school history teacher made me read this massive tome on early Detroit and the interactions with the indians around there, which you would probably enjoy but I cannot remember the name of it

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Post by Bram »

The Tao of Pooh — short book using examples of Winnie the Pooh to illustrate Taoist principles. I enjoyed the part about the importance of nourishing the “empty mind” (accomplished via spacing out, going on a walk with no purpose, etc.) vs. the “thinking mind” (consuming shit tons of media, being riddled with anxiety, etc.).

Learning to Fly. Steph Davis is a world-famous rock climber and this is her second book. Her first, which I also enjoyed, was a bunch of short essays on different climbs as well as falling in love and dealing with fear and insecurity. This book has a linear time line. After a tough separation from her husband and getting dropped by her major sponsor, she finds sky diving, then eventually base jumping and wingsuit flying, as well as tackles a number of free solos. She also deals with her aging dog, her one true companion for over a decade.

The One Minute Manager — another short book. This is about setting short and clear goals, rewarding good behavior in pursuit of them, and reprimanding bad behavior. And otherwise staying out of the way. As a personal trainer, I found the concepts simple and applicable.
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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

Shafpocalypse Now wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 3:33 pm For the manly men (or the swashbuckling women).

If you want a fucking fantastic story that gets your blood worked up read The Religion by Tim Willocks and the sequel "Twelve Children of Paris"

Like Benny, I love Hughart and recommend everyone read them. But for my boys, guys who like to read books written for a male audience, "The Religion" is so fucking good. It is fucking massive as well, but it goes quick.

It's a fictional story set during the Siege of Malta.

I cannot recommend this enough.

Benny, I demand you read this. You too TOM. If you like Ledger you will like this.

https://a.co/d/gujw69R
Done. Really good. Really really good. Amazing really. I know something of the period and I've never read anything that got the mindset so well. More than that really, it made me realize how much I underestimated the intensity with which they lived and died.

The life force of those people on both sides just shames me.

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Rev 3-16 KJV

The present life of man upon earth, O King, seems to me in comparison with that time which is unknown to us like the swift flight of a sparrow through the mead-hall where you sit at supper in winter, with your Ealdormen and thanes, while the fire blazes in the midst and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow are raging abroad. The sparrow, flying in at one door and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest, but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter to winter again. So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.
St. Bede

Lafferty had Thomas More say in Past Master something like "I've known to men who were Sainted. One was never in a fight. The other was constantly in barroom brawls".

The 700pgs flew by. Gruesome wonderful horrible stuff.


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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

Mattias Tannhauser is really a great character. There was a lot of cross-cultural exchange btwn East and West at that time. Before as well.

Starkey and Ludovici were really well done. As was LaVallette.

Carla and Amparo as well.

None of them were really likable. But then "likable" is such a dumb concept and totally wrong for the people of that time. The idea would have been ridiculous to them.

Amparo is prob the closest thing to a modern character.

That dude pulled off what I would have said was an impossible task.


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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

Another quote that The Religion brought to mind. And it is perfect considering de Maistre's Freemasonry

The whole earth, perpetually steeped in blood, is nothing but an immense altar on which every living thing must be sacrificed without end, without restraint, without respite until the consummation of the world, the extinction of evil, the death of death. - Joseph de Maistre

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Post by Shafpocalypse Now »

Fire up The Twelve Children of Paris next then homie. I think it's even bloodier.


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

I couldn't get past the prologue of The Religion. I knew it would be violent but damn, it was so gruesome that I'll have to miss this one.


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Just started on the Poetic Edda. It's a series of epic poems with roots in Iceland from before 1000 A.D.. The second poem, Hovamol, hit me so hard with keen life observations expressed clearly and pithily. I've re-evaluated several things in my life already and I just finished it. You can read or download the Poetic Edda (and many other texts) for free here --

https://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/index.htm


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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

motherjuggs&speed wrote: Fri Jun 09, 2023 5:50 am I couldn't get past the prologue of The Religion. I knew it would be violent but damn, it was so gruesome that I'll have to miss this one.
Yes. I almost bailed out then too. Figured it was just violence porn. But the thing is, that was how life was back then.

And it really isn't an empty book. There's some pretty profound ideas about Christianity in there. ¹


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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

motherjuggs&speed wrote: Fri Jun 09, 2023 6:00 am Just started on the Poetic Edda. It's a series of epic poems with roots in Iceland from before 1000 A.D.. The second poem, Hovamol, hit me so hard with keen life observations expressed clearly and pithily. I've re-evaluated several things in my life already and I just finished it. You can read or download the Poetic Edda (and many other texts) for free here --

https://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/index.htm
Live that stuff. Njal's Saga is one of my favorite books.

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Post by Bram »

Finished:

The Winter of Frankie Machine, by Don Winslow. Frankie is a retired Mafia hit man, with a daughter, a girlfriend, and a couple legitimate businesses, who gets pulled back in. There’s like 300 goombahs in here — and the descriptions of them all feels like the word space could have been put to better use — and Frankie’s over-the-top good at everything, but he’s also a really fun narrator and I enjoyed the journey.

Legends & Lattes, by Travis Baldree. A fantasy book about a retired adventurer who decides to open a coffee shop. Fun, easy read.
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Post by Bram »

Finished The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha.

This is a self-help book, but thought it had an inordinate amount of useful suggestions.

One was to set up a schedule for things you don’t want to do, but have to. Tried this, designating the morning of the first Wednesday of the month as the “get ‘er done” day. I knocked out a ton of shit. Then the rest of the month you don’t stress about it.

Another was to look for areas of your life where you can reduce decisions. This inspired me to draw up the healthiest diet I could, going meal-by-meal and snack-by-snack. I’ve been knocking out what I’d call a 10/10 diet, and it’s pretty cheap to boot.

Got another half-dozen good ideas as well.
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Post by Bram »

Karate-Dō: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi.

Mr. Funakoshi is hailed as the father of modern karate and was born in Okinawa in 1868. At the time, karate was illegal to practice and he had to train at night in the basement of masters. As the decades roll by, karate becomes accepted and he becomes it’s public ambassador.

It’s a short book at 126 pages. I thought he was a bad-ass guy who extolled humility and looked at karate as much for your mind and spirit as for your body.
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Post by Bram »

The Last Action Heroes by Nick De Semlyen.

Spotted this on the “New” table at the library and tore through it in a few days.

It’s a colorful history of the main 80’s action juggernauts: Stallone, Van Damme, Arnold, etc. Having grown up on those movies, I enjoyed learning about the feuds, egos, and occasionally surprising sensitivity that was happening off-screen.
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Hotel Pastis by Peter Mayle. A silly, light read about a disillusioned British ad man who opens a hotel in France. Great side characters and enjoyable from start to finish.

Walking with Sam by Andrew McCarthy. 80’s brat-pack star walks the 496-mile Camino de Santiago with his 19-year old son. McCarthy is a good writer and captures the trip well. Both his and his son’s personalities can be grating, but he approaches it all with honesty and by the end I was quite happy I finished it.
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Excellent Advice for Living by Kevin Kelly.

This is a self-help book without a central premise drug out for hundreds of pages. Instead it’s around 450 different ideas, from one to three sentences each.

This gave me a lot of fuel for thought, and I’ll share three tips that resonated:

* Compliment people behind their back. It’ll come back to you.
* There is no such thing as being “on time.” Either you are late or you are early. Your choice.
* Denying or deflecting a compliment is rude. Accept it with thanks, even if you believe it is not deserved.
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Post by Bram »

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi.

Mr. Levi spent ten months in the death camp and recounts his time with exceptional writing and an unflinching eye towards the horror of the experience and the struggle to survive it.

Fantastic book.
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Post by Bram »

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin.

I loved this book.

Plot wise, it’s about three characters who create video games together and their lives over a thirty-year span. As their creativity grows, the games they create sound amazing. But, to me, the book’s central subjects are love and pain.

As a child, I lost my mom. It was an awful thing. There was something about reading about these characters and the loss they suffer, and the love they find, that gave me a different understanding.

When I finished it, I was curious what other people thought and read many reviews. Some people hated the book because there were non-binary characters. Some people hated the book because a few characters were one-dimensional or not punished enough for their transgressions. If those things are deal-breakers, then avoiding it makes sense. I think life is messy and complex — for example, people fall in love with deeply flawed people all the time — and those things didn’t bother me.
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Post by Bram »

Mel Brooks autobiography, All About Me!

I try to stick with books I love, but I didn’t love this one.

It starts off strong. He talks about his childhood, his military service in WWII, and his entrance into the comedy world. These earlier chapters are a lot of fun and give you a sense of him as a person. And the whole book is riddled with jokes which helped keep me going.

But as his career takes off, he shifts into chronicling each project: this is who did the costumes, this is who financed it, these were the amazing reviews. Every project is deemed some sort of success, nearly every audience is “rolling on the floor laughing,” nearly everyone involved becomes “a dear friend and is a lovely person.” It felt disingenuous.

And you lose the sense of Mel as a person. At one point he says life was stressful and his first marriage ends. They had three children together and he never mentioned his wife until that point!

On a more positive side, he lightly talks about his 45-year marriage to Anne Bancroft. And I really enjoyed those sections! But it’s very minimal.

If I had to pick a grade: C+
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Post by Bram »

Small Mercies, by Dennis Lehane.

It’s 1974 and Mary Pat Fennessy, who “looks like she came off a conveyor belt of tough Irish broads” is looking at forced desegregation for her one remaining child’s senior year. It’s set in South Boston — poor, tribal, racist, violent— and that culture plays a huge role in many character’s decisions as well as the protagonist.

Shortly in to the story, her daughter goes missing. The rest of the book covers how she reacts.

This is the fifth book by Lehane I’ve read and the first I’d recommend. It has some pot holes, and the deep evil that all the others have, but the pages flew by. I was curious what I’d think of a main character who spouts racist ignorant shit, but it was handled in a way that gave me both more empathy for bigots and also a few tools for calling out bigotry.
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Okay, I'll bite. What do you mean by tools for calling out bigotry?

But who are you to call out anything? Are you the expert? The language police? The moral authority? Btw, are you ever going to call out Barack Obama for destroying more black lives than all the white bigots in America put together from 2009-2017?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_St ... ation_rate

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_St ... meline.gif

But civil forfeiure was reduced at least, right? No, that got worse year by year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_for ... Statistics

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