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Well, another year is heading into the history books.

Here's what I read this year:

JANUARY

Taking Sudoku seriously: The math behind the world's most popular puzzle by Jason Rosenhouse and Laura Taalman

The publishers sent me a reader's copy of this.
At one level, a lot of people say Sudoku is not a math puzzle - because you could just as easily use letters instead of numbers. But the authors know this just means Sudoku is not an arithmetic puzzle, and they also know that arithmetic really doesn't have that much to do with math.  Full Review

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik.  Volume 3 of the Temeraire series.  Temeraire and Lawrence are off to China, and then back to England with lots of adventures

[Quite enough of Calvin Trillin www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781400069828-0] Collection of essays from the last 40 years by the inimitable Mr. Trillin. Funny and sensible. Food, politics and deadline poems

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.  This is a "young adult" novel. But, when Terry Pratchett is writing "young" means "not dead yet". It's a fantasy; the heroine is Tiffany Aching, age 9, who lives on a farm and wants to grow up to be a witch. Why? Because an old woman who was accused of being a witch was recently bullied to death, and Tiffany doesn't want that to happen again.  Her allies are the Nac Mac Feegle, the "Wee Free Men" (think of leprechauns and you'll have some idea).

Wonderful stuff for anyone. And if you happen to know a girl, age around 9 .....

FEBRUARY

A Hat Full of Sky The continuing adventures of Tiffany Aching.  Just wonderful.

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett. The third and penultimate Tiffany Aching novel. Wonderful stuff.  Tiffany has to battle the Wintersmith or spring will never come back.

MARCH
I Shall wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett. The final book in the Tiffany Aching series.

Best American Science Writing 2009 ed. by Natalie Angier. A collection of essays on science. I requested this from book mooch a while ago, and now I have it.  As in any essay collection, my interest varies

The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined by Steven Pinker.  
A great book, and cause for optimism. full review

The Chalk Girl by Carol O'Connell. A serial killer murder mystery featuring Mallory. What Carol O'Connell does best, in my view, is write about odd people. And Chalk Girl is full of odd people. Not only Mallory (who is sui generis) but genius Charles Butler, also a regular in this series. And this particular book features a little girl with Williams Syndrome, an adult woman with schizophrenia, a boy who is bullied to death .... not to mention the killer, whoever he or she may be. Full review

APRIL

Embassytown by China Mieville. Far future SF. Mieville plunges into a very different world, and uses his skills (which are enormous) to write a novel about language, identity and contacts between two very different species. Full Review

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. Jack Halloway is a miner on distant planet Zarathustra. He loves his dog, fights with his girlfriend and argues with people in authority. Then he discovers a new life form - like a cat. And he hits a huge vein of ore. Nothing profound here, but it's a lot of fun. full review

MAY

The Last Colony by John Scalzi. This is the third book in the series that started with Old Mans War  and the Ghost Brigades.  John Perry and his wife are retired from the military and living a quiet life, when they are called on to lead a new colony. Then they are back in the thick of it. Good fun. Full review

A re-read of The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power by Robert Caro. This volume covers roughly the first 40 years of Johnson's life. Anyone who wants to understand LBJ should read this (if they have the time!) and anyone who wants to know (if they need to) what the New Deal meant for America, particularly one of its poorest areas (the hill country of Texas) should read it too

A re-read of Eric by Terry Pratchett. Eric is a smart but nebbishy 13 year old. He wants to summon a demon and make a deal - beautiful women, ultimate power, lots of money. Three wishes. But instead of a demon, he gets Rincewind. A short review http:quazen.com/games/book-review-eric-by-terry-pratchett

[Years of Lyndon Johnson v 2: Means of Ascent by Robert Caro. The 2nd of what will be 5 volumes in a magisterial biography of Johnson. This is dark stuff: In the first part of this volume, Johnson is stymied in his quest for power and pursues money with both hands. In the second part, he is back to politics, and being dirty, even for mid-century Texas politics, which is saying something.

JUNE

The Universal Computer: From Leibniz to Turing The history of the idea of the computer as a universal machine, and of the logic that makes it possible, up to the time of Turing. Fascinating. Re-affirms my belief that Leibniz is under-rated and that Godel was a very strange man. Full review

Another re-read of Cryptonomicon, one of my favorite novels. My review

Sovereign by C. J. Sansom. The third in the Matthew Shardlake series of mysteries set in Tudor England. Wonderful, both as history and mystery. Full review

Mallworld by Somtow Sucharitkul. Comic SF in which mankind is restricted to the solar system by the Selespridar. We won't be let out until we're mature, in the meantime, shop at the mall the size of a small planet. Fun but light. Full review

Choice of Evil by Andrew Vachss. In this novel in the Burke series, Burke's girlfriend has been killed by a homophobe. Now a killer is killing all the homophobes he can find. Then Burke is contacted by an organization that wants him to find the killer so they can help him escape.

Lullaby by Ace Atkins. This is a new novel in the Spenser series that the late Robert Parker created. Atkins has been chosen by the estate to continue the series. It's pretty good. A 14 year old girl has asked Spenser to investigate the death of her mother, 4 years ago. full review

The Choke Artist by David Yoo. The memoirs of a Korean-American writer who constantly fails to measure up to his own and his parents' visions of what he should be. Funny but also touching. Full review

JULY
Redshirts by John Scalzi. Funny and weird. Time travel, multiple worlds, Star Trek spoofs and all with a whole lot of humor

The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four remarkable friends who transformed science and changed the world by Laura Snyder.  A group biography of Charles Babbage, John Herschel, William Whewell and Richard Jones, four friends who met at Cambridge early in the 19th century, and of how, together, they changed the role of science into something like what it is today.

[The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society 1250-1600] by Alfred Crosby. Crosby's idea is that the reason the west rose rapidly in this time period is because of the invention of the idea of quantification. Fascinating. Full review

Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch.  SF-Romance-comedy.  The Earth is being invaded by evil aliens. But don't worry, the Alpha-Centurions are here to help defend us (and have sex with us too!). When the heroine Katherine "Kitty" Katt defeats one of the aliens using a Mont Blanc pen, she is recruited by the ACers to join their secret organization. There's lots of "science" that's unexplained (many ACers have powers and abilities far beyond those of normal men) but never mind. There's lots of action (in both senses of the word) and humor and the plot keeps zipping along. Full review

Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey by Peter Bowler and Iwan Rhys Morus.  A survey of the history of science from Copernicus to now.

AUGUST

Cop hater by Ed McBain. The first in the famous 87th precinct series.  I don't see what the fuss is about; the writing is clunky to an absurd degree. It's interesting as a view into the past, since it was written in the 1950s. But unless the series is better, later, I don't get it.

The Trinity Game by Sean Chercover.  The protagonist is a detective for the Catholic Church, investigating miracles. Politics removes him from that post, and he's off to investigate a mysterious evangelist, who happens to be his uncle and who raised him as a child. Interesting.  full review

SEPTEMBER
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell. The story of a doctor (and former hit-man for the mafia) who now has to keep one of his former associates alive or face retribution of the worst kind. Dark. The author's view of nearly everything (from medicine to international relations to holocaust memory to the mafia) is grim. But it was a good book and kept me turning the pages.
To promote the general welfare: The case for big government. This is a collection of essays by historians on the idea that the federal government has always played a key role in Americans' lives, from the founding of the Republic to the present day. Each chapter is about a different area of life - transport, education, etc. - and each outlines the history of the federal government's role. Full review

A re-read of Guards! Guards!. This is early in the Discworld series and is the first book introducing the Night Watch and Sam Vimes. The watch is nearly defunct. Vimes is a drunk. Crime is organized and accepted. But now Carrot (the 6'6" dwarf) has arrived in AnkhMorpork. And some people have summoned a dragon.  Marvelous. One of my favorites in the series.

OCTOBER
Alien in the Family by Gini Koch. The continuing adventures of Katherine (Kitty) Katt, defender of the Earth from evil aliens, fiancee of one of the good aliens. Pretty silly, but fun. Lots of sex (but mildly described), lots of violence (Kitty kicks ass), not a lot of explanation or profundity.

A Wanted Man by Lee Child. The latest in the Jack Reacher series.  Reacher is hitchhiking to Virginia from Nebraska. Meanwhile there's been a murder in Nebraska. At first it looks like nothing extraordinary but soon the FBI, the CIA and the State Department are involved.

The First World War by John Keegan.  This is widely regarded as the best single volume book on WWI. Full review

Wild Thing by Josh Bazell.  The continuation of the life of Dr. Pietro Brnwa that was started in Beat the Reaper.  Brnwa has been in witness protection for a long time and is working as a doctor on a cruise boat when a reclusive billionaire hires him to help investigate claims of some "wild thing" living in an obscure lake in Minnesota - a sea monster. Violence, sex, science and a surprise visit from no Kossack's favorite vice presidential candidate.  

Mad River by John Sandford. The latest in the Virgil Flowers series. Here, Flowers is dealing with a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde on a murder and robbery spree in rural Minnesota.   A good page turner.

NOVEMBER

A dirty job by Christopher Moore. Charlie Asher is a very nice guy. He's a bit of a nebbish, or, in Moore's phrase a "beta-male".  He's a very happily married brand new father. Then his wife dies. Then he becomes .... well, I won't spoil it completely, but death. Or Death. Moore isn't afraid to add humor to the big issues, and he's always funny. But this isn't my favorite of his works.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett. This is very different from Discworld. It's set in early Victorian London. The protagonist is, indeed, loosely based on the Artful Dodger of Oliver Twist, but only loosely. He does live with an elderly Jew, but they live alone and the old man is a watchmaker, nothing much like Fagin.

Dodger is a "tosher" - that is, he hunts through the sewers of London, looking for coins or other valuables. He's also a thief (can he help it if people aren't careful with their stuff?) but then he defends a young woman who he sees getting beaten, and it turns out she is no ordinary young woman at all.

Delightful. With appearances by Charles Dickens, Robert Peel, and others, including a young Queen Victoria (who is amused).  full review

DECEMBER

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:

Moranthology by Caitlin Moran.  A collection of essay (some humorous, some political, some about pop culture) from the author of How to be a Woman.  Full Review:

and I am still 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.

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.

The van Rijn method by Poul Anderson. The first volume of collected stories that make up Anderson's Polesotechnic League, when mankind spans the universe.

A Devil is Waiting by Jack Higgins. The president is going to visit London. Some Islamic terrorists plan to assassinate him. Sean Dillon has to stop them. Higgins does this sort of thing well.

Master of the Senate by Robert Caro. The third in Caro's monumental, amazingly researched bio of LBJ. I had been reading this but put it down. Not because it's a bad book - it is a great book - but because Johnson was so viciously nasty that I had to stop for a bit. Johnson wanted, craved, needed power. And he was absolutely brilliant at getting it and using it. But he let nothing stand in his way.  Regardless, this is vital reading for understanding the senate.

The irrationals by Julian Havil.  The history of irrational numbers, nicely presented.

The Readers and Book Lovers 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
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views Brecht, 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

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Comment Preferences

  •  too many books not enough time, sorry girls (5+ / 0-)

    Modelling Environmental Dynamics: Advances in Geomatic Solutions, Martin Paegelow, María Teresa Camacho Olmedo eds. and got a copy of Wittgenstein's Poker at the local Goodwill

    thanks for these cites!
    The irrationals by Julian Havil.  The history of irrational numbers,
    Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman.

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 08:35:38 AM PST

  •  Books read so far this year is 21. (7+ / 0-)

    Not a fast reader.

    I know this is not a favorite book or least favorite book diary, but I would like say that one of the books I enjoyed the most was Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard.  It is about the assassination of President James Garfield.  The book explores his life and the medical treatments of that time.  What most likely killed Garfield was not the bullet, but his doctors who were loath to adapt new-fangled ideas - like sterilization of equipment.

    The book is a fascinating look at the life of Garfield and the times in which he lived.  Candice Millard is a wonderful story teller and this book was a great read.

    Religion - the ultimate weapon of mass manipulation

    by LynChi on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 08:41:07 AM PST

  •  I have read over 150 books this year. (7+ / 0-)

    I have exactly 150 on my kindle and I got it for Xmas last year. In addition I have ordered a few hard copy books because I wanted to read them and then pass them on. Also I have read maybe a hundred or so samples of books downloaded from Amazon to my Kindle. I really like this feature. I watch BookTV, record it each week so I can watch through the week. When an author's presentation of his book rouses my interest, I download the sample. Very often I find that my initial impression is not borne out by what the author wrote. I am guilty of reading things into the tv talk that aren't actually there.

    When I read your list of books that you have read, I did not find a single one that I have read. Lots of books out there.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 08:57:27 AM PST

  •  Ten books I most appreciated this year (8+ / 0-)

    Bubblegum category: I am a strong believer in the value of junk/dreck reading; I call it bubblegum.  It offers no sustenance, but it is predictable and cleans my palate.  In that vein, my favorite this year was Sunday at Tiffany's.  Maudlin, sentimental, overwrought...there's a lot of bad things to say about this, brought to you by that master of the mediocre, James Patterson.  Sue me.  I am a sentimental romantic at heart, and can be a sucker for the most ridiculous story there is.

    Classics never read before:  I have a lot of these.  Lately, I have been making more of a concerted effort to whittle down the list.  My favorite reads in this category this year were Silas Marner and Mrs. Dalloway.  Marner fits into the aforemention maudlin, sentimental vein.  Mrs. Dalloway had a commitment to its rhythm that I truly admired and enjoyed.

    Good reads that taught me something:  These are not necessarily great books.  But I learned something new from each:
    Fiction:  Ines of my Soul.
    I had never known the story of Ines Suarez, a conquistadora whose influence on history is now largely forgotten.
    Non-fiction:  The Imperial Cruise:  examines how racism shaped American foreign policy in the Pacific Rim.  I will never think of Teddy Roosevelt the same again.

    Good books that spoke to me:  Again, not a great book.  But it touched me:
    Was:  This riff on the melancholy of childhood, memory and AIDS, centered around the book and movie The Wizard of Oz, touched me deeply.

    Books I will not soon forget:

    Every once in a while, I read something that I know will stay with me.  As I cull my shelves, these books will always survive the cut:

    Fiction:  The Lost Books of the Odyssey:  these speculations of truth or alternate mythology behind the story of Odysseus are haunting and wonderful.
    Non-fiction:  The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: honest, raw and beautiful.  Meditations on life, mortality and the wonder and terror of small moments.

    Books That Changed My Life:

    There are two this year.  As a former editor of that R&BLers series, I make a point of noting these as they come into my life:

    1.  Codependent No More:  has a used copy of this on my shelves for years.  Never read it.  Then, in the aftermath of a crisis in friendship, I picked it up.  Saw myself at once.  Have since read other books, been to lectures and attended a variety of codependency are ACA meetings.  I am a long way from being finished with this process.  But this book rusted the first shackle of my chains.

    2.  Trauma and Recovery:  I have worked with a lot of people in the course of my 12-step recovery, who have been subjected to abuse.  This book, which was recommended by SJF, opened my eyes.  I could see how some patterns of thought and behavior resulted from the abuse, and also how, with my codependency, I sometimes reacted dysfunctionally in response.  Has made me a more useful person, with a better understanding of how to be effectively compassionate.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 09:27:06 AM PST

  •  Too many to list... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, Monsieur Georges, jolux, Brecht

    Some good, some bad. A couple so bad I didn't finish them.

    Memorable books (new reads not re-reads):

    Fair Game by Patricia Briggs. This was the most recent installment of the Alpha and Omega series, starring Charles and Anna Cornick. The Werewolf couple team up with a Fae and government agents to locate and defeat a serial killer.

    11/22/63 by Stephen King. Stephen delves into time travel and the Kennedy Assassination.

    Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King. A Gunslinger Novel that fits between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla (basically Gunslinger 4.5).

    Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer Much darker than Harry Potter. Good, interesting, but not a happy story.

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

    by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 10:25:28 AM PST

  •  I have to keep better lists (5+ / 0-)

    I've of course read a LOT, but it's to stay up to date in my field, or to prepare papers for presentation and publication, and the list would be in the hundreds. I guess the best thing to do here is to list the books I've blogged about specifically here:

    Robert Crunden, American Salons: Encounters with European Modernism, 1885-1917

    Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding

    Andrew Holleran, Dancer From the Dance

    Joe Keenan, Blue Heaven

    Isaac Kramnick and  R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State (1995, rev. 2006)

    James McCourt,  Mawrdew Czgowchwz,   Time Remaining and Queer Street: Rise and Fall of an American Culture, 1947-1985

    Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or, The Whale

    Gary Weiss, Ayn Rand Nation

    Kenji Yoshino, Covering: The Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights

    Gary Weiss, Ayn Rand Nation

    And one I intended to: Russell Shorto, The island at the center of the world : the epic story of Dutch Manhattan and the forgotten colony that shaped America

    As an exercise, I'll see what I can do in the way of list-keeping in 2013.

    -7.75, -8.10; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 10:27:05 AM PST

  •  Yeah, I want begin (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, Monsieur Georges, Brecht

    with reading journals again, I've read so much.

    Including William Vollman's Europe Central and Infinite Jest in the same year (finished IJ this morning).

    Actually read a lot more than that but those two books took the most out of me in terms of time.

  •  hi (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Monsieur Georges, jolux, Brecht, plf515
    The van Rijn method by Poul Anderson. The first volume of collected stories that make up Anderson's Polesotechnic League, when mankind spans the universe.
    I am just starting #4 and it is 720 pages so it will take me a while.  

    I have read 181 books since I finished another one last night and the very best of my best list are these:

    1.   The Charioteer by Mary Renault

    2.   The Cat from Hue by John Laurence

    3.   Taylor Branch series:

    Parting of the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963
    Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65
    At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68

    4.   The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    5.   The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett (re-read)

    6.   An Ordinary Man: autobiography of Paul Ruesabagina with Tom Zoellner

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

    by cfk on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 02:15:17 PM PST

  •  My list for the year (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jolux, Brecht, plf515

    1  The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals  (Charles Darwin) -- Darwin was at pains to show the connection and continuity between humans and animals.

    2  A Couple of Comedians  (Don Carpenter) -- A good novel about Hollywood (out of print)

    3  How to Think Straight  (Antony Flew)

    4  Fair Play  (Tove Jansson)

    5  The Posthuman Dada Guide  (Andrei Codrescu)

    6  Paris France  (Gertrude Stein) -- Not impressed with Stein's style.

    7  The Complete Essays of Montaigne  (Michel de Montaigne) -- Spent a good part of two years reading these, and they're worth it!

    8  Axel's Castle  (Edmund Wilson)

    9  Just Kids  (Patti Smith) -- Sweeter and more engaging than the average rock star memoir.

    10  Further Fridays  (John Barth) -- Essays
    11  Travels With Charley  (John Steinbeck) -- Steinbeck takes America's temperature.

    12  The Marsh Arabs  (Wilfred Thesiger) -- A good companion to his Arabian Sands.

    13  A Natural History of the Senses  (Diane Ackerman) -- I think I said at the time that a better title would be Some Stuff I Know About the Senses.  Not particularly well organized.

    14  The Waste Land and Other Poems  (T.S. Eliot) -- I found a good number of these poems difficult, others not so much.

    15  The Flame Alphabet  (Ben Marcus) -- A sort of experimental novel that I liked a good deal, but which I could think of nobody that I would recommend it to.

    16  Hellraiser:  The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Drummer  (Ginger Baker) -- Cream's drummer is as ambitious as he is irascible.

    17  Kaputt  (Curzio Malaparte) -- Loved it!  How much of it is true, I can't say.

    18  Weimar Culture  (Peter Gay) -- A good short explanation of the Weimar years, and the things that went wrong and made the republic last such a short time.

    •  I went through a Barth phase in college, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, Monsieur Georges

      read maybe his three biggest tomes. But how are his essays?

      Eliot, I always enjoy his poems (and got to play Thomas a Becket). His literary essays are interesting, thought-provoking.

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

      by Brecht on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 08:17:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We have very similar tastes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monsieur Georges

      (as I'm sure you realize, MG)

      Gertrude Stein's style is so dependent on her subject matter; the little bit of her non-fiction that I've read I haven't liked (although I do like some of her lectures).

      Leaving aside #14 (I do love The Wasteland and I am intrigued in the ways that people keep rewriting and revising that poem...and DFW is one of the main culprits there)...

      Number #18...without Weimar Culture, would there ever have been a Hollywood.

      I've only read bits and pieces of the Peter Gay, but that period of intellectual history is just fascinating.

      •  Speaking of Hollywood, (0+ / 0-)

        Peter Gay sets aside the sober historian's voice, and rips Fritz Lang a new one for METROPOLIS.  He's got objections that people who aren't familiar with certain cultural currents in Weimar Germany probably would never notice.

  •  'Cryptonomicon' is my favorite Stephenson. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, Monsieur Georges, Chitown Kev

    Liked your review of it.

    Thought your review of Embassytown was even better. That's not an easy book to encapsulate.

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

    by Brecht on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 08:20:19 PM PST

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