Right now I'm reading

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Bram
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Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram »

The English version is available on Kindle, but I think the Japanese version comes up first. If you don't click the Japanese version and scroll down you should be able to find it.
“Do not reflect upon the possibility of defeat; you become too anxious and lose your freedom of style.” — Harry Vardon

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Bram
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Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram »

All The Wrong Moves: A Memoir About Chess, Love, And Ruining Everything by Sasha Chapin.

Sasha is a good writer, admittedly bipolar, and someone adrift—searching for meaning and self-worth.

After a bout of competitive high school chess, he falls back under it’s spell in his late twenties—entering a slew of tournaments, hiring a Grandmaster coach, bingeing matches on Chess.com

Sometimes you encounter people on their path and shake your head. That’s how I felt reading this book. He’s obsessed with winning and certain that his (and all of our) talents are fixed. He does improve, and wins a bit, but his journey is largely joyless. But, I know plenty of people who approach their life this way. Perhaps they would relate to his experiences more?

That said, my favorite parts are just his little observations of life, such as:

I went down the street to the café where everyone hated me. Why they did, I’m not sure—I was always polite and I tipped generously. But their contempt was palpable. Every time I bought their coffee, I was given a cold, flat stare, which I returned. We were all clear on who liked each other. Nobody liked anybody.

4.2/5
“Do not reflect upon the possibility of defeat; you become too anxious and lose your freedom of style.” — Harry Vardon


motherjuggs&speed
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis. As I sit here I feel unable to express what this book means to me, since I'm tired, depressed, and don't really have the energy to write this review at 4 A.M.. But I think of Thomas a Kempis in a little nook, writing his with a quill by candlelight, and I can only take his example and seek to imitate him. This book is written in a manner similar to a book of the Bible, with short chapters and short paragraphs, indeed almost so short as to be aphorisms, explaining each topic. Thomas is coming from the perspective of a believer in literal salvation and so half of the book makes no sense unless one believes as he does. However, many of his admonitions make sense from a strictly practical, secular perspective, which is how I read it. In that way it's much like the book of Proverbs, which contains a lot of wisdom even for people like me who don't believe it was written by any deity. I can pick this book up and open it at any page and soon I will find a message that resonates with me. I've been looking for understanding and this little book gives a slice of it at least. Recommended if you want something that provides a lot of food for thought in very little time.


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis. However bad I think the Trump administration was, every time I read anything I realize it was way worse than I thought. Hopefully none of you are dumb enough to think that any criticism of Trump must come from politically motivated leftists but in case anyone wants to know more about how Trump planned to govern, Lewis lays out some details. He describes how Trump didn't want to have a transition team at all, and made no preparation to govern. Lewis clearly does have a strong leftist bias but that doesn't mean the allegations aren't true. As a document detailing Trump's negligence and willful destruction of government, the book is pretty good, but it's also tedious to wade through Lewis's endless signalling. I can't say I recommend it due to some passages that were really unpleasant and needless, some grisly details about some things that no one needs to read. In fact, just a few pages took this book from 3.5 to zero stars, but if you can stand some of that and want to know more about how the U.S. government works, it might be worth a read.

I should say that the title refers to the risk of not preparing. What happens when there is a disaster that could have been prevented by better governance, or that no one is able to deal with since no one was tasked with handling it?


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius. Penguin Classics, Ronald Latham translation. This is one of those books that people nod and say they've heard of and have never read and never will. Pert of the problem I had with previous attempts at reading it was the translation. Latham explains in the introduction that Lucretius wrote in a a somewhat forced and artificial manner which wasn't that difficult for people of his time but which is hard to translate for a modern ear. Latham solves the problem by writing in prose instead of verse and alternating between striving for maximum clarity where needed and allowing Lucretius's flowery flights to take over where appropriate. I don't read Latin but it seems to me that Latham succeeds brilliantly. Lucretius is at turns funny, critical, sarcastic and poetic. If you've been deterred by the clunky language in other editions, let me assure you that this one is very readable and in fact compelling. Although Lucretius wrote before 55 B.C., much of his writing is relevant to our modern condition. 5/5.


Spheroid_Physique
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Post by Spheroid_Physique »

Working my way through Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West. Attempt #3. I’ve owned it on Kindle forever, Kindle just sucks for serious reading. Managed to convince a library to order a copy, but had to return it after barely making any progress. Bought a copy of both volumes (was hoping for a combined edition but couldn’t find one that wasn’t abridged). Volume 1 is an a bit of a slog, covering the development of artistic, scientific, mathematic, philosophical, and religious thought in various past cultures, and trying to identify patterns in each. The version I got from the library had all of Spengler’s tables showing the patterns compiled together as an appendix, sadly the edition I’ve got my hands on has them scattered piecemeal throughout. I’ll have to return to this post with my developing impressions as I continue working through the text.


motherjuggs&speed
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

I look forward to getting your take on it. I've been wanting to read it ever since it was mentioned in The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy.


Spheroid_Physique
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Post by Spheroid_Physique »

motherjuggs&speed wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2024 3:15 pm I look forward to getting your take on it. I've been wanting to read it ever since it was mentioned in The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy.
Someone recommended The Lords of Discipline to me around 20 years ago when I was in high school and I don’t think I’ve heard it mentioned since. Worthwhile read?


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

In HS I liked it a lot but I'm not sure it works that well for someone much older than that. I liked his depictions of the South, or aspects of parts of it, and much of the book is well written, although PC does overwrite a fair bit. The story, and storytelling, are both melodramatic and probably won't resonate as much as it might for a younger person. I think it's Conroy's best book though.

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Bram
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Right now I'm reading

Post by Bram »

Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara.

An inspiring book on customer service that makes people feel seen, heard and included; building a thriving work culture; what commitment to excellence looks like; and watching the bottom line.

If you work in any form of the service industry—and as a personal trainer, I feel included in this—it’s a worthy read.
“Do not reflect upon the possibility of defeat; you become too anxious and lose your freedom of style.” — Harry Vardon

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