February 26, 2012
— Monty I bought a couple of new books over the past week in violation of my self-imposed "no new books until I finish my backlog" rule. I'm always concerned that if I don't pick the book up when I'm thinking about it, I'll just forget about it and it will disappear into the flowing river of Time. (Also, the Kindle makes impulse-buying dreadfully easy.)
The first book went right to the top of my list: Charlie Louvin's The Devil is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers (co-written with Benjamin Whitmer). If you're any kind of fan of country or roots music, you know who the Louvin Brothers are: they were the premier country music "brother act" in the middle part of the 20th century.
Normally I'm not a fan of biography, but in this case the subject matter is an interest of mine: I love old country and bluegrass music, and as musicians Ira and Charlie Louvin (Loudermilk) blazed a lot of trails in both the mainstream country and bluegrass genres. (They're still the best close-harmony duet in the history of country music, I think.) But there is an added dimension to their story: Charlie was a relatively straight arrow while his brother Ira was a violent alcoholic. Modern rock stars' antics have nothing on Ira Louvin: married four times, his third wife shot him four times in the chest for beating her, and he was known to smash his mandolin on stage while drunk. (One has to wonder if a young Jimi Hendrix was watching and taking mental notes.) Ira was also notorious for telling a young Elvis Presley that he shouldn't be playing "that n***er trash" on stage -- advice that the young Elvis fortunately ignored.
One thing I find interesting about the Louvins' history is that their lives encompass a time of great change in America, both culturally and musically. The brothers recapitulated a story already familiar in the annals of country music: born the sons of a dirt-poor cotton farmer in the south, they eventually escaped into the world of music and made fortunes in the great postwar boom of country and bluegrass music. Born in a time when automobiles were scarce and only the wealthy had electricity and indoor plumbing, they saw America turn into a military and technological giant in the 1940's and 1950's. And finally they saw the rise of youth culture in the 1960's, as their own trailblazing ways began to be seen as old-fashioned by the new generation of young people. One brother -- Charlie -- would survive his journey; the other would not.
The second book I picked up on a recommendation from a friend: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This book is an exploration of how human beings think: the "fast" way, which is intuitive, instinctive, and emotional; and the "slow" way, which is more deliberate and logical. Each system of thought tends to bring along with it biases and common errors in judgement, and this book is an attempt to explain how these modes of thought developed in the human species and how a synthesis of the two modes of thought compromise our mental models today. I haven't begun the book yet, but it sounds very interesting indeed. (The topic is similar to Stephen Pinker's How the Mind Works, which was a pretty interesting book.)
EDIT: I almost forgot to add links to two interesting essays.
The first is a piece by Victor Davis Hanson, entitled "So Why Read Any More?".
The second is a longish essay by Roger Kimball entitled "The Great American Novel".
If you have any book suggestions or recommendations, please send them to aoshqbookthread AT gmail DOT com.
Roland Hess sends several tutorial titles on the "Blender" computer software: Blender Foundations: The Essential Guide to Learning Blender 2.6, The Essential Blender: Guide to 3D Creation with the Open Source Suite Blender, and Tradigital Blender: A CG Animator's Guide to Applying the Classic Principles of Animation.
George Milonas sends his zombie novel My Last Testament.
Now I am back to old stuff of John Ringos that I can download for free on the Kindle.
Posted by: Vic at February 26, 2012 04:06 AM (YdQQY)
Posted by: Vic at February 26, 2012 04:12 AM (YdQQY)
Now reading PIKE, a novel by Benjamin Whitmer.
It's a dark good v evil stoet that makes NO Country For Old Men and THE ROAD seem like Mary Poppins.
It's a first book by this author. I'm half way in. So far, he's hit a home run.
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 04:13 AM (Onw8c)
Posted by: Jake at February 26, 2012 04:16 AM (T6MxP)
Posted by: rockmom at February 26, 2012 04:18 AM (YPgCz)
>I bought a couple of new books over the past week in violation of my self-imposed "no new books until I finish my backlog" rule.<
I have the same self-imposed rule. Nevertheless, I find books are like rabbits. Put two of 'em on the night stand. Within a week, there's unread books everywhere.
It's a good thing I have to drive 18 miles to the "local" indie book pusher.
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 04:23 AM (Onw8c)
Posted by: eThib at February 26, 2012 04:23 AM (NzeCY)
Wanted to thank whichever poster mentioned Dicken's Our Mutual Friend. It's much more amusing the the ones that are always assigned in school. Very long though. At a chapter a day I'm still not half-way through after a couple of weeks.
Finished Saints Perserve Us, it was okay. There were two conflicting plots to steal an item (one of which resulted in murder) and I was able to guess the who and why for the non-lethal one but not the murderer.
Finished the novelization of the Girl Genius first three episodes. It's a cynical attempt to wring yet more money out of the pathetically besotted fans of the series....and I love it so much I may just marry it, so there. Now reading it out-loud to the kids.
Reading Old Habits by Moron author Christopher Taylor as my new modern fiction, people who post here are talented. Started The Art of War in Guttenberg Press e-book form but haven't gotten to the actual text yet because the introduction and explanations are so long. They're interesting, just long since they have to cover about 2,500 years worth of other peoples opinions as to whether or not there even was a Sun Tzu. My modern non-fiction is called I Used To Know That: stuff you forgot from school, by Caroline Taggart. I figured it was incumbent on me to brush up on that sort of stuff now that I'm home-schooling.
Posted by: Polliwog at February 26, 2012 04:24 AM (zmm1+)
Posted by: George Lakoff at February 26, 2012 04:25 AM (kwAf2)
Posted by: George Lakoff at February 26, 2012 04:29 AM (kwAf2)
Posted by: rockmom at February 26, 2012 04:29 AM (YPgCz)
Posted by: Monty at February 26, 2012 04:32 AM (FC+dS)
Posted by: Lincolntf at February 26, 2012 04:36 AM (hiMsy)
Posted by: Darth Randall at February 26, 2012 04:38 AM (O/onO)
Posted by: Lincolntf at February 26, 2012 04:38 AM (hiMsy)
Posted by: Monty at February 26, 2012 04:38 AM (FC+dS)
Posted by: George Lakoff at February 26, 2012 09:25 AM (kwAf2)
On recommendation of a junior staffer at my local book pusher, I did the same. What a complete waste of time. I blame myself for sticking through the mess thinking somewhere they'll get better. They never did.
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 04:38 AM (Onw8c)
For Lent I am currently reading "Eternal Seasons: A Liturgical Journey with Henri J.M. Nouwen", edited by Nouwen's biographer, Michael Ford.
Posted by: Book Geek at February 26, 2012 04:40 AM (ny/5i)
Posted by: Jimmah at February 26, 2012 04:40 AM (vj51i)
Posted by: rockmom at February 26, 2012 09:18 AM (YPgCz)
Thanks for that review because I remember the game well, having watched it with my youngest Hatette who was a big Duke fan (unfortunately my Terps were still emerging from the Bob Wade produced disaster and weren't quite as attractive a draw to a budding fan). I'm disappointed that he didn't do a better job on it because ordinarily he's one of yahoo's better hoops writers and they generally smoke the MFM dickbags particularly the ESPN tards.
Big, big, big Louvin Brothers fan (have the Bear Family "Close Harmony" 8 disc set, which is the motherlode) so I figured Monty is on board with them. Ira was a fucking wildman due to demon alcohol. The Satan is Real lp cover is outstanding. Interestingly related, at a recent listening session with some of my music loving buds, a Louvin tribute release was featured.
Regarding books, last night I finished an outstanding one based on the rec of a fellow moron: In Search of Klingsor by Jorge Volpi. It is many things: A who dunnit along the lines of "The Usual Suspects"; a portrait of the scientists in WW2 racing to produce atomic power; and a very compelling story about romantic obsession. And extremely well written and translated. When I finished it I read the notes on source data for this and it finally convinced me to put aside a three decade long procrastination and start reading Godel, Escher, Bach.
Posted by: Captain Hate at February 26, 2012 04:41 AM (Rw8JJ)
Posted by: Monty at February 26, 2012 04:42 AM (FC+dS)
Amidst this, a young runaway is taken in by an aikido master as a live-in student and eventually is recruited into the Intel side of the federal agency that tries to maintain a semblance of law within the Territory.
Enjoyable. Very much in the pattern of Heinlein juveniles.
Posted by: epobirs at February 26, 2012 04:43 AM (kcfmt)
Posted by: Looking Glass at February 26, 2012 04:43 AM (14BKc)
Mine don't even have the modesty to use the bedroom. As I type, there are two on the dinning room table and three more on the kitchen counter and Amazon has promised there'll be even more on the doorstep sometime tomorrow. I don't expect to get out of this thread unscathed.
I've been reading the second of a three book series by J.D. Davies called Mountain Of Gold. Good stuff given it's only his second attempt at fiction. He has spent most of his life as a naval historian.
Posted by: Retread at February 26, 2012 04:43 AM (joSBv)
Posted by: Tami at February 26, 2012 04:45 AM (X6akg)
Posted by: Monty at February 26, 2012 04:47 AM (FC+dS)
Posted by: Jose at February 26, 2012 04:52 AM (srIqv)
Doesn't C add up to $1.20? With $1.10 being the ceiling?
I was hooked on C for a while until I realized it didn't satisfy all of the supplied information. Which I guess makes it a good example of the fast and slow takes on a problem.
Posted by: epobirs at February 26, 2012 04:54 AM (kcfmt)
Gram Parsons was the artist that led me to the Louvin Brothers back in the 70s. Thanks for the tip, I'll check out the book. As for the comments on the "Dragon Tattoo", I actually liked all three books, not great but page turning. I would say that they are much better in my opinion (even with the translation issues) than any Gresham novel. Now I'm back to reading the "Bounty Trilogy" by Nordhoff/Hall and Charles Frazier's "Nightwoods".
Posted by: Budahmon at February 26, 2012 04:57 AM (K3X3O)
If I might suggest, make note the Bach pieces Hofstadter references. It might be fun to listen to them as you go along as he compares images.
This link: http://tinyurl.com/6tdhxlc
Takes one to an MIT free on-line courseware for G.E.B. lectures. I haven't tried this particular course, but those I've seen are good.
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 05:00 AM (Onw8c)
Posted by: Egon Spengler at February 26, 2012 05:23 AM (sJTmU)
So is math, in Washington D.C.
Posted by: sTevo at February 26, 2012 05:31 AM (VMcEw)
Point made. I agree, Budamom. Maybe I was being too harsh. I did after all, read all three books within a week, or so. Something there kept me going. It wasn't the art of language use, though. The plot line and characters were well developed. There was suspense. The main character and several lesser characters fought heroically despite hardship and a stacked deck. And I did learn something of the political and legal systems of the country in which the story takes place.
Yes. On reflection, I was being harsh.
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 05:44 AM (Onw8c)
Posted by: Captain Hate at February 26, 2012 05:44 AM (Rw8JJ)
Posted by: IllTemperedCur at February 26, 2012 05:48 AM (Bmbjy)
Posted by: Cthluthu at February 26, 2012 05:54 AM (AH8RI)
Posted by: Hrothgar at February 26, 2012 06:02 AM (i3+c5)
I am reading "Opening Skinner's Box" by Lauren Slater. In it she discusses the great psychological experiments of the 20th century, like Millgram, Loftus, Skinner. The cool thing about the book is she give s peek behind the scenes of those experiments, the personality of the psychologist, how others reacted to the experiments, and in the case of Millgram's she actually tracks down people who were in the original experiment and turned the dial all the way up so the other person "died."
Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:07 AM (RZ8pf)
"Print is dead."
Not as dead as this thread seems to be.
Posted by: Book Geek at February 26, 2012 06:09 AM (ny/5i)
Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:09 AM (RZ8pf)
rockmom, how old was your daughter that liked "Hunger Games?" My 10 year old is about to read it. I read through the description of it online and I am a little leery in general about the book, not that I don't think he could handle it, but I'm not thrilled with the subject matter.
I keep trying to tell myself I read dystopian stuff when I was his age but it just seems like such a grim subject.
Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:10 AM (RZ8pf)
His was a regularly watched show at our house back in the early '50s, as I recall.
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 06:13 AM (Onw8c)
Have Elmore Leonard's "Fire in the Hole" (Raylan Givins) and Robert Crais' "Taken" queued up.
Lots more on the to read list though.
Posted by: Hrothgar at February 26, 2012 06:14 AM (i3+c5)
Posted by: naturalfake at February 26, 2012 06:14 AM (I49Jm)
Now starting on "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel Levitin.
Posted by: navybrat at February 26, 2012 06:17 AM (upAv7)
Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 11:09 AM (RZ8pf)
Yeah, that one has had a bookmark at about page 30 for a year, or more. Very doubtful I will ever finish it. Did you try The Minds Eye?
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 06:18 AM (Onw8c)
Another great read about adventures in the music biz:
"Another Nightmare Gig From Hell", Nick Zelinger and Tammy Brackett
Musician's Tales of Wonder and Woe
What do you say to a naked sheriff?
What song do you play when you are being robbed at gunpoint?
Toby Press, Colorado, on Amazon. ISBN-13: 978-0-9846590-0-5
Posted by: Meremortal at February 26, 2012 06:22 AM (Usk3+)
Posted by: Va Gator at February 26, 2012 06:25 AM (uZdxA)
Noted, Meremortal. Sounds fun. Added to list. Thanks.
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 06:27 AM (Onw8c)
HP, I haven't read any of Sacks' work in book form but I've read articles excerpted from some of his books. He does seem to take a more compassionate view of how amazing the human mind is.
I guess that was my problem with Hofstadter, he was kind of cold about the whole thing which was weird considering I think the whole book was written as a way to deal with his grief about his wife's death. And also to deal with why his sister was different. The best part of the book was when he was discussing his wife's death.
Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:28 AM (RZ8pf)
Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:30 AM (RZ8pf)
Moorcock is one of my alltime favorite fantasy writers. Just below R.E. Howard and right above Karl Edward Wagner.
Too bad he's a left wing whackadoodle.
Posted by: Not Drinking Nearly Enough at February 26, 2012 06:31 AM (HtUdo)
Posted by: Jose at February 26, 2012 09:52 AM (srIqv)
Running for VP?
Posted by: joncelli at February 26, 2012 06:32 AM (+MbqG)
Posted by: George Lakoff at February 26, 2012 06:32 AM (kwAf2)
Sounds familiar. My house eats stuff all the time. All you have to do is go look for something else that has dissappeared and you will find the Kindle.
Posted by: Vic at February 26, 2012 06:43 AM (YdQQY)
Vic, I'm figuring the minute I give up and order a new one from Amazon it will re-appear in some totally obvious place.
I guess the hosue ghosts wanted to read some books.
Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:46 AM (RZ8pf)
Posted by: Tami at February 26, 2012 06:47 AM (X6akg)
Posted by: Tami at February 26, 2012 06:48 AM (X6akg)
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 11:27 AM (Onw8c)
My pleasure, it's a great little read.
Posted by: Meremortal at February 26, 2012 06:51 AM (Usk3+)
It has been many years since I read Oliver Sacks. Your sense of his approach seems right, though. Both he and another great writer, Lewis Thomas, were hands-on medical doctors. Perhaps that is what distinguishes their approach from Hofstadter's, as he is an academic.
Gang, it has been swell hanging out here today. Time for this night owl to sleep.
Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 06:53 AM (Onw8c)
Posted by: Libra at February 26, 2012 06:57 AM (kd8U8)
Schrodinger's cat, did you read the article in this month's Wired about the new drug that may be able to erase bad memories? Some of that was mentioned in the Lauren Slater book I posted about too.
By the way, my son is always talking about "that guy's cat" because we read about Schrodinger's cat a few years ago and he found it fascinating. So now something will happen and he'll ask "is this like with that guy's cat?"
Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:59 AM (RZ8pf)
Posted by: rockmom at February 26, 2012 07:12 AM (YPgCz)
Posted by: sunny at February 26, 2012 07:21 AM (6NXIQ)
Picked up a great used book last week, "From Hardtack to Home Fries" by Barbara Haber.
It's a history book of mostly American food, cooking, and how what we eat determines our fate in life.
Chapters include: Feeding the Great Hunger, The Irish Famine and America. The Harvey Girls, Good Women and Good Food Civilize the American West. And my favorite so far, Home Cooking in the FDR White House, The Indomitable Mrs. Nesbitt.
I never knew the FDR White House was famous world-wide for its bad food. Speculation in the book covers the possibility that Eleanor Roosevelt kept Mrs. Nesbitt on as head housekeeper during all four administrations simply because Mrs. Nesbitt was a thorn in the side of FDR, and made him eat his vegetables. Serves that old socialist right, that his cook cooked what she wanted him to eat, not what he wanted.
Posted by: Boots at February 26, 2012 07:28 AM (neKzn)
I'm listening to an audiobook of _Dombey and Son_. It was available as a download from the library and is read by the late David Case aka Frederick Davidson, one of the greatest book narrators. I'd never considered this book since it always looked boring to me; but I was desperate for an audiobook at the time. Now I'm glad -- it's quite amusing and reminds me of Vanity Fair by Thackeray.
Posted by: microcosme at February 26, 2012 07:53 AM (GOi1J)
Posted by: microcosme at February 26, 2012 07:55 AM (GOi1J)
For all you morons interested in Schrodinger's cat and thereby quantum matters::
Werner Heisenberg is speeding down the highway when he is pulled over by a state trooper.
"Do you know how fast you were going?" asks the trooper.
"No," said Heisenberg. "but I knew where I was."
Posted by: Libra at February 26, 2012 07:56 AM (kd8U8)
In the car I am listening to A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life by Steven Kotler. It's moving, entertaining and I'm learning some new stuff about doggie behavior.
I'm still working on David Copperfield but I took a break and am reading Carrion Comfort which seems to be about twice as long as really necessary but I'm too far into it to quit now. I just got the third Dexter novel from the library so I'm looking forward to that.
I have sworn off buying books for Lent as that is my preferred way to break the 10th Commandment. But for those who normally have more discipline about this than me anyway (without the impetus of Lent), may I recommend librarything.com which was recommended by the library when I complained about the extreme lameness of their "Read Later" list which is basically unsearchable. I think it's $25 for a lifetime membership and since you set up your own collections and tags, it's as searchable as you want it to be.
Posted by: Tonestaple at February 26, 2012 08:23 AM (i8XsD)
Posted by: bookman at February 26, 2012 08:30 AM (TRlpJ)
Posted by: veeka oot seeg at February 26, 2012 08:38 AM (sqVOl)
Posted by: mpfs at February 26, 2012 08:50 AM (sd7RS)
Posted by: veeka oot seeg at February 26, 2012 09:01 AM (sqVOl)
Posted by: veeka oot seeg at February 26, 2012 09:03 AM (sqVOl)
Posted by: Synova at February 26, 2012 09:05 AM (P0X9Q)
Sink The Bismark. The movie was based on a book by C.S. Forrester, The Last Nine Days of Bismark.
Posted by: Vic at February 26, 2012 09:15 AM (YdQQY)
Check out Potomac Books. It has an extensive catalog of military history/military theory and policy books. LINK: http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/Features.aspx
Posted by: mrp at February 26, 2012 09:35 AM (HjPtV)
Posted by: bookman at February 26, 2012 01:30 PM (TRlpJ)
I strongly approve of the creative use of profanity, as employed by you, to vividly make a point. The problem is that most of the illiterate cocksuckers who have potty mouths are certified dumbfucks who've never had an original thought in their miserably stunted lives.
Posted by: Captain Hate at February 26, 2012 09:44 AM (f/HOD)
Posted by: bookman at February 26, 2012 10:10 AM (TRlpJ)
I am reading Quiet- The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. So far it is excellent, and once you get past the first bit is very entertaining. The description of Harvard Business School is quite interesting. Look for the part that describes what was valued and taught as being important years ago as opposed to what is viewed as being important now. You'll see exactly how Barack Obama became possible.
Posted by: Timwi at February 26, 2012 10:35 AM (pdhxN)
Miscellany from the past month:
"The Reversal" by Michael Connelly (on Kindle). A good read. Connelly is an engaging writer, who knows how to build a story with strong characters and keep things moving. The only thing it lacked was a really strong finish. Grade: B. This was the first Connelly book I've read, and I enjoyed it enough that I'll probably try a few more.
"Fevre Dream" by George R.R. Martin (Kindle). A vampire novel set in the antebellum south. A solid, enjoyable read, but a bit on the slow side, and not enough creepiness/scares. On the plus side, the book offered a surprisingly detailed, rich evocation of the period. Grade: B-
"Sandkings" by George R.R. Martin (Epub format, from fictionwise.com). Excellent sci-fi/horror short story. Recommended. Grade: B+
"They Thirst" by Robert McCammon (paperback). Vampire apocalypse set in Los Angeles. A good read. A lot of action, and builds to a strong climax. Pretty clearly influenced by Salem's Lot and The Stand, but the author has his own voice and his own take. Grade: B
"Night of the Living Trekkies" by Kevin Anderson and Sam Stall (Kindle). Zombie novel. I was sucked by the strong prologue/preview, which kind of rocked and persuaded me to buy the book. Unfortunately, the book itself was competently written but a little flat, and on the whole disappointing. It had somewhat of a "soft-core"/made-for-TV zombie feel, with a fair amount of humor thrown in, where I prefer the hard-core stuff. Grade: C+
"Dead of Night" by Jonathan Maberry (Kindle). The first third of the book was really strong -- a slow, detailed outbreak of a Pennsylvania-based zombie apocalypse. Good, hard-core zombie action, strong characterization and dialogue. Maberry can definitely write with a level of style and polish the puts this well above the run-of-the-mill zombie book. The book unfortunately sagged in the middle, and lost momentum. Though it built to a pretty good finish, what looked, coming off the bat, like a home run, never cleared the fence and ended up falling in for a double. Still, I'd recommend it for zombie fans. Grade: B
"A Letter of Consolation" by Henri Nouwen (paperback). A short (96 pages, set in rather large type), but very fine meditation on the subject of death. One might think: what is there to say about death that is new or interesting? To which I would answer: read this book and find out. Some wonderful insights here. Nouwen at his best was a penetrating thinker and beautiful prose stylist, a kind of poet-theologian. He writes from a position of Catholic orthodoxy, but I imagine this book would be appealing and enlightening to any Christian. Good Lenten reading. Recommended. Grade: B+
Posted by: John at February 26, 2012 03:52 PM (k5Bku)
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