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What Are You Reading?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 01:42 am
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pjstef



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The Bully Pulpit by Goodwin, and The Letters of Arthur Schlesinger.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2013 11:56 pm
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srossi

 

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Reading "Gulliver's Travels".  I try to mix in a healthy dose of the classics to the rest of my reading list, but this is not one of the better ones.  Fairly boring with a lot of satire of contemporary English-Irish politics that no one cares about anymore, and I didn't realize that he was a religious nut who hated the scientists of the day like Sir Isaac Newton and satirizes them as well.  So fuck him.  There certainly is a lot more to it than just the children's story adaptation of him being tied up by tiny people, though.  

Last edited on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 11:58 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2013 06:02 pm
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srossi

 

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Trying to get through "Infinite Jest" now. I almost never NOT finish a book, but I doubt I'll make it through 1,000 pages of this nonsense. I can't stand books where part of the "art" is not writing proper English, like all that "Naked Lunch" and "Howl" shit that was popular in the '60s. Hipsters are the new beatniks, and their books suck. At least the beatniks passed out and stopped writing after 200 pages though.

I need to read something fun again, maybe that pirate book that was recommended earlier in this thread which is next up in my library queue.

Last edited on Thu Nov 14th, 2013 06:03 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Sun Nov 17th, 2013 07:28 am
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The Ultimate Sin
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The Making of KISS.



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 Posted: Fri Dec 27th, 2013 06:42 pm
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srossi

 

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Finished Erik Larson's "Thunderstruck", which brilliantly weaves together the story of Guglielmo Marconi inventing the long distance radio with a murder mystery committed by Dr. Crippen of his wife, and how Marconigrams wound up leading to his arrest.  Just phenomenal writing again.  All of his books are amazing.

I've now started a book on the Culper Six, the spy ring led by George Washington to gain intelligence to take back NY during the Revolutionary War, but it's written by a Fox News guy and reads liker it's written by a Fox News guy.  Fortunately it's short.



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 Posted: Tue Dec 31st, 2013 06:18 pm
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Ultimark



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I read Larson's book about Marconi, the inventor of radio.  Slow.....
Now, I am reading Targets of Deception by Jeffrey Stephens.  He is sort of the heir apparent to Vince Flynn.   Just finished Winston's War written by Michael Dobbs.  Also recently read "1927".

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 Posted: Sat Jan 4th, 2014 05:33 am
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Road Warrior Yajuta



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Blazer wrote: Road Warrior Yajuta wrote:


The entire X Wing Series:
Rogue Squadron
Wedge's Gamble
The Krytos Trap
The Bacta War
Wraith Squadron
Iron Fist
Solo Command
Isard's Revenge
Starfighters of Adumar
Mercy Kill

The Bounty Hunter Wars Trilogy:
The Mandalorian Armor
Slave Ship
Hard Merchandise

The Courtship of Princess Leia

Star Wars Scoundrels(Timothy Zahn)




Wow, I think I read almost every novel in the original Bantam series of Star Wars between '92 and 2000...the Zahn Trilogy, the Kevin Anderson trilogy, the Black Fleet Crisis, Courtship of Leia, Darksaber, etc...but I never got to the X-Wing series. Let me know how those turn out. I seem to recall they are decent books, as they don't focus on the main characters.

Where did you get the digital copies? I'm renting a lot of stuff from the local library lately.
I had gotten many here and there but also a ton from that bookos site that was shut down



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 Posted: Sat Jan 4th, 2014 07:24 pm
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khawk
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Road Warrior Yajuta wrote: I had gotten many here and there but also a ton from that bookos site that was shut down

It's not gone, just moved and slightly renamed:
http://bookza.org/
 
 

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 Posted: Sun Jan 5th, 2014 04:02 am
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srossi

 

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Reading Penn Jillette's "Every Day is an Atheist Holiday".  He's really a great writer, can switch from absolutely hilarious to tear-jerkingly poignant in the same paragraph.  He's probably the most legitimately brilliant entertainer of this era, as in just flat-out smart.  I highly recommend any of his books even if you don't agree with all of his conclusions, as I don't.

Last edited on Sun Jan 5th, 2014 04:03 am by srossi



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 Posted: Tue Jan 21st, 2014 12:07 am
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srossi

 

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Just finished "Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy" by Sudhir Venkatesh.  I'll just a paste a brief review I wrote.  Suffice it to say, I was disappointed but maybe others can find value in it where I didn't.

You would think that there would be a fascinating story to be told in discussing the underground economy of NYC and how the poor and rich are interrelated within it. And there must be. But this isn't that story. "Floating City" is the most boring book you'll ever read about sex and drugs. The main problem might be that Sudhir Venkatesh is a sociologist and simply not a very good writer. If you take out all the redundancies and the paragraphs that Sudhir rephrases again and again and again in only slightly different ways, you might be left with 100 pages that have a purpose out of the 300 in the book (who was his editor?). But the most maddening thing about "Floating City" is that no conclusions are ever drawn. He meets people, he interviews more than 150 of them (only a few of whom are actually followed in the book), he tries to come to conclusions, he tries to tie different worlds together, he asks lots of questions, and then...he rehashes all of this 100 pages later and 100 pages after that and never gets to a point. We learn almost nothing about the characters that Sudhir spends so much time following, except for relatively uninteresting anecdotes here and there that we pretty much could've figured out on our own (hookers sometimes get beat up by johns, drug dealers sometimes beat up people infringing on their territory, etc.). Did he need to spend almost 10 years of his life living in this world to learn that? Perhaps more disturbing than Sudhir's utter lack of writing skills is his questionable sociological skills! He seems to look down on, pity, and/or judge all of his subjects at various times, becomes way too personally involved, talks about his own marital problems with his subjects, arranges meetings between different people who likely wouldn't have met on their own, and basically taints in every conceivable way any data that he did get (so I guess it's good that he didn't really get much data). In short, Sudhir seems like a mess himself and even some of his subjects point this out to him. On top of all that, no one in this book is likeable. That's not a prerequisite for enjoying a book, but when it had nothing else going for it, it would've been nice to root for someone. But with the possible exception of drug dealer Shine, everyone (including/especially Sudhir himself) seems whiney and out of touch with reality. The rich, the poor, and the sociologist are all imminently pathetic. I didn't enjoy myself, I didn't learn anything or come to think about NYC (where I live) in a different way, and I didn't find any artistic, entertainment, or sociological merit to this book. So again, I'm left to ask, "What was the point?" I'll end with a quote from Shine himself in the final chapter, "I'm going to be honest with you. Since I've known you, you been meeting up with all these people, and you don't DO nothing with it." Exactly.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 21st, 2014 04:39 am
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khawk
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Who do you write your reviews for?

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 Posted: Tue Jan 21st, 2014 04:41 am
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srossi

 

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khawk wrote: Who do you write your reviews for?
That one was an Amazon review, but that was the first one I've ever written there.  I've done a few on my library's website.  I don't really write many book reviews though.



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 Posted: Wed Feb 5th, 2014 01:13 am
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srossi

 

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"Jobs" by Walter Isaacson has been taking up space in my bookcase for ages now, and I finally started it today.  600 pages but a quick, easy, enjoyable read.  I'm already 100 pages in and I don't want to put it down.  Great book, great man.  The movie doesn't cover 1% of his story.



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 Posted: Wed Feb 5th, 2014 01:52 am
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Count Grog
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Jim Hightowers There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos



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 Posted: Sun Feb 9th, 2014 10:58 pm
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Ultimark



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srossi wrote: Just finished "Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy" by Sudhir Venkatesh.  I'll just a paste a brief review I wrote.  Suffice it to say, I was disappointed but maybe others can find value in it where I didn't.

You would think that there would be a fascinating story to be told in discussing the underground economy of NYC and how the poor and rich are interrelated within it. And there must be. But this isn't that story. "Floating City" is the most boring book you'll ever read about sex and drugs. The main problem might be that Sudhir Venkatesh is a sociologist and simply not a very good writer. If you take out all the redundancies and the paragraphs that Sudhir rephrases again and again and again in only slightly different ways, you might be left with 100 pages that have a purpose out of the 300 in the book (who was his editor?). But the most maddening thing about "Floating City" is that no conclusions are ever drawn. He meets people, he interviews more than 150 of them (only a few of whom are actually followed in the book), he tries to come to conclusions, he tries to tie different worlds together, he asks lots of questions, and then...he rehashes all of this 100 pages later and 100 pages after that and never gets to a point. We learn almost nothing about the characters that Sudhir spends so much time following, except for relatively uninteresting anecdotes here and there that we pretty much could've figured out on our own (hookers sometimes get beat up by johns, drug dealers sometimes beat up people infringing on their territory, etc.). Did he need to spend almost 10 years of his life living in this world to learn that? Perhaps more disturbing than Sudhir's utter lack of writing skills is his questionable sociological skills! He seems to look down on, pity, and/or judge all of his subjects at various times, becomes way too personally involved, talks about his own marital problems with his subjects, arranges meetings between different people who likely wouldn't have met on their own, and basically taints in every conceivable way any data that he did get (so I guess it's good that he didn't really get much data). In short, Sudhir seems like a mess himself and even some of his subjects point this out to him. On top of all that, no one in this book is likeable. That's not a prerequisite for enjoying a book, but when it had nothing else going for it, it would've been nice to root for someone. But with the possible exception of drug dealer Shine, everyone (including/especially Sudhir himself) seems whiney and out of touch with reality. The rich, the poor, and the sociologist are all imminently pathetic. I didn't enjoy myself, I didn't learn anything or come to think about NYC (where I live) in a different way, and I didn't find any artistic, entertainment, or sociological merit to this book. So again, I'm left to ask, "What was the point?" I'll end with a quote from Shine himself in the final chapter, "I'm going to be honest with you. Since I've known you, you been meeting up with all these people, and you don't DO nothing with it." Exactly.Good review but can I suggest paragraphs?  My ADD makes it hard for me to read that.

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