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What books are you reading now?

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Posted

I am done reading The Bridges of the Madison County and I am now reading A Thousand Country Roads by the same author Robert James Waller.

Just bought a book called Chasing Harry Winston, from Lauren Weisberger, the author of The Devil Wears Prada.

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Finished Mansfield Park. Hated it - the heroine was every bit the opposite of the previous two Austen books. Started the next one, Emma, but got distracted and am now reading Banville's Untouchable for the book club, and Cioran's Trouble with being Born. After I finish these two, I plan to start reading Gomorrah, by Robert Savianno.

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Posted (edited)

Recently finished Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man; this piece of literature certainly has its faults but I am inclined to consider it a masterpiece in political theory; I have picked up Fukuyama's Our Posthuman Future on the transhumanist movement and the inherent dangers of genetic enhancement, thus far I have enjoyed it.........

Edited by DeadCanDance

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Recently finished Fukuyama's The End of All History and the Last Man; this piece of literature certainly has its faults but I am inclined to consider it a masterpiece in political theory; I have picked up Fukuyama's Our Posthuman Future on the transhumanist movement and the inherent dangers of genetic enhancement, thus far I have enjoyed it.........

Will you submit a review, or a summary/book report for us TGLers?

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Posted

Finished Mansfield Park. Hated it - the heroine was every bit the opposite of the previous two Austen books. Started the next one, Emma, but got distracted and am now reading Banville's Untouchable for the book club, and Cioran's Trouble with being Born. After I finish these two, I plan to start reading Gomorrah, by Robert Savianno.

Lots of people (even those who like Austen's other novels) dislike Mansfield Park. If you look at my essay about it above, the reasons are clear: first, Fanny and Edmund are judgmental, pompous, and not much fun; second, the novel turns the normal structure of a romance around -- instead of going out into the wide world to seek her fortune, the heroine seeks her fortune by striving mightily to AVOID going out into the world. Our literary expectations are stimulated, and then disappointed by the novel -- its almost as if Austen is making fun of her readers, which annoys some of them (although I don't mind it).

I'm a big Austen fan. My personal feeling is that her three later novels (Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion) are better than her three earlier ones (despite the fact that Pride and Prejudice is the most popular). There's so much meat in Mansfield Park, and the Crawfords are by far the best foils in any of the novels. I'll admit that if you read the novels to fall in love with the heroine, MP is not very satisfying.

Many Austen fans, by the way, consider Emma to be her best novel.

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Right now I am reading a collection of H. G. Wells stories, which contains:

  • The war of the Worlds (which I am devouring! :p)
  • The Time Machine
  • Selected Short Stories

I am also reading Mr. B. Russell History of Western Philosophy; Is an entertaining read, especially the prose, but it lacks detail.

And soon I will start Aristotle "Ethics"

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I just finished Banville's The Untouchable. I find his writing skills to be incredibly lavish, and despite the anti-heroic nature of the protagonist, the wordsmithery kept me hooked.

Almost finished with Cioran's New Gods, and Moore's hilarious Lamb, and should be getting into David Foster Wallace's Broom of the System, but my next book for the club is The Bible according to Mark Twain.

(Posted via mobile device)

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Posted

Finished The End of Faith last week and this weekend I should finish god is not Great. Then I will have read one book by each of the "four horsemen."

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Posted

Hay all! Thanks for send me TGL inbox, much awaited

I am sorry I was AWAY but sooo busy

Books I am reading: most prominent is "Cambdrige Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning", also available on Google Books for quick reference.

Will catch up with interest, amazing the translation tool

and will promote that Taxonomy fo Ontology link

cheers

PG

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Posted

I'm currently reading Joyce's Ulysses. I love the style of writing he uses; I think there's been some bleed-through of it in my last few posts here.

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Posted

I am reading The Time Machine now and I cannot stop feeling that there is a resemblance with Gulliver Travels, although It is just a first impression:p

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Posted

I'm reading the autobiography of Malcolm X. Somewhat inspiring and addictive. I couldn't put it down when I checked it out. I recommend this book to any American.

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Posted

I just re-read dirk gently's holistic detective agency. It was far more subtle and adult than I remember from reading it last millenium. And hilarious, of course. I do prefer my nonfiction to be comical, wherever possible.

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I have recently read Alex and Me by Irene Pepperberg, Black Mahler by Charles Elford, and The Complete Black Book of Russian Jewry by Ilya Ehrenburg and Vassily Grossman.

One of the books I am currently reading is a novel by Ehrenburg entitled The Thaw. I am very much enjoying this book, and I have just read a passage in which one of the characters takes down a book of poetry from his shelf and reads aloud to his visitor:

Ilya Ehrenburg, The Thaw, p. 111They parted in proud and silent sorrow

And saw the image of their love only in dreams.

Then death came, and beyond it, the encounter,

And in that world, each turned unrecognized away.

In context, this poem reveals a keen insight on the part of the character who reads it, but, aside from that, those four lines are sublime beauty (as well as a masterful translation by Manya Harari). Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone had any idea from what poem these lines might have come, or whether this was just something composed by Ehrenburg because it fit so well with the story?

Michael

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Posted

I'm not really sure why I haven't posted in this thread yet. Huh.

Here's some of the books I've tackled in the last year and a bit:

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

A funny and entertaining read while at the same time making a serious point regarding the folly of Biblical Literalism.

The Algebraist Banks is one of my favorite SF authors. Apart from his normal fiction, he writes dystopic futuristic (semi-hard) SF novels, none of which can be said to have a happy ending (except maybe Player of Games...). Despite the unconventional style, he writes bloody well. A solid read.

The Lions of Al-Rassan

I freely admit that I am an unabashed fan of Kay's work, with the sole exception being The Last Light of The Sun. This one takes place in his Earth-analogue universe's equivalent of 12th-14th century Spain. It's just as good as The Fionavarr Tapestry or The Sarantine Mosaic. Perfection. I also happen to have a second copy of this one on my shelf for some reason if anyone would fancy a trading for a dog-eared paperback...

Ysabel Another Kay novel, this one partially set in the current modern world. A one word summary? Wow.

An Apple A Day

Schwartz brings a common sense approach to this discussion of food, nutrients, nutrition and food safety. It is a popular account, intended for a non-academic audience. While Schwartz presents (reasonable) summaries of the current state of affairs regarding specific food/nutrition issues, the lack of references can be frustrating to a pedant such as myself. If nothing else, it can be a good reference book to have handy when someone starts spouting off about flouridation or detoxification diets.

In Defense of Food

I was kinda disappointed by this one. Although very sympathetic to Pollan's conclusions, his arguments are somewhat soft. Like a typical journalist (;)), he makes heavy use of logical fallacies, nuance is sacrificed to sensationalism and very complex multi-factorial issues are reduced to simple caricatures. Fairly well researched, just poorly argued. So take what he has to say with a (proverbial) grain of salt.

The Salmon of Doubt I haven't picked this one up in about five years; thought it would make for a nice light read between heavy books. Obviously, as a posthumous compendium of Adams' unpublished works it lacks the oomph of the original Hitchhiker's or Dirk Gently books. Still, good for a few hours of mindless diversion.

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health This book was frequently referenced by Pollan in the above book. Knowing that he was oversimplifying issues in pursuit of his conclusion, I thought it would be a good idea to read a bit of the background. Nestle is an academic nutritionist and she writes a tour de force with this book. Despite being about 400 pages of well referenced text, it isn't written at a level inaccessible to the layman. Although it sounds like a pretty dry topic, it really is a fascinating look at the degree to which industry has influenced US national food policies. Even though it is an exclusive look at American food policy, it should come as no surprise that similar activities have occurred and continue to occur in other industrialised nations.

A Short History of Progress Another book I haven't picked up in awhile. I'm treating this one as a diversionary light read as well and not providing it with as much attention or critical thought it deserves. Maybe next time through it. ;)

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Posted

Interesting group of books, Godot!

Right now I'm reading The Oracle by William J. Broad, a science writer at the NYTimes. It chronicles the investigation of the Oracle of Delphi by an archaeologist, John Hale, and a geologist, Jelle de Boer. Fascinating stuff.

Waiting at the library for pick up this week is Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht.

(Godot, I am amused everytime I read "Now with 100% more cowbell!" :-D)

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The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning

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I am reading Aristotle's Ethics, A. Burn Pelican History of Greece and Roland smith's Conquering Chemistry:lol:.

Cheers;)

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Reading Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht. The first chapter is all about the ancient Greeks, so it fits right in with my current focus.

I'm also reading Lady Chatterley's Lover for a second time after probably 30 years. I saw an excellent 2006 French adaptation titled "Lady Chatterley" over the weekend. It really gave the feel of the novel, and of Lawrence's way of depicting female/male relationships.

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Now reading Samuel Becket's "Waiting for Godot", Aristotle's "Ethics" (still) and David Hume's "Natural History of Religion".

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From Hell by Alan Moore. So far so good. Incredibly ugly and dank. My skin crawls in some sections.

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Reading now Jack London's Short Stories, Jeremy bentham essay On pederasty, Finishing Aristotle's Ethics and also reading Helen Zimmern's Arthur Schopenhauer, his Life and Philosophy.

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The Impact of Philosophy of Semiotics by John Deely. I have tried reading several books of this man: The human use of signs, Intentionality and Semiotics: A Story of Mutual Fecundation, Four Ages of Understanding: The first Postmodern Survey of Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Turn of the Twenty-First Century and New Beginnings: Early Modern Philosophy and Postmodern Thought. I have yet to complete one. Somewhere along the line his books become excruciatingly difficult, not in these sense of an Heidegger or Hegel but because of his deliberate, though principled, adherence to Latin terminology - a vestige of his scholasticism - and a turgid writing style.

Why do I continue to struggle with this stuff? Because he's saying some important things, namely, about semiotics in general and the forgotten philosophy of the Latins concerning signs. Deely contends that modern philosophy, commencing with Descartes went on an errant path, ignoring the "postmodern" ( i.e semiotic) insights of the Latins of the high scholastic ages and his oeuvre is an attempt to right this ship. Anyone interested in Charles Peirce, Umberto Eco or semiotics in general should give him a shot ( for my sake - I need help :)). Philosophy and semiotics is his most readable book so far but be aware of rather complicated language. I'm still not clear on why this style necessary but it is obviously deliberate as opposed to a simple flaw.

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That's great, Mosaic. You may find that posting about the stuff you've read will help you understand the material better. It's always more effective talking/writing about what you've read, especially if the subject is difficult and challenging.

I finished Fools Die by Puzo for the book club. It isn't half bad, a great book for reading at the beach, and the macho writing and fast pace kept me absorbed for a couple of days. But i felt the characters were caricatures that were set up very well but didn't go anywhere themselves. :roll:

Also finished Fall into Time, by Cioran - another wonderful book that covers many subjects, from the Tree of Life, civilization, a compare/contrast between the skeptic and the barbarian, skepticism and the devil, the potential and limits of fame itself, sickness, critique of Tolstoy, limits of wisdom, and the fall out of time, a meditation on temporality. This book needs to be re-read many times. :mrgreen:

I've gotten stuck on The Broom of the System - it's nice so far, Wallace is always an entertaining writer, but I just can't get into the swing of things. The characters aren't likeable, or hateable - just pitiable. :whatever:

Am now reading Cioran's final book, Anathema and Admirations. I've finished the chapters of aphorisms, and now am reading the essays. 8-)

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Posted (edited)

I have been reading, and thoroughly enjoying, Vol 2 of Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies; from what I gather so far, I think it is reasonable to extrapolate that this fine piece of literature is really just one long, brutal attack on historicism; I take it Popper was no fan of Hegel. :)

I have also been reading Richard M. Weaver's classic conservative work, Ideas Have Consequences; so far Mr. Weaver has blamed the advent of nominalism for the ills of modern man, writing:

"The denial of universals carries with it the denial of everything transcending experience. The denial of everything transcending experience means inevitably, though ways are found to hedge on this, the denial of truth. With the denial of objective truth there is no escape from the relativism of "man the measure of all things." The witches spoke with the habitual equivocation of oracles when they told man that by this easy choice he might realize himself more fully, for they were actually initiating a course which cuts one off from reality. Thus began the "abomination of desolation" appearing today as a feeling of alienation from all fixed truth."

And I have been reading Madan Sarup's Post-Structuralism and Postmodernism: even with an introductory guide, I still have trouble with post-structuralism. :evil:

Edited by DeadCanDance
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