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Read any good books lately?(43 posts)

Read any good books lately?dr hoo
Oct 10, 2003 6:00 AM
Or not so lately?

Personally, I read light and escapist fare. I spend far too much time reading heavy and dense non-fiction during the day to read more of it at night. Mostly science fiction of the "speculative fiction" variety. Rocket ships and blasters haven't done it for me for a long time.

Iain M. Banks: Use of Weapons, Player of Games. Both fascinating studies of power and cultural influence on action. The author also publishes non SF fiction under Iain Banks, and The Wasp Factory was voted as one of the top British novels of the 20th century. It is very good, in a darkly twisted way.

Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash. Cyber punky, with one of the greatest starts to a book, and greatest endings to a book, and action packed middles you are likely to find. A bit of linguistic theory to boot. The hero is a samurai sword wielding hacker who works as a pizza delivery guy for the mob. Coined the term "loglo" to describe the sickly colored cast of the night sky in cities that comes from reflected strip mall sign light.

David Brin: The Uplift War. Great aliens, great ending. Brin is a libertarian with a collectivist streak, which he somehow makes work. His recent Kiln People raises some interesting ethical questions about personhood and technology. Very solid, but not in the same league as Uplift War.

Those are really good books. Literate, not just trash. I have a long, long list of trash too, if you are so inclined.

OH, FYI, a good internet list of SF titles is here:

Any book suggestions?
The Human Stain-Phillip Roth The Voyage-Phillip Caputo128
Oct 10, 2003 6:15 AM
The Whore's Child- Richard Russo (short stories)

Lighter fare: Spencer novels- Robert Parker
Master of the Senate by Robert Caromoneyman
Oct 10, 2003 6:33 AM
Fascinating biography about LBJ. Very enlightening. Best part? Bought it for $5 in a sale bin at my daughter's university.

Second than and also recommend . . .ms
Oct 10, 2003 8:18 AM
the two earlier volumes that Caro has written on Johnson. LBJ's moral compass was non-existent. But, he was a master at getting things done.
Thanks for recommendation on Caro's LBJ trilogy.Dale Brigham
Oct 10, 2003 9:05 AM
That's next on my list (must first get Teddy Roosevelt through the White House and beyond).

Regarding LBJ, he was, of course, a gigantic S.O.B. As the expression goes, I always thought of him as "our" (as in semi-liberal Texas Dems) S.O.B. His war on poverty and civil rights stance seemed to me to be indicative of some kind (rudimentary, at least) of working moral compass.

Am I sadly misguided here? Please tell me what you (and Caro) think. I promise I'll read the books later.

My impression - No morla compassmoneyman
Oct 10, 2003 9:48 AM
Just a Lyndon power compass. The good stuff was a means to an end. He is still a fascinating character of history, though.

$$ dissing my cuz????ClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 9:50 AM
LBJ, distant distant cuz of mine...well, before he died that is
Thanks for recommendation on Caro's LBJ
Oct 13, 2003 11:11 AM
My moral compass comment related to his womanizing and his acting as a conduit for graft to members of the Senate (including himself). I was not surprised by his womanizing and some graft was to be expected in LBJ's era. But, the extent of the graft and LBJ's use of it to control the Senate was a bit of a surprise.

Also, stealing elections (like the 1948 Senate election in Texas -- the focus of Volume 2) is something that should trip one's moral compass.

All that being said, I enjoyed the books, am fascinated by the man and look forward to reading Volume 4 if Caro gets to it before I am too old to read (almost 10 years elapsed between Volumes 2 and 3 -- the rumor is that Lady Bird Johnson was upset with Volume 2 and told all of her friends and relatives not to cooperate with Caro on the next volume).
What's So Great About America - D. Desouzalotterypick
Oct 10, 2003 6:33 AM
Here's the first chapter. Great book.
Try 'Illiberal Education'-Desouza. A healthy critique of Aff.128
Oct 10, 2003 6:41 AM
Actn. policies (from a conservative, minority immigrant intellectual!)
Oct 10, 2003 6:50 AM
Thomas the Tank Engine Goes to Town
The Complete Book of Fairytales
My Big Animal Book
The Little Engine That Could
Thomas the Tank Engine's Big Lift-And-Look Book

get the picture? ;-)

Show off. nm128
Oct 10, 2003 6:54 AM
what!?!? Where is the classic...dr hoo
Oct 10, 2003 7:06 AM
... Curious George Rides a Bike.

You are falling down on your early indoctrination duties.
probably that, tooDougSloan
Oct 10, 2003 7:24 AM
He probably has 100 books. That was just a sampling of the ones lately.

He does love his Elmo musical book that has music to the words:

Elmo (I say "Lukey") races all day long
Doodah, doodah
With his shiney bike and his helmet on
All the doodah day.

He points at the tricycle (which he thinks is a bicycle) and says "bydle" -- "dahdoo, dahdoo!!!"


My kids are 16 and 19moneyman
Oct 10, 2003 8:40 AM
And I can still quote:

me: The deep lake was very...
daughter 1: Dark!
me: All the fishes were...
daughter 1: Asleep!

Reading to your kids is wonderful.

A Natural History of TreesAlex-in-Evanston
Oct 10, 2003 6:59 AM
of Eastern and Central North America, by Donald Peattie. Peattie wrote the history of western trees and was writing the southern volume at the time of his death. Eastern was written in 1947 or thereabouts. I've never read a book by somebody with more love for the subject.

Botany of Desire- Pollan, was kinda interesting. nm128
Oct 10, 2003 7:05 AM
I am reading: ExamCram: Win 2000 Server. Woohoo!!! nmKristin
Oct 10, 2003 7:22 AM
Bios of Great AmericansDale Brigham
Oct 10, 2003 7:51 AM
Of late, I've developed a serious jones for biographies of larger-than-life 'mericans. Here are my most previous recent (and recommended) reads:

A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell, by Donald Worster
Losing an arm in the Civil War did not slow down this guy one bit (anybody see Roger Daltry climbing one-armed up a Green River cliff on the History Channel last Sunday?). Not only a geologist and survey expedition leader, Powell was a noted ethnographer (he could speak and write the Hopi language, fer chrissake!), fathered the U.S. Geologic Survey, and rightly predicted how water (or lack thereof) would become the limiting factor in the Southwest. A fascinating fellow, and a great read.

Eisenhower, by Stephen E. Ambrose
A greatly underrated President, Eisenhower valiently kept us out of WWIII in the 50's by resisting hotheads in both parties. Oh, he also defeated Hitler in the 40's. Had a large blind spot for civil rights and put up with McCarthy for too long (until Tailgunner Joe started calling Ike's Army buddies commies), but otherwise, a great leader, IMHO. Ambrose clearly loved and admired Ike (like pretty much everybody in that era), but he does not hesitate in criticizing Ike, where such is merited.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edmund Morris
Teddy was the most brilliant, abrasive, charming, and exasperating person one could ever hope/fear to enjoy/endure. For example, he wrote the definitive naval history of the War of 1812 while he was a self-indulgent, foppish Harvard frat-boy. He went into Cuba with an almost bloodlust for battle, then afterward, dedicated himself to peace. It's simply hard to believe his incredible life even before he was President (that's in Morris' second part of the bio, Theodore Rex). I can't imagine a better dinner companion than Teddy (just don't plan on getting a word in edgewise).

I'm a bio addict myself, Comrade Dale.OldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 7:57 AM
Check out 'American Sphinx.' Just finished it last month. Great bio of Thomas Jefferson.

(I like to read bios in between re-readings of Mao's little red book).
Strange thing about McCarthy.....ClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 9:41 AM
A vast number of the people ol Joe called commies were.....
Right, and commies should be put in jail!OldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 9:50 AM
Or at the very least, have their reputations ruined for their political beliefs. Or lose their jobs. Or be hauled into some government Star Chamber to inform on their friends.

What the HELL, man? I'm a commie and I ain't overthrown no government, not that I've noticed. I cain't even get a damn reformist liberal Dumocrat ELECTED to office somewhere. You think I have the wherewithal to heave Dick Cheney out of the White House using brute force?

You need to put Ann C. aside, and come up to Kentucky and sit a spell. Watch LSU whip UK's ass, then I'll straighten you out on this commie business, and git you liquored up to boot.
Right, and commies should be put in jail!ClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 9:52 AM
Ann C? LSU? you losing me there..actually at that point in time in the middle of the Cold War there were people in this country trying to overthrow our government..but did Joe go to far? Yes, but, there were bad apples in those barrels he was tossing...
Aren't you a Louisianan? nmOldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 10:16 AM
Oct 10, 2003 10:19 AM
born in Tennessee and lived there until 1985, then brief stints in Texas, Utah, Missouri and here in Alabama since late 1988.
'Bama! OK, Well, I believe you allOldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 10:24 AM
have already whipped UK's ass this year, so I guess we'll cut straight to Bourbon and your political re-education!
not a bama fan!ClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 10:27 AM
Root against SEC teams whenver I can! And not big on bourbon. My fave? An occasional dark beer or a glass of a southern wine, muscadine.
OK, so you don't like bourbon and SEC football...Dale Brigham
Oct 10, 2003 10:56 AM what teams do you root for? With your much-travelled history, you should find one or two to follow.

Dale (Texas Tech, Penn State, Texas A&M, and Mizzou fan, in that order of preference)
my alma mater...ClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 11:01 AM
Univ of Tn at Chattanooga, in football we are I-AA. I volunteer in the pressbox and am the person who decides who makes the tackles for the official stats...

We are going thru a particularly rough period in football now..rebuilding a program that was in the dumper....our claim to fame in football right now is we are the alma mater of Terrell Owens of 49'er fame.

Now in basketball we arent half a new coach named Jeff Lebo last year who is very good at what he does...will take us back to the promised land very soon...NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1997.
What's their mascot? The Fightin' Litespeeds? (nm)Dale Brigham
Oct 10, 2003 11:31 AM
What's their mascot? The Fightin' Litespeeds? (nm)ClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 11:37 AM
Not a bad has been of them resuming their club level triathlon team and Litespeed sponsoring them...probably wont happen though
Really, what is their mascot? I was just kidding before (nm)Dale Brigham
Oct 10, 2003 11:56 AM
Oh, Ann Coulter! more...ClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 9:54 AM
Wish I had her to put aside..never read her book, just watched her on sassy great looking broad...
Oct 10, 2003 1:13 PM
In the book I mentioned about LBJ, there is a lengthy discussion of how our pal Lyndon handled reappointment of one Leland Olds and LBJ's sidehand communist accusations of Mr. Olds. This was 1949, just prior to Joe Mc.

My Dad, God rest his soul, was a lifelong citizen of Wisconsin, Joe M.'s home. He thought Joe was a saint. He also made the statement that Richard Nixon would go down in history as one of the greatest presidents ever.

No jokes about apples falling near trees, please.

The Iowa Baseball Confederacy - Kinsella nmClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 9:32 AM
a few I've liked recently...gtx
Oct 10, 2003 9:50 AM
Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills
Straight Man by Richard Russo
Built in a Day by Steven Rinehart
Sam the Cat (stories) by Matt Klam
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
How to Rebuild Big-Block Mopar Engines by Don Taylor
re: Read any good books lately?bicyclerepairman
Oct 10, 2003 4:56 PM
"River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life" by Richard Dawkins.
"Bucky" by Hugh Kenner. A biography of R. Buckminster Fuller.
"Seeing in the Dark" by Timothy Ferris.
"History as Mystery" by Michael Parenti.
"The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" by Greg Palast.

I haven't read these recently, but I'd like to recommend "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, and "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by Phillip K. Dick. Since reading these, I look at life differently.
I have 2 collections of PKD stories.dr hoo
Oct 11, 2003 4:28 AM
He wrote a heck of a short story.

Have you ever read Bruce Sterling's story "Bicycle Repair Man"?

"Eddie used Lyle's bike shop as his saftey-deposit box. This arrangement was okay by Lyle. He owed Eddy: Eddy had installed the phones and virching in the bike shop, and had also wangled the shop's electrical hookup. The thick elastic curlycable snaked out the access crawlspace of Floor Thirty-five, right through the ceiling of Floor Thirty-four, and directly through a ragged punch-hole in the aluminum roof of Lyle's cable-mounted mobile home. Some unknown contact of Eddy's was paying the real bills on that electrical feed. Lyle cheerfully covered the expenses by paying cash into and anonymous post-office box. The setup was a rare and valuable contact with the world of organized authority."
I haven't heard of it, but I'm going to look for it now.....nmbicyclerepairman
Oct 11, 2003 11:50 PM
Where I found it:dr hoo
Oct 12, 2003 5:38 AM
"Years best science fiction, 14th annual collection", ed. by Gardner Dozois. He is a great editor for sf.

It was first published in something called "Intersections" in 1996.
My favorite editor for SF remains Groff Conklin...nmbicyclerepairman
Oct 13, 2003 11:47 AM
Yup, got 3char
Oct 11, 2003 7:23 PM
1. Peter the Great
2. The Complete Sherlock Holmes
3. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Just read #1

I play it the company way...
read any Chuck Pahluniak?ColnagoFE
Oct 13, 2003 8:12 AM
the guy that wrote Fight Club. Twisted, but fun reads. Would recommend about anything he's written. Irvine Welsh (trainspotting) is another of my faves in that vein. Krakauer's new book on the Mormons is a good read for nonfiction. Others? Maybe check out some stuff by Rusell Banks.