What are you reading lately?

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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1001

Post by pjhimself » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:42 pm

Addie wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:55 pm
Michael Lewis's book about the Trump Administration, The Fifth Risk is not only about the Trump Admin, but about governing itself. The fifth risk facing the nation is identified as "Program Management" or what could happen if government programs are not managed properly or at all. Say if there's an administration in the White House that doesn't give a damn about things like science or terrible threats that diligent civil servants find every day, the discoveries that might have been if anyone was paying attention. This is a deeply researched and harrowing book to read. You might want to wait to do it until after the holidays. But read it.

ETA: Forgot to mention that the Obamas have an option on this book to develop as a Netflix documentary.
I'm in the early stages of reading this. An early impression was it was just a "Trump bashing". It may be but it's much more.
I found a good synopsis within the NYT review:
“The Fifth Risk” raises the most important question of the moment: Have we grown too lazy and silly and poorly educated to sustain a working democracy? We live in a moment when tribal bumper stickers — both left and right — pass for politics, when ignorance and grievance drive policy. The federal government exists at a level of complexity most people just can’t be bothered to understand. We have little idea what it does, only the vague sense that it doesn’t do anything very well. Michael Lewis has taken on the task of rectifying that misconception, and he has done so with refreshing clarity — and a measured sense of outrage — which makes this his most ambitious and important book.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/book ... -risk.html
There's more to it and I'm enjoying the perspective.



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1002

Post by Maybenaut » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:47 pm

fierceredpanda wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:47 am
So, after the Holiday gift-giving season, I am now buried in biographies. One family member gave me the first two volumes of Robert Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson (I already own volumes 3 & 4) - and my goodness do I hope Caro is taking vitamins or something to finish the last book, because he's 82. And then this weekend, as part of Christmas with the last set of relatives, I got my hands on Ron Chernow's biography of Ulysses Grant, which is gigantic.

I don't think I'm going to need anything else to read for a good long while. :dazed:
Grant was fantastic. A lot of the issues Grant faced will be familiar.


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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1003

Post by Addie » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:40 am

Thanks for this, TRL. I somehow missed The Late Show introducing Ballard. I finished it last night and loved it and her. Dark Sacred Night will be next.
Tiredretiredlawyer wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:49 am
"Dark Sacred Night" by Michael Connelly. His new detective, Renee Ballard, reams teams with Bosch. :bag: I read it in a day or less. Good!



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1004

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:04 pm

Addie wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:40 am
Thanks for this, TRL. I somehow missed The Late Show introducing Ballard. I finished it last night and loved it and her. Dark Sacred Night will be next.
Tiredretiredlawyer wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:49 am
"Dark Sacred Night" by Michael Connelly. His new detective, Renee Ballard, reams teams with Bosch. :bag: I read it in a day or less. Good!
Thanks! I shall look for The Late Show!


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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1005

Post by kate520 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:07 pm

kate520 wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:47 am
Minette Walters The Last Hours.

I’ve read all her crime fiction, loved it. PBS did a miniseries of her novel The Ice House a while back. She hasn’t written anything in a decade. This is quite a departure.

It begins in 1348 as the plague enters Europe, and follows a demesne full of serfs and one high-born widow as they struggle to make sense of their newly upside-down world. Several characters blossom in the adversity.

I’ll let you know. :bighug: This seems to be the first in a series.
I really liked this once I got used to the slower pace. Duh, it’s set in the Middle Ages. The US version of the second in this series won’t be available until October so I found a used copy on eBay.uk. It just arrived...and I’m in the middle of two projects and a move, so I won’t be able to snuggle up with it for at least two weeks :crying: . The anticipation will likely kill me. :mrgreen:


DEFEND DEMOCRACY

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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1006

Post by NotaPerson » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:40 pm

I’ve been on a decadence kick lately. Not so much as a participant, but as a reader/voyeur.

I had always heard that the 1920s were a sexually decadent time in Berlin. A while back it occurred to me that certainly someone must have written a book about it. Soon enough I was enjoying Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimer Berlin, by Mel Gordon. It told me everything I wanted to know and more, in rich and fascinating detail.

It all started as a terribly sad and dark thing. When the first World War ended, the German economy was in utter shambles, so many women (and some men and children) went into prostitution to earn money. There were many thousands of them in Berlin alone, and they became a huge draw for foreign tourists, catering to every fetish imaginable. There was one particular category of street-walking prostitutes who wore high leather boots, and they wore different colors of bootlaces to signify the type of pleasure they specialized in. Or if you were interested in sexual activity with physically crippled or deformed persons, there was a block in Berlin where you could find such persons to satisfy you.

Within a few years though, happier things began to happen. For example, there was a popular feminist movement that called for sexual liberation among woman. There was also a huge (and largely open) scene for gays and lesbians. One of the most fascinating things in the book for me concerned the various categories within which gays and lesbians placed themselves, based on criteria such as looks, fashion sense, class, and even political beliefs. Several of these groups published their own magazines (porno and not), newsletters, and even academic journals. There was also a small scene for transgender folks. Most of the gay and lesbian groups had their own clubs, threw their own big parties, and so on. Some welcomed tourists – even straight couples – who might have come to Berlin wanting to socialize with (or simple gawk at) gays and lesbians.

You might be wondering how a foreign tourist to Berlin in the 1920s would figure out how to navigate such a scene in order to find whatever it was that interested them. It was actually quite easy. Upon your arrival you could find a detailed guidebook to the scene at most any newsstand. Want to visit a nightclub featuring lesbians putting on a bdsm performance? The guidebook would tell you right where to go. It also explained how to translate the various colors of bootlaces the prostitutes were wearing. To make things even easier, there was a specific tram line you could board which would transport you to many of the erotic hot spots.

The scene blossomed, became internationally famous, and reached its peak in the early 1930s. Then the Nazis came to power and wiped it all away.

The book is filled with fascinating photos and graphic art from the period. The author has done a similar book about 1920s Paris (which I don’t have yet). At the time of his death early last year, he was apparently working on a book about “fascist love cults.” :shock:

There is a second book I’m finishing soon which has allowed me to wallow vicariously in decadence. But I’ll talk about that one later.


Am I being detained?

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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1007

Post by Volkonski » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:31 pm

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert

This book is frightening.

And interesting.

The idea of extinction is relatively new.

In 1781 Thomas Jefferson wrote-

“Such is the economy of nature,” he wrote, “that no instance can be produced of her having permitted any one race of her animals to become extinct; of her having formed any link in her great work so weak as to be broken.”

Jefferson knew about the mastodon bones that had been found at Big Bone Lick in Kentucky. He sent Lewis & Clark off on their explorations fully expecting that they would find living mastodons.

It wasn't until 1796 that French naturalist Jean-Léopold-Nicolas-Frédéric Cuvier, after studying the bones of African and Asian elephants, a Russian mammoth and an American mastodon, declared that these bones represented 4 different species and that the mammoths and mastodons were lost species. They were extinct.


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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1008

Post by Jez » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:30 am

The significant other gets me a book every valentine's day (amongst other things). This year's book is Alamut by Vladimir Bartol.

It is a novel set in 11th Century Persia and is (in a nutshell) about a group called the Hashshashin, which is where the word Assassin derives from. He thought I would enjoy it because the plot and some of the story line is the basis for the video game Assassin's Creed, which we both play.

So, we'll see how it is. :) I will probably start reading it tonight or tomorrow.


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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1009

Post by Volkonski » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:45 pm

Just discovered that this book was the 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winner in General Nonfiction.

I have now finished the book. I highly recommend it. The Kindle version is only $3.99.

By the way, the Panamanian golden frog (Panama’s national animal) which is the subject of the book's 1st chapter is now extinct in the wild. As recently as 20 years ago it was abundant.
Volkonski wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:31 pm
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert

This book is frightening.

And interesting.

The idea of extinction is relatively new.

In 1781 Thomas Jefferson wrote-

“Such is the economy of nature,” he wrote, “that no instance can be produced of her having permitted any one race of her animals to become extinct; of her having formed any link in her great work so weak as to be broken.”

Jefferson knew about the mastodon bones that had been found at Big Bone Lick in Kentucky. He sent Lewis & Clark off on their explorations fully expecting that they would find living mastodons.

It wasn't until 1796 that French naturalist Jean-Léopold-Nicolas-Frédéric Cuvier, after studying the bones of African and Asian elephants, a Russian mammoth and an American mastodon, declared that these bones represented 4 different species and that the mammoths and mastodons were lost species. They were extinct.


Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1010

Post by Volkonski » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:00 pm

800 Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts Are Now Online: Browse & Download Them Courtesy of the British Library and Bibliothèque Nationale de France

http://www.openculture.com/2019/02/800- ... nline.html

https://www.bl.uk/medieval-english-french-manuscripts


Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1011

Post by Kendra » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:08 pm

Team of Vipers, by Cliff Sims.



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1012

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:30 pm

Kendra wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:08 pm
Team of Vipers, by Cliff Sims.
I am picking that up from my local liberry on Monday. Can't wait!


A 19th Amendment Centennial Moment: On July 28, 1919, Arkansas became the 12th state to adopt the 19th Amendment.

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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1013

Post by Kendra » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:56 pm

Tiredretiredlawyer wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:30 pm
Kendra wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:08 pm
Team of Vipers, by Cliff Sims.
I am picking that up from my local liberry on Monday. Can't wait!
I'm enjoying it more than I thought. Just revisited the presser on the size on inaugural crowd from behind the scenes.



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1014

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Kendra wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:56 pm
Tiredretiredlawyer wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:30 pm
Kendra wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:08 pm
Team of Vipers, by Cliff Sims.
I am picking that up from my local liberry on Monday. Can't wait!
I'm enjoying it more than I thought. Just revisited the presser on the size on inaugural crowd from behind the scenes.
:thumbs:


A 19th Amendment Centennial Moment: On July 28, 1919, Arkansas became the 12th state to adopt the 19th Amendment.

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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1015

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:52 pm

Cliff Sims is an engaging writer. I have to take "Team of Vipers" in short spells because Sims is so conservative (without being pejorative or judgmental). I felt anxious reliving some of the conservative issues of political correctness and immigration.


A 19th Amendment Centennial Moment: On July 28, 1919, Arkansas became the 12th state to adopt the 19th Amendment.

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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1016

Post by John Thomas8 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:33 pm

Reading a book about the April 1862 battle of Shiloh in the American "Civil" War, William Groom. Amidst the the war history books he's written he penned "Forest Gump".



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1017

Post by Addie » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:45 am

Any Charles Cumming fans here? I finished his new standalone, The Moroccan Girl, in a couple of nights. As in his books, generally, nothing is as it seems, here including the title; the girl is Hungarian. The Russians are after her, or maybe someone else is, and she is hiding out in Morocco. Our hero, a London spy novelist named Kit Carradine, is about to attend a book conference in Marrakesh and is roped into trying to find her by an agent of the Security Services. But which Security Services? Anyway, this is an interesting contemporary tale, partly because it involves an international resistance group called "The Resurrection" which has turned from peaceful to violent, engaging in extreme acts of terror against the right wing in Western countries. Lara Bartok, the Hungarian girl, is also hiding from them, and she has good reason.



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1018

Post by Dr. Kenneth Noisewater » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:48 am

Started Andy McCabe's book. So far so good. Also starting Trevor Noah's book.



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1019

Post by Kendra » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:06 am

I'm reading McCabe's book as well.



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1020

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:17 pm

Interview of Cliff Sims (author "Team of Vipers"). Glad I didn't force myself to finish the book.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/ ... rved-trump
Cliff Sims Is Proud to Have Served Trump

In the book, you write, “The Charlottesville response did not cause me to reconsider working in the White House, the way it seemed to with others. Part of it may have been that I was battle-hardened after a year in the foxhole. But I also just flat-out did not think he was racist. . . . I personally never witnessed a single thing behind closed doors that gave me any reason to believe Trump was consciously, overtly racist. If I had, I could not have possibly worked for him.” Do you want to expand upon that?

Yeah, yeah. I think there is another scene in the book that is illustrative of— Well, so, like, the Congressional Black Caucus meeting in the book, where they came in kind of loaded for bear and ready to really give it to him, and then they sit down with him and realize the same thing a lot of people do, which is: Man, you kinda just can’t help like the guy when you get in the room with him. He is very gregarious and a great host. I really don’t think there is a racist bone in his body. I can keep going on this, though, because I have thought a lot about this.

So when you hear things like birtherism, “shithole countries,” or that someone with Mexican heritage can’t be a fair judge, none of that stuff fazes you?

I think my take on that is very similar to Senator Tim Scott, the only black [Republican] United States senator’s take on it, which is that he can definitely be racially insensitive at times, and the Charlottesville issue really is a picture of something that I think is maybe unique to the Trump Presidency, where we are all watching the same movie, and yet we are seeing completely different things on the screen. If you give Trump the benefit of the doubt on Charlottesville, if you like Trump, when he says there are good people on both sides, what you think is, There are good people who say, “We should not have these monuments because they are monuments to slavery and racism.” And then there are also good people who say—


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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1021

Post by SuzieC » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:26 pm

I just finished "Becoming." It was a beautifully written memoir of a woman that led an amazing life. However, it made me feel very sad, as if I had suffered a loss like losing a member of the family. I miss the Obamas so much. Michelle is gracious, more than I would have been, about the Orange Shit Nightmare that followed her husband.



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1022

Post by RTH10260 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:00 pm

Tolkien was right: Scholars conclude Beowulf likely the work of single author
Study cites consistent use of certain letter combinations throughout text as evidence.
JENNIFER OUELLETTE - 4/17/2019, 12:30 PM

The epic poem Beowulf is the most famous surviving work of Old English literature. For decades, scholars have hotly debated both when the poem was composed and whether it was the work of a single anonymous author ("the Beowulf poet"). Lord of the Rings' scribe J.R.R. Tolkien was among those who famously championed the single-author stance. Now researchers at Harvard University have conducted a statistical analysis and concluded that there was very likely just one author, further bolstering Tolkien's case. They published their findings in a recent paper in Nature Human Behavior.

Set in Scandinavia, Beowulf recounts the adventures of its titular hero. The Danish King Hrothgar's mead hall is under attack from a monster called Grendel. Beowulf obligingly slays the beast, incurring the wrath of Grendel's equally monstrous mother. He slays her, too, and eventually becomes king of his people, the Geats. Some 50 years after those adventures, Beowulf slays a dragon, although he is killed in the process. Scholars believe many of the characters are based on historical figures in sixth-century Scandinavia.


https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/04 ... le-author/



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1023

Post by Volkonski » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:18 pm

While reading the original book "Good Omens" came upon this sentence. ;)
Anathema didn’t only believe in ley-lines, but in seals, whales, bicycles, rain forests, whole grain in loaves, recycled paper, white South Africans out of South Africa, and Americans out of practically everywhere down to and including Long Island.
Gaiman, Neil. Good Omens (p. 134). William Morrow. Kindle Edition.

Turns out the Amazon Prime miniseries is very faithful to the book. Of course the surviving author also wrote the screenplay and was a showrunner for the production.


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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1024

Post by RTH10260 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:06 am

crossposting

The Great Electronic Book Burning of 2019
E-books purchased from Microsoft store will vanish this month
By MICHAEL SCHAUB
JUL 02, 2019 | 1:15 PM

Microsoft decision to shut down the digital rights management servers tied to the books

If you’ve bought e-books from the now-defunct book section of the Microsoft store, you might not have long to read them.

Microsoft has informed customers that the books they have accumulated in the past several months will be made unreadable this month, due to the company’s decision to shut down the digital rights management (DRM) servers tied to the books, according to Vice.

On a Microsoft Store FAQ page, the company writes, “Starting April 2, 2019, the books category in Microsoft Store will be closing. Unfortunately, this means that starting July 2019 your e-books will no longer be available to read, but you’ll get a full refund for all book purchases.”

Customers who preordered books prior to April 2 won't be charged for the books they’d hoped to get, Microsoft said.

While the refunds mean that customers can buy elsewhere the books they’ve already purchased, readers who made notes in the books they bought from Microsoft won't be able to access their annotations.


https://www.latimes.com/books/la-et-jc- ... story.html



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Re: What are you reading lately?

#1025

Post by Northland10 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:59 pm

Maybe I should list the three books I am reading concurrently.

Score, Data-Driven Success for Your Advancement Team - Kevin MaacDonell and Pete Wylie
Donor Centered Fundraising, 2nd edition - Penelope Burk
An Executive's Guide to Fundraising Operations - Christopher Cannon

I doubt anybody will make a movie on these.


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