babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics

Topic Closed  Topic Closed


Post New Topic  
Topic Closed  Topic Closed
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » rabble content   » babble book lounge   » what're you reading now?

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: what're you reading now?
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 09 October 2005 02:23 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the other threads are buried in culture, so I'm going to start a new one right here.

I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed the new book Fortune's Formula, whose first chapter you can read here. I highly recommend it. It's entertaining popular science, and if you're fascinated by gambling, the mob, or investment systems, you'll enjoy it.

I'm currently in a bit of a geek phase, reading some of my old probability and statistics textbooks. Yes, I do that. I'm also reading Peter Galison's superb and very large book, Image and Logic, which I began after bumping into a couple of friends who work in financial mathematics and use Monte Carlo methods in their work. One long chapter (100 pages) deals with the origin of Monte Carlo methods in the atom bomb project, where they were developed by Stan Ulam and the disgustingly ubiquitous Johann von Neumann (coinventor of game theory, quantum physicist, and coinventor of the computer) at Los Alamos. Galison touches on all these subjects in this chapter, as well as the metaphysical implications of Monte Carlo methods, their challenge to the experiment-theory disjunct, and the status of Monte Carlo methods as a kind of pidgin or "trading zone" where different disciplines within and beyond physics could meet and converse. A superb book so far.

I'm also reading Patricia Monture's outstanding book, Journeying Forward. Not a very helpful review, but the book is terrific.

I think though, that I shall soon be on the lookout for some fluff to read. Suggestions welcome.


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 09 October 2005 05:31 AM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Link to the most recent "What're you reading now?" thread (in the writers' circle forum). I was thinking of starting a new one too, as it was getting a bit long.
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7050

posted 09 October 2005 02:38 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Christopher Dawson's Religion and the Rise of Western Culture.

Required reading for my course. I don't much care for it.

Oh, and the Domesday Book.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 09 October 2005 03:33 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think for my light reading I'll start The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil. It's been on the "to read" list for too long. Has anyone here read it?
From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rand McNally
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5297

posted 09 October 2005 04:13 PM      Profile for Rand McNally     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I love the book threads. I am storming through "The Blitzkrieg Myth" by J. Mosier. According to him much of the received wisdom on how the Germans exploited new tactics, and technologies is mistaken. Very interesting, and controversial.

For a course I am doing I just finished up “The Real World of Technology” by Ursula Franklin, it is part of the CBC’s Massey lectures series. (A old prof of mine used to joke that there where the masses and the Masseys in Canada. He thought it was a funny.) I think someone at the Military College thought it would be fun to inflict a feminist, leftist, Quaker on the officer corp.

Finally, for pure enjoyment, with no attempt at self-improvement I just started “Dune Messiah”; I read Dune a couple years ago, and thought is was one of the better sci-fi books I had read, so I thought it was time to continue with the series.


From: Manitoba | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 09 October 2005 04:29 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Last night I started reading "The Wars over Evolution" by Richard Lewontin, in the current issue of the NY Review of Books -- hey! it's online! for once! (NYRB 52, no. 16 [20 October 2005])

Lewontin is an exceptionally fluid thinker, methinks. I am enjoying his balancing acts very much. I wish I could remember how he puts things.

quote:
What could have seemed more obvious to the mid-nineteenth-century observer than the transformation of a relatively "homogeneous" society, characterized by the "simple" agrarian life with the rural village its center, into one marked by the booming, buzzing "heterogeneous" confusion of life in industrial Manchester and London?

Darwin himself avoided implications of general progress or of directionality. It should be noted that his great work is unideologically titled On the Origin of Species, not On Evolution, and the word "evolution" nowhere appears in the first edition of that work, which thus neatly avoids, by intent or not, any implication of an unfolding of a progressive program. Equally revealing is the title of his work on human evolution, a field in which its more recent practitioners find notions of progress and directionality all too tempting. Darwin's title is The Descent of Man.[3] The theory of evolution was not a product of a commitment to progress but a reaction to a consciousness of the instability of the social structures that characterized the bourgeois revolutions and the radical changes in them. The Founding Fathers did not promise us all eventual happiness, but only the freedom to run in pursuit of it.


I don't need the last sentence, but I like the rest of that paragraph.

[ 09 October 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 21 October 2005 08:29 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm reading a book by Chuck Palahniuk.

But I can't talk about it....


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
faith
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4348

posted 22 October 2005 02:34 AM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A short novel by Maggie Helwig , "Between Mountains". A story about 2 people torn by the war in the former Yugoslavia.
The woman in the story is an interpreter and the man a journalist, from their vantage points as non partisan observers of the carnage of the conflict, one gets a picture of the damage war can do,even at a distance.
I thought it was very good.

From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
mayakovsky
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5171

posted 22 October 2005 04:35 AM      Profile for mayakovsky     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
faith, 'Between Mountains' is an amazing novel. But Maggie Helwig's work always blows me away. For me, she is probably Canada's best left wing, committed writer. Read her poetry, wow!

I am reading 'Christ the Lord' by Anne Rice. Yes the Anne Rice! (I have an advance copy) It is a novel about the early years of Jesus based on her reading of New Testament scholarship. She has returned to the Catholic church and apparently she is more inclined to conservative theology or at least when it comes to biblical criticism and redaction. To compliment it I am reading 'A Jewish Understanding Of The New Testament' by Rabbi Samuel Sandmel. Lets argue about dates and not the ones the apostles may or may not have been eating.


From: New Bedford | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
HACK (splatter)
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10827

posted 04 November 2005 12:45 PM      Profile for HACK (splatter)     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Newman's Secret Mulroney Tapes. It leaves you almost feeling sorry for Muldoon.
From: God's Country | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3807

posted 05 November 2005 01:30 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Good War by Studs Terkel.

The difference between the struggles for equality among women and Blacks is striking. Women were given jobs that they had never had before; Blacks were given stevedore jobs and shot if they spoke up.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6477

posted 05 November 2005 01:53 AM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Who Murdered Chaucer? by Terry Jones and a bunch of English professors. A good read; they argue that he could have been murdered, finger their favourite suspect and explain why he would have wanted to get rid of Chaucer and maybe have censored his work. They also explain the political and social background well, and the political maneuvering of various players.

Their evidence about Chaucer is mostly negative and they admit no one can say for sure what happened to him. His own copies of his poems are missing, and there is no will, etc.; but they do have actual evidence of censorship of illustrations to his Canterbury Tales. I don't quite trust English professors writing about history, but I have to trust a Monty Python member.

And the book is beautiful, on shiny paper with little illustrations on most pages, so it resembles an illuminated manuscript.


From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3838

posted 05 November 2005 02:23 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I just finished Paul Williams Roberts' stunning War Against Truth, his first-person account of the American rape of Iraq. I picked it up on the strength of a glowing recommendation by the Globe & Mail editors -- after he won the PEN award, they felt compelled to write a furious McCarthyist denunciation of Roberts' "anti-Americanism" and "conspiracy thinking", always an indication that someone's on the right track.

This book achieved the rare feat of leavening an excrutiatingly painful story with a bleak, ironic sense of humour that often had me laughing uproariously. Roberts has an eye for the absurdity of war as well as the horror.

The horror lingers, though. My hatred for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld is burning pretty fucking brightly right now.


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Amy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2210

posted 05 November 2005 03:52 AM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think I posted in one of these threads last time I was reading it, but right now I'm reading Dahlgren by Sam Delaney. I read it this summer, but I suspect it's one of those books that I'll have to re-read several times.


I'm also doing my course readings, as per usual.


From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6061

posted 05 November 2005 09:34 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm reading Homosexualities by Stephen O. Murray published by the University of Chicago Press.

From the inside flap:

quote:
In Homosexualities, one of the world's leading authorities on global homosexualities has produced a magnum opus. Breathtaking in its historical and geographical scope, Stephen O. Murray's landmark work provides a sweeping examination of the construction of male and female homosexualities, stressing both the variability of the forms same-sex desire can take and the key recurring patterns it has formed throughout history. From imperial China to Tudor England, and from medieval Egypt to the Ottoman Empire to modern-day Japan, Murray expertly explores the full range of both behavior and meaning in same-sex relationships.


Stephen is also the authour of American Gays


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10724

posted 05 November 2005 09:45 AM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Autobiography of a blue-eyed devil : my life and times in a racist, imperialist society /
by Muscio, Inga.

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 05 November 2005 09:46 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Someone murdered Chaucer? And I am six centuries behind on that news?!?

Oh, beluga, I would like to read the Roberts too. Wasn't the Grope editorial silly? During the invasion, they actually published some of his reports -- I mean, the reports were so good: how could they not?

The one I especially remember was his looting report -- he described what everyone else was doing and even admitted to picking up a few items himself (not historic treasures). It was wryly funny but also very efficiently condemnatory -- is that report in the book?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6061

posted 05 November 2005 09:46 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Beluga2, I missed your post. That book looks really interesting.

Makwa, yours too. I'm heading to the book store today to see if I can round them up.


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3838

posted 05 November 2005 01:03 PM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, the looting bit's in there -- specifically, he looted stuff from Uday Hussein's palace, including some of his kitschy party clothes. Roberts makes the place sound like a combination between a macabre torture chamber and a nouveau riche 70's bachelor pad.

The book's like that -- one moment you'll be giggling away, a couple pages later he'll be standing at the bedside of a mutilated Iraqi child as she slowly dies a painful, senseless death.

That Globe editorial was indeed ludicrous -- they even resorted to a lame-ass attempt to smear Roberts as a Saddam sympathizer, something which can be easily refuted by reading any random page of War Against Truth. His loathing for the previous regime is palpable.


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
HACK (splatter)
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10827

posted 05 November 2005 04:04 PM      Profile for HACK (splatter)     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Venus DeMilo's Farewell to Arms.

heh heh heh


heh heh

heh

(cough)

yes . . .

well.

[ 05 November 2005: Message edited by: HACK (splatter) ]


From: God's Country | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 05 November 2005 04:17 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
HACK, that is so bad, that is soooooo bad, that it probably deserves an award.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
belva
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8098

posted 05 November 2005 06:14 PM      Profile for belva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
See, skdadl, you never know what thread may o-PUN the door to such wit.

Nice to know I'm not the only punster around. Say, I wonder if we need a thread about puns???

Hmmmmmm! endless possibilities!


From: bliss | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 05 November 2005 06:19 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
HACK, that is so bad, that is soooooo bad, that it probably deserves an award.

Award? Award?! Why, that's so atrocious it calls for immediate suspension, and furthermore...

What? What's with the rolling eyes and mutters of "professional jealousy, 'lance, professional jealousy"? Don't you get your back up when someone works your side of the street?

Oh, very well... (ruckusfruckussourbiscuitbatter, TMthe-once-and-forever Dawna Matrix...)

Well done, HACK (splatter), very well done. I wish I'd said that.

(BABBLERS (in weary chorus):

You will, 'lance. You will...

Exeunt, leaving 'lance looking sheepish, but admiring).


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 05 November 2005 11:26 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Dennis Lehane - Mystic River
quote:
When Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus were kids, their fathers worked together at the Coleman Candy plant and carried the stench of warm chocolate back home with them. It became a permanent character of their clothes, the beds they slept in, the vinyl backs of their car seats. Sean's kitchen smelled like a Fudgsicle, his bathroom like a Coleman Chew-Chew bar. By the time they were eleven, Sean and Jimmy had developed a hatred of sweets so total that they took their coffee black for the rest of their lives and never ate dessert.

From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2777

posted 06 November 2005 12:16 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"The Border" by James Laxer (found it on sale at Chapter's for $5.00 this week).

quote:
Insightful, prescient and often funny, The Border explores what it means to be Canadian and what Canada means to the giant to our south.

If good fences make good neighbours, do we have the sort of fence that will allow us to maintain neighbourly relations with the world’s only superpower?

In The Border, well-known political scientist and journalist James Laxer explores this question by taking the reader on a compelling 5000-mile journey into culture, politics, history, and the future of Canadian sovereignty.

Long ignored (or celebrated) as “the world’s longest undefended border,” the line between us and the US is now a stress point. The attacks on the World Trade Center announced to the world that North America is no longer a quiet neighbourhood and made our relationship with the US one of the most pressing questions facing Canadians.



From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
PoliticalDiscord
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3854

posted 06 November 2005 12:05 PM      Profile for PoliticalDiscord   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's a few years old now, but John O'Farrel's "Things can only get better: eighteen miserable years in the life of a labour supporter" is the funniest book I have ever read. From the back cover: It's a personal account of a Labour supporter who survived 18 miserable years of COnservative government." It reminded me of the time I spent in the NDP youth... hilarious.

http://www.uncorrectedproofs.blogspot.com


From: Niagara | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sirrhosis
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10326

posted 06 November 2005 12:21 PM      Profile for Sirrhosis        Edit/Delete Post
I'm reading Gulag: A History. Boy talk about your deformed communist experiment.
From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
HACK (splatter)
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10827

posted 07 November 2005 01:57 PM      Profile for HACK (splatter)     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Has anyone read . . .

Comments . . .


From: God's Country | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
arborman
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4372

posted 07 November 2005 06:53 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I read GG&S a few years ago. Interesting thesis, probably with some merit - but like all attempts to explain the world, he likely missed something in there.

I'm currently ensnared by Patrick O'Brien's famous naval fiction series. Not normally my thing at all - I tend to science fiction for the most part - but I picked one up in an airport awhile ago, and now find myself helpless before the damned things. I daresay it's affecting my married life as well. And there are another 18 books remaining in the damned series.

It is surely affecting my diction - I find myself thinking in terms used by English sailors in the Napoleonic war (avast that infernal telephone!) No doubt I will soon come a cropper.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 838

posted 07 November 2005 07:00 PM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One point about GG&S is that Diamond is not trying to explaing the whole world. He IS trying to explain why white people are rich without using racist arguments.

Of course, at the moment that does rather look like the whole world.

Also, I don't know of any contending theories on the subject (at least, non racist ones).


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
arborman
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4372

posted 07 November 2005 08:10 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fair enough - I actually find his arguments and ideas fairly interesting, though I did drift a bit when he started getting into the background behind the current racial composition of Africa.

So no, he wasn't purporting to explain quantum physics, but he was attempting to explain the roots of our current world circumstances by debunking racist assumptions.

Unsurprisingly, Euros and their descendents are richer due to a combination of luck and circumstance. One of the most interesting analyses he made was in his discussion if China - why weren't they on top?


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 838

posted 07 November 2005 08:13 PM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Probably one of the most substantiated parts of the argument, it is well within the historical record.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6477

posted 07 November 2005 08:20 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This thread discussed Guns, Germs and Steel.
From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
mayakovsky
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5171

posted 09 November 2005 06:00 AM      Profile for mayakovsky     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
'The Source' a novel by James Michener. Starts out on a dig in 1960s Israel, goes back in time and then recreates the multilayered history from there. I really enjoyed his 'Poland' and I like epics.
From: New Bedford | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 888

posted 09 November 2005 12:25 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm presently reading China Miéville's "steam fantasy" novel, Iron Council, a rather dark fantasy about a labour movement in a magical city. I just finished his book, THE SCAR, set in the same world, about a floating city of freed slaves, and a magical conspiracy to seize control of reality. All this without reading the "foundational" novel, Perdido Street Station, which I can't find the library.

After I finish this book, I am moving onto slightly lighter fare, with James Alan Gardner's SF novel Radiant, set in his Admiral Felicia Ramos universe.

[ 09 November 2005: Message edited by: Mandos ]


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbling_Jenn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10944

posted 10 November 2005 07:23 PM      Profile for Babbling_Jenn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm reading Sweetness in the Belly, by Camilla Gibb. I've never read anything by her before, but I'm really enjoying this one.

Has anyone read David Bergen's Giller-winning book, The Time In Between?


From: Rural Ontario | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Dr. Geek
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10615

posted 11 November 2005 12:11 AM      Profile for Dr. Geek     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm currently reading "The Long Emergency" by James Howard Kunstler, but I'm not sure I'll finish it. I sort of enjoyed his earlier book "The Geography of Nowhere," but when he extends his reach it far exceeds his grasp. Some people aren't qualified to comment on geopolitics, and I suspect he is one.

I'm also working on "The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man" by Robert Price. An interesting analysis of the historical Jesus from a real historian's perspective.

Plus lots of super-interesting technical papers on alternative fuels, jet structures, emission controls, etc, for school...


From: Toronto, ON | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 11 November 2005 06:28 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You guys have all the fun. Andre Lamothe's "A Second Chance at Game Programming" and Grant Palmer's "Physics for Game Programmers." Weee
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Yst
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9749

posted 11 November 2005 07:10 AM      Profile for Yst     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm trying to complete those parts of the science fiction canon I have yet to read, so I'm reading Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

At halfway, my impression is that Bradbury simply doesn't have Orwell's command of human drama (not that Orwell was a master, but he was at least a very able novelist by the end of his career). He throws out dystopian ideas by the dozen, but frequently fails to give them as much dramatic import or imaginative force as they seemingly should have, which is all the more glaring given that his ideas and the events he portrays are so heavy-handed as it is. He doesn't seem to have the patience necessary to allow his ideas to grow over time and build force. If the latter half of the novel reflects the first, I suppose he'll remain in my mind, at least as far as Fahrenheit 451 goes, another Asimov: a man of ideas who conveys them through fiction, moreso than writer of fiction possessed of important ideas.


From: State of Genderfuck | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Soul Rebel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10035

posted 11 November 2005 12:59 PM      Profile for Soul Rebel        Edit/Delete Post
I am reading "an oldie, but a goodie." It is called "Human Destiny" and was published in 1947. The author, a brilliant French scientist named Lecomte du Nouy, began writing the book during the dying days of the Second World War. Although written 60 years ago, the book's message is so relevant that it could have been written today. Basically, du Nouy writes about how human consciousness is the product of evolution and that human consciousness is poised for another leap forward in evolution. The clarity of the writing is striking. And the ideas expressed in the book would be familiar to anyone who watched "What the Bleep do We Know?" or has read anything about conscious evolution.
From: Calgary | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
tallyho
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10917

posted 11 November 2005 01:24 PM      Profile for tallyho        Edit/Delete Post
I just finished the illustrated 'Maus' by Art Spiegelman. It's the first such format I've read.

An amazing book that gave more understanding of the Holocaust's impact on an individual than any other I've read.

It's no wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize. I've rarely laughed abd cried so much.


From: The NDP sells out Alberta workers | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2534

posted 11 November 2005 02:39 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As a cat, I have serious misgivings about Maus.

Not only have we never been Nazis - Cocteau famously said "J'aime les chats, parce qu'il n'y aura jamais de chats policiers" and the more right-wing among us tend to be haughty and most individualistic aristocrats, it is important to remember the horrible persecutions we have endured over the centuries in Christendom.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
HACK (splatter)
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10827

posted 11 November 2005 02:44 PM      Profile for HACK (splatter)     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No doubt you're voting for the Cat Nip Party?
From: God's Country | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Jim Rodger
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6523

posted 11 November 2005 03:43 PM      Profile for Jim Rodger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Yst:
I'm trying to complete those parts of the science fiction canon I have yet to read, so I'm reading Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

At halfway, my impression is that Bradbury simply doesn't have Orwell's command of human drama (not that Orwell was a master, but he was at least a very able novelist by the end of his career).


Yst, I'm not a huge fan of either Bradbury or Orwell although they each have very important things to say. On balance, I think I prefer Bradbury as a writer of fiction, though, as I find him generally more subtle than Orwell. But going away from fiction, Orwell is to my way of thinking perhaps the best English language essayist of the last 100 years. You can open any of the four volumes of his collected letters and essays to almost any page and instantly encounter brilliant insights incomparably expressed.

As to my current reads, there are two on the go:
The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov and The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge. The first I am reading to determine whether Nabokov was a one trick pony (Lolita, of course, and I don't think he was based on the short story evidence) and the second to compare it with Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon (also about the Stalinist purges in the 1930s). No decision yet in the Serge vs. Koestler sweepstakes...need to finish Serge and then think about it for a while.


From: Out in the bush | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Abbynormal92243
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6797

posted 11 November 2005 07:11 PM      Profile for Abbynormal92243   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm reading books on investing:
Unemotional Investing
Motley Fool Investment Guide
Beat the Street by Peter Lynch

and a foo foo book: The Perfect Cover, by Maureen Tan.

My TBR pile is a mile high.


From: California, USA | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rundler
editor
Babbler # 2699

posted 13 November 2005 04:58 PM      Profile for Rundler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
tallyho -- Have you checked out the "picture book" thread or the rabble review on graphic novels www.rabble.ca/reviews ? If you liked Maus (anti-catness aside), you'll find other good graphic offerings to check out next.
From: the murky world of books books books | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
sarabble
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10937

posted 14 November 2005 08:06 PM      Profile for sarabble     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
With all the election talk I just picked up and read/flipped through (it took all of 20 minutes to do so) "The Little Book of Canadian Political Wisdom" by Rick Broadhead and Andy Donato. It's basically a collection of verbal bloopers by politicians and it's a real giggle. Here's a sample:

"You know, if all of us quit breathing, can you imagine how much carbon dioxide we could avoid sending into the atmosphere?" - Ralph Klein, Feb 2002

"Paul Martin commits to positions like Britney Spears commits to marriage." - Stephen Harper, Jan 2004

"If you're a mayor and you have a problem, what do you do? You blame the provincial government. And when you're the provincial government and you have a problem, what do you do? You blame the federal government. And for us, we cannot blame The Queen any more, so we blame the Americans once in a while." - Jean Chretien, March 1995

When school or work calls for heavier reading, a fun little book like this can be a nice break.


From: The Capital | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 17 November 2005 01:55 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Lewis Carroll - The Hunting of the Snark (illustrated by Ralph Steadman)
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 27 November 2005 08:43 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Jonathan Kozol - "Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's educational apartheid", in Harper's Magazine, Sept. 2005.
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1299

posted 27 November 2005 08:49 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This thread.
From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 27 November 2005 09:04 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So maybe that's why this thread has kind of fallen by the wayside -- people here are too literal-minded....
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4600

posted 27 November 2005 09:16 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
obscurantist's post
From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Yst
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9749

posted 27 November 2005 10:08 PM      Profile for Yst     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Rodger:

Yst, I'm not a huge fan of either Bradbury or Orwell although they each have very important things to say. On balance, I think I prefer Bradbury as a writer of fiction, though, as I find him generally more subtle than Orwell. But going away from fiction, Orwell is to my way of thinking perhaps the best English language essayist of the last 100 years. You can open any of the four volumes of his collected letters and essays to almost any page and instantly encounter brilliant insights incomparably expressed.


I consider all of Orwell's major novelistic works (including Wigan Pier and Down and Out, as they're not journalistically accurate enough to be considered mere documentary reportage) prior to Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four to be quite mediocre (his essays are another matter) and so if I were to judge Orwell as a writer on the basis of all his novel writing, I'd come out with a significantly poorer picture of him than I do if I consider him at the end of his life in light of Nineteen Eight-Four and Animal Farm, though, again, if I consider him in light of his essays as much as his novels, he's somewhat ameliorated. So it matters a great deal what the basis is for pronouncing judgment on him.

As for Fahrenheit 451, I think better of it having finished it than I thought of it half way through. That's for certain. But I was more taken with what it had to say that the way it said it.


From: State of Genderfuck | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3807

posted 28 November 2005 01:52 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Tariq Ali - The Clash of Fundamentalisms.

I'd recommend it. It pretty well makes it impossible to see the current global political situation as black and white. The politics of the Muslim world, Pakistan and Afghanistan in particular, is shown to contain nuances within nuances, and very little to do with religion.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
periyar
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7061

posted 28 November 2005 10:46 AM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I read that book last year. I thought it was a good remedy for the usual blanket statements about islam, most often described as a monolith. I also appreciated the historical and political context for each community. Also, the long history of western imperialism in virtually every corner of the world, right up to the present. Although I've for sometime now had that kind of analysis,(knowing more about the south asian and north american variety), the general dynamics seem to be the same for one part of the world as any other, it still shocks me to read it.
From: toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4790

posted 29 November 2005 12:08 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Blitzkrieg Myth: How Hitler and the Allies Misread the Strategic Realities of World War II

-- John Mosier

On Killing : The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

-- Dave Grossman

Jarhead

-- Swofford


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
rsfarrell
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7770

posted 30 November 2005 05:33 AM      Profile for rsfarrell        Edit/Delete Post
Pride and Prejudice -- Jane Austen.

. . . and it came with a picture of Kera Knightly on the cover. That's worth $8.95 by itself!


From: Portland, Oregon | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Clog-boy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11061

posted 30 November 2005 08:02 AM      Profile for Clog-boy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Might raise a giggle or some jeering, since it isn't really high-literature. But since I don't give a hey: I'm reading Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" at the moment. Bought it after reading "The Davinci Code". Both books proved great page-turners for me, just eating my way through them. I'll be going for "Angels & Demons" next...
From: Arnhem, The Netherlands | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 30 November 2005 08:27 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code too, Clog-boy, so I'll stand for the jeering with you.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Syerah
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11108

posted 30 November 2005 02:50 PM      Profile for Syerah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
haha, I'll join those being jeered I've read all the books by Dan Brown.

I was so fascinated by Angels & Demons that I was inspired to make a trip to Rome where I did a special tour called the 'Path of Illumination' which takes you to all the markers that form the plot of that book.

Pictures are HERE!

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: Syerah ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
rsfarrell
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7770

posted 30 November 2005 08:22 PM      Profile for rsfarrell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Clog-boy:
Might raise a giggle or some jeering, since it isn't really high-literature. But since I don't give a hey: I'm reading Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" at the moment. Bought it after reading "The Davinci Code". Both books proved great page-turners for me, just eating my way through them. I'll be going for "Angels & Demons" next...

Scientists have shown that the trashiest romance novel lights up more braincells than a Nova marathon on TV. So read whatever gives you pleasure -- reading only hoity-toity "class-marker" literature is a great way to get out of the habit of reading altogether.

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: rsfarrell ]


From: Portland, Oregon | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Clog-boy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11061

posted 30 November 2005 08:34 PM      Profile for Clog-boy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Phew! (a slight sigh of relief )

quote:
Originally posted by Syerah:
I was so fascinated by Angels & Demons that I was inspired to make a trip to Rome where I did a special tour called the 'Path of Illumination' which takes you to all the markers that form the plot of that book.

Nooo, no "spoilers" yet...! I'll check those pics when I read the book
But your fascination sure inspires me to finish off Digital Fortress tonight and go to the bookstore for Angels & Demons tomorrow!

[Edited 4 spelling... Geez!]

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: Clog-boy ]


From: Arnhem, The Netherlands | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 02 December 2005 01:00 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
John M. Ford -- Heat of Fusion and Other Stories. I know him as the author of the Star Trek book How Much For Just The Planet. Apparently that's one of his lesser efforts, in which case I have much to look forward to, as I thought it was pretty damn funny.
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3308

posted 02 December 2005 05:30 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm reading a couple of books by Tom Shippey about Tolkien:

The Road to Middle Earth
and
Tolkien: Author of the Century.

Fascinating stuff. Shippey is one of the few people in the world with the background in philology to really get and illuminate some of what Tolkien was doing. It's bizarre to realize, for instance, that a number of things in Lord of the Rings got there as a result of Tolkien's annoyance at the Oxford English Dictionary for getting the origins of certain words wrong. On the other end, I found it interesting that not only does LoTR frequently top reader polls about what the most important book of the twentieth century was, all the other ones in the top ten generally are the books people get taught in school, like Catcher in the Rye or bloody Lord of the Flies; people vote for them because they know they must be important 'cause they got taught in school that they were. Rings is the only book that's widely considered important despite the refusal of curriculum crafters and academics to agree.

As to Ray Bradbury, I think it's almost surprising that Fahrenheit 451 worked as well as it did. Bradbury generally strikes me as kind of an impressionist--much of his stuff is almost more like magic realism or something than science fiction as we normally think of it, and his stronger pieces tend to be short stories or collections of same (Martian Chronicles, for instance). He's a master of atmosphere and striking image. IMO, his longer works generally suffer--one starts to realize that atmosphere and striking images is most of what's there, and it isn't enough to carry a whole book. So with Fahrenheit 451--there aren't really any characters at an individual level, there isn't really a society with any coherence or underpinnings, the plot is kind of sketchy, and the whole thing is animated by a couple of profound, important political tropes but has no real politics beyond them. Ultimately, the whole book is basically about the image of a "fireman" whose job is to set fires, specifically to burn books and culture, and about the impact of art as made concrete by the Mona Lisa's smile. In a way, he could have stopped after chapter 1 and had a short story way more kick-ass than the entire book.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Yst
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9749

posted 02 December 2005 06:03 PM      Profile for Yst     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What am I reading right now...

I'm such a damned exciting guy. Over the past couple weeks, I've been tearing through about thirty reproductions of the various works of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, 1647, in both digital and print form. Being, most notably, the Confession of Faith, the Shorter Catechism and the Larger Catechism, though these are usually printed along with the Solemn League and Covenant, Directory for Publick Worship and various other works relevant to the Church of Scotland in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and usually printed with those royal or parliamentary Acts relevant to them in the 17th and 18th. In the present day, the relevance of these works to modern Christian liturgy is limited to their use by some Presbyterians and possibly by some Congregationalists and Baptists who think the Shorter Catechism remains useful for juvenile instruction.

I retain an affection for liturgy and theology, despite my present irreligiousness (formerly Baptist). Fascinating subject, to me. It merges the legal and philosophic with the spiritual and mythic. From its own point of view on the world it's the ultimate merger of all things which are serious and beautiful in the universe. There is no such thing in my worldview I suppose, so I need to borrow it. I'm a preference utilitarian aesthete with determinist tendencies, and believe no such stuff, but it's interesting to see through the eyes of those who do for a moment. Christians have varying responses, I find, to persons with an exclusively academic interest in theology, who wish to talk about it from a relativist point of view.

[ 02 December 2005: Message edited by: Yst ]


From: State of Genderfuck | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
mayakovsky
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5171

posted 02 December 2005 09:30 PM      Profile for mayakovsky     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
'Spain in our Hearts' by Pablo Neruda. New Directions has rereleased his Spanish Civil War poems in a beautiful, bilingual edition.

yst, are you interested in church music? I am learning about liturgical music, more specifically Gregorian and Orthodox chant.


From: New Bedford | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
kingblake
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3453

posted 03 December 2005 03:02 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thanks for the info, mayakovsky. But now I'm faced with a tough dilemna: Do I buy a copy of the Neruda re-release for myself, my father, or my brother-in-law? It'll be tough...

I just finished reading A heartbreaking work of staggering genius. It was quite good, and it had me laughing out loud several times, which is pretty rare for a book. It wasn't quite as side-splitting as I had hoped, but still well worth the read. I'm considering reading more by Dave Eggers.

And having just finished a book, I now get to do something I *love* doing. Perusing my books and seeing what to read next. I might even go out to a second-hand book shop nearby, and buy something. God I love saturdays!

From: In Regina, the land of Exotica | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
wasabi
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7676

posted 03 December 2005 09:15 PM      Profile for wasabi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I just finished reading Steve Paikin's biography on the last Prime Minister of Ontario, "Public Triumph, Private Tragedy: The Double Life of John P. Robarts". I was left feeling melancholy yet fortunate Robarts chose to serve.

I'm currently reading "The Autobiography of John Kay and Steppenwolf: Magic Carpet Ride". It's a historical trek through WWII Germany and the music of the 60s in Yorkville and California and I'm enjoying the time travel.


From: Toronto | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
ephemeral
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8881

posted 25 December 2005 08:51 AM      Profile for ephemeral     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yesterday, I borrowed from the library Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited".

I don't know why, but I kept getting drawn toward Ape and Essence, but never having read a Huxley book, I ended up getting Brave New World as it was recommended by somebody. You know who you are.


From: under a bridge with a laptop | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6061

posted 25 December 2005 08:57 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm reading comics. I have no idea why but I have recently developed a love for comics. This series is called The First - Two Houses Divided. Ilove the graphics and the story is exciting:


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
kingblake
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3453

posted 25 December 2005 12:38 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My Christmas reading is Andrew Collins' official biography of Billy Bragg, called Still Suitable for Miners. Really great and funny book which manages to cover the personal not at the expense of the political. It's about Billy Bragg, but even more importantly, it's about Maggie's Britain.

I'm almost done, and I'm not sure what to read next. Maybe something I get as a gift...

From: In Regina, the land of Exotica | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
clersal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 370

posted 25 December 2005 01:23 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
P.D. James, The Lighthouse.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 25 December 2005 09:54 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Christopher Ricks - Dylan's Visions of Sin. Veteran literary critic takes on the songs of Bob Dylan. Just skimming through it, which might be the best way to read it.
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
steffie
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3826

posted 27 December 2005 08:32 PM      Profile for steffie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Lynne Truss speaks to my nit-pickiness and tendency to want to live in a grammatically and socially "correct" world.

I loved Eats, Shoots & Leaves and now am devouring Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door. Penguin, New York: 2005.

After referencing an "old German fable" about porcupines who need to huddle together for warmth, Truss aptly sums up the tightrope one unconsciously straddles when practising good manners:

quote:
When people don't acknowledge each other politely, the lesson from the porcupine fable is unmistakeable. "Freeze or get stabbed, mate. It's your choice."

Anyone who wishes for world peace (in the form of civility) should read this book.

[edited to beef up titles and quote]

[ 27 December 2005: Message edited by: steffie ]


From: What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish? | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7050

posted 27 December 2005 09:36 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My Christmas reading is currently:

"Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jacobs. 200 pages in and it is a lovely read.

"After the Banquet" by Yukio Mishima. Haven't really touched it.

"Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan" by Bix. The life of young Hirohito is absolutely fascinating to read about.

I've also FINALLY got a copy of "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" unabridged (and in English!) to devour. I've read it before, but it was a childish little summary. This one is grusome and really...Wow.

I've got a gift certificate to Indigo-Chapters for 20 bucks and some remaining money. I need a really good book to read. Any suggestions? I must finish EVERYTHING before the holidays are over


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3807

posted 28 December 2005 03:13 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
"Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan" by Bix.

Hmm, I once read Bix, by Richard Sudhalter. Vo do de-o do.

I'm currently reading
Tommy Douglas: the Road to Jerusalem, by Ian and Thomas McLeod.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 28 December 2005 12:20 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I read a romance novel for the first time in well over a decade, just to read something thoroughly undemanding for my poor stessed-out head. It was a nice reminder why I don't read them, as well as being able to read and think about something else at the same time.

I've also read a children's book, "The Sisters Grimm" to see if it was good to pass on to Ms B or read to Ms T. It was actually quite funny.

I've been reading the Tao Te Ching in bits for a while, and had set it aside while I was too busy with project research, and have picked it up again. I'm also reading Carol Shield's "Swann". I'm not sure I like it especially, but I'm not that far in, yet. It feels like such a luxury to read something that isn't work!


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Eclectic
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8072

posted 29 December 2005 12:28 AM      Profile for Eclectic     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've started to read Swann about five times, but have never managed to get past the first thirty pages - it just couldn't retain my interest.

If you'd like a good romance that isn't really a romance, try The Passion, by Jeanette Winterson. Quirky, fantastic, funny and enough to move one to tears, all at the same time. Probably her best work, IMHO.

My current read is a recent used bookstore find: Conversations with John Gardner, a group of interviews with one of my favourite authors. BTW, this is NOT the Gardner who writes the cheesy spy novels, but the one who has done Grendel (which is the story of Beowulf from the Monster's point of view, a history of Chaucer, a translation of The Gilgamesh, as well as more novels and works of literary criticism. A major talent, he was.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Yst
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9749

posted 29 December 2005 01:01 AM      Profile for Yst     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Finished reading Interview With The Vampire and The Vampire Lestat after long having written Anne Rice off as pop culture dreck with which I needn't bother myself. And now I know first hand, why Anne Rice has been labeled a sell-out by many. The Vampire Lestat, as a story, is quite a mess indeed. As before, in Interview, Rice does a fairly good job of exploring the existential quandary with which her 19th century gentlemen vampires are faced. But her attempt to superimpose that quandary onto contemporary pop culture strikes me as an abyssmal failure with no significance to the body of the text other than to render it ridiculous.

Moreso, I don't know why she felt the need to resurrect (if you'll pardon the expression) the character Lestat and the backstory of Interview in order to tell a story which depicts an unrelated personality and claims a different history from the prior book. If she wanted to tell the story of a morally troubled vampire trying to find himself again, she could as easily (well, more easily) have invented another Louis with a different name, without defecating all over her prior work and creating a Lestat who didn't exist within it. I went away from Interview well pleased with her work, while I go away from The Vampire Lestat with a bitter taste in my mouth.


From: State of Genderfuck | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Accidental Altruist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11219

posted 29 December 2005 10:43 AM      Profile for Accidental Altruist   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've gotta have time off to read. So finally I can say I'm reading something!

Everybody into the Pool


From: i'm directly under the sun ... ... right .. . . . ... now! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 29 December 2005 11:00 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sounds like fun, AA. Another book advertised right next to it - I'm with the Band - heh: that sounds like fun too.

Eclectic, I love Gardner's essays and interviews too. He was a wonderful critic and teacher. People often say that writing can't be taught, and good writing teachers are probably pretty rare, but he was one, I think. It's wonderful to listen to him talk about good writing.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10724

posted 29 December 2005 01:20 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Yst:
Finished reading Interview With The Vampire and The Vampire Lestat after long having written Anne Rice off as pop culture dreck with which I needn't bother myself. And now I know first hand, why Anne Rice has been labeled a sell-out by many. The Vampire Lestat, as a story, is quite a mess indeed.
Lestat becomes the central character in the entire vamp soap. However, there are a couple of high lights. Check out Queen of the Damned, Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil and stop. You will leave thinking that Rice is a half decent writer. Now she has become a nuage born again shill.

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
faith
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4348

posted 29 December 2005 01:54 PM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
faith, 'Between Mountains' is an amazing novel. But Maggie Helwig's work always blows me away. For me, she is probably Canada's best left wing, committed writer. Read her poetry, wow!

Thank-you for the poetry recommendation mayakovsky I will definitely look into it. The first few pages of the book "Between Mountains' raised goosebumps. Her prose took me into the scene and I could almost smell the night air, I can just imagine her talents applied to poetry.
I took a mystery author pick from the thread we had before Christmas, and chose a Peter Robinson inspector Banks novel called 'Strange Affair' - it was an enjoyable read.

From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7050

posted 29 December 2005 09:28 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm done most of my reading.

I got a free copy of Ignatieff today. So I think I might read that.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11464

posted 29 December 2005 09:33 PM      Profile for Trams   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
From: Toronto | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
StrawCat
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10695

posted 30 December 2005 01:30 AM      Profile for StrawCat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This morning I read The Children of Guinea, by John Conner, in one sitting. It's a fascinating short history of Haiti, 49 pages, and is at this link:
http://www.greenanarchist.org/books.html
Highly recommended.

Yesterday, Bulfinch's version of Cupid and Psyche, and a bit of Changes in Medieval Society, edited by Sylvia L. Thrupp.
Thrupp was a highly regarded medievalist/ historian whom I came across by accident. Born in England, she grew up in Kamloops, B.C., matriculated from 'high school' with the highest marks in the entire province in the early 1920's, went on to university, won awards and medals at UBC, and won a good scholarship to 'any university in Britain' for graduate work. She chose to obtain her Ph. D at the U. of London, in the early/ mid '30's. There can't have been many women obtaining Ph. D's in those days. She taught for a while at UBC then taught at a couple of American universities, including the U. of Michigan, where an annual lecture series is named in her honour.
Oh, yes, along the way she wrote several books which are still major works in her field, edited other books and historical journals, and was the President of the American Historical Society for a while.
What else: She won a Fullbright Fellowship in 1944.
And oh, yes. She finally got around to getting married at age 83.
I'm trying to collect enough info to do a mini biography of her. To this end, I am collecting all books with her name on the cover, and when I am done that and have finished reading them, I will give the collection to Kamloops' TRU University.

In the meantime, I'll be getting a haircut and getting a real job.

Cheers.


From: Central B.C | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 30 December 2005 05:55 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fascinating post, Straw Cat - and welcome to babble, if I haven't said that before.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7050

posted 30 December 2005 04:44 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I must read this book. I know of Thrupp. She's spokenly very highly of in my circles. I do have to read something by her some time soonish.

Edited to stop a spelling error.

[ 30 December 2005: Message edited by: Papal Bull ]


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 01 January 2006 12:00 AM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Reading Wolves (a kids' book), by Emily Gravett. Okay, so it took me five minutes.

P.S. -- Happy new year (going by Babble time)!

[ 01 January 2006: Message edited by: obscurantist ]


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
justluckylittlecharm
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11546

posted 02 January 2006 07:45 PM      Profile for justluckylittlecharm        Edit/Delete Post
Currently, I'm re-reading Emma, (Jane Austen),Homeland (R.A. Salvatore), and Fellowship of the Ring(J.R.R. Tolkien).
I find it hard to have just one book going at a time.
I am trying to get my hands on some books by C.J. Cherryh. I had read the Chanur series years ago and was thinking of finding some of her other works.

From: Ontario | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
steffie
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3826

posted 02 January 2006 11:54 PM      Profile for steffie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've selected Watership Down (and, after reading this thread, Fahrenheit 451) to teach to grade 8-9 students.

Which should I read first? I think Watership Down because of its environmental slant (having just wrapped up an environment unit), but cripes, it's thick! Which book do babblers think I should start with?


From: What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish? | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
iworm
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2976

posted 03 January 2006 01:29 AM      Profile for iworm   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hmm. I just started reading Suketu Mehta's remarkable love letter to Bombay, Maximum City. Highly recommended.

Re: The Da Vinci Code.

Sigh. I'm a big supporter of trashy books. Few things make me happier than a lazy afternoon in bad weather, hiding under the sheets with a 1960s-style science fiction pulper or an embarrassing dudes-in-tights superhero comic book.

But I really really really tried to read The Da Vinci Code. Really, I tried! I so wanted to like it. But the cliched text, the cliched characters, the cliched plot structure ---man, I felt myself getting dumber with each page turn. I couldn't get past the first chapter, and even found myself slapping my forehead when the self-flagellating albino assassin made his first appearance.

So for those of you who got through it: my hat's off to the lot you. You are tougher folk than I, and a great deal more forgiving.


From: Constantly moving | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sven
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9972

posted 03 January 2006 01:40 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by iworm:
But I really really really tried to read The Da Vinci Code. Really, I tried! I so wanted to like it. But the cliched text, the cliched characters, the cliched plot structure ---man, I felt myself getting dumber with each page turn. I couldn't get past the first chapter, and even found myself slapping my forehead when the self-flagellating albino assassin made his first appearance.

So for those of you who got through it: my hat's off to the lot you. You are tougher folk than I, and a great deal more forgiving.


This book is not a monument to character development. But, the thing I found so captivating about it was the intricate "puzzles" the characters (seemed to plausibly) solve.

Right now, I'm reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln". It's excellent.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6477

posted 03 January 2006 02:33 AM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by steffie:
I've selected Watership Down (and, after reading this thread, Fahrenheit 451) to teach to grade 8-9 students...
That's a really interesting pairing; I've never thought about the two books together. Both have the theme of escape from a repressive society; but I would put Farenheit 451 first as being set mainly in the repressive society; whereas Watership Down is about building a new society. It's more hopeful that way; or you could be cynical and say F451 is the declining society that started in WD.

The rabbits in WD have an oral history and story tradition; whereas in F451 the outsiders memorize books to preserve them and pass them on.

WD has more character development.


From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Yst
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9749

posted 03 January 2006 02:54 AM      Profile for Yst     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Makwa:
Lestat becomes the central character in the entire vamp soap. However, there are a couple of high lights. Check out Queen of the Damned, Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil and stop. You will leave thinking that Rice is a half decent writer. Now she has become a nuage born again shill.

My harsh estimation of The Vampire Lestat has somewhat moderated itself over time and further consideration. I liked much of it sufficiently that what I disliked enflamed my frustration in a way that it could not have, had it possessed nothing of value to me. And I do now believe I will read Queen of the Damned eventually. However, I decided to take a little time off Rice and instead read Polidori's The Vampyre (1819) and Le Fanu's Carmilla, both of which I have now read. And I'll move on to reading Bram Stoker's Dracula, presently.

As for those first two, The Vampyre I found to be very much a story for its time and not for ours. Impenetrable, stilted early 19th century narrative prose which certainly foresees the thematic interests but does not really by any means begin to manifest the story-telling artistry and vivid imagery of the Victorian romantics. Carmilla on the other hand was quite enjoyable, generating genuine suspense where The Vampyre does not. Very worth the read (although given The Vampyre's brevity, I can hardly begrudge it the time I spent on it). It's delightful to see just how much these various competing vampire mythoi have survived and come through to the present quite intact.


From: State of Genderfuck | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Doug
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 44

posted 03 January 2006 11:07 AM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Do read Queen of the Damned - I thought it was much better than Lestat. Too bad there was that horrible movie made of it, though.
From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 03 January 2006 04:16 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How We Die, by Sherwin B. Nuland, surgeon and superb essayist. I've just started it, but I already knew that he writes like a poet. I can look a lot up, it appears; just ask.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
shaolin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4270

posted 03 January 2006 04:41 PM      Profile for shaolin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I recently read Perspepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi and I highly recommend both of them. They're in the form of graphic novels, something I've never been interested in before, but they're just fantastic. Basically, the first is the story of her childhood in Iran during the revolution. In the second, her parents send her off to Vienna to escape the Iran-Iraq war. It chronicles her years there and her return to Iran after the war. Hilarious, fascinating and incredibly moving.
From: Edinburgh | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
thwap
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5062

posted 03 January 2006 05:10 PM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post
I've been reading Laurie E. Adkins's Politics of Sustainable Development: Citizens, Unions, and the Corporations from Black Rose Books.

It's got really small font.

It's also got some pretty heavy-duty theory in the first chapter about the role of the working class in the revolutionary project in any "Post-Fordist" society.

I'm only on chapter 5 and so far, 2-5 have been about the roles played in the creation of environmental legislation by business, citizens' groups, and unions. It's pretty detailed and cool stuff.

I'm also reading Don Quixote, which i started on its 500th anniversary. Right now he's lying battered after attacking a herd of goats thinking it was an army of Moors, and having been hit with the slingshots of the shepherds. (He'd only recently gotten his ass kicked by some mule handlers and by a fellow guest at a small inn.)

anyhooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.....


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
thwap
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5062

posted 03 January 2006 05:12 PM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by shaolin:
I recently read Perspepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi and I highly recommend both of them. They're in the form of graphic novels, something I've never been interested in before, but they're just fantastic. Basically, the first is the story of her childhood in Iran during the revolution. In the second, her parents send her off to Vienna to escape the Iran-Iraq war. It chronicles her years there and her return to Iran after the war. Hilarious, fascinating and incredibly moving.

Oh yeah! I saw an excerpt from one of them! The Iranian Morals Police yelled at her when she was running for the bus to make a dentist's appointment. She stopped, cause the police were calling at her, and then when she found out that they'd stopped her, made her miss her bus because when she ran her bum made "obscene" movements, she yelled at them: "Then stop staring at my ass!"


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 03 January 2006 06:27 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Why experimental fiction threatens to destroy publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and life as we know it: A correction", by Ben Marcus, Harper's Magazine October 2005.

The harshest critique of a critique that I've read outside of Babble recently. I look forward to reading the next edition of Harper's, to see Franzen's critique of Marcus' critique of Franzen's critique of experimental fiction.


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
FabFabian
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7496

posted 06 January 2006 01:39 AM      Profile for FabFabian        Edit/Delete Post
I have needed a good laugh after this past year of crapitude. I took my giftcard and got "Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction." by Sue Townsend. Adrian is now 35, works in at a bookseller's in Leicester hopes that Tony Blair will help him get his deposit back on his booked trip to Cyprus. He cancels his trip as Blair tells the nation that Saddam has weapons that can hit Cyprus. More hilarity abounds!
From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 10 January 2006 11:30 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Nick Hornby - A Long Way Down
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8238

posted 30 January 2006 03:01 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've started a new thread here.
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Dusty
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14849

posted 01 February 2008 05:56 AM      Profile for Dusty        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by beluga2:
I just finished Paul Williams Roberts' stunning War Against Truth, his first-person account of the American rape of Iraq. I picked it up on the strength of a glowing recommendation by the Globe & Mail editors -- after he won the PEN award, they felt compelled to write a furious McCarthyist denunciation of Roberts' "anti-Americanism" and "conspiracy thinking", always an indication that someone's on the right track.

This book achieved the rare feat of leavening an excrutiatingly painful story with a bleak, ironic sense of humour that often had me laughing uproariously. Roberts has an eye for the absurdity of war as well as the horror.

The horror lingers, though. My hatred for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld is burning pretty fucking brightly right now.



From: Nova Scotia | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
jrose
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 01 February 2008 06:08 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I can't get your link to work, obscurantist. But I'm closing this one up for length and will open a new one!
From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  
Topic Closed  Topic Closed
Open Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca