February 26, 2012

Sunday Book Thread
— 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".

Both essays touch on issues we've talked about ourselves in previous book posts: the present and future of literature -- particularly popular fiction -- in America.
-----------------------------

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.

Posted by: Monty at 03:55 AM | Comments (81)
Post contains 705 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Well I missed last week so I’ll cover the book from there as well. Finished the new Vince Flynn Mitch Rapp book, Kill Shot.  Like the last book, it is a “pre-quill” picking up shortly after the last book timeline wise.  It is a damn god read for those who like the genre of action books.  

Now I am back to old stuff of John Ringo’s that I can download for free on the Kindle.

Posted by: Vic at February 26, 2012 04:06 AM (YdQQY)

2 And oh yes, I am familiar with the Louvin Brothers.  If you do a search of your country music on Media Player you will get a lot of hits on their songs, especially if you have any of Emmy Lou Harris's stuff.

Posted by: Vic at February 26, 2012 04:12 AM (YdQQY)

3 Thanks, Monty. I too have the Fast/Slow Thinking title close to the top of the stack.

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)

4 I picked up Thinking, Fast and Slow during Christmas and got through it quickly. It's a fascinating book, and I was surprised by how applicable the concepts explained were to my life. I find myself falling into many of the fallacies discussed daily.


Posted by: Jake at February 26, 2012 04:16 AM (T6MxP)

5 I just finished Gene Wojchechowski's new book "The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball." I give it two stars out of five. I was at that game in 1992 and I don't think Woj gives the game itself enough ink or analysis. It's more like a biography of the two teams and their coaches. Some interesting tidbits for basketball junkies, but not nearly enough about what made that game so great, and despite the lofty title it doesn't tell us why it's "the last great game" or how it changed basketball. Also Woj totally fails at a biography, because he doesn't tell us what happened to all the players after they left their schools. He interviewed Christian Laettner about the game and his life leading up to it, but I would like to know how the game changed his life and what he is doing now. Very disappointing since it is a subject worthy of a great book, but nobody else will probably try to write it now.

Posted by: rockmom at February 26, 2012 04:18 AM (YPgCz)

6 I just love this:

>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)

7 The Louvin's  'Satan is Real' may be the best album cover ever.

Posted by: eThib at February 26, 2012 04:23 AM (NzeCY)

8

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+)

9 Read the "Dragon Tattoo" series. Seriously incompetent writing throughout. Can't understand how it got published, but I think it got hyped because the author killed himself and they could promote it without having to pay. Only explanation I have for it being so ridiculously overhyped.

Posted by: George Lakoff at February 26, 2012 04:25 AM (kwAf2)

10 Found a fun game: http://rejectiontherapy.com/

Posted by: George Lakoff at February 26, 2012 04:29 AM (kwAf2)

11 Really, I liked the first "Dragon Tattoo" book very much, but the other two were not as good. Just started reading "Hunger Games." Daughter loved it and is highly anticipating the movie, and I wanted to read the book before the movie opens.

Posted by: rockmom at February 26, 2012 04:29 AM (YPgCz)

12 Seriously incompetent writing throughout. ------------------- I think it's a problem with the translation rather than the author's own Swedish. I haven't read the books, but getting the "flavor" of a novel in translation is very difficult. (William Weaver's translation of Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" is the benchmark.)

Posted by: Monty at February 26, 2012 04:32 AM (FC+dS)

13 105 and 5 = 110 None of the above.

Posted by: Lincolntf at February 26, 2012 04:36 AM (hiMsy)

14 Just finished Micheal Moorcock's "Elric of Melnibone" and started "Sailor on the Seas of Fate".

Posted by: Darth Randall at February 26, 2012 04:38 AM (O/onO)

15 Wait a minute, 5 is an option. Must be 5, right.

Posted by: Lincolntf at February 26, 2012 04:38 AM (hiMsy)

16 Betcha get it wrong. --------------- The question is badly phrased if that's how it's posed in the book. But the mathematical equation describing this would be x + (x + 1) = 1.10 or 2x + 1 = 1.10. Solve for x.

Posted by: Monty at February 26, 2012 04:38 AM (FC+dS)

17 Read the "Dragon Tattoo" series. Seriously incompetent writing throughout. Can't understand how it got published, but I think it got hyped because the author killed himself and they could promote it without having to pay. Only explanation I have for it being so ridiculously overhyped.

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)

18

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)

19 Reinventing Collapse is a pretty good book for examples of what happens during a financial collapse, based on what happened in the USSR. And its a short book, so all the better.

Posted by: Jimmah at February 26, 2012 04:40 AM (vj51i)

20 Very disappointing since it is a subject worthy of a great book, but nobody else will probably try to write it now.

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)

21 Another thing: answer C is not "wrong" because it is accurate in terms of price. It accurately satisfies the question as posed, if not the answer that was *intended*.

Posted by: Monty at February 26, 2012 04:42 AM (FC+dS)

22 Just finished '7th Sigma' by Steven Gould. The author is best known for the novel that after much distortion became the movie 'Jumper.' This new book is a sort of pseudo-Western. A metal harvesting technology of unknown origin has taken over a portion of the American South-West where life goes on as normal so long as you have no metal or produce no RF above a certain level because the bugs go nuts and attack the source, as they do anything that damages a bug. So, a new lifestyle develops using a combination of retro tech and imported high tech that works withing the strictures imposed by the bugs. For instance, plastic shotguns with four single-use barrels made of cardboard. Ceramics and plastics for things like knife blades, etc.

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)

23 13 Schrödinger's cat wrote, Suppose that a bat and ball together cost $1.10 and that the bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? A. 25 cents B. 5 cents C. 10 cents D. None of the above Equation 1: x + y = 1.1 Equation 2: x - y = 1 If x + y = 1.1, then x = 1.1 - y Substituting into Equation 2 (1.1 - y ) - y = 1 Simplifying steps: 1.1 - 2y = 1 -2y = 1 - 1.1 -2y = -.1 y = .05 x = 1 + y = 1.05 The answer is B.

Posted by: Looking Glass at February 26, 2012 04:43 AM (14BKc)

24 "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."

-------

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)

25 I was told there would be no math on the book thread!

Posted by: Tami at February 26, 2012 04:45 AM (X6akg)

26 I took the question from the review section of the Amazon site. ---------------------- It may be an example of what the author is trying to prove: a "fast" solution and a "slow" solution that are both correct in satisfying the terms of the question.

Posted by: Monty at February 26, 2012 04:47 AM (FC+dS)

27 Jan Brewer just endorsed Romney

Posted by: Jose at February 26, 2012 04:52 AM (srIqv)

28 #23

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)

29

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)

30 Captain Hate, G.E.B. is on my all time favs list.

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)

31 Print is dead.

Posted by: Egon Spengler at February 26, 2012 05:23 AM (sJTmU)

32 >>Print is dead.

So is math, in Washington D.C.

Posted by: sTevo at February 26, 2012 05:31 AM (VMcEw)

33 Budamom sez: I would say that they are much better in my opinion (even with the translation issues) than any Gresham novel.

**********
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)

34 Thanks for the idea, HP; I pretty much do that for books that have a musical component ie the biography of Thelonious Monk.

Posted by: Captain Hate at February 26, 2012 05:44 AM (Rw8JJ)

35 Speaking of country-western musician wild men, don't forget about Spade Cooley, who's career in Western Swing was cut short when he was convicted of murdering his wife (in front of his daughter, if wiki is to be believed). I only know the name because he keeps coming up in James Ellroy's stuff. Reading Dresden 5 Death Masks now.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at February 26, 2012 05:48 AM (Bmbjy)

36 The problem is Larsson is unremitingly grim world view, mind you he didn't think Sweden was left wing enough, a bizarre enough landscape.

Posted by: Cthluthu at February 26, 2012 05:54 AM (AH8RI)

37 I must be warped, I thought the tattoo series was pretty good, although the 2nd and 3rd were not as good  as the first.  Interesting to read something written from a foreign perspective.

Posted by: Hrothgar at February 26, 2012 06:02 AM (i3+c5)

38

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)

39

"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)

40 If you like GEB, do not be suckered into reading "I am a Strange Loop" just because Hofstadter wrote it, like I was. I disagreed with pretty much the entire book. I disagreed so much I've blocked most of the book from my mind now.

Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:09 AM (RZ8pf)

41

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)

42 IllTemperedCur

Spade Cooley

http://tinyurl.com/7ttvt9s


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)

43 just finished "Hollywood Moon" by Wambaugh--standard cop fare but interesting.

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)

44 @13 Posted by: Schrödinger's cat at February 26, 2012 09:31 AM (phlKA) That's easily done in your head. All you do is take the $1.00 away because it's the constant. You're left with $.10 so divide by 2 =.05. Ball = $.05 Bat = $1.05

Posted by: naturalfake at February 26, 2012 06:14 AM (I49Jm)

45 I finished "The Royal Stuarts" by Allan Massie. Impeccably written, colorful histories of some great and not so great figures in British history. Don't know why I picked it up, but I did, and I am glad of it.

Now starting on "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel Levitin.

Posted by: navybrat at February 26, 2012 06:17 AM (upAv7)

46 44 If you like GEB, do not be suckered into reading "I am a Strange Loop" just because Hofstadter wrote it, like I was. I disagreed with pretty much the entire book. I disagreed so much I've blocked most of the book from my mind now.

Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 11:09 AM (RZ8pf)


PGiS:

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)

47

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+)

48 Just finished "Queen of Cities" by Andrew Novo about the fall of Constantinople to the forces of goat rape and pedophilia in the 15th century. It's historical fiction and very well written. I "borrowed" it from Amazon with my Prime membership so the price was right. I was a little dissapointed the Christians didn't pull it out in the end, but you cant put that on the author and I would definitely recommend it to fellow morons.

Posted by: Va Gator at February 26, 2012 06:25 AM (uZdxA)

49 "Another Nightmare Gig From Hell", Nick Zelinger and Tammy Brackett.


Noted, Meremortal. Sounds fun. Added to list. Thanks.

Posted by: Hammersmith Police at February 26, 2012 06:27 AM (Onw8c)

50

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)

51 Oh, oh, oh I forgot to mention my horrible news. I have lost my Kindle. I can't find it anywhere in the house. Considering it is the first generation one I doubt anyone stole it, I'm sure I've put it someplace that I now can't recall. But I am furious and have been tearing apart various rooms in the house this weekend to find it. Because there's a book I want to read and I want it now!

Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 06:30 AM (RZ8pf)

52 Just finished Micheal Moorcock's "Elric of Melnibone" and started "Sailor on the Seas of Fate".


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)

53 30 Jan Brewer just endorsed Romney

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)

54 I understand why the women 'like' Dragon tattoo for the idea that this tiny girl can magically defeat evil strong men. I was referring to the laughably bad cliched writing and poor technique, e.g. viz. the scene where she's decorating the apartment that reads like an excerpt from the Ikea catalog (misunderstanding how to mis en scene and create reality) as well as inept structure (the first third of the second book a complete boondogle that had no connection or relevance to the rest of the book(s). Bad writing is bad writing and you can't blame it all on the translater. I hear the hollywood version of the movie improved some of the structure, long after the fact...

Posted by: George Lakoff at February 26, 2012 06:32 AM (kwAf2)

55 Posted by: ParanoidGirlInSeattle at February 26, 2012 11:30 AM (RZ8pf)
--------------------------------


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)

56

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)

57 Y-not, is your dog's name Bailey?  So is mine!

Posted by: Tami at February 26, 2012 06:47 AM (X6akg)

58 How the hell did I do that?  Please disregard.....

Posted by: Tami at February 26, 2012 06:48 AM (X6akg)

59

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+)

60 PGiS:

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)

61 "Momuments Men" by Robert M. Edsel tells the story of the group who were in charge of relocating the art treasures looted throughout Europe during WW II.  Very interesting and little known story.

Posted by: Libra at February 26, 2012 06:57 AM (kd8U8)

62

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)

63 #45 My daughter is almost 15 and read "Hunger Games" last year. She is into a lot of creepo stuff so it didn't bother me. I do think most of what they call teen fiction now is incredibly dystopian and depressing, so I have also made her read classics like the Little House series. Now she is reading Jane Austen and enjoying that. I'm not sure I would let a child under 12 read any of this stuff they are pushing for teens now. One of my daughter's and my favorites was "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, which she read when she was 12. When I read it I was seriously alarmed that it was considered Young Adult fiction, I think it is quite disturbing, but a great book. Bottom line is I would read everything before allowing a pre-teen to read it.

Posted by: rockmom at February 26, 2012 07:12 AM (YPgCz)

64 started Patient Zero by Maberry from recomendations here. About a 150 pages in and I'm enjoying it so far. Hope its good enough to add Maberry to my read everything by author. I have the new Flynn, recent Berenson, and James Rollins books on the way with a pre order on the new Hawke series book by Ted Bell. Its gaurenteed quality and comfort reading over the next couple weeks with these four excellent aothors.

Posted by: sunny at February 26, 2012 07:21 AM (6NXIQ)

65

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)

66 The Louvin Brothers are great. The album cover for "Satan is Real" is unintentionally hilarious.
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)

67 P.S. I'm a woman who hated the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I couldn't read the other books. It was plain stupid and egregiously violent.

Posted by: microcosme at February 26, 2012 07:55 AM (GOi1J)

68

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)

69

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)

70 Kimball essay is terrible. I like him a lot, but it rambles on and on and on about every subject imaginable, flitting here and there about Plato and the internet and Henry James and Andy Warhol and Schopenhauer and whatever the hell else is in there, which was most everything except stuff having to do with the GREAT FUCKING AMERICAN NOVEL. If you're gonna write a huge essay on American literature - focus on the goddam fucking American literature itself instead of all the peripheral shit. Don't just drop a name like Toni Morrison or Jay McInerney. Can you take two fucking seconds to examine their work instead Four Quartets? That essay suffers from the same bullshit he's writing about and he doesn't even know it. Sorry for the cursing but it's needed.

Posted by: bookman at February 26, 2012 08:30 AM (TRlpJ)

71 Currently slogging through a research stack for this week's project. Scanning the comments for Kindle additions such as...

Posted by: veeka oot seeg at February 26, 2012 08:38 AM (sqVOl)

72 Do any morons know of books about the Bismark Sea battle in WWII? The husband is facinated by the Pacific Theater battles.

Posted by: mpfs at February 26, 2012 08:50 AM (sd7RS)

73 Thank you, Boots. I will read anything that has hardtack in the title. 13. I'm giving a nickel to the next person who says there are no stupid questions. It's the new "Here, call someone who cares."

Posted by: veeka oot seeg at February 26, 2012 09:01 AM (sqVOl)

74 Lex McAulay, mpfs.

Posted by: veeka oot seeg at February 26, 2012 09:03 AM (sqVOl)

75 I just bought _Troll Valley_ by Lars Walker, though I haven't read it yet.

Posted by: Synova at February 26, 2012 09:05 AM (P0X9Q)

76 Do any morons know of books about the Bismark Sea battle in WWII?
--------------------------------------


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)

77 Many years ago, Ballantine Books had a title for the Battle of the Bismark Sea.  I no longer have it, but I recall that it was pretty comprehensive.

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)

78 Sorry for the cursing but it's needed.

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)

79 @ Captain Hate Thanks, although I really don't like to curse. I curse more inside my head than outside, but I can't help myself sometimes. I wish I could. Actually, I know I could but I'm weak-minded that way. And I should have said that the whole essay was not terrible. He made some excellent points. Just wished it had been a lot more focused because I respect the man's intellect a great deal.

Posted by: bookman at February 26, 2012 10:10 AM (TRlpJ)

80 My kids read the Hunger Games at age 12 and loved it.  They were not disturbed at all by the violent imagery and thought it was funny that I was concerned for them.  There is no inappropriate sexuality and the story does have some moral undertones.
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)

81

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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