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For those who are new ... we discuss books.  I list what I'm reading, and people comment with what they're reading.  Sometimes, on Sundays, I post a special edition on a particular genre or topic.

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I've written some book reviews on Yahoo Voices:
Book reviews on Yahoo

Book Readers schedule

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
Tue 10:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
Thu (third each month) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 4:00 PM Daily Kos Political Book Club Freshly Squeezed Cynic
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Just finished
Louis D. Brandeis: A life by Melvin Urofsky. Supreme Court Justice Brandeis was fundamental in shaping the modern state of the law and of law firms and played a key role in many reform movements as well. A fascinating man and a well written biography.

Full review to come on Yahoo Voices

Now reading

Cooler Smarter: Practical tips for low carbon living by the scientists at Union of Concerned Scientists, a great group. These folk make sense, concentrating on the changes you can make that have the biggest impact with the least effort.

Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman.  Kahneman, most famous for his work with the late Amos Tversky, is one of the leading psychologists of the times. Here, he posits that our brains have two systems: A fast one and a slow one. Neither is better, but they are good at different things. This is a brilliant book: Full of insight and very well written, as well.

The secret life of pronouns by James W. Pennebaker.  What our choice of pronouns and other "function words" says about our mood, our education, our personality and other things

What hath God wrought? by Daniel Walker Howe. Subtitled "The transformation of America 1815-1848. I am reading this with the History group at GoodReads.  This is very well written, and does a good job especially with coverage of the treatment of Blacks and Native Americans.

The hard SF renaissance ed. by David G. Hartwell.  A large anthology of "hard" SF from the 90's and 00's. I think Hartwell takes himself a bit too seriously, but the stories are good.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meachem.  So far I've only read a few pages, but this is an extremely admiring look at Jefferson.

Just started
Moranthology by Caitlin Moran.  I am somewhat handicapped in my appreciation of this collection because 1) i am not English and 2) I am not a fan of pop culture. Nevertheless Moran is both funny (e.g. when she is describing how she trained her husband to say "You look so thin in that!" whenever she asks him about clothes) and righteous (e.g. when she is talking about growing up poor, or about abortion (she's pro-choice). Warmly recommended.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i'm reading a biography of attila the hun (13+ / 0-)

    it was embarassing to realize how little i knew about the huns

    I've already forgotten who the Republican candidate was in 2012

    by memofromturner on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:49:26 AM PST

  •  Prouty (7+ / 0-)
    L. Fletcher Prouty (1917-2001), a retired colonel of the U.S. Air Force, served as the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy years. He was directly in charge of the global system designed to provide military support for the clandestine activities of the CIA. He was the author of JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy and The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies.
    http://www.amazon.com/...

    The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World

    The Secret Team, L. Fletcher Prouty’s exposé of the CIA’s brutal methods of maintaining national security during the Cold War, was first published in the 1970s. However, virtually all copies of the book disappeared upon distribution, having been purchased en masse by shady “private buyers.” Certainly, Prouty’s allegations—such as how the U-2 Crisis of 1960 was fixed to sabotage Eisenhower–Khrushchev talk—cannot have pleased the CIA. The Secret Team appears once more.

    FDR called upon the world to embrace four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. You cannot fully realize one without realizing them all. ~ Pres. Obama

    by anyname on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:53:28 AM PST

  •  Finishing Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (9+ / 0-)

    I'm modestly more impressed with the book that I was while reading it last week.  Still not a full endorsement.  Don't really sympathize with any of the characters, don't really care about the murder.  But I do enjoy the exploration of an Icelandic sensibility in an Icelandic setting.

     My interest in Iceland actually goes to a time further back in time than the time which the characters here are investigating; modern Iceland looking at 15-17th century Iceland.  I am an edda man myself, and would love to explore the Iceland of the sagas.  Still, all in all, not a bad book.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:54:01 AM PST

  •  Just finished (9+ / 0-)

    SpellBound by Larry Correia Thoroughly enjoyed this series, can't wait for the next book to come out.

    Still reading: Circle of Bones by Christine Kling or rather, back to reading now that I'm out of library books temporarily.

    Also reading: American Indian Myths and Legends selected and edited by Richard Erdoes and Alfonzo Ortiz Which my son and I are reading together as part of his school work. I read the day's selections the same day as he does so I don't get them mixed up by reading way ahead.  I don't think we'll get all of book read as school work, but we'll get a good way through it and then he can continue on his own. He does seem to be enjoying them. But I want to move on to other things in January.

    I have a lot of things in my TBR list yet, but then I'm always adding more to that. What I'll read next depends on my mood when I finish this one, and what on my library list arrives on my doorstep (they're on a time limit so they get priority when they get here).

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:02:20 AM PST

  •  Books I've been up to: (11+ / 0-)

    H. E. Bates, A Month by the Lake and Other Stories. Exact and telling tales, insightful on human nature and a joy to read.

    Emile Habiby, The Secret Life of Saeed, The Pessoptimist. It has a flavor that falls between Candide, Catch 22 and Confederacy of Dunces. It is, in essence, a Palestinian Invisible Man. Funny with a sharp, sad edge, very short.

    E. T. A. Hoffmann, Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr together with a fragmentary Biography of Kappelmeister Johannes Kreisler on Random Sheets of Waste Paper. Hoffmann is famous for fairy-tales. This book has been called the first of magical realism (150 years early). It is the biography of a bourgeouis, conceited, un-self-aware tomcat, interspersed with the biography of a thoughtful romantic composer, which the cat considers wastepaper.

    Robert Holdstock, Mythago Wood. Mythic fiction. Just after WWII, two brothers start exploring a wood which contains mythic archetypes and hidden vastness. Their initial wonder slowly turns a bit Lord of the Flies.

    Ring Lardner, Best Short Stories. Very funny tales, full of slang and sly awareness of the characters' flaws. The best of them pack a real punch.

    China Mieville, Looking for Jake. I've read most of Mieville. I recommend this book of short stories as a fine place to start on him. He has great craft, and really shows it here, where he has tales that are funny, creepy, weird and magical by turns.

    George Orwell, Dickens, Dali and Others. Essays on literature and life. Orwell is always clear and readable, and usually substantial and wise. Common sense raised to a higher power.

    Geling Yan, The Banquet Bug. I read this as an interesting diversion; it was quick and colorful. Her The Lost Daughter of Happiness is said to be excellent.

    Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber, The Guns of Avalon, and Sign of the Unicorn. These are the first three of his ten books on Amber and Chaos. He's at the top of his game here, weaving a wonderful hybrid Fantasy/Thriller/Mystery. I've read two dozen fantasy series, and this is my second favorite. It's full of fresh ideas, and will keep you turning the pages long past your bedtime.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:05:06 AM PST

  •  reading and listening... (8+ / 0-)

    200 pages into Justin Cronin's The Twelve.  This is the followup to his vampire apocalyptic The Passage.  So far so good!

    Half way through the audiobook version of The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury. Written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga - this is the 2nd full novel spinoff from the graphic novel series.  Very fast moving and intense like the AMC series.

  •  Back to Cesar Aira. (8+ / 0-)

    Cesar Aira is from Argentina and writes in Spanish, but there are a bunch of wonderful translations of his tiny works now available in English. He's incredibly clever, knows how to digress, tells wonderful stories along the way.

    Portrait of a Landscape Painter, How I Became a Nun are remarkable short works. He likes to write himself into corners and write himself out. Varamo, which I just finished, was a delight. Very witty, very quick.

    Now reading The Miracle Cures Of Dr. Aira. Just started, wonderful so far.

    Is it bad form to suggest that for a stocking stuffer, you might like Tulum by David Seth Michaels?

  •  Reading about Writers (9+ / 0-)

    I am reading a Every Love Story is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max, which is a biography of David Foster Wallace, and the memoir Elsewhere by Richard Russo.  Just picked up Russo's Bridge of Sighs, but mostly I am reading a couple of Senior Thesis.  Oh, and I'm reading The Princess Plays by Elfriede Jelinek -- which I assigned for a class because I wanted to read them.  But mostly right now I'm interested in reading biographies and memoirs about writers.

  •  Haven't gotten it yet, but (8+ / 0-)

    have ordered Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar on the advice of this diary by El Bloguero. It provided the inspiration for Life of Pi, but is not similar conceptually beyond the man and the cat in a boat. In the thread below, the diarist also suggested some interesting sounding Mexican noir detective novels by Paco Ignacio Taibo, featuring Subcommandante Marcos. They seem to be well thought of in the UK, so I think I'll go on to read them next.
    In the meantime, I'm paging through Ancestral Vices by Tom Sharpe. My opinion on it is that even pointed satire shouldn't be over the top ludicrous, though the scene with the out-of-control Victorian bathtub had its funny moments.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:57:05 AM PST

  •  In between books, (9+ / 0-)

    I'm reading a brand new lit mag called Radio Silence.  From the title, you might guess that it's a magazine for people who like reading and rock 'n' roll, and you'd be right!  The editor is a guy named Dan Stone.

    Next up, Europe Central, by William T. Vollmann.

  •  "The Girl with Glass Feet" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, dirkster42, LynChi, plf515


    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous..........got me?" - Don Van Vliet

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:00:17 AM PST

  •  Finishing up (7+ / 0-)

    What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite by David DiSalvo

    Getting ready to re-read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer in preparation for reading Richard Evans' three volume series on the Third Reich.

    May work something lighter in between volumes of the WWII stuff.

  •  The short stories of Flannery O'Connor, (7+ / 0-)

    particularly "Everything that Rises Must Converge," about a white mother and her young-adult son, the descendants of Southern gentry, coping with racial integration in a large Southern city in the early 1960s. Yes, the son is more open-minded and accepting of the changes than the mother, but it isn't that simple. Nothing in O'Connor's short stories ever is! That's why I prefer her very short works. While she's hardly doctrinaire about it, I am interested in how her religion--Catholicism--informs her writing.

    Since it's the holiday season, I am also re-reading H.D.'s long Yuletide poem, "The Flowering of the Rod." Written while she was camped out in the subways in London during the Nazi air strikes, H.D. re-works the traditional Christmas story in the most amazing way, exploring modernist wartime themes like the death of God. The poem isn't difficult to read or understand, has a well-developed narrative structure, and there is much in it to savor. I wrote my college thesis on the poem (a crappy one; I hadn't learn to outline yet). That's how I was first introduced to it. I miss having people to discuss it with.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:25:46 AM PST

  •  Currently reading (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, LynChi, inHI, plf515

    Marcella Althaus-Reid, Incecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender, and Politics.  Jury's out.

    Mary Midgley, Evolution as a Religion: Strange Hopes and Stranger Fears.  Slightly misleading title, but note in any case that the title isn't "evolution IS a religion," which isn't the point.  It's a philosophical analysis of religious ways of thinking that pop up in scientific writings about evolution.

    Read a thought-provoking review of James Robert Brown, Who Rules in Science? An Opinionated Guide to the Science Wars and Philip Kitcher, Science, Truth, and Democracy.

    Finally read Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, which puts the lie to the idea that postmodernism is just a form of radical skepticism.

    Getting ready to teach the penultimate chapter of Jorge Pixley, Biblical Israel: A People's History, on the Maccabean Uprising.

    -9.38/-7.69 If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:35:45 AM PST

  •  Just started one that worked its way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Monsieur Georges, plf515

    to the oldest check-out in my stack of library books:
    Avram Davidson's "Adventures in Unhistory".

    There's a newer edition out apparently, but this is the one my library owns.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:41:21 AM PST

  •  The Sins of Scripture by John Shelby Sprong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Monsieur Georges, plf515

    Spong was an Episcopal bishop before his retirement.  In this book he does a masterful job of dissecting and exposing many of the myths that dominate the Bible.  

    His writing is so damning of the Bible that it made me wonder what kind of Christian he really is. I finally settled on the term “spiritual Christian.”  That is, he takes the message of love and tolerance from Jesus and seems to base his Christianity upon that.

    Although the book was written 2005, it still is very relevant today.

    Religion - the ultimate weapon of mass manipulation

    by LynChi on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:52:41 AM PST

  •  "The Tigress of Forli" by Elizabeth Lev (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Monsieur Georges, plf515

    Very engrossing. This is the author's first book. She writes so you want to read it.

    Just finished the "Black Count" the story of Alexander Dumas,(senior)  the model for his son's books. He was born a slave... sold by his noble father and later brought to France by his father. From enlisting at the lowest level he rose to the highest level of the French Army.  As a Black officer, his rank was not equaled by any western general until Colin Powell's promotion.  His story parallels the story of race in France in years prior to, during and immediately following the Revolution.

  •  I know it's old (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Monsieur Georges, plf515

    But I hadn't yet read it.

    Gorillas in the Mist, by Dian Fossey. Inspiring and tragic.

  •  One Two Three... Infinity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, plf515

    I found this book by George Gamow in the "if you bought this book you might like these books" link on Amazon.  

    I knew who Gamow was from his work with Ralf Alfer "The Origin of Chemical Elements".  

    So many present day scientists were turned onto science because of this book I decided to get it.

    For anyone with a general interest in science math and the great unanswered questions.  

    Get if for your 12 year old.  Step back and watch him or her win a Nobel prize!

  •  hi (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, plf515

    I have finished reading:

    The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill

    I am reading:

    David Falkayn: Star Trader by Poul Anderson (pg. 601 of 680)

    Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre (pg. 30 of 337)

    Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce (pg. 128 of 308)

    Crossed Blades by Kelly McCullough (part three of the Fallen Blade series) (pg. 62 of 287)  

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 12:21:13 PM PST

  •  Reading LLANA OF GATHOL (0+ / 0-)

    This is the tenth of the eleven volumes in Edgard Rice Burroughs's Mars/Barsoom series. I undertook reviewing the entire series this year for Black Gate magazine, and am now nearing the end.

    Llana of Gathol is actually four linked novellas; ERB was having a difficult time selling serialized novels in the late '30s because of changes in the pulp magazines, so turned to the tactic of writing novellas that could be collected as an epsodic "novel" afterwards.

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