Welcome to the ICM Forum. If you have an account but have trouble logging in, or have other questions, see THIS THREAD.
Polls: 1940s (Results), Shorts (Nov 16th), 2007 (Nov 22nd), 1932 awards (Nov 24th), Knockout competition (Round 3)
Challenges: Noir, Unofficial, Korean, 2020 schedule
Film of the Week: Vuelven, December nominations (Nov 29th)
World Cup S4: Round 1 preparation (Nov 28th)
Film Festival: Main Slate, International, English-Language Independents, Documentaries, Arthouse, Animation, LGBT, Just Before Dawn (Dec 2nd)

Read The Books You Should Have Already Read

Post Reply
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

Read The Books You Should Have Already Read

#201

Post by Leopardi » November 22nd, 2015, 5:59 am

funkybusiness on Nov 21 2015, 04:54:19 PM wrote:alright I'll pick for Leopardi, A History of Western Philosophy!
Thanks. :thumbsup:

Kowry gets a pass because he's thesis-writing, of course. I wouldn't wish that hell on anyone!

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#202

Post by Leopardi » December 13th, 2015, 6:50 pm

I've finished A History of the Ancient Near East, an excellent introductory textbook to this complex and, at times, daunting subject. The book is about 300 pages and covers more than 3000 years (with an introduction that reaches back more than 10 000 years), and so it is necessarily a brief overview, never touching on any particular subject for more than a couple of pages. I actually started to write a summary of the book but gave up after a page or two since the book itself is already so (necessarily) concentrated. I can't fault the author for this, of course, but it does make me want to select about a hundred more books to read up on the tidbits thrown out there page after page.

The book is an extraordinary mix of what we know and what we don't know. It's amazing how detailed a knowledge we can have of the daily lives and social structure of these various groups that disappeared millennia ago. And at the same time the author pulls no punches about how little we know of things you would think we'd know more about. For example:
- The Great Sargon, conqueror of the Sumerian city states and ruler of much of Mesopotamia, created (possibly from scratch) a new city, Akkad, to commemorate his new rule. The location of this legendary city? No one knows - it has never been found. It's believed to be in the extreme north of Mesopotamia, and may be underneath the city of Baghdad. Some future archaeologist is going to make it really big with this one.
- No one really knows for sure who the Gutians, a tribe of nomads from the Zagros Mountains, were. They seemed to come from nowhere (early writings refer to them as 'cattle rustlers'), overthrew the entire Akkadian Empire (a very impressive feat!), mingled with the Sumerian people, got kicked out by counter-forces in southern Mesopotamia, and then it's not clear what happened next. Some people say they're the ancient ancestors of the Kurds, but no one knows for sure.
- The Code of Hammurabi, many would claim is one of the most important writings of the ancient world. What was it used for? Nobody knows. Not once is it referenced in any of the hundreds of legal documents of the time, so it apparently isn't connected with the law. It may just have been used as 'general guidelines for conduct' or a tribute to Gilgamesh himself, but may never have had any legal import.

And then there are the periods in which we know almost nothing about anything. The Gutian attack above, for example, resulted in more than a century (c. 1590-1475 BCE) of Dark Ages, since the written sources we depend upon to understand what was going on stopped being produced once the city states were overthrown. As it turns out, the invention of the horse-drawn chariot likely originated during this era (possibly from an occupation by neighbouring Kassite and/or Hurrian tribes), so we'll probably never know the details of the origin of the chariot. Tough luck.

This was nothing, though, compared to the complete and widespread collapse that happened around 1200 BCE. The entire regional system was destroyed for reasons not really understood, but likely connected to attacks made by the mysterious 'Sea Peoples' (no one knows who these people were or where they came from), plunging the entire area into another Dark Age that lasted more than a century, and once again wiping out written records in the process. What likely developed during this period? Nothing less than the use of iron (up to this point bronze had been heavily used, but with trade routes cut off this other more local metal was resorted to, with a great deal of success, of course!) and the switch from cuneiform writing to the alphabet (thanks to the Phoenicians).

Anyway, lots of interesting facts like these to chew on make for a very interesting read. On the downside, despite this being an introduction I still think it could have been more fleshed out in a lot of places; it's understandable that the author wanted to keep things general for his intended audience (presumably university undergraduates - this was my girlfriend's textbook for one of her archaeology classes), but because of its size and the scope of the field, the concentration of names and places is so high in places that it's hard to absorb all the material, making for a challenging read to anyone using it as a textbook to study and memorize from. I'd recommend a supplementary text or two, or supplemental sections within this book that would double or triple it in size (not a good idea for a those wanting a cheap text, of course, but I'm not considering it from the point of view of cost effectiveness, just from the point of view of efficacy of treating the subject matter).

Funky, I'll choose the X'ed Out trilogy for you, since it sounds like it'll be an interesting story. Here's my updated list:

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World (Witold Rybczynski). Another one recommended to me. Don't know much about it.

5. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

6. Dr. Johnson's London (Liza Picard). A friend of mine raves about Picard's writing style, and this is a fascinating era of London history (well, they all are to me, but still...)

7. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

8. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

9. Conquest of the Useless (Werner Herzog). I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but haven't found the time yet. The personal journal of Herzog while he was making Fitzcarraldo (in which, from what I remember, he'd write in extra-small chicken scratching to infuriate Kinski, who couldn't read was being written of him, in order to rev him up for the day's shoot. Or maybe that was Aguirre? Not sure...).

10. Devil in the White City (Erik Larson). Recommended by someone here on the forum, and it sounds like a very interesting read.
Last edited by Leopardi on December 13th, 2015, 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10526
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#203

Post by funkybusiness » December 14th, 2015, 3:03 am

Leopardi gets Devil in the White City. I've been meaning to read it as well.

hey hey I read The X'ed Out Trilogy by Charles Burns. Maybe I had too high of expectations for this one, what with it being claimed by a few as some of the best graphic novels of their respective release years. It starts with a hallucinatory dream world most easily described as Tintin explores Naked Lunch (with explicit references to both Tintin and Burroughs) that turns out to be a framing device for the analysis of our protagonist's post-teenage traumas. What starts out as oblique and intriguing imagery mixed with a near-constant shifting of chronology becomes facile and far-too-over-explained in the second and third volumes, to the point where I feel the whole series' surrealism is devoid of any 'surrealness' because it is too carefully constructed, too neat, too clean. One might call it a narrative approach to ligne claire. It's imaginative symbols become trite and wasted with over-explication and its references to [pop] culture are very "I went to art college in the 80s" (although the reference to Lucas Samaras is nice and allows for a more detailed reading of the intent of the work, the inner and outer representations of the object or subject). If I had to give a numeric value to it, I'd say it's about a 4-4.5 outta 10. Quite disappointing.

edit: Burns is too fascinated with the progression into adulthood for my liking. See; Black Hole. I don't find it a particularly interesting subject, the whole it's so hard to be a teenager it's so hard to be in college no one understands me thing.

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Early Soviet Cinema: Innovation, Ideology and Propaganda by David Gillespie
The Aesthetics of Shadow Lighting and Japanese Cinema by Daisuke Miyao
Saga vol 1 comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
The Material Ghost by Gilberto Perez
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
Eisenstein by David Bordwell
The Men With the Movie Camera by Philip Cavendish
Jean Renoir by Andre Bazin (coupled with viewings of Renoir's films)
Poetics of Cinema Volume One by Raul Ruiz (coupled with viewings of Ruiz's films)
Last edited by funkybusiness on December 14th, 2015, 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#204

Post by Leopardi » February 7th, 2016, 4:38 pm

I'm just about done A History of Western Philosophy so I'll give a brief review. This isn't an easy one to apply sweeping statements to. The book itself is split into three sections, Ancient Philosophy, Catholic Philosophy and Modern Philosophy, and it's better to address each of them separately:

The first, Ancient Philosophy, covers the topic up to the age of Plotinus and is well written, interesting and engaging. I appreciate how much effort he put into giving the pre-Socratics and lesser figures of philosophy from this period their due, while making sure to cover the heavy hitters, Plato and Aritotle, with at least as much material as you'd get in an introductory philosophy textbook. He waxes eloquent a little too often in the very early stages (quoting ancient poets for no real reason other than to show his erudition, I think), but this awkward style disappears for the most part over time, and is likely the result of the books origins, as part of a lecture series Russell was giving on the topic, so it's forgivable.

The second part, Catholic Philosophy, covers from Augustine (including a brief history of early Christian thought) to Roger Bacon and Wycliffe, and would perhaps have better been titled Medieval Philosophy. It's a bit longer than it needed to be (much of the period is made up of the Dark Ages, after all) and awkwardly laid out. Russell opts to gloss over one of the more important contributions from this period, the proofs for God's existence, explaining it's better to cover them in more detail later on when they're more developed, but I came away feeling he was giving short shrift to the Three Doctors in doing so. Like the first part of the book, I appreciate how much detail he was willing to offer to those lesser figures of philosophy from this period, interesting stuff.

The third part, Modern Philosophy, is a real hodgepodge. It offers some of the best and worst chapters in the book, and is split into two sections that provide a dividing line for the two. Russell was an expert on Leibniz, and this chapter is fascinating, giving insight you wouldn't get from most other commentators. Russell's also in his element when it comes to the rise of science and logical analysis, so he offers some keen insight here, too (although the chapter on Descartes is surprisingly short and weak, I thought). At the same time there are unnecessary excursions into church details, the Reformation and Counter Reformation, that could have been better handled. Russell goes into almost too much detail with Locke, offering him three full chapters (and nearly as many pages as Plato) and over-inflating his contributions to the field, in my opinion. He finishes the section with a strong chapter on Hume.

The second section is where things fall apart. Russell is a logician, and it's clear which side of the great philosophical divide he's on. He makes no secret of the fact that, in his opinion, while the Rationalists/Empiricists make their own share of boneheaded conclusions, they're the real heroes from the period, and following Hume the field essentially falls right apart. He starts things off with a scathing (and ad hominem) appraisal of Rousseau's work, and then connects each of the minds that follow to this bad seed. He dismisses Kant as an inconsistent pedant in a surprisingly short chapter (he seems to be out of his element here), devotes a massive one paragraph apiece for Fichte and Schelling, and mocks Hegel for his overly convoluted mess of a system (okay, this last one might be a fair assessment). Schopenhauer's chapter is too short, there's an unnecessary chapter on Lord Byron (and yet none of Kierkegaard??), and another scatching chapter on Nietzsche.

I'll refrain from commenting too much on the Nietzsche chapter (I already talk too much of him as it is), but it's worth noting Russell's appraisal is not completely unfair in the context of history, since Nietzsche's reputation in England was pretty much at its nadir when this book was written (1945), tied firmly to Hitler's legacy with the help of his sister (who had doctored much of his posthumous publications to align them with Nazi philosophy) and without decent translations having arisen yet (note that Kaufmann's Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist didn't come out until 1950 and his translation of Zarathustra wasn't released until 1966). There are outright misstatements of Nietzsche's views here, particularly in the latter half, that stem from this unfortunate obfuscation, but at the same time, Russell is astute to couch his discussion in terms of the 'artist-tyrant', rather than accept a purely militaristic interpretation as many had done before him, anticipating Kaufmann's interpretation to some extent.

Anyway, enough of that, but it does expose Russell's slant in this last section. The book was written right around Hitler's fall, and I can't help but think he was framing the Romantic philosophers as harbingers of the Nazi Party. There are elements of this right from the beginning of the book (likening the Spartan military mindset to the Brownshirts), but he kicks it into overdrive here, suggesting in his narrative that they're a product of the move away from Rationalist thought. Or maybe it's just me. At any rate, the last section feels more like propaganda than philosophical history, is sloppily written and frustratingly dismissive. It also doesn't anticipate Existentialism in any way, which is not Russell's fault entirely, the later major works either still too new (e.g. Being and Nothingness, The Myth of Sisyphus, Philosophy of Existence, etc.) or buried behind the Nazi morass (e.g. Being and Time) to be on Russell's radar, but its omission is still glaring enough to date the book and severely limit the usefulness of its final section. No mention of Kierkegaard, Husserl, Ortega y Gasset or Buber (Dostoevsky gets a few brief mentions, but in no significant way) and the rage against Nietzsche almost makes it seem he was stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the movement, dismissing it all as irrational claptrap. A very disappointing end to the book.

I'll choose Bazin's book on Renoir for Funky (curious to see which of Renoir's films you'll choose for this read). And here is my new list:

1. Charlie Codman's Cruise (Horatio Alger, Jr., 1866). "A poor Boston boy is shanghaied aboard a ship full of rough sailors to ensure his silence about an embezzlement and blackmail plot." Written two years before Alger made it big with Ragged Dick.

2. The Tom Barber Trilogy (Forrest Reid, 1931/1936/1944). "...Traces the passage from innocence to awareness in the hero, Tom, as he grows from the age of 10 to 15. These are not novels of childhood, however. They are full of classical references, explorations of consciousness, and realism which make a potent mixture, producing a 'paradise lost' of modern times." - Routledge History of Literature

3. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

4. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

5. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

6. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

7. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

8. A History of New York (Washington Irving, 1809). "A History of New York is a chronicle of New York's fifty years under Dutch rule in the 1600s that plays fast and loose with the facts, to uproarious effect. Irving's good-humored spoofing had staying power, and his satire provided the city with its first self-portrait."

9. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy (and note that I haven't read the first in the series, nor do I own it, so if it's chosen I'll go out and grab a copy before starting this one), this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

10. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792). "Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity, and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice and a plea for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner." (from back of book). One of the seminal books of feminist literature, and a key work from one of the more interesting literary families of all time.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#205

Post by Leopardi » February 28th, 2016, 6:32 pm

Finished The Devil in the White City yesterday - very good book! I don't have time now for a lengthy review, but in a nutshell I found that both threads of the book (the building of the Chicago World Fair grounds and H. H. Holmes) were quite interesting. I've always had a love for turn of the century Chicago (thanks to Dreiser's Sister Carrie and Sinclair's The Jungle) and this book provided another richly detailed slice of this period. I've also had an off-and-on fascination with Holmes and the book provided details I wasn't aware of previously. Makes me want to pick up Schecter's and Geyer's books on Holmes, not to mention Holmes' own confession (which I didn't realize existed).
Spoiler on Holmes' later activitiesShow
I had forgotten Holmes actually spent time in Toronto while he was on the run. I was in Toronto a few years ago walking down Bay Street and passed by site of the house in which he had disposed of the children's bodies while looking for a place to eat. The house is long gone and the stretch is like any other busy section of Toronto, but something about that creeps me out, I'm not sure why.
On the downside, the two stories don't knit particularly well together - Holmes had no impact on the outcome of the Fair, and the Fair merely provided Holmes with a steady stream of unwitting guests at his house of horrors, but that's about it. The chapters jump back and forth between the two stories (sometimes a bit disjointedly), and I found myself expecting (and hoping for) more of a connection between the two. Still, it's a small criticism for what I found to be a very enjoyable read overall.

I'll choose Charlie Codman's Cruise for myself since it's the first on the list and because I have a lot of Alger books on the shelf to get to.

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World (Witold Rybczynski). Another one recommended to me. Don't know much about it.

5. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

6. Dr. Johnson's London (Liza Picard). A friend of mine raves about Picard's writing style, and this is a fascinating era of London history (well, they all are to me, but still...)

7. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

8. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

9. Conquest of the Useless (Werner Herzog). I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but haven't found the time yet. The personal journal of Herzog while he was making Fitzcarraldo (in which, from what I remember, he'd write in extra-small chicken scratching to infuriate Kinski, who couldn't read was being written of him, in order to rev him up for the day's shoot. Or maybe that was Aguirre? Not sure...).

10. On the Shoulders of Giants (edited, with commentary, by Stephen Hawking). This massive tome (1250+ dense pages) brings together five important works by some of the biggest contributors to physics and astronomy: Nicolaus Copernicus (On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres), Galileo Galilei (Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences), Johannes Kepler (Harmony of the World, Book Five), Sir Isaac Newton (Principia) and Albert Einstein (Selections from The Principle of Relativity). I've studied the ideas from each of these guys in depth but somehow have never before read the original works, so it's time to fix this glaring oversight. This one should keep me occupied for a while.

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10526
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#206

Post by funkybusiness » February 28th, 2016, 9:08 pm

oh jeez! I missed your last post, feb. 7!

well, just in time for a new directors challenge I'll do renoir + that book. thanks leo.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#207

Post by Leopardi » February 29th, 2016, 12:37 am

funkybusiness on Feb 28 2016, 02:08:14 PM wrote:oh jeez! I missed your last post, feb. 7!

well, just in time for a new directors challenge I'll do renoir + that book. thanks leo.
No worries - enjoy your Renoir binge!

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#208

Post by Leopardi » March 6th, 2016, 5:59 pm

I've finished Charlie Codman's Cruise and, like before I don't have time for a lengthy review, but I will say I did enjoy it despite the very predictable plot and utterly straitlaced characters you come to expect from an Alger book. Mindless fluff that painted a simplistic and unrealistic view of how to be a success, but a pleasant diversion nonetheless.

I'll pick City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World next since I don't know much about it and I'd prefer to have books I'm excited about on the list. Also, it might be a nice chaser to The Devil in the White City, which profiled architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham at length.

1. The Tom Barber Trilogy (Forrest Reid, 1931/1936/1944). "...Traces the passage from innocence to awareness in the hero, Tom, as he grows from the age of 10 to 15. These are not novels of childhood, however. They are full of classical references, explorations of consciousness, and realism which make a potent mixture, producing a 'paradise lost' of modern times." - Routledge History of Literature

2. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

3. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

4. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

5. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

6. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

7. A History of New York (Washington Irving, 1809). "A History of New York is a chronicle of New York's fifty years under Dutch rule in the 1600s that plays fast and loose with the facts, to uproarious effect. Irving's good-humored spoofing had staying power, and his satire provided the city with its first self-portrait."

8. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy (and note that I haven't read the first in the series, nor do I own it, so if it's chosen I'll go out and grab a copy before starting this one), this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

9. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792). "Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity, and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice and a plea for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner." (from back of book). One of the seminal books of feminist literature, and a key work from one of the more interesting literary families of all time.

10. Plato: The Collected Dialogues (Plato, c. 400-347 B.C.). Unarguably one of the most important figures in the history of philosophy. Alfred North Whitehead once famously wrote: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato," and I'd say this is an accurate assessment. I've read part of this massive tome (1743 pages!) already in school, but there are still more than 1000 pages to go (including The Republic). On my list of Top 10 most dreaded books for its sheer size and weighty content.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#209

Post by Leopardi » March 20th, 2016, 8:37 pm

I finished City Life: Urban Expectations in a Modern World more than a week ago but haven't had a chance to update it till now. A surprisingly good read - I wasn't sure what to expect, since I haven't really read a book like this before, and it didn't cover any particular topic in enough depth to be recommended to anyone knowledgeable in this area, but I found it a breezy and light overview of why North American and European cities are often laid out so differently and have a different feel to them. It's something I hadn't really given a lot of thought, but I'm sure I'll pay closer attention the next time I travel. Bonus points for going into a little more detail on Daniel Burnham, who featured prominently in The Devil in the White City, and approaching his work from a different perspective.

I had to bite the bullet on Plato, since I don't like having a book on the Top 10 Most Dreaded list hanging over my head, so I'm reading his collected dialogues next. Already about 400 pages in, thanks to having already read some of the dialogues in school but there are still more than 1300 pages to go, so you probably won't be hearing from me on this thread for a few months! Here's my updated list:


1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

5. Dr. Johnson's London (Liza Picard). A friend of mine raves about Picard's writing style, and this is a fascinating era of London history (well, they all are to me, but still...)

6. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

7. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

8. Conquest of the Useless (Werner Herzog). I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but haven't found the time yet. The personal journal of Herzog while he was making Fitzcarraldo (in which, from what I remember, he'd write in extra-small chicken scratching to infuriate Kinski, who couldn't read was being written of him, in order to rev him up for the day's shoot. Or maybe that was Aguirre? Not sure...).

9. On the Shoulders of Giants (edited, with commentary, by Stephen Hawking). This massive tome (1250+ dense pages) brings together five important works by some of the biggest contributors to physics and astronomy: Nicolaus Copernicus (On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres), Galileo Galilei (Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences), Johannes Kepler (Harmony of the World, Book Five), Sir Isaac Newton (Principia) and Albert Einstein (Selections from The Principle of Relativity). I've studied the ideas from each of these guys in depth but somehow have never before read the original works, so it's time to fix this glaring oversight. This one should keep me occupied for a while.

10. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs): After reading about Burnham and urbanism lately, I figured I'd add this classic of the field. I didn't even realize we owned this one until my girlfriend pointed it out to me!

Cippenham
Donator
Posts: 12714
Joined: May 09, 2011
Location: Dorset England
Contact:

#210

Post by Cippenham » March 20th, 2016, 8:57 pm

Plato, that requires one to be a glutton for punishment surely
Turning over a new leaf :ICM:

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#211

Post by Leopardi » March 20th, 2016, 9:57 pm

Cippenham on Mar 20 2016, 02:57:02 PM wrote:Plato, that requires one to be a glutton for punishment surely
It's not so bad, Plato's one of the most readable of the early philosophers I would say, and some of the dialogues are really impressively intricate. The big issue I'm finding is that he's very repetitive in his subject matter (so much talk of virtue!) and argumentation, which makes it hard to read for long periods. Looking forward to reading The Symposium, The Republic and Laws, lots of highly regarded material to come!

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10526
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#212

Post by funkybusiness » March 20th, 2016, 10:15 pm

Leopardi on Mar 20 2016, 02:37:17 PM wrote:Already about 400 pages in, thanks to having already read some of the dialogues in school but there are still more than 1300 pages to go, so you probably won't be hearing from me on this thread for a few months!
D;

well, anyway, I'll pick Dr. Johnson's London. that one sounds nifty.

I read Jean Renoir by Andre Bazin. he's got some interesting thoughts from time to time, sometimes he's just relaying information (back when basically all of these films were unavailable to anyone, unlike now when you can just buy them or watch them online). There's an interesting note in the introduction by Truffaut, that outlines what the book is, and that is that it's unfinished. Bazin meant to compile a book of his writings on Renoir but never got around to it, so Truffaut and his buds did it for him. That means there are a few films that have no notes (Bazin either didn't write anything about them (including La nuit du carrefour, my favorite so far) or he never saw them (because they were unavailable even to him or they were made after Bazin died)) but the book has a rather extensive filmography (about 50% of the book) with brief notes by Bazin or more extensive writings by Truffaut et cie. (Godard, Rivette, &c.) There are also early scripts/treatments for The Crime of M. Lange, Grand Illusion and Rules of the Game.

I also watched/rewatched a bunch of Renoir's early works, from his first film (co/dir une vie sans joie) and I'm currently in the middle thirties, w/ Toni, I need to update my posts in the directors' filmography challenge thread. I plan to get thru at least his first French period (Rules of the Game) before the end of the month. I might also skip ahead after Rules of the Game to watch The River and his 50s 'trilogy'. Bazin's best (and longest) pieces in the book are on those films (excluding La carosse d'or. there's a note at the bottom of one of the pages stating "Bazin left nothing that he liked very much on The Golden Coach". other than Truffaut and Rohmer's writeups in the filmography, there's no other mention of the film in the book, even tho he raves about the other two films extensively).

Also, his play Orvet sounds quite worthwhile. french language paperbacks are pretty cheap on amazon I might have to get that.

Oh and something I learned that might be of interest to forumites regarding Partie de campagne. This is a film that when mentioned is always said to be incomplete or unfinished or a half-film or whatever. But that is not entirely the case. It's based off a Guy de Mapaussant short story, and from what Renoir wanted to film of it, there's only a single (maybe two brief) scenes he did not film that would have taken place back at the father's shop, which, given the 'bottle story'-esque use of location (there being no scene away from the centric inn and its environs), would have probably seemed out of place to include any such scene had they been filmed. Bazin says "thus one can say that A Day in the Country is a perfectly finished work" and I agree with him.

O-oh and I forgot to mention I've also just started Raymond Durgnant's book on Renoir which I'm enjoying even more than the Bazin book. yay~~


mine list:
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Saga vol 1 comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
The Material Ghost by Gilberto Perez
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
The Men With the Movie Camera by Philip Cavendish
Poetics of Cinema Volume One by Raul Ruiz (coupled with viewings of Ruiz's films)
The Foundation Trilogy — Isaac Asimov
re-read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy containing five books
something by Philip K. Dick
Jane Eyre by that one Bronte
War and Peace by Tolstoy I dare you no I double dare
Last edited by funkybusiness on March 20th, 2016, 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29776
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#213

Post by mightysparks » March 21st, 2016, 12:38 am

I am still only 50% through Outlander, which I've been reading since July/August last year >_> I tried to finish it up in January, but it's such a struggle that I gave up. ONE DAY I WILL FINISH IT.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10526
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#214

Post by funkybusiness » March 21st, 2016, 1:09 am

just go watch the show or something.

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29776
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#215

Post by mightysparks » April 20th, 2016, 12:55 pm

Funky, you can read The Idiot.

So I finally finished reading Outlander last week, and am about 50% through The Kingkiller Chronicles right now, so plz choose next book.

1. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
2. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
3. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
4. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
5. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
6. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
7. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
8. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
9. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
10. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy BooksShow
http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139085843 ... tasy-books

(note, I am only reading first novels in a series for now)

Read: 35/100

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29776
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#216

Post by mightysparks » April 23rd, 2016, 2:41 pm

So I just finished the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicles and I loved it. I was a bit wary of it initially as it said it was fantasy, but I liked it immediately. The fantasy aspects are not as in your face as most fantasy books (like Lord of the Rings etc), it feels like it could be taking place in our world. The speech isn’t all ye olde fanciful talk which sometimes made me forget it was supposed to be taking place in a fantasy ‘medieval’ type of world. I really liked the writing, I found it the right kind of descriptive-ness for me to really get into it and see it all in my head. It only took me a few days to read the entire book and I chose it over watching movies which is unusual for me. The book is basically Kvothe telling his life story to a writer dude, and it really does feel like I’m reading a real person recounting their life (but like with magic). I liked the characters too. Kvothe is a bit too ‘perfect’ but I still found him likable. I even liked the female characters and the relationship between him and Denna and it’s super unusual for me to want characters to get together. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series at some point.

1. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
2. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
3. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
4. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
5. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
6. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
7. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
8. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
9. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
10. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy BooksShow
http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139085843 ... tasy-books

(note, I am only reading first novels in a series for now)

Read: 36/100

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#217

Post by Leopardi » May 21st, 2016, 6:17 pm

Just about finished with Plato's Collected Dialogues, and don't really have time to write a proper review for such a massive and varied work as this (also don't have the time for it - may have to leave for work soon; some malfunctioning equipment to deal with, which is unfortunate since it's a long weekend here and I'll have to get there by bus on the long weekend schedule). It's truly astounding that such a figure as Plato ever existed, towering so far above his contemporaries in his intellect and elocution, and further astounding that so much of his writing has survived (almost none of the dialogues appearing here are in fragment form). At the same time, reading Plato's complete works are sometimes frustrating in that he tends to dwell on the same topics, which can become tedious after so many pages, and because I don't often agree with his premises or logic, which makes it hard to get through some of the longer and more contentious dialogues. Still, a staggering work overall and essential reading for anyone interested in philosophy or classical studies, without a doubt. I don't have sufficient background to tackle the text from a stichometry point of view, but wouldn't mind trying it at some point

Mighty, I'll choose A Canticle for Leibowitz for you, since that's one I wouldn't mind reading myself someday. Here's my list:

1. The Tom Barber Trilogy (Forrest Reid, 1931/1936/1944). "...Traces the passage from innocence to awareness in the hero, Tom, as he grows from the age of 10 to 15. These are not novels of childhood, however. They are full of classical references, explorations of consciousness, and realism which make a potent mixture, producing a 'paradise lost' of modern times." - Routledge History of Literature

2. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

3. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

4. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

5. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

6. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

7. A History of New York (Washington Irving, 1809). "A History of New York is a chronicle of New York's fifty years under Dutch rule in the 1600s that plays fast and loose with the facts, to uproarious effect. Irving's good-humored spoofing had staying power, and his satire provided the city with its first self-portrait."

8. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy (and note that I haven't read the first in the series, nor do I own it, so if it's chosen I'll go out and grab a copy before starting this one), this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

9. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792). "Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity, and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice and a plea for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner." (from back of book). One of the seminal books of feminist literature, and a key work from one of the more interesting literary families of all time.

10. Mysteries (Knut Hamsun, 1892), "Mysteries is the story of Johan Nilsen Nagel, a mysteries stranger who suddenly turns up in a small Norwegian town one summer - and just as suddenly disappears. Nagel is a complete outsider, a sort of modern Christ treated as a spirit of near tragedy...But there is a sinister side of him: in his vest he carries a vial of prussic acid..." (Penguin Classics description). A much-lauded work by one of the creators of the modern novel.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#218

Post by Leopardi » June 25th, 2016, 2:35 pm

I've finished Dr. Johnson's London, a very enjoyable read and a vivid portrayal of what life would have been like for the various levels of society in mid-18th century London (1740-1770 to be specific). I found the chapters on the poor the most interesting; Picard has a way of making even the mundane and neglected aspects of life (e.g. plumbing and sewer lines, transportation, children's games) come to life. This was something the friend who had recommended the series to me had noticed as well, amazed at her ability to evoke the smells of the city, something most history books likely wouldn't even touch on. Picard wrote four books in this series, the others focusing on Elizabethan, Restoration and Victorian London, and I only own the last, but I'll definitely be picking up the other two in the near future.

A friend and coworker has chosen A History of New York for me next (based on no information - literally told me to 'read #7 on the list').

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

5. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

6. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

7. Conquest of the Useless (Werner Herzog). I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but haven't found the time yet. The personal journal of Herzog while he was making Fitzcarraldo (in which, from what I remember, he'd write in extra-small chicken scratching to infuriate Kinski, who couldn't read was being written of him, in order to rev him up for the day's shoot. Or maybe that was Aguirre? Not sure...).

8. On the Shoulders of Giants (edited, with commentary, by Stephen Hawking). This massive tome (1250+ dense pages) brings together five important works by some of the biggest contributors to physics and astronomy: Nicolaus Copernicus (On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres), Galileo Galilei (Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences), Johannes Kepler (Harmony of the World, Book Five), Sir Isaac Newton (Principia) and Albert Einstein (Selections from The Principle of Relativity). I've studied the ideas from each of these guys in depth but somehow have never before read the original works, so it's time to fix this glaring oversight. This one should keep me occupied for a while.

9. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs). After reading about Burnham and urbanism lately, I figured I'd add this classic of the field. I didn't even realize we owned this one until my girlfriend pointed it out to me!

10. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 (Liza Picard). Since I had such success with Dr. Johnson's London by the same author, I'll throw this one on the list next.

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29776
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#219

Post by mightysparks » June 25th, 2016, 3:43 pm

I'm just over 50% of the way through the second Kingkiller Chronicle book and then I'll make a start on that. Really loving these books, hope he writes the third one soon.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

Cippenham
Donator
Posts: 12714
Joined: May 09, 2011
Location: Dorset England
Contact:

#220

Post by Cippenham » June 25th, 2016, 8:46 pm

Leopardi on Jun 25 2016, 08:35:46 AM wrote:I've finished Dr. Johnson's London, a very enjoyable read and a vivid portrayal of what life would have been like for the various levels of society in mid-18th century London (1740-1770 to be specific). I found the chapters on the poor the most interesting; Picard has a way of making even the mundane and neglected aspects of life (e.g. plumbing and sewer lines, transportation, children's games) come to life. This was something the friend who had recommended the series to me had noticed as well, amazed at her ability to evoke the smells of the city, something most history books likely wouldn't even touch on. Picard wrote four books in this series, the others focusing on Elizabethan, Restoration and Victorian London, and I only own the last, but I'll definitely be picking up the other two in the near future.

A friend and coworker has chosen A History of New York for me next (based on no information - literally told me to 'read #7 on the list').

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

5. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

6. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

7. Conquest of the Useless (Werner Herzog). I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but haven't found the time yet. The personal journal of Herzog while he was making Fitzcarraldo (in which, from what I remember, he'd write in extra-small chicken scratching to infuriate Kinski, who couldn't read was being written of him, in order to rev him up for the day's shoot. Or maybe that was Aguirre? Not sure...).

8. On the Shoulders of Giants (edited, with commentary, by Stephen Hawking). This massive tome (1250+ dense pages) brings together five important works by some of the biggest contributors to physics and astronomy: Nicolaus Copernicus (On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres), Galileo Galilei (Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences), Johannes Kepler (Harmony of the World, Book Five), Sir Isaac Newton (Principia) and Albert Einstein (Selections from The Principle of Relativity). I've studied the ideas from each of these guys in depth but somehow have never before read the original works, so it's time to fix this glaring oversight. This one should keep me occupied for a while.

9. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs). After reading about Burnham and urbanism lately, I figured I'd add this classic of the field. I didn't even realize we owned this one until my girlfriend pointed it out to me!

10. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 (Liza Picard). Since I had such success with Dr. Johnson's London by the same author, I'll throw this one on the list next.
Have you read The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sleepwalkers
Last edited by Cippenham on June 25th, 2016, 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Turning over a new leaf :ICM:

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#221

Post by Leopardi » June 25th, 2016, 11:06 pm

Cippenham on Jun 25 2016, 02:46:41 PM wrote:
Leopardi on Jun 25 2016, 08:35:46 AM wrote:I've finished Dr. Johnson's London, a very enjoyable read and a vivid portrayal of what life would have been like for the various levels of society in mid-18th century London (1740-1770 to be specific). I found the chapters on the poor the most interesting; Picard has a way of making even the mundane and neglected aspects of life (e.g. plumbing and sewer lines, transportation, children's games) come to life. This was something the friend who had recommended the series to me had noticed as well, amazed at her ability to evoke the smells of the city, something most history books likely wouldn't even touch on. Picard wrote four books in this series, the others focusing on Elizabethan, Restoration and Victorian London, and I only own the last, but I'll definitely be picking up the other two in the near future.

A friend and coworker has chosen A History of New York for me next (based on no information - literally told me to 'read #7 on the list').

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

5. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

6. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

7. Conquest of the Useless (Werner Herzog). I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but haven't found the time yet. The personal journal of Herzog while he was making Fitzcarraldo (in which, from what I remember, he'd write in extra-small chicken scratching to infuriate Kinski, who couldn't read was being written of him, in order to rev him up for the day's shoot. Or maybe that was Aguirre? Not sure...).

8. On the Shoulders of Giants (edited, with commentary, by Stephen Hawking). This massive tome (1250+ dense pages) brings together five important works by some of the biggest contributors to physics and astronomy: Nicolaus Copernicus (On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres), Galileo Galilei (Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences), Johannes Kepler (Harmony of the World, Book Five), Sir Isaac Newton (Principia) and Albert Einstein (Selections from The Principle of Relativity). I've studied the ideas from each of these guys in depth but somehow have never before read the original works, so it's time to fix this glaring oversight. This one should keep me occupied for a while.

9. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs). After reading about Burnham and urbanism lately, I figured I'd add this classic of the field. I didn't even realize we owned this one until my girlfriend pointed it out to me!

10. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 (Liza Picard). Since I had such success with Dr. Johnson's London by the same author, I'll throw this one on the list next.
Have you read The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sleepwalkers
Nope, I haven't read anything by Koestler yet, actually, and only picked up Darkness at Noon last year. The Sleepwalkers sounds like an interesting read, although I'm not sure I agree with its message; my own experience in science (at graduate level anyway) is to start on a project chosen by my supervisor, find out too late that they're incompetent and/or corrupt and the project is a wash, then throw together a thesis to get far away from them as fast as I can! Maybe not the best approach, but then again, I'm no Newton. :lol:

Cippenham
Donator
Posts: 12714
Joined: May 09, 2011
Location: Dorset England
Contact:

#222

Post by Cippenham » June 26th, 2016, 12:01 am

Leopardi on Jun 25 2016, 05:06:10 PM wrote:
Cippenham on Jun 25 2016, 02:46:41 PM wrote:
Leopardi on Jun 25 2016, 08:35:46 AM wrote:I've finished Dr. Johnson's London, a very enjoyable read and a vivid portrayal of what life would have been like for the various levels of society in mid-18th century London (1740-1770 to be specific). I found the chapters on the poor the most interesting; Picard has a way of making even the mundane and neglected aspects of life (e.g. plumbing and sewer lines, transportation, children's games) come to life. This was something the friend who had recommended the series to me had noticed as well, amazed at her ability to evoke the smells of the city, something most history books likely wouldn't even touch on. Picard wrote four books in this series, the others focusing on Elizabethan, Restoration and Victorian London, and I only own the last, but I'll definitely be picking up the other two in the near future.

A friend and coworker has chosen A History of New York for me next (based on no information - literally told me to 'read #7 on the list').

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

5. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

6. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

7. Conquest of the Useless (Werner Herzog). I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but haven't found the time yet. The personal journal of Herzog while he was making Fitzcarraldo (in which, from what I remember, he'd write in extra-small chicken scratching to infuriate Kinski, who couldn't read was being written of him, in order to rev him up for the day's shoot. Or maybe that was Aguirre? Not sure...).

8. On the Shoulders of Giants (edited, with commentary, by Stephen Hawking). This massive tome (1250+ dense pages) brings together five important works by some of the biggest contributors to physics and astronomy: Nicolaus Copernicus (On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres), Galileo Galilei (Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences), Johannes Kepler (Harmony of the World, Book Five), Sir Isaac Newton (Principia) and Albert Einstein (Selections from The Principle of Relativity). I've studied the ideas from each of these guys in depth but somehow have never before read the original works, so it's time to fix this glaring oversight. This one should keep me occupied for a while.

9. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs). After reading about Burnham and urbanism lately, I figured I'd add this classic of the field. I didn't even realize we owned this one until my girlfriend pointed it out to me!

10. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 (Liza Picard). Since I had such success with Dr. Johnson's London by the same author, I'll throw this one on the list next.
Have you read The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sleepwalkers
Nope, I haven't read anything by Koestler yet, actually, and only picked up Darkness at Noon last year. The Sleepwalkers sounds like an interesting read, although I'm not sure I agree with its message; my own experience in science (at graduate level anyway) is to start on a project chosen by my supervisor, find out too late that they're incompetent and/or corrupt and the project is a wash, then throw together a thesis to get far away from them as fast as I can! Maybe not the best approach, but then again, I'm no Newton. :lol:
He goes into the background and lives and outlook of Copernicus, Gallileo and even the ancients. They more or less knew that the earth was not the centre of the Universe in ancient times but literally forgot and slavishly followed teaching that showed it was for years..
Turning over a new leaf :ICM:

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#223

Post by Leopardi » July 16th, 2016, 5:34 pm

I've finished A History of New York. It started out okay, with some interesting and (slightly) humorous descriptions of the origin of the world, and some chapters I found were very well written (most notably Book 6, Chapter 3, Peter Stuyvesant's Voyage), but on the whole I found it to be dry and the comedic bits not terribly funny. Still, I think Irving himself is an interesting writer and look forward to reading a biography of his I picked up at the gift shop at the Alhambra a few years ago.

For my next book I'm going to choose On the Shoulder of Giants; after having found out last week that my favourite astrophysics professor passed away last year, I thought it would be a nice tribute, at least until I can pick up one of his own books to read (either this textbook or one of his sci-fi books which sound pretty cheesy, but what the hell).
A side note on Paul WessonShow
Some background
Obit notice

Paul Wesson was a brilliant and influential astrophysicist who was highly respected in his field, advancing the idea of describing the universe in higher dimensions through Kaluza-Klein theory years before it became a hot topic (for those interested, here's a short and simple introduction written by him from a few years ago), and coming up with a solution for the centuries-old astonomical mystery known as Olber's Paradox, which he walked us through during that class. He started his career with a bent towards geophysics, participating in field work in Afghanistan and publishing his first papers while still an undergraduate, but veered toward astrophysics during his grad work with Martin Rees, influenced by the tutelage of that iconoclast, Fred Hoyle. If I remember his anecdotes right, which he'd happily relate at the campus bar if you asked, I believe he also worked for a spell with Stephen Hawking (or at least in the same group at Cambridge). He was one of those people who lived his life fearlessly, both inside and outside academia, as far as I could tell.

He was also one of the more dreaded physics professors while I was an undergraduate. He expected your full attention in class (chalk would be hurled full-force at the head of anyone foolish enough to talk in class), asked hard questions and would give you the most withering of stares if you didn't answer to his satisfaction. He didn't care if you sank or swam in his class, those who couldn't cut it would drop out and those who could were the ones he wanted to teach to. I remember my first day in his GR & Cosmology class (back in '96, well before Amazon or Abebooks):

"The textbook for this class will be Rindler. It is an excellent book. It is also out of print and there are no copies in the bookstore."

And that set the tone for the term: You'd have to be brilliant or very resourceful to be in that classroom (thankfully I was the latter), there was no way he was going to coddle you. Our other text for the class was this cosmology book. After a month he hadn't mention a single word about it, everything we were taught was GR-related. Then, two days before our Friday midterm, he mentioned casually, "Oh, and by now you should have read about halfway through your cosmology text. Everything from it is fair game for the midterm." A collective gasp went through the class (I think there were only about eight of us left by that time, down from twenty at the beginning of term). So, of course the next 48 hours were spent by all cramming that text into our brains as best we could, only to find that the midterm consisted of ten questions, seven of them fiendish tensor calculus and the other three from a pair of brief reprint articles he'd handed out in the first or second week at the beginning of class, saying "You might find these interesting," and then nothing more about them. Absolutely nothing from the cosmology text. Needless to say, the class average was well below 50% that time around.

He had a reputation for being something of a curmudgeon. But at the same time, he had the driest sense of humour of anyone I've ever met, and every once in a while you could get him to talk shit about his colleagues when even they didn't meet his lofty expectations. And when you gave the right answer in class (rare, but it did happen occasionally!) the quiet admiration he'd have for you was incredibly rewarding, you could see his engagement in the topic rise when he knew he was connecting with his students on subjects he really cared about. He was one of those professors: a mean son of a bitch when he wanted to be, but someone who had a deep and genuine passion for his field and a thirst to find like-minded souls to share ideas with. What a memorable character. I'm truly sorry to hear of his passing, and even though I didn't know him very well, I will miss him greatly.
Here's my updated list:

1. The Tom Barber Trilogy (Forrest Reid, 1931/1936/1944). "...Traces the passage from innocence to awareness in the hero, Tom, as he grows from the age of 10 to 15. These are not novels of childhood, however. They are full of classical references, explorations of consciousness, and realism which make a potent mixture, producing a 'paradise lost' of modern times." - Routledge History of Literature

2. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

3. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

4. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

5. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

6. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

7. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy (and note that I haven't read the first in the series, nor do I own it, so if it's chosen I'll go out and grab a copy before starting this one), this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

8. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792). "Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity, and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice and a plea for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner." (from back of book). One of the seminal books of feminist literature, and a key work from one of the more interesting literary families of all time.

9. Mysteries (Knut Hamsun, 1892). "Mysteries is the story of Johan Nilsen Nagel, a mysteries stranger who suddenly turns up in a small Norwegian town one summer - and just as suddenly disappears. Nagel is a complete outsider, a sort of modern Christ treated as a spirit of near tragedy...But there is a sinister side of him: in his vest he carries a vial of prussic acid..." (Penguin Classics description). A much-lauded work by one of the creators of the modern novel.

10. The Enormous Room (e e cummings, 1922). "From the twentieth century's most inventive poet, a story of wartime imprisonment that is by turns comical, lyrical, and obscene." (From the back of the book). My first exposure to cummings' writings (including his poetry, I believe)
Last edited by Leopardi on July 16th, 2016, 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#224

Post by Leopardi » August 12th, 2016, 4:21 am

Cippenham on Jun 25 2016, 06:01:03 PM wrote:
Leopardi on Jun 25 2016, 05:06:10 PM wrote:
Cippenham on Jun 25 2016, 02:46:41 PM wrote:Have you read The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sleepwalkers
Nope, I haven't read anything by Koestler yet, actually, and only picked up Darkness at Noon last year. The Sleepwalkers sounds like an interesting read, although I'm not sure I agree with its message; my own experience in science (at graduate level anyway) is to start on a project chosen by my supervisor, find out too late that they're incompetent and/or corrupt and the project is a wash, then throw together a thesis to get far away from them as fast as I can! Maybe not the best approach, but then again, I'm no Newton. :lol:
He goes into the background and lives and outlook of Copernicus, Gallileo and even the ancients. They more or less knew that the earth was not the centre of the Universe in ancient times but literally forgot and slavishly followed teaching that showed it was for years..
The Sleepwalkers arrived today - it would be a great chaser for the book I'm reading now, but like all the others it'll be selected at random for the list of ten appearing here, so who knows when it'll actually come up!

Thanks for the recommendation!

Cippenham
Donator
Posts: 12714
Joined: May 09, 2011
Location: Dorset England
Contact:

#225

Post by Cippenham » August 12th, 2016, 4:07 pm

I read a lot and listen to talking books, mainly non fiction so may enter this game, I read the Koestler book at uni some years ago, :lol:
Turning over a new leaf :ICM:

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#226

Post by Leopardi » August 13th, 2016, 4:29 am

Just do it, man! We could use some more participants!

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#227

Post by Leopardi » August 28th, 2016, 4:35 pm

I haven't finished my anthology yet, but three of the books are done and I've set it aside for a while to concentrate on reading up on Peru (I'll be visiting there in just under a month) so I'll give a brief review of each since I probably won't finish the rest of it until December.

On The Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres (Nicolaus Copernicus): It's scary just how dedicated and capable an astronomer was, and it shows in this volume. He starts off explaining to the reader how his heliocentric theory is useful in performing calculations, but doesn't come right out and call geocentric theory incorrect, not overtly anyway. He works from first principles, citing Euclid and demonstrating such fundamentals as the rules of similar triangles. He pulls astronomical data from wherever he can to prove his theory, including reaching as far back as ancient Egypt for some truly long-term astral translations, which almost stretch the bounds of credibility if he didn't state them with such confidence.

On the downside, much of the book consists of sample calculations for various scenarios (e.g. how to calculate the duration of an eclipse), using mathematics that are somewhat antiquated (some sine and cosine laws would really go far here, for example), making for some really dry reading, while the revolutionary material is all-too-brief. Not a page turner by any stretch of the imagination, still, it gets points for its importance.

Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences (Galileo Galilei): Now here's a scientific tour de force, written in a loose dialogue reminiscent of Plato (who is referenced a few times). Galileo starts with some puzzling facts about the strength of structural materials, and while he muses he touches on vacuums, cohesion, vibrating strings, the speed of light and the nature of infinity. It's incredible how many vital topics he covers in this volume, even before he delivers his knockout punch of motion under constant acceleration and projectile motion. Some people describe Galileo as the Father of Science, and this book goes a long way to justifying this lofty title. Galileo's intellect is awe-inspiring.

Harmonies Of The World (Johannes Kepler): I was annoyed at first that the anthology only included chapter 5 of Kepler's work, but having read it I can understand why they did what they did. If the other chapters are anything like the majority of chapter 5, they include a lot of information that's irrelevant or genuinely misleading. Much of the text concerns astrological harmonic configurations and their musical significance, and is clearly mumbo jumbo. Where it gets interesting is Kepler's leap to describing the motions of planets in orderly ways, especially when he uses Copernicus' heliocentric theory combined with his observation that orbits don't necessarily follow perfectly circular orbits. The text is hard to get through, what with the combination of astrological/religious musings and astronomical data, and he drops his third law so matter-of-factly and early enough on in the chapter that it's hard to see it as a revolutionary statement of any sort, but thankfully Newton (and others) saw it for what it was and made their own vital contributions because of it. I have a biography of Kepler still waiting to be read on the shelf and I'm looking forward to consuming it even though the chapter was a bit underwhelming, since Kepler's life seems to have been quite interesting in itself.


That's all I have today, no picks yet since I haven't finished the book completely. Review of Newton's Principia and Einstein's essays on relativity to follow in December (roughly)!

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#228

Post by Leopardi » November 13th, 2016, 5:27 pm

I've finished Newton's Principia now, the fourth of five books in On the Shoulder of Giants. This book is not light reading even in a remote sense. Newton does not show his hand and divulge his calculus directly before working out his theories, as might be hoped. Rather, he works it out in a roundabout, geometric way, drawing on complicated diagrams and relying on infinitesimals that aren't usually spelled out explicitly. It makes for a challenging read even for those well-versed in calculus and classical physics, which can be frustrating at times.

Having said that, the text shows clearly why Newton is often considered the greatest physicist of all time. The guy was absolutely fearless and endlessly brilliant, taking on the most challenging of problems of his era, swallowing them and spitting them out while others were still just trying to get a grip on how to approach the problem. Book 2 shows he wasn't just a superlative theorist, that he also wasn't afraid to get into the lab and craft elaborate experiments to test his theories. In Book 3 and ties everything together and shows he grasps perfectly the 'big picture' behind what he's done. It's hard to imagine where the world would be without Newton's contributions, and this book exhibits his genius better than any other. A challenging but enriching read.

Last in this volume is a collection of the more important papers from the other contender for greatest physicist of all time, Albert Einstein, focusing primarily on his special and general relativity theories. It's brief (~100 pages) and I'm already more than halfway through, so I should be done by next weekend.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#229

Post by Leopardi » November 20th, 2016, 11:45 pm

I finished the last of five parts of On the Shoulders of Giants this week, a collection of selections from Einstein's papers on relativity. The material itself was exhilarating - it was great to see Einstein build up his understanding of the universe over the years, and to grapple with how best to explain his views to the scientific community. While the math was very challenging (those without a solid grounding in tensors won't get a lot out of this read; I'm quite rusty with them so I did the best I could) it was a relief to finally get to see modern mathematical notation again, after the outdated notation used by the previous four writers. On the downside, the editor for this section did a slipshod job, with erroneous references, typographical errors and outright mistakes in the equations themselves. Not many that I could see, mind you, but enough to be annoying.

I'll pick the Tom Barber trilogy for myself next, both because it's the first entry on the list and because it's the most daunting title, with four novels and a biography covered (since I've never read anything by Forrest Reid before I'm worried it could be a long slog, nearly 1300 pages in total!).

Here's my updated list:

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

5. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

6. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

7. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs). After reading about Burnham and urbanism lately, I figured I'd add this classic of the field. I didn't even realize we owned this one until my girlfriend pointed it out to me!

8. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 (Liza Picard). Since I had such success with Dr. Johnson's London by the same author, I'll throw this one on the list next.

9. A New Kind of Science (Stephen Wolfram). I don't know much about this one, other than that it explores the relationship between computation and the physical world. Another giant physics book (~1200 pages) to replace On the Shoulder of Giants on the list.

10. The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (Stephen Youngkin). Who doesn't love Peter Lorre? A (hopefully) riveting biography of one of Hollywood's more distinctive stars.

Cippenham
Donator
Posts: 12714
Joined: May 09, 2011
Location: Dorset England
Contact:

#230

Post by Cippenham » November 21st, 2016, 5:31 am

Based on reading about the Great Depression as per item one some people might not to read it as it Might make them feel depressed, that's why..
Turning over a new leaf :ICM:

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29776
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#231

Post by mightysparks » December 26th, 2016, 9:15 am

Ok, so I finished reading A Canticle For Leibowitz last night. I thought it was a bit dry and dull, but ok. I also read The Time Machine and am currently reading The War of the Worlds, and then I shall go on to whatever is picked next...

Leopardi, I choose The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre.

1. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
2. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
3. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
4. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
5. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
6. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
7. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
8. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
9. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy BooksShow
http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139085843 ... tasy-books

(note, I am only reading first novels in a series for now)

Read: 38/100

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#232

Post by Leopardi » January 14th, 2017, 5:45 pm

Mighty, I see you've picked Watership Down on Goodreads, which works out well since that was the one I was going to pick for you. I'm on the last book of the Tom Barber trilogy, and have to say I'm impressed with Reid's writing style; very consistent, clean and simple, even while exploring the weird and ineffable.

I'm not normally a fan of magical realism, but he has a more buttoned-down stylistic approach that appeals to me quite a bit. My one big knock against him is he seems to portray his protagonist, Tom, as younger than he actually is. I'm not sure if this intentional (Tom is supposed to be a bit 'special', not quite fully tied to this world, and this may come across as naïveté), but I often found it jarring the way he would behave sometimes five or more years younger than he was supposed to be. Still, not enough of a criticism to discourage me from hunting down more titles from Reid in the future.

The accompanying literary study and biography of Reid was also quite well written, and gives a nice overview of the themes to look for in his writings. I thought it was a balanced, sympathetic look at this sometimes controversial writer (Reid, while not technically a Uranian poet himself, was quite well-regarded by the members of this group), although it does dwell overly on his pederastic tendencies, which tends to give the unfair impression he's a bit one-dimensional in his writings.


Here's my updated list:

1. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

2. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

3. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

4. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

5. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

6. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy (and note that I haven't read the first in the series, nor do I own it, so if it's chosen I'll go out and grab a copy before starting this one), this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

7. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792). "Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity, and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice and a plea for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner." (from back of book). One of the seminal books of feminist literature, and a key work from one of the more interesting literary families of all time.

8. Mysteries (Knut Hamsun, 1892). "Mysteries is the story of Johan Nilsen Nagel, a mysteries stranger who suddenly turns up in a small Norwegian town one summer - and just as suddenly disappears. Nagel is a complete outsider, a sort of modern Christ treated as a spirit of near tragedy...But there is a sinister side of him: in his vest he carries a vial of prussic acid..." (Penguin Classics description). A much-lauded work by one of the creators of the modern novel.

9. The Enormous Room (e e cummings, 1922). "From the twentieth century's most inventive poet, a story of wartime imprisonment that is by turns comical, lyrical, and obscene." (From the back of the book). My first exposure to cummings' writings (including his poetry, I believe)

10. The Great White Space (Basil Copper, 1974). "One of the great British horror writers of the 20th century, Basil Copper (1924-2013) was best known for his macabre short fiction, which earned him the World Horror Convention's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. The Great White Space (1974) is a tale in the mode of H. P. Lovecraft and is recognized as one of the best Lovecraftian horror novels ever written." - Valancourt Books
Last edited by Leopardi on January 15th, 2017, 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29776
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#233

Post by mightysparks » January 14th, 2017, 5:56 pm

I just started going down the list til someone turned up here haha. I also finished the first Dark Tower book and started on the Sandman series (since it's a comic I can't read it on my kindle). But I'm just gonna read the first like anthology thingy of the first 8 issues.

The Great White Space sounds interesting so I'll pick that for you. I'll post my updated list later.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#234

Post by Leopardi » February 20th, 2017, 5:45 pm

I've finished The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre and, while it does seem to give a fairly complete picture of his life, I wasn't a fan of the writing style; too many awkward sentences, vague pronouns and jumps back and forth in time, all of which made the narrative choppy and distracted from the story being told. Still, there are some nice anecdotes from Lorre's life that alone make it worth a read, I would say.

Mighty, do you have an updated list for me to choose from?

Here's my updated list:

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

4. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

5. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

6. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

7. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs). After reading about Burnham and urbanism lately, I figured I'd add this classic of the field. I didn't even realize we owned this one until my girlfriend pointed it out to me!

8. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 (Liza Picard). Since I had such success with Dr. Johnson's London by the same author, I'll throw this one on the list next.

9. A New Kind of Science (Stephen Wolfram). I don't know much about this one, other than that it explores the relationship between computation and the physical world. Another giant physics book (~1200 pages) to replace On the Shoulder of Giants on the list.

10. Alexander Hamilton (Ron Chernow). I had the good fortune to see the Broadway production inspired by this book back in January - even with all the hype it didn't fail to impress me - and so this is a natural follow-up.


Hopefully we get some new contributors to this thread with all the newcomers to the forum. It would be great to see it more active!

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10526
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#235

Post by funkybusiness » February 21st, 2017, 11:16 am

Placeholder. I'll post something later.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#236

Post by Leopardi » March 4th, 2017, 7:35 pm

I finished The Great White Space last night. Started off a little slow but by the time the group reached the latter half of their expedition it had me hooked. A bit vague in his descriptions, but I think this is intentional, in keeping with his emulation of Lovecraft's style. All in all, an impressive homage to the early masters of weird fiction (particularly Lovecraft), and I'll definitely pick up Valancourt Books' other Copper publications, Necropolis and The House of the Wolf.

Do you have a list to pick from, Funky? I'll hold off on picking anything for a bit in case you do (I'm still reading It Can't Happen Here for the next couple of days so there's no rush on my end).

Here's my updated list:

1. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

2. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

3. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

4. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

5. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

6. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy (and note that I haven't read the first in the series, nor do I own it, so if it's chosen I'll go out and grab a copy before starting this one), this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

7. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792). "Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity, and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice and a plea for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner." (from back of book). One of the seminal books of feminist literature, and a key work from one of the more interesting literary families of all time.

8. Mysteries (Knut Hamsun, 1892). "Mysteries is the story of Johan Nilsen Nagel, a mysteries stranger who suddenly turns up in a small Norwegian town one summer - and just as suddenly disappears. Nagel is a complete outsider, a sort of modern Christ treated as a spirit of near tragedy...But there is a sinister side of him: in his vest he carries a vial of prussic acid..." (Penguin Classics description). A much-lauded work by one of the creators of the modern novel.

9. The Enormous Room (e e cummings, 1922). "From the twentieth century's most inventive poet, a story of wartime imprisonment that is by turns comical, lyrical, and obscene." (From the back of the book). My first exposure to cummings' writings (including his poetry, I believe).

10. The Art of Travel (Henry James, 1870-1905). A collection of James' most famous travel writings from the U.S. and Canada, England, France and Italy, first published in 1958. This will be a short one, since I've already read much of his travel literature and will just fill in some of the gaps using the material included here.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#237

Post by Leopardi » March 10th, 2017, 2:11 pm

I need a book for this morning, so I'm going to choose A New Kind of Science for myself - sorry, Funky! We'll have to bump your placeholder forward a bit.

Picking this one so that I can get rid of it - it doesn't get great reviews and has been sitting on the shelf for far too long.

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10526
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#238

Post by funkybusiness » March 25th, 2017, 6:01 am

aaahh sorry Leopardi, I messed up.

from your list above, I'll pick the Zola book, The Belly of Paris as I've been studying french today.

Pick a Complete Works* for me to tackle over the Spring/early Summer/maybe late Summer. depends on what you pick!
(I will most likely post again after reading a chunk of whatever the next person picks for me, with a regular-sized book list).

1. Virginia Woolf
9 novels, 63 stories, numerous essays, +letters if I'm feeling creep-y.

2. William "Billy Shakes" Shakespeare
approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship

3. Edith Wharton
22 novels/novellas/novelettes, 11 short story collections, + poems, non-fiction, uncollected &c.

4. DH Lawrence

12 novels, 6 novellas, short stories, poems, essays, travel writings.

5. Herman Melville
9 novels/novellas, short stories, poems, some essays, 1 epic poem that no one has ever read. ever. I could be the first.

6. Charles Dickens
just the 15 novels + the Oxford Christmas novella collection. please.

7. Henry James, nah, just kiddin, I ain't tipped yet.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1350
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#239

Post by Leopardi » March 26th, 2017, 10:43 pm

funkybusiness on Mar 25 2017, 12:01:29 AM wrote:aaahh sorry Leopardi, I messed up.

from your list above, I'll pick the Zola book, The Belly of Paris as I've been studying french today.

Pick a Complete Works* for me to tackle over the Spring/early Summer/maybe late Summer. depends on what you pick!
(I will most likely post again after reading a chunk of whatever the next person picks for me, with a regular-sized book list).

1. Virginia Woolf
9 novels, 63 stories, numerous essays, +letters if I'm feeling creep-y.

2. William "Billy Shakes" Shakespeare
approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship

3. Edith Wharton
22 novels/novellas/novelettes, 11 short story collections, + poems, non-fiction, uncollected &c.

4. DH Lawrence

12 novels, 6 novellas, short stories, poems, essays, travel writings.

5. Herman Melville
9 novels/novellas, short stories, poems, some essays, 1 epic poem that no one has ever read. ever. I could be the first.

6. Charles Dickens
just the 15 novels + the Oxford Christmas novella collection. please.

7. Henry James, nah, just kiddin, I ain't tipped yet.
No problem, I still love ya, Funks! And so will my girlfriend now that you've picked The Belly of Paris, which she's implored me to read for more than five years now. Nice choice.

I won't be ready to pick anything officially for about two months (A New Kind of Science is massive), but if you need something before then just let me know and I'll send you an early pick. That's a nice selection of writers to choose from!

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10526
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#240

Post by funkybusiness » March 27th, 2017, 12:47 am

Leopardi on Mar 26 2017, 04:43:54 PM wrote:No problem, I still love ya, Funks! And so will my girlfriend now that you've picked The Belly of Paris, which she's implored me to read for more than five years now. Nice choice.

I won't be ready to pick anything officially for about two months (A New Kind of Science is massive), but if you need something before then just let me know and I'll send you an early pick. That's a nice selection of writers to choose from!
I've got books queued up for the next couple weeks, so, it's alright for now. you can send me an early pick but not too early :)

Post Reply