What are you reading? Feb 20, 2013

by: plf515

Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:54:23 AM EST



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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plf515 :: What are you reading? Feb 20, 2013
Just finished
Dead Souls by Ian Rankin. The latest in the John Rebus series of Scottish noir crime novels. I like this series and this is one of the best in it. But it's dark dark dark. Child abusers, serial murderers etc.  Full review soon 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.

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 SF a bit too seriously, but the stories are good.

On politics: A history of political thought from Herodotus to the present by Alan Ryan. What the subtitle says - a history of political thought.  

Far from the Tree: Parents, children and the search for identity by Andrew Solomon.
The title comes from the phrase "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". This book is about apples (children) who did fall far from the tree (parents). This book got amazing reviews and it grabbed me from the opening:

"There is no such thing as reproduction. When two people decide to have a baby, they engage in an act of production, and the widespread use of the word reproduction for this activity, with its implication that two people are but braiding themselves together, is at best a euphemism to comfort prospective parents before they get in over their heads"

I don't agree with all that Solomon says, but this is a book to make you think about deep questions of humanity.

Rayburn: A Biography by D. B. Hardeman. A very admiring look at Sam Rayburn, former speaker of the House.  Hardeman has an odd but readable style, mostly in that he overuses this structure "the" (adjective) (state adjective) form (e.g. "the crusty Texan", "the wily Missourian") to an extent that's almost comical.

He, she and it http://www.powells.com/biblio/... by Marge Percy. Really only a couple pages into it, but it's near future dystopian SF set on Earth.

Just started
Ghostman  by Roger Hobbs.  The protagonist of this excellent first novel is  a "ghost man". He is part of a criminal enterprise of high level thieves (they steal large amounts at each crime) and his specialty is the ability to become other people - adapt their mannerisms, their voice, their signature and so on. In his spare time he translates books from Latin and Greek into various modern languages.  Fascinating.  

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Lookiing for something new in historical or inventive detectives.... (2.00 / 5)
you may have given me one in the latter area.  Available for tablet?  

more detective questions: historical suggestions? n.t. (2.00 / 5)


Steven Saylor wrote a series set in ancient Rome (2.00 / 5)
that I liked quite a lot.


"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

[ Parent ]
Final question, Rankin worth waiting for? n.t. (2.00 / 5)


Rankin is definitely worth waiting for n/t (2.00 / 4)


"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

[ Parent ]
Ghostman (2.00 / 5)
I just put a hold on the audiobook of Ghostman. Thanks for the tip.

Let there be light. Then let there be a cat, a cocktail, and a good book.

Ghostman (2.00 / 4)
I just put a hold on the audiobook of Ghostman. Thanks for the tip.

Let there be light. Then let there be a cat, a cocktail, and a good book.

Reading (2.00 / 4)
"Coming of Age in the Milky Way" by Timothy Ferris. It has been on my 'read someday' list and someday has now come.

Actually read a couple of mysteries this week. Still like non-fiction better, but if I'm going to read fiction, mysteries are it as long as they are not thrillers in disguise.

Enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.

Barack Obama 1/21/2013


Just finished Gone Girl (2.00 / 4)
by Gilllian Flynn. Wow, what a ride!

what about the ending? (2.00 / 4)
i'm a big fan of Gillian Flynn's since her days as an EW columnist.  i love - truly love Gone Girl. no one i know offline has read it, so i'm interested in your thoughts. ;)

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King


[ Parent ]
The ending totally freaked me out. (2.00 / 2)
Had to reread the last couple of pages just to let it sink in. What did you think about it?
GG is the first of Flynn's books I have read. I put two more of her novels on reserve at the library.

[ Parent ]
both of her books (2.00 / 1)
are really awesome.  i think you'll enjoy them very much.

if you read the lit blogs, everyone seems to hate the ending.  i was expecting something different, but unlike most of the book bloggers, i liked Nick, the husband. he was a flawed person, but i don't think he was a sociopath . . . do you?

[SPOILER ALERT]--->
(y'all who haven't read Gone Girl, go get a copy and stop reading here. ;)

you know how there were twists within twists about midway through the book?  once this started, it put the main characters in very different, obscure lights.  

i actually thought the end would be Amy killing Go, or Go killing Amy.  is that preposterous?  the red herrings (Nick's father; the Ozark campers;  Tommy-whatever whom Amy had falsely accused of "date rape" years before; the older man Amy thought was watching her at the casino meeting with Desi, etc) made me think Flynn is doing this for one reason.  she wants us to believe and then dismiss, believe again and once more dismiss, but the last page or two is going to be bloody horrible.

and most people seem to think it was, but not in the way i expected.    

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King


[ Parent ]
Don't read if you haven't read Gone Girl, yet. (2.00 / 1)
I think the end shows us Nick is just as messed up as Amy. Throughout the book, we really got on Nick's side to defeat Amy just to find out we shouldn't have. It left me feeling sorry for that poor baby to be born to such f***ked up people.
I'm with you, I really thought Nick's dad (and the other mentioned characters) was going to play a bigger role. I even considered that Amy might have had a affair with him. That's how far my weird mind can go. LOL!
I just got notification from the library that Dark Places is ready for me to pick up. Have you read this one?

[ Parent ]
yes, that's my second fave (2.00 / 1)
of her three to date.  please let me know what you think? ;)

good point about Amy with Nick's dad.  she was whispering "i love you, come live with me," and kissing him at the home for dementia, and i just remembered that.  thank you.

my craziest theory was that Go was not a real character, and that might be the Big Tell.  she kind of reflected the better angels of Nick's character and that was her only contribution.  so for a while, i was thinking there is no Go, it's real life catfishing, and a body will surface.

Flynn has to write a sequel.  Baby Dunne, I hafta know. ;)

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King


[ Parent ]
just started House of Leaves (2.00 / 4)
by Mark Danielewski.  possibly the first ghost story of the internet era.

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command.

Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

only about 30 pages in and i'm hooked. ;)

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King


Haven't read much this week, so... (2.00 / 1)
...I'm still trying to finish up one of my late-Victorian historical novels on Kindle, and then to really delve into Flunking Sainthood, which I recently begun and then put off for no good reason.

I have done some browsing on Amazon and found a whole list of Kindle titles I plan to download over the next few weeks, including (intriguingly) Men in Eden: William Drummond Stewart and Same-Sex Desire in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade, and Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition. Haven't been keeping up with my Gay Studies much, except for one book about homosexuality in the Florentine Renaissance that was a real eye-opener. :-)

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)


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