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What Are You Reading?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2013 07:01 pm
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yellowdog



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Neil Young Biography FAQ



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 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2013 07:32 pm
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stone2k



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I just finished Derek Sandersons autobiography Crossing The Line... didn't like it too much. It seemed there could have been a ton of good stories, but he either didn't remember them or is embarrassed by them, so he didn't tell.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2013 07:58 pm
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srossi

 

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Someone at work gave me "Life of Pi" for Christmas so I decided to steamroll through it these past few days.  I'm on the last few pages now.  Not at all the type of book that I usually read as fiction for the masses generally repulses me like a Michael Bay movie.  "Life of Pi" isn't all that different although the author has a certain way of painting a picture.  There's something to be said for being able to write 300 pages where nothing happens for 250 of them.  That said, it's just a kid on a boat with a tiger for a year, so yeah, it's pretty fucking boring.  And the writing leaves something to be desired, especially at the beginning and the end where there's dialogue (writing believable dialogue is not easy and this guy is atrocious at it).  There's some eye-rolling moments where you know something could never happen in a million years, which is unfortunate because so much of the book relies on painstaking attention to detail in an effort to make it realistic, and then that illusion gets blown out of the water (no pun intended) 3 or 4 times when something absurd happens.  It's fine for what it is and this guy made millions selling the story to Hollywood, but he's a middle-of-the-road writer and this book did nothing to change my mind about fiction "best-sellers".     

Last edited on Wed Jan 16th, 2013 07:58 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2013 08:38 pm
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srossi

 

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Reading "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meacham, maybe the best TJ book I've ever read, and I've read close to 50 of them.  Highly possible recommendation to anyone with even the slightest interest in this area. 



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 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2013 08:57 pm
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Chrisstlouis

 

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Martha Hart's book

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 Posted: Sat Jan 26th, 2013 04:55 pm
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Ultimark



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Just finished Babe by Robert Creamer. For a book written 40 years ago, it is the best bio I have read of Babe Ruth.

Now reading Last Man by Vince Flynn. I read Flynn in between other stuff. Action oriented page turners. He absolutely leans right wing with his vision of the world but it is still decent stuff. Not for everyone.

Last edited on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 04:56 pm by Ultimark

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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 12:41 am
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pjstef



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srossi wrote: Reading "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meacham, maybe the best TJ book I've ever read, and I've read close to 50 of them.  Highly possible recommendation to anyone with even the slightest interest in this area. 
I didn't see this post, Rossi, but I agree it is very good. Focus on a style or driving force, rather than a period in the life a la Dumas Malone books or A Road to Monticello (a bit drawn out - what did you think of it Rossi?); or a life-long view like American Sphinx (which is also quite good). Meacham is an interesting guy.

Last edited on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 12:44 am by pjstef

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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 12:41 am
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Now reading Katherine Graham's Washington.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 12:49 am
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Hymie Itsu



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Later this week, I'm going to re-read "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by R.A. Salvatore.



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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 12:58 am
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srossi

 

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pjstef wrote: srossi wrote: Reading "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meacham, maybe the best TJ book I've ever read, and I've read close to 50 of them.  Highly possible recommendation to anyone with even the slightest interest in this area. 
I didn't see this post, Rossi, but I agree it is very good. Focus on a style or driving force, rather than a period in the life a la Dumas Malone books or A Road to Monticello (a bit drawn out - what did you think of it Rossi?); or a life-long view like American Sphinx (which is also quite good). Meacham is an interesting guy.

I enjoyed all the books you mentioned, but since I've read so many on TJ I'm always looking for something a little different, and I'm not sure exactly what that is until I'm done.  With Meacham's book, it reads almost like a novel without losing any of the facts.  The chapter on Jefferson's death in particular is just amazing, I almost felt like I had just lost a loved one myself after reading it.  I don't know if there's many authors who have the talent to make you feel that close to a historical figure without going overboard and sensationalizing.  Meacham is very fair, doesn't put him on a pedestal, doesn't ignore his faults, doesn't try to tear him down or judge him by today's PC standards.  I would put the book ahead of all the others.  Not sure how a non-Jefferson fanatic reading his first TJ book would feel about that, but I'd imagine the book would appeal to them more too because it's written with a more conversational tone.  I've read all the Jefferson-Adams letters and a lot of minutia on him in 1700s vernacular and even I enjoyed the tone of this book more.

Last edited on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 12:59 am by srossi



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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 01:49 am
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I agree.

In John Adams, McCullough tries to do the double death scene without being over-the-top - likewise Abigail's death scene. I also enjoy that book a lot and re-read parts here and there.

It's interesting in that back in the day (say biographies of the 20s, 30s and 40s) the styles were either overly fluffy - inflating the subject of the bio into a great person using a lot of exclamation points; or else somewhat arm's length, distant, like Malone, who was considered too much of a scholarly expert on TJ to treat the story too chummy.

Today, many books have the other problem you mention - judging through today's eyes. Books on TJ re: the slavery issue are real bad with this. Another instance = a friend asked me to read the book on FDR by Amity Schlaes, and that was how I felt. According to that book, FDR was not all he was propped up to be, because he got too involved in beauracracy, he extended the depression with his high tax rates, etc - all stuff a person of today would say looking back, after much time and analysis takes place in the interim; but at the time, brought about tremendous acclaim.

Gordon Wood does a very nice job keeping things in its own period, but is slightly dryer than Meacham. Have you read anything by Wood? Empire of Liberty goes a lot into TJ;s presidential years so I'd imagine you've seen that book.

Last edited on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 01:52 am by pjstef

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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 02:20 am
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Chrisstlouis

 

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Matysiks top 50

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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 03:09 am
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BruiserBrodyMania



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Chrisstlouis wrote:
Martha Hart's book

How did you like this? I couldn't even finish it I thought it was so bad.



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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 04:26 am
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srossi

 

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pjstef wrote: Gordon Wood does a very nice job keeping things in its own period, but is slightly dryer than Meacham. Have you read anything by Wood? Empire of Liberty goes a lot into TJ;s presidential years so I'd imagine you've seen that book.


I don't believe I have read Wood, although I'll have to check.  I don't always remember the authors.  I have "Empire of Liberty" in my bookcase but haven't read it yet as I try to mix in other topics, otherwise I'd read nothing but Revolutionary War books.  I jumped right to "Art of Power" though as I was looking forward to its release for a long time.  The only TJ book I won't read is David Barton's, which I'm sure you've heard about.  lol



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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2013 04:28 am
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Road Warrior Yajuta



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Just got through with Star Wars the Old Republic Revan.



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