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What are you reading at the moment?

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What are you reading at the moment?

#1001

Post by 3eyes » January 27th, 2016, 8:58 pm

I got The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (5 novels in one) for Christmas. Am currently reading the third one - Life, the Universe and Everything. Great fun.
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#1002

Post by brokenface » January 27th, 2016, 9:03 pm

I'm reading Cronenberg's Consumed. It's kinda what you'd expect a Cronenberg novel to be - weird & very JG Ballard-like.

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#1003

Post by ormazd » March 2nd, 2016, 9:36 pm

ormazd on Sep 2 2015, 08:20:09 AM wrote:
Nuclearplanet on Sep 1 2015, 04:50:31 PM wrote:Started reading Infinite Jest. Have been terrified of this book since I got it, but it's a waist to have it wait on my bookshelf any longer. Anyone else ever attempted reading it?
Inspired by The End of the Tour, I'm also tackling this white whale. So far, so good.
Six months later, and I finished it! Not that it was boring by any means, but I usually just read a few pages at night before sleep.

It's really an amazing journey, and I did something I've never done in my life. Gone back to the beginning and started reading it again.

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#1004

Post by plasma_birds » March 3rd, 2016, 8:44 pm

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Just finished this and really enjoyed it. It should be most famous here as having two stories that are the loose basis for Mizoguchi's Ugetsu monogatari. The ghost stories here are very interesting, totally unlike ones from the west. They aren't really "scary" so much as "strange." Tiny, dreamlike flights of fancy told very beautifully.

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#1005

Post by mightysparks » April 18th, 2016, 3:09 pm

I finally finished reading Outlander - a book I started last July - a few days ago. Awful book. Someone at Tafe recommended me this book series called The Remaining and lent me the first book before I left and I read it in about 2 days. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't particularly well written so I'd only recommend it if you like to get your hands on anything post-apocalyptic or zombie-d. Anyway, I can FINALLY begin the book chosen for me in the Read The Books thread, so hopefully I can finish that on this trip, or at least not too long after...
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#1006

Post by funkybusiness » October 11th, 2016, 9:05 am

this is the closest thing we got to a Book Lounge, or a Library, so I'll ask here.


anyone read the book 2001: A Space Odyssey? is it any good?


I ask because this week I decided to start going through "the classics" and so on, and was wondering if it's worthwhile/worth putting on my longlist.
Last edited by funkybusiness on October 11th, 2016, 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#1007

Post by Kowry » October 11th, 2016, 9:23 am

Been reading Richard Dawkin's The Greatest Show on Earth. Pretty great popular science book about evolution, recommended. Shame that Dawkins is a huge jerk (at least based on his Internet presence).

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#1008

Post by Carmel1379 » October 11th, 2016, 7:16 pm

funkybusiness on Oct 11 2016, 03:05:40 AM wrote:this is the closest thing we got to a Book Lounge, or a Library, so I'll ask here.


anyone read the book 2001: A Space Odyssey? is it any good?


I ask because this week I decided to start going through "the classics" and so on, and was wondering if it's worthwhile/worth putting on my longlist.
Read it two years ago. It's a much more detailed, informative and therefore simpler version of the odyssey, with some factual changes and such; it's nowhere as profound and sublime as the film is, but it's still one of the better science-fiction books I've read, worthwhile of ones time and something that one can see as being essentially "separate" from the film. 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' is also amazing and it's likewise enjoyable and edifying apart from it's association to 'Blade Runner'.
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His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
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Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
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Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
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#1009

Post by Coco LaBerge » October 12th, 2016, 8:37 am

funkybusiness on Oct 11 2016, 03:05:40 AM wrote:this is the closest thing we got to a Book Lounge, or a Library, so I'll ask here.


anyone read the book 2001: A Space Odyssey? is it any good?


I ask because this week I decided to start going through "the classics" and so on, and was wondering if it's worthwhile/worth putting on my longlist.
Arthur C Clarke isn't a writer I like at all, very dry, I don't like his style at all. So I wouldn't recommend it.


There are other sci fi writers I'd recommend over Clarke, like Asimov, Bradbury, or even better Vonnegut.
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#1010

Post by brokenface » October 12th, 2016, 11:31 am

have only read a few Clarke books. I like Rendezvous with Rama. Not sure i finished 2001

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#1011

Post by frbrown » October 14th, 2016, 10:48 pm

Don't know where else to post this (Off-Topic Lounge, maybe? Maybe it's already been posted...)

The Nobel Prize for Literature has just been awarded to - Bob Dylan!
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#1012

Post by funkybusiness » October 14th, 2016, 10:53 pm

frbrown on Oct 14 2016, 04:48:29 PM wrote:Don't know where else to post this (Off-Topic Lounge, maybe? Maybe it's already been posted...)

The Nobel Prize for Literature has just been awarded to - Bob Dylan!
it was posted in the music lounge.


so, most of us have heard his music but has anyone read either of his books?

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#1013

Post by frbrown » October 14th, 2016, 11:09 pm

funkybusiness on Oct 14 2016, 04:53:32 PM wrote:
frbrown on Oct 14 2016, 04:48:29 PM wrote:Don't know where else to post this (Off-Topic Lounge, maybe? Maybe it's already been posted...)

The Nobel Prize for Literature has just been awarded to - Bob Dylan!
it was posted in the music lounge.
Obvious place to post it, now that I think about it.
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#1014

Post by PGonzalez » December 2nd, 2016, 12:59 am

pjim on wrote:
funkybusiness on Oct 11 2016, 03:05:40 AM wrote:this is the closest thing we got to a Book Lounge, or a Library, so I'll ask here.


anyone read the book 2001: A Space Odyssey? is it any good?


I ask because this week I decided to start going through "the classics" and so on, and was wondering if it's worthwhile/worth putting on my longlist.
Arthur C Clarke isn't a writer I like at all, very dry, I don't like his style at all. So I wouldn't recommend it.


There are other sci fi writers I'd recommend over Clarke, like Asimov, Bradbury, or even better Vonnegut.
I'm actually really fond of Clarke for this exact reason. His detachment in the first part of Odyssey was what immediately drew me into the book. I often have trouble getting immersed in science fiction precisely due to how authors try to make their worlds as whimsical as possible, and Clarke's rigor left me really excited as it was the first proper science fiction author I ever encountered. Asimov is really good in this domain as well, and my experience in Bradbury and Vonnegut doesn't go beyond Fahrenheit 451 and Slaughterhouse V, but I also enjoyed both of them greatly. Lem is another tremendous example. But I could never get more than a few pages into Heinlein, for example. Do you have suggestions of other authors in that vein? Sci-fi is a genre I know nearly nothing about.

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#1015

Post by Kowry » January 4th, 2017, 1:47 pm

Reading The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. I read some of his stuff as a teenager, but still some "essential" stories from him that I haven't read (like At the Mountains of Madness, not even sure about The Call of Cthulhu). Not very far in my progress yet (the stories are in chronological order, and I plan on respecting the order), and I don't imagine I'll read this in one reading, since the similar arc in most of his stories kinda gets tiring if you read too many in a row. His early works are a bit hit-and-miss, and the very early juvenilia certainly feel like having been written by a teenager.

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#1016

Post by themagician » January 5th, 2017, 12:55 pm

Gonna keep track of my read books this year here for the "book goals" challenge.

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1. Mussolini, by Göran Hägg - 5/5

Original year: 2008
Pages: 415

I started reading this book in 2016 but finished in 2017 but I'm gonna count it.

A very detailed look at Mussolini's life and the fascist government until his death. This feels like a book I'll be reading several more times in my life because there's so much information and it's very fascinating to read through.

Now I feel the need to rewatch several films: Salo, Rome Open City, and Bebo's Girl. The latter 2 films were talked about in the book. When I watched Salo I was ignorant of the history. I think a rewatch will be very different.

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#1017

Post by 3eyes » January 6th, 2017, 3:16 am

John Judis, The Populist Explosion. About the history of populist parties (right and left) in America and Europe starting around the beginning of the 20th century but focusing on the last 50 years or so. I'm finding it very enlightening; it fills in quite a few gaps in my understanding of recent events.
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#1018

Post by Kowry » January 20th, 2017, 10:52 am

After getting a bit tired of Lovecraft, I started reading Edgar Allan Poe. I've now read about a dozen of his short stories, liked all of them more or less. Clearly a better writer than Lovecraft, and more versatile. I'm enjoying short stories to novels right now, any recommendations on 'classic' short story authors? I got Algernon Blackwood's short story collection, but really looking for something outside the horror/gothic genre right now.

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#1019

Post by brokenface » January 21st, 2017, 7:32 pm

don't know exactly what you're defining classic (i.e. are you looking for 19th century?) but if I were to pick three short story writers I particularly love: JG Ballard, Shirley Jackson, Gogol. Shirley Jackson is somewhat horror/gothic though.

Oh and try some Borges.

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#1020

Post by Kowry » January 21st, 2017, 8:54 pm

Thanks! Yeah, I was a bit vague, I guess what I meant was authors who already have a "legacy", if that makes more sense. Anyway, I've been actually interested in getting to know Ballard's and Jackson's work for some time, but haven't gotten around reading them, so good suggestions.

Anyway, here's what I've read from Lovecraft and Poe this far (I read some Lovecraft in my teens, but have partially forgotten which stories, here listed those recently read). Marked those that I would recommend reading with *, those that I really liked with ** (I am probably a bit easy with Lovecraft, since so many of his early short stories, at least, were pretty pointless; Poe's stories have generally been much stronger, so I'm stricter with him)
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
Lovecraft (total: 23)
The Beast in the Cave (juvenilia, and sure reads like it)
The Alchemist (another juvenile story)
The Tomb
Dagon * - This felt like the first Lovecraft story proper, like it has pretty much the elements he's most well known of. Not super special, but nice ending.
A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson
Polaris
Beyond the Wall of Sleep *
Memory
Old Bugs
The Transition of Juan Romero
The White Ship
The Street
The Doom That Came to Sarnath
The Statement of Randolph Carter *
The Terrible Old Man
The Cats of Ulthar *
The Tree
Celephais
The Picture in the House *
The Temple
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family * - you can see the ending coming from a mile away and there's Lovecraft's obsession with racial hygiene, but has some charm
From Beyond *
Nyarlathotep

Poe (total: 13)
Metzengerstein *
Ms. Found in a Bottle
Berenice * - clearly Poe had a thing for teeth
Morella *
Ligeia - well it's really on par with Morella, but pretty much the same story
The Fall of the House of Usher *
William Wilson *
The Murders in the Rue Morgue *
A Descent into the Maelström *
The Oval Portrait *
The Masque of the Red Death *
The Tell-Tale Heart **
Hop-Frog **
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#1021

Post by themagician » February 3rd, 2017, 2:51 pm

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2. Pessimistin Elämänviisaus AKA Studies in Pessimism: A Series of Essays (1890) by Arthur Schopenhauer - 4/5

Pages: 270

Strangely this Finnish translation has 200 more pages than the original and seems to be missing many chapters from the original book. Nonetheless, a good read. Many subjects are dealt with and it's mostly easy to understand. Though some extremely dubious claims are made by Schopenhauer.

For instance he goes into great detail about the physical properties a genius requires, such as "a short neck so that blood may flow into the brain at its most energetic." He rejects astrology yet claims each decade of our lives corresponds to each of the planets and thus the planets control our lives. He also makes dubious claims about the elderly, for instance that "the temperature of our blood lowers" as we get older.

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#1022

Post by Kowry » February 10th, 2017, 6:30 pm

Finished reading the shorty story collection The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson.

Pretty solid collection overall, only a couple of the shorter stories left me a bit cold/wasn't sure what the point was. Most of the stories seem kinda bland on the plot level, what makes them captivating are the things that are never stated directly. If you're not into fiction that's all about ambiguousness and little subtleties, Jackson's probably not your writer.

I sorta assumed the stories were in chronological order, but apparently weren't; glancing through her bibliography it seems that the more interesting stories are generally the ones she wrote later in her life. The stories are grouped in four sections, and I'm not sure if there's supposed to be any theme for each of them, but for whatever reasons I generally liked the stories in the first two sections the best, and the third section seemed the weakest. Although the title story, which is the last one in the book, is definitely one of the best ones, it's somewhat different compared to her other stuff.

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#1023

Post by RBG » February 11th, 2017, 12:14 am

i'm reading Le Père Goriot. don't know how i made it this far without balzac. i look forward to spending the next ten years on La Comédie humaine -_-
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#1024

Post by funkybusiness » February 11th, 2017, 1:16 am

RBG on Feb 10 2017, 05:14:51 PM wrote:i'm reading Le Père Goriot. don't know how i made it this far without balzac. i look forward to spending the next ten years on La Comédie humaine -_-
that's on my "to read next" stack along with:
The Red and the Black — Stendhal
Middlemarch — George Eliot
Evelina — Fanny Burney (thanks Leopardi)
All the Dostoyevsky
The Count of Monte Cristo — Dumas
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy — Le Carré
The Making of the Atom Bomb — Rhodes



currently reading:
A Spy Among Friends — MacIntyre
Wuthering Heights — Brontë
War and Peace — Tolstoy

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#1025

Post by RBG » February 11th, 2017, 2:56 am

the red and the black and middlemarch are on my 'to-do' list along with dostoyevsky's 'demons'
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#1026

Post by jiraffejustin » February 11th, 2017, 8:33 am

Reading The Brothers Karamazov

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#1027

Post by Leopardi » February 11th, 2017, 5:43 pm

funkybusiness on Feb 10 2017, 06:16:12 PM wrote:
RBG on Feb 10 2017, 05:14:51 PM wrote:i'm reading Le Père Goriot. don't know how i made it this far without balzac. i look forward to spending the next ten years on La Comédie humaine -_-
that's on my "to read next" stack along with:
The Red and the Black — Stendhal
Middlemarch — George Eliot
Evelina — Fanny Burney (thanks Leopardi)
All the Dostoyevsky
The Count of Monte Cristo — Dumas
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy — Le Carré
The Making of the Atom Bomb — Rhodes



currently reading:
A Spy Among Friends — MacIntyre
Wuthering Heights — Brontë
War and Peace — Tolstoy
I picked up a nice illustrated copy of Evelina from 1903 while in New York last month - you need to move to Ottawa so we can share books!

I thought Middlemarch and The Red and the Black were well written, but neither of them got to me the way I thought they would. I was in school at the time and so pretty much dead inside, so that's probably the reason. :P

I'm reading a biography of Peter Lorre right now (which is just okay) and just barely started Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here to commemorate the U.S. inauguration, but haven't found the time to get very far with it yet. I'm reading Basil Copper's The Great White Space, too, but I'm only a few pages into that one as well, so not a lot to say about it yet.

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#1028

Post by rudeboy_murray » February 12th, 2017, 1:53 am

On holiday recently I read 'Call Me By Your Name' by André Aciman. Such a beautiful book.

I'm now reading Kazuo Ishiguro's 'The Buried Giant'.

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#1029

Post by Coco LaBerge » February 12th, 2017, 1:56 am

Lots to get through this year, didn't read as much as I'd like last year.

Currently Reading
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 - Lawrence Wright
Voyage au bout de la nuit - Louis-Ferdinand Céline
El Maestro de Esgrima - Arturo Pérez-Reverte

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#1030

Post by Kowry » February 27th, 2017, 5:11 pm

Had a bout of insomnia, which got me to finally finish The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins (about 450 pages excluding the sources).

[Insert obligatory comment about Dawkins being an egotistical prick]. On the whole a very informative and for the most part pretty readable book on evolution - though at some points Dawkins becomes gets a bit too detailed in the wonders of protein folding and such stuff. Also, he has a tendency to go on - sometimes self-indulgent - digressions about things that at times strained a bit too far from the subject. The editor could probably have cut a few dozen pages from the final book without losing much substance, but oh well. I don't have any reference books on evolutionary biology, so it's hard to say how this stands out from other popular science books on evolution: it's very informative and convincing, though probably a bit exhausting to binge-read (finishing the book actually took embarrassingly long for me, largely because I've been somewhat busy with this and that).

Have lots of books lined up but no idea what to read next. Bleh.

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#1031

Post by themagician » February 27th, 2017, 6:50 pm

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3. A Critique of Pure Reason (1781) by Immanuel Kant - 599 pages - 4/5
4. Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783) by Immanuel Kant - 254 pages - 4/5

Earlier this month I went to the library to see if there's anything new in the philosophy section. It was the same old until I saw these two books and quickly grabbed them before anyone else.

I knew they'd be a difficult read but you can't really read modern philosophy without coming across references to Kant so I wanted to at least have an idea of what this Kant is all about.

There's no doubt in my mind that these are some of the most methodical philosophy books ever written. It's pure logic and reason sentence after sentence with no filler at all. If you didn't understand a sentence then the rest of the chapter will be very frustrating. It is a book that requires hard work and lots of study to fully comprehend.

What makes these so difficult to understand is that Kant thinks in the abstract using difficult terminology and rarely if ever giving examples. As he says in the introduction he expects his target audience to understand without them. He was wrong because his contemporaries didn't understand the book. It took 2 years until the first review was written which completely misunderstood the book. This led Kant to write Prolegomena, as an introduction to the main work, in which he attacks this anonymous reviewer.

To get the basic idea of the book I recommend reading the first few paragraphs on the Wikipedia page. What's written there is about all I got from these books. I reckon one would have to be thinking about these subjects every day to truly comprehend these books. But in the end I'm happy I read them.

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#1032

Post by Coco LaBerge » February 27th, 2017, 7:26 pm

Yeah with things like Kant's critique it's helpful to read it along side a course, where close readings are examined and discussed in depth. A lot of philosophy is like this really.

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#1033

Post by Hunziker » March 1st, 2017, 3:18 am

I started David Niven's autobiography a couple of days ago. I've never been a huge fan of his, but gosh I'm glad I picked this one up. He's absolutely hilarious. Englishmen can be witty in a way no other nationality can.

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#1034

Post by frbrown » March 1st, 2017, 4:50 am

Hunziker on Feb 28 2017, 08:18:35 PM wrote:He's absolutely hilarious. Englishmen can be witty in a way no other nationality can.
Any examples of his wit you'd like to post?
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#1035

Post by Hunziker » March 1st, 2017, 7:54 am

I believe his true genius hides in his most mundane phrases - he writes with an honesty I've ever read in an autobiography, and that honesty comes naturally, without sorrow and, on the contrary, with a lot of joy.

You can still find gems like these every couple of pages, though:
Television is the creamy filling that distracts us from the substance our lives.
I have a face that is a cross between two pounds of halibut and an explosion in an old clothes closet.
I've taken up the Bible again, somewhat in the spirit of W.C. Fields - looking for loopholes.
Stardom is like making love in a hammock - a happy experience but one of uncertain duration.
And a very timely twist on President Trump's philosophy:
For some people there are no victories, just alternate forms of losing.
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#1036

Post by Samar » March 1st, 2017, 7:08 pm

Currently doing some heavy reading, Thomas Piketty "Capital In The Twenty-First Century"
though I'm not an expert in the field of economy but I'm trying to keep up with what the book presents,
so if you have any materials that can help me, please do share!

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#1037

Post by themagician » March 16th, 2017, 10:40 am

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05. Mitä Mao todella sanoi (1971) by Philippe Devillers - 330 pages - 5/5

Literally translated the title means "What Mao really said." It is a collection of Mao's writings from 1910s to 1960s outlining his politics and philosophy straight from his own mouth. It is a book you can't stop reading once you start. I think there's an English translation, at least according to Goodreads.

Knowing very little about China and Mao it's difficult to draw any definite conclusions from this book. Based on this book alone I'd say I agree with about 90% of what Mao says. According to his writings since 1910s he's always championed for peasants, been against imperialism/feudalism/colonialism and the bourgeoisie, always sought for peace, and has always supported freedom of speech. Though somewhat contradictorily he says true change can only happen with a rifle. He's against war and violence in general until it's necessary. He was also a capable war strategist and a whole chapter is dedicated just to his writings about war and how to win with a weak army (he led the Red Army of peasants with poor guns). He also advocates marxism-leninism and democratic dictatorship as well as socialism. According to Mao these benefit the peasants the most. But I'm too ignorant on these subjects to say whether he's right or not. Overall an extremely fascinating read that I'll be visiting again without a doubt.

I've recently bought a huge batch of books on Mao and China that I'll be reading this year. Looking forward to all of them.

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#1038

Post by funkybusiness » March 17th, 2017, 6:07 am

looks interesting. I'll probably read some books about Chinese history soon so I might pick that one up too.

there is an english translation. here's the hardcover isbn for those interested: 9780356026404 pretty cheap on abebooks.


edit: and what I'm reading now,
still The Making of the Atomic Bomb. it's pretty dense stuff, but the writing is impeccable. not a word of excess and really well written.
also, The Complete Novels and Stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
and, The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
aand just started American Gods today after seeing the trailer for the television series (which will supposedly only cover the first 1/3 of the novel in its first season).


aa-and what I've recently finished:
Foundation — Peter Ackroyd. English history book from pre-history thru Henry VII. it was okay, a lot of from-this-king-to-the-next and he seems to just be slogging thru it until Richard II and then he seems more interested (and certainly, the later in history he gets, the more available sources, leading to a more diverse, interesting take, potentially).

Tenth of December: Stories — George Saunders. a mixed bag. a few are great tho.

Lincoln in the Bardo — George Saunders. good. occasionally very good. almost great. but for a piece he supposedly had been working on for a several years, it seems unfinished. nifty format for a historical novel tho, he mixes real events, fictitiously told, with real events told non-fictitiously from both primary and secondary sources, along with "his story", the crux of the action, three ghosts/spirits/hangers-on attempt to get Willie Lincoln, recently deceased, to "move on". the whole thing is probably an allegory, maybe of the idea of the body politic adapted to Lincoln, President. there's a lot of white space so its ~360pgs are probably half that for a typically-spaced novel, essentially a novella.

Fifty-Nine in '84 — Edward Achorn. non-fiction. a great story of the greatest baseball pitcher ever told by an author who is really kind of terrible at writing. the sourced material, first and secondhand accounts of life in the 1870s and 80s, is great and he can resuscitate antique baseball games' boxscores and newspaper clippings into live action but it's horribly structured, paced, and has one of the absolute worst hamfistings of a romance angle this side of a 90s Lifetime movie.

A Spy Among Friends — Ben Macintyre. great. really great. go read it if you're even kind of interested in Philby or Cold War spies. the duplicity and ineptitude from all parties would be the stuff of a hilarious screwball comedy if it wasn't all so true and devastating.
Last edited by funkybusiness on March 17th, 2017, 6:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Kowry
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#1039

Post by Kowry » March 18th, 2017, 12:10 pm

Started reading Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. Only three chapters in, but it's starting promisingly.

Also funky made me get The Making of the Atomic Bomb, though I've only read the 25th edition introduction. But the subject seems fascinating.

Also got Suomalaiset fasistit as a gift. The title translates to "The Finnish Fascists". And yeah, it's a history of the Finnish Fascist movement, which, for a relatively short time, was somewhat influential in Finland. I only have very superficial knowledge of European fascism in general, hopefully the book will be enlightening.

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funkybusiness
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#1040

Post by funkybusiness » March 18th, 2017, 8:20 pm

Kowry on Mar 18 2017, 06:10:41 AM wrote:Also funky made me get The Making of the Atomic Bomb, though I've only read the 25th edition introduction. But the subject seems fascinating.
woohoo! I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

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