What are we Reading?

Posted:
in AppleOutsider edited January 2014
Okay, we have a music thread, but we are sadly lacking a books thread..



This can be books you absolutely love and can't resist shoving at other people, or whatever you are reading currently.



For me, at the moment I am reading "Tricky Business" by Dave Barry. It is really rather awful. Some better books that I have loved in the past are "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand and "Illusions" by Richard Bach. These two books are my Bibles. I live by them. Anyone else read these?



So.. What is everyone else reading?
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Comments

  • shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong-Kingston



    ...when i get the chance.
  • splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Electronic Properties of Materials (3rd edition), which is a basic text on quantum physics and how it relates to electrical properties of materials (whodathunkit). I'm also re-reading portions of a text I've read in college called simply, Digitial Signal Processing.



    When I'm on the can I have a book called Psycho, which incidentally is a ghostwritten autobiograhy of an English football legend by the name of Stuart Pearce. It's not exactly first-tier literature, but my friend went to England over Christmas (he's English) and got it for me mostly as a joke knowing that I'm a big fan of Man City.



    I read a lot of classic literature in high school. I have very little tolerance for fiction anymore. Almost everything I read is either a textbook or a philosophical non-fiction type work.



    I remember very much disliking Atlas Shrugged. This is perhaps hard to fathom since I'm a full-blooded libertarian, but I'm just not convinced that Ayn Rand can write at better than the 9th grade level. Her roots as a screenplay writer are evident in all of her books, of which I'd argue that only The Fountainhead should be held in the regard of great books of the 20th century.
  • ronaldoronaldo Posts: 439member
    The Rise of American Democracy Jefferson to Lincoln by Sean Wilentz
  • shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    [i]This is perhaps hard to fathom since I'm a full-blooded libertarian



    I just saw her Love Letters movie (she wrote the screenplay). Joseph Cotten was in it.



    It was great until the sappy ending...
  • @_@ artman@_@ artman Posts: 5,231member
    I've been reading Neil Stevenson's Baroque Cycle series. Fantastic series. Has Neil's sense of humor, but also his view of the times, customs and people in the 17th and 18th centuries. I'm on book three. The second book (King of the Vagabonds) was my favorite with the characters Jack (Half-Cock) Shaftoe and Eliza. I've rented some movies too to get the look and feel of these times. Cromwell and The Libertine. They helped me get a visual sense of those turbulent times.
  • maimezvousmaimezvous Posts: 802member
    At the moment I am reading "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson. It seems a bit slow but I'm not very far yet. As for books that I can read over and over again, there is the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer which really shows the kid in me, The Prestige by Christopher Priest (I was inspired to read it after I saw the movie which I thought was amazing. Not so surprisingly, the book was much better), and then One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.
  • giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    Effective Project Management. Ok, I admit I'm skimming portions. It's for class and ancillary to the actual project. Strangely, I'm surrounded by millions of books at work and yet not currently reading any. \
  • bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,719member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by @_@ Artman View Post


    I've been reading Neil Stevenson's Baroque Cycle series. Fantastic series. Has Neil's sense of humor, but also his view of the times, customs and people in the 17th and 18th centuries. I'm on book three. The second book (King of the Vagabonds) was my favorite with the characters Jack (Half-Cock) Shaftoe and Eliza.



    Artman,

    I read the first of the Baroque Cycle last summer and it looks like next summer is the first chance I'll have at the second. I'm glad to hear you reccomend it. I have a question that has been bugging me at a low level since I read it: were some of the stories of Jack Shaftoe described in the first book also tole in Cryptonomicon? I kept feeling a sense of deja vú but I couldn't place it.



    Anyway, I just finished another period piece, El Capitán Alatriste by Pérez-Reverte(X2). I slogged through it in Spanish, but I hear the series has been translated to English. Takes place during the 17th century, Spain's Golden Century. It has a completely different tone than Stephenson's work...
  • justinjustin Posts: 403member
    Apple Mac's Indesign.



    It's about time
  • midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by turnwrite View Post


    Some better books that I have loved in the past are "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand and "Illusions" by Richard Bach. These two books are my Bibles. I live by them.



    You must be very, very confused.
  • kingofsomewherehotkingofsomewherehot Posts: 3,988member
    Michael Crichton's "NEXT" and Patrick O'brien's "Treason's Harbour"
  • @_@ artman@_@ artman Posts: 5,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    Artman,

    I read the first of the Baroque Cycle last summer and it looks like next summer is the first chance I'll have at the second. I'm glad to hear you reccomend it. I have a question that has been bugging me at a low level since I read it: were some of the stories of Jack Shaftoe described in the first book also tole in Cryptonomicon? I kept feeling a sense of deja vú but I couldn't place it.



    Actually, they are all part of the family...genealogically I would guess.



    "Here is a list of families that appear in both Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle. In cases where multiple members of the family appear (example: Wait Still Waterhouse), only the primary member(s) are listed. Some of this, such as the Halaby family, is speculative."



    I read Cryptonomicon first and when I read reviews of The Baroque Cycle I noticed this too. It attracted me even more to them. It's fun to see the relatives of the Cryptonomicon characters appearing acting and doing more or less what their ancestors did.
  • turnwriteturnwrite Posts: 372member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post


    Michael Crichton's "NEXT" and Patrick O'brien's "Treason's Harbour"



    Oh, is NEXT good? I can't decide if I want to buy it or not..
  • turnwriteturnwrite Posts: 372member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maimezvous View Post


    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (I was inspired to read it after I saw the movie which I thought was amazing. Not so surprisingly, the book was much better)



    Wait, that is a book? I had no idea. Shall go purchase it immediately.
  • turnwriteturnwrite Posts: 372member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwinter View Post


    You must be very, very confused.



    Ah.. How so?
  • kingofsomewherehotkingofsomewherehot Posts: 3,988member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by turnwrite View Post


    Oh, is NEXT good? I can't decide if I want to buy it or not..



    I'm about halfway ... It's OK so far, but his stories don't really come together 'till the end. I borrowed it... I wouldn't buy it 'till it's out in paperback.

    In any case, I liked "State of Fear" a lot better at the half-way point.
  • bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,719member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by @_@ Artman View Post


    Actually, they are all part of the family...genealogically I would guess.



    Thanks for the link. I should have been keeping notes as I went. In adition suppose I shouldn't be letting a year or two go between reading each book.

    Actually, I figured out that he was following many of the same families (or the same person as far as Enoch goes...) pretty quick.



    What got me was the stories like Shaftoe living in the house of the rich guy during the plague and how new vagabonds kept showing up. Was that referenced in Criptonomicon? Is it a common story? Or did I have unlinked deja vú syndrome...



    I could research the web and probably find out, but I am afraid to find out too much about the books I have not yet read--I like to be surprised...
  • splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by turnwrite View Post


    Ah.. How so?



    midwinter doesn't like Ayn Rand. I'm not sure if it's the ideology, the writing itself, or some combination of the two. Personally, I think she's a bit crazy, but I like the basic message. The fact that she's a Russian Jew immigrant and a survivor definitely comes out, and I like that. I like the fact that in her fictional world the people that survive are the ones that work hard and believe in themselves. The rest of the story, however, always manages to follow like a bad 50's movie.



    For an academic with possibly no recollection of his bloodline's past, this can be an extremely foreign concept, or he might just be a softy. Maybe it's even jealousy that she managed to succeed at selling a product, and as far as I know he has not. However it may be, the fact is that midwinter detests Ayn Rand's books, and I'd venture a guess that it's both of the main aspects that he dislikes. I seem to remember him claiming to have used pages of at least one of her books as toilet roll, which is a fate I wish on no book.
  • shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Splinemodel loves that armchair psychoanalysis.
  • midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post


    Splinemodel loves that psychoanalysis.



    Yeah, but he really, really sucks at it.



    Quote:

    midwinter doesn't like Ayn Rand. I'm not sure if it's the ideology, the writing itself, or some combination of the two.



    You got it. Not only do I find the ideology both naive and old-fashioned (are we SURE these "novels" weren't written in the 18th century? or by Ward and June Cleaver?), but the writing is clunky.



    Quote:

    Personally, I think she's a bit crazy, but I like the basic message. The fact that she's a Russian Jew immigrant and a survivor definitely comes out, and I like that. I like the fact that in her fictional world the people that survive are the ones that work hard and believe in themselves. The rest of the story, however, always manages to follow like a bad 50's movie.



    I would suggest that you watch episodes of Leave It To Beaver. It'll only take a half hour and you get the same message.



    Quote:

    For an academic with possibly no recollection of his bloodline's past, this can be an extremely foreign concept, or he might just be a softy.



    You have no idea what the fuck you're talking about. But yeah. Forgetting one's "bloodline" is a trait common to Southerners.



    Quote:

    Maybe it's even jealousy that she managed to succeed at selling a product, and as far as I know he has not.



    You have no idea what the fuck you're talking about, and I hardly feel the need to defend my career to you (although my publication and presentation histories are matters of public record). Maybe when you have a career, we can talk. But right now, you need to find a place to live so you can find a job. I still recommend SLC.



    Quote:

    However it may be, the fact is that midwinter detests Ayn Rand's books, and I'd venture a guess that it's both of the main aspects that he dislikes. I seem to remember him claiming to have used pages of at least one of her books as toilet roll, which is a fate I wish on no book.



    As I said earlier, I liked neither the writing nor the philosophy in her books, and I've read several.



    Here's a little psychoanalysis for you, Princeton boy (I'm frankly stunned that you didn't remind us 9 times in your post that you went there): why don't you invest your intellectual and emotional energy into finding a job to replace the one you quit out of the blue and stop childishly lashing out at people who lead happy and productive lives? You ever wonder if maybe there's a connection there? Maybe just a little? A teensy bit of connection considering I'm the second academic type you've attacked lately (Shawn, earlier)?



    My point? Maybe you ought to stop fighting it and go back to school.
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