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EvenBob
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August 1st, 2019 at 12:42:43 PM permalink
I've always been a big reader. I only got
thru HS because I was reading all the time.
At least two teachers told me I passed
their class not on merit, but because I
read all the time they knew I wasn't an
idiot.

I read 5-7 books at once, which I understand
many people do. Hemingway had a book
going in the living room, bedroom, bathroom,
patio, and on his boat. I have four in my
bedroom, one on the front porch and one
on the back deck. I always have a book arriving
any day now from Amazon.

I discovered Bill Bryson a few months ago and
ordered 10 of his books. Mostly he travels
and writes about it, very funny stuff. I'm
reading two of his books right now. Also
Hemingway's Boat, which is great. I have
75 books on Hemingway and this might
be the best one.

I'm rereading The Stand by Stephen King for
the 4th time. Tried to read Tina Fey's book
Bossy Pants and can't do it. I can only take
so much whining about how unfair the world is
to women, and how hard balancing a family
and career are. Plus it's poorly written for
a person who's career is writing.

On the deck I'm rereading Bourdain's
Kitchen Confidential. On the porch it's
The Paris Wife, a fictional account of
Hemingway's first marriage.

I don't expect this thread to get much
traction, I suspect many here haven't
read a book in decades. Just a hunch.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Greasyjohn
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August 1st, 2019 at 12:48:34 PM permalink
I'm not reading anything right now, but wish I were. Reading is my favorite hobby. Here are some books that I've read:

American Kingpin Nick Bilton
Anne Frank Remembered Miep Gies
Auschwitz Laurence Rees
Bin Laden Behind the mask of the terrorist Adam Robinson
Brando Peter Manso
Cobb Al Stump
Columbus The 4 Voyages Laurence Bergreen
Dead Wake Erik larson
Destiny of the Republic Candice Millard
End Game Frank Brady
Eiger Dreams Jon krakauer
Einstein
Eisenhower The white house years Jim Newton
Gangster Squad Paul Lieberman
Go Down Together Jeff Guinn
Gonna Do Great Things Gary Fishgall
In the Garden Of Beasts Erik Larson
Into The Wild John Krakhour
Into Thin Air John Krakhour
Little Girl Blue Randy Schmidt
Lost In Shangri-La Mitchell Zuckoff
Mayflower Nathaniel Philbrick
Manhunt James Swanson
Natasha Suzanne Finstad
Off Balance Dominique Moceanu 2-14
Oklahoma City
1,000 Years For Revenge Peter Lance
Ted Williams Leigh Montville
The Devil In The White City Eric Larson
The River of Doubt Candice Millard
The Fords Peter Collier
The Lost City of Z David Grann
The President and the Assassin Scott Miller
Thunderstruck Erik Larson
Under The Banner of Heaven Jon Krakauer
Where Men Win Glory Jon Krakauer
One Summer America 1927 Bill Bryson
Devil in the White City Erik Larson
When Paris Went Dark Julian Jackson

I tried to read Atlas Shrugged and couldn't stand it.
EvenBob
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August 1st, 2019 at 12:53:25 PM permalink
Quote: Greasyjohn


I tried to read Atlas Shrugged and couldn't stand it.



Never could read anything by Ayn
Rand. Gobblygook nonsense. Some
claim to like it, though, I don't know
why.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Greasyjohn
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August 1st, 2019 at 12:56:49 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

Never could read anything by Ayn
Rand. Gobblygook nonsense. Some
claim to like it, though, I don't know
why.



The girl that loaned me Atlas Shrugged said it took a couple hundred pages to get into it. That would be torture. I like an author that pulls me in right from the beginning. Authors need to do their best job on the first page!

Erik Larson is a wonderful writer.

I listened to Bill Bryson's "One Summer" on CD in my car. It was so good that I listened to it twice.
EvenBob
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August 1st, 2019 at 1:08:50 PM permalink
Quote: Greasyjohn

The girl that loaned me



A woman loaned me the first Stephen
King book I read. Can't believe it took
me till I was 40 to discover one of the
best writers of our time. Some of his
stuff stays with you for years. Like
Salem's Lot and The Stand and the
Dark Tower Series.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Face
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August 1st, 2019 at 1:28:20 PM permalink
"Hearts in Atlantis" still stays with me. It's what both got me into King and back into reading.

He can say he writes nonsense, and his critics can say it's trash, but no one paints a picture like he. There's just something aboot it that I can say "wait, I've BEEN there", though the location is fiction.
The opinions of this moderator are for entertainment purposes only.
Greasyjohn
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August 1st, 2019 at 1:32:42 PM permalink
Speaking of writing, it's been said that Capote wrote the first non-fiction novel with "In Cold Blood". To be honest, I had no idea that novels were overwhelmingly fiction. I only learned this a couple years ago.
EvenBob
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August 1st, 2019 at 1:48:16 PM permalink
Quote: Greasyjohn

I had no idea that novels were overwhelmingly fiction. I only learned this a couple years ago.



Does this mean you thought Alice in Wonderland
and Lord of the Rings really happened?
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Greasyjohn
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August 1st, 2019 at 1:53:12 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

Does this mean you thought Alice in Wonderland
and Lord of the Rings really happened?



Haha. It means that I did not know that non-fiction books could not (overwhelmingly) be called novels. And I'm still not sure why that is so after reading up on the reasoning.
kubikulann
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August 2nd, 2019 at 2:50:23 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob


I don't expect this thread to get much
traction, I suspect many here haven't
read a book in decades. Just a hunch.

I cannot hang on with persons who don’t have books in their home.

I currently have ~5500.
(~4000 in French, 1500 in English plus ~100 in other languages)

About 15 of which I am in the course of reading. Not according to places, but in order to cater for my mood when I want to read: history, math, politics, classics, thriller, modern literature, science, theatre, Latin, SF...
Reperiet qui quaesiverit
kubikulann
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August 2nd, 2019 at 3:07:33 AM permalink
Quote: Greasyjohn

Speaking of writing, it's been said that Capote wrote the first non-fiction novel with "In Cold Blood". To be honest, I had no idea that novels were overwhelmingly fiction. I only learned this a couple years ago.

In my bookbase, I distinguish ‘historical novels’ from ‘novelized history’. Both are novels in a sense, and both mix fiction and nonfiction. Today, strict borders don’t exist anymore. Idem for classifying theatre plays. Comedy? Drama?
Reperiet qui quaesiverit
vegas
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August 2nd, 2019 at 6:13:55 AM permalink
I have been reading all the Lee Child Jack Reacher books. Also like to read anything John Grisham writes. These type of series have basically the same theme but I just enjoy them.
50-50-90 Rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there is a 90% probability you'll get it wrong
beachbumbabs
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August 2nd, 2019 at 9:36:12 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

A woman loaned me the first Stephen
King book I read. Can't believe it took
me till I was 40 to discover one of the
best writers of our time. Some of his
stuff stays with you for years. Like
Salem's Lot and The Stand and the
Dark Tower Series.



I read Carrie (for the first time) while we were up north for my Grandma's funeral in 1974. Think it was the year it came out in paperback. Not too many people remember where they were when they first read an author, but he's that good. So I guess it's 45 years he's been putting out good to great books, with the first dozen all great.

I'm wondering if you've read The Stand Uncut in those re-reads, or.you're sticking to the edited (original) version. Paid full price for the Uncut hardback so I'd have it in my library. Again, pretty unusual for me.

I probably read 2 a week. But I don't like having several going at the same time. I just always have one nearby.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
beachbumbabs
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August 2nd, 2019 at 10:03:00 AM permalink
Quote: vegas

I have been reading all the Lee Child Jack Reacher books. Also like to read anything John Grisham writes. These type of series have basically the same theme but I just enjoy them.



Both on my must-read list.

For living authors, everything and anything by these novelists is worth reading :

David Baldacci
Lee Child
Michael Collins
John Grisham
Greg Iles
Stephen King
JK Rowling
Trevanian (deceased)
John Varley

My big 3, for whom I own a copy of everything they ever wrote, but they have passed on.

John D MacDonald
Robert A Heinlein
Rex Stout

Long list of people whom I will read, but not always recommend. A few:

Patricia Cornwell
Scott Turow
Wilber Smith
John LeCarre
John Lescroart
James Patterson
Issac Asimov
JoJo Moyes
Nora Roberts

I tend to read authors more than genres. I don't read much horror, but I do read S King. I don't read romance, but I do read N Roberts. They could write the alphabet and I'd have to read them, they're that good.

My library was about 8000 books, but I donated a couple thousand to a new library in my town, so it's down some. About 500 reference books, the rest fiction, maybe 200 or so non-fiction & non-reference.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
EvenBob
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beachbumbabs
August 2nd, 2019 at 10:07:58 AM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs



I'm wondering if you've read The Stand Uncut



I've only ever read the uncut version.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
EvenBob
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beachbumbabs
August 2nd, 2019 at 10:13:29 AM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

Both on my must-read list.



You'd absolutely love the Flasman series
by George McDonald Fraser. Best historical
fiction ever written. He writes about a
coward/hero in the early days of queen
Victoria's reign. His research is flawless,
you can read his books as actual history.
Just read the first one, I guarantee you'll
be hooked.

"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
gordonm888
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August 2nd, 2019 at 2:25:36 PM permalink
When I'm old and feeble, all I will want is a warm place by the fire and a good book, and I'll be happy. I read everything by:

Lee Child - intoxicating storyteller
Guy Gavriel Kay (fantasy)
Brandon Sanderson (fantasy) -currently reading Oathbringer
Dan Simmons (SciFi)
Lee Smolin (Writes on physics)
Michael Pollan (Writes on Food)
Alan Furst (WW II spy novels)

I've read most of Stephen King. I've read a lot of Patricia Cornwall.

I've recently re-read The Last Lion trilogy (Life of Winston Churchill) by William Manchester

I just finished these incredibly different books:
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
A Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby (1958, humorous account of exploration in Afghanistan)
Quantum Philosophy by a french physicist, Roland Omnes (very learned history of philosophy, logic, mathematics and quantum physics)
Civilization of the Middle Ages by Norman Cantor (took me several years but incredibly rewarding)
Snow on the Equator by H. W. Tilman (1937, mountaineering in Africa, rode across Africa on a bicycle)
All the Light We Cannot See (2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) - stunning novel

BTW, I have read 2 of the Flashman series. Fun reading. I love British humor.
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Aug 2, 2019
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
redietz
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August 2nd, 2019 at 3:12:47 PM permalink
A kindred spirit. Not counting my comics, I had about 3,000 pounds of books (not sure about book count, just weight). My girlfriend finally got me to sell or donate, mainly donate, about 1000 pounds of them. About 90% of mine are non-fiction.

Here's two beauties you have to read:

1) The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols.
2) The Self Illusion by Bruce Hood.
"You can't breathe dead hippo waking, sleeping, and eating, and at the same time keep your precarious grip on existence."
EvenBob
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August 2nd, 2019 at 3:52:39 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

I've only ever read the uncut version.



Speaking of that. The orig was 1100 pages
and the publisher wanted 400 pages cut.
So King had to go thru paragraph by
paragraph and pare it down. Had to take
him months of basically busywork.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
EvenBob
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August 2nd, 2019 at 3:54:49 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

I've read most of Stephen King. .



I'm still ticked off at King for
how he ended the gunslinger
series. We waited years for
it and it's like he dashed it
off in an afternoon. Fans
really let him have it in the
reviews.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
gordonm888
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August 2nd, 2019 at 9:40:35 PM permalink
Best Stephen King fiction, IMO, were It! and The Stand; Cujo was also very good. Pet Sematary was the most horrifying. I am part way through Sleeping Beauties and its not keeping my attention.

For horror, I think Clive Barker is better than King.

The Books of Blood.
The Damnation Game
Weaveworld
Imajica
Hellraiser
The Great and Secret Show
Cabal
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
AxelWolf
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August 3rd, 2019 at 12:12:17 AM permalink
I spend lots of time reading the same stuff by many authors who I absolutely hate and its always the same stuff with the same exact tittle. Terms and Conditions. I even caught a few mistakes today.


My Wife will go though a few books a week sometimes. She still does it old school and still gets them from the library. What a pain in the ass.
♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪
lilredrooster
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August 3rd, 2019 at 12:26:45 AM permalink
I read books -- but my main reading effort now is with newspapers



every morning I scour 7 or 8 different newspapers - and no, they are not all liberal newspapers - I read at least 30 different articles
it is quite amazing how much I have learned from them - all sorts of things I didn't know about

my favorite by far is the New York Times - I believe it is by far the worlds' greatest newspaper
yes, I know it has a liberal bias but so what - all newspapers have some bias
if you get past the politics it is amazing what they offer - they have correspondents all over the world
only maybe 10% of the stories are political with potential for bias

for example if the Washington Post has a story about Mynamar it will be about 5 shortish paragraphs
if the Times writes a story about Mynamar it will be 6 times as long

I took journalism courses in college and I remember one of the things they said is that newspapers can educate people
they have certainly educated me








my favorite books which I constantly re-read are:


Rabbit Run...................John Updike
Light in August..............................William Faulkner
Go Down Moses...................................................William Faulkner
Crime and Punishment............................................................Fyodor Dostoevsky
short stories by Anton Chekhov
1984......................................................................................................................George Orwell
The Stranger........................................................................................................................Albert Camus
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.............................................................................................................Carson McCullers
Collected Short Stories....................................................................................................................................................Carson McCullers
just about anything by Raymond Chandler
Last edited by: lilredrooster on Aug 3, 2019
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
odiousgambit
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August 3rd, 2019 at 2:53:51 AM permalink
Currently it's E.M. Forster for me, just decided to read all of his books.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!”   She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
EvenBob
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August 3rd, 2019 at 10:13:46 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster


just about anything by Raymond Chandler



Ever read Chandler's biography? Sad life.
He married a woman 20 years his senior
and lived with her and his mother until
they both died. He was a clinically depressed
alcoholic and talked of suicide a lot.
A woman who interviewed him for an
article a year before he died said he
had no friends and considered the
shopkeepers he dealt with who didn't
even know who he was to be his friends.
But he sure could write detective stories
for awhile. The Big Sleep was his first novel,
how is that even possible. I've seen the
Robert Mitchum version of Farewell My
Lovely a dozen times.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
lilredrooster
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August 3rd, 2019 at 10:31:08 AM permalink
amazing - I found something I agree with you about

yes, he was a truly great detective story writer - definitely a cut above - he really captured the gritty side of L.A.

also like the writer Elmore Leonard quite a bit

James Ellroy not so much - but what a great book his nonfiction memoir "My Dark Places" was - he goes back and investigates the murder of his mother that happened when he was a small child - his mother was a prostitute in L.A.

oh, and the black detective writer Walter Mosley - he was great IMHO - very underrated and pretty much forgotten - "Devil in a Blue Dress" - published in 1948 - 4.5 stars on Amazon - another one who really got into the underbelly of L.A.

the songwriters ripped him off with the song ""Devil with the Blue Dress On" and got a pop hit out of it in 1964
Last edited by: lilredrooster on Aug 3, 2019
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
Rigondeaux
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August 3rd, 2019 at 10:31:30 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob



I read 5-7 books at once, which I understand
many people do.



#metoo. Oftentimes, I never finish books. I might just dip into a book here and there for years.

I'm very slowly making my way through Moby Dick again. Best novel I've ever read by a wide margin. After that, perhaps Remembrance of Things Past, which I've never read.

Non Fiction stuff I'm currently reading.

Something by Albert Ellis, a pioneer of cognitive-behavioral therapy. I can't remember the name of the book, but they are all called something to the effect of "Stop Doing Bad Things and Start Doing Good Things by Becoming Less Foolish." He is one of the most accessible writers I can think of. I think I'd pay ZenKing to read one of his books.

A collection of writings from the Pali Canon, ostensibly the original Buddhist Teachings.

Reflections on The French Revolution by Edmund Burke and a book I was pleased to discover recently, an edition of Confucious edited/translated by Ezra Pound. I clump these together because they are three of the great conservative thinkers and I think we are in a time where authentic conservative thought (has nothing to do with Reps and Dems) is needed. Everybody is a little bit too keen on sacrificing the good in pursuit of their poorly founded conception of the perfect.

A newer translation of The Tao. The translations vary a lot. Yoda stole his material from here.

A newer translation of The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Incredible dude.

Montaigne's essays. He is credited as one of the inventors of the form. To a certain degree, it's like reading a 16th century Jerry Seinfeld, which is fascinating.
redietz
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August 3rd, 2019 at 10:34:26 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

I read books -- but my main reading effort now is with newspapers



every morning I scour 7 or 8 different newspapers - and no, they are not all liberal newspapers - I read at least 30 different articles
it is quite amazing how much I have learned from them - all sorts of things I didn't know about

my favorite by far is the New York Times - I believe it is by far the worlds' greatest newspaper
yes, I know it has a liberal bias but so what - all newspapers have some bias
if you get past the politics it is amazing what they offer - they have correspondents all over the world
only maybe 10% of the stories are political with potential for bias

for example if the Washington Post has a story about Mynamar it will be about 5 shortish paragraphs
if the Times writes a story about Mynamar it will be 6 times as long

I took journalism courses in college and I remember one of the things they said is that newspapers can educate people
they have certainly educated me








my favorite books which I constantly re-read are:


Rabbit Run...................John Updike
Light in August..............................William Faulkner
Go Down Moses...................................................William Faulkner
Crime and Punishment............................................................Fyodor Dostoevsky
short stories by Anton Chekhov
1984......................................................................................................................George Orwell
The Stranger........................................................................................................................Albert Camus
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.............................................................................................................Carson McCullers
Collected Short Stories....................................................................................................................................................Carson McCullers
just about anything by Raymond Chandler




Back in the 70's, best-selling authors were surveyed regarding where they got their ideas from. The #1 answer was the NYTimes.
"You can't breathe dead hippo waking, sleeping, and eating, and at the same time keep your precarious grip on existence."
EvenBob
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August 3rd, 2019 at 10:47:04 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster



yes, he was a truly great detective story writer - definitely a cut above - he really captured the gritty side of L.A.
also like the writer Elmore Leonard quite a bit



Then do yourself a favor, if you haven't
already, and discover Max Allen Collins.
He's still around and his Nathan Heller
books are great. Been reading him for
20 years. He takes his detective and
drops him into the cases like the
Lindburgh baby kidnapping. Amelia
Earhart, Bugsy Segal and the Flamingo,
the Kennedy assassination, and many
others. There are 16 in all, plus at least
20 books with other detectives.

Start with True Detective, it's a killer.

"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
lilredrooster
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August 3rd, 2019 at 10:54:02 AM permalink
okay, I'm going to try that - you should try "My Dark Places" - James Ellroy
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
EvenBob
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August 3rd, 2019 at 11:02:52 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

okay, I'm going to try that - you should try "My Dark Places" - James Ellroy



Best place to get used books is Ebay.
Always look for free shipping. I never
pay more than $4 for a used book.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
lilredrooster
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August 3rd, 2019 at 1:14:05 PM permalink
I'm very sorry that when I named my favorite books I inadvertently omitted "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison
he only really wrote one book - "Juneteenth" was unfinished and published by others after he died

"Invisible Man" IMHO is at least equal in greatness to any book by any American author if you exclude "Moby Dick"
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
gordonm888
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August 3rd, 2019 at 1:48:15 PM permalink
I read Moby Dick (the unabridged version) in college and found it to be very tedious -all those chapters on whale blubber and the technical aspects of ships and whale hunting. I still have it on my shelves -maybe I should give it another try. Really, its been a long time since I heard anyone refer to it as the greatest American novel.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
EvenBob
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August 3rd, 2019 at 2:30:12 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

its been a long time since I heard anyone refer to it as the greatest American novel.



It was until about 100 years ago.
It no longer is since Hemingway
changed forever the way novels
are written . I'm not saying
he wrote the great American
novel, he radically changed the
writing style. Three years after
Sun was published it was being
taught in colleges across the
country.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Hunterhill
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August 3rd, 2019 at 5:19:26 PM permalink
I read about 50 books a year,most are non fiction or historical fiction.Erik Larsen is great.Ny Times and Washington post are my favorite papers.
Just finished reading Principles by Ray Dalio,and No Surrender the true story of the Japanese soldier who was hiding in the jungles of the Philippines and thought ww2 was still going on,he finally surrendered in 1974.
The mountain is tall but grass grows on top of the mountain.
Mosca
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August 3rd, 2019 at 5:29:42 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob


I discovered Bill Bryson a few months ago and
ordered 10 of his books. Mostly he travels
and writes about it, very funny stuff. I'm
reading two of his books right now.



I’ve read a few of his. I particularly enjoyed At Home: A History of Private Life.

I used to read the same way you do: 3-4-5 books going at once. But I had cataract surgery about 8 years ago, and I changed from being nearsighted to being far sighted. I used to bring books right up tp my face to read them, sometimes with one eye closed; now I have to hold them at arm’s length, and I need bright light. Sometimes I can read a book through, and sometimes I lose patience and go look up what happened. That’s what happened with Killers of the Flower Moon, two and a half chapters in and I googled “Osage Indian killings”. But then I blew through American Predator, that was a good one.

Bob, if you haven’t read Chickenhawk yet, do it. That is the book I recommend most. I rarely read a book more than once, but I’ve read that one probably a dozen times. Second is Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors. Another great one. (But I only read it once.)
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Mosca
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August 3rd, 2019 at 5:47:08 PM permalink
Quote: Rigondeaux


I'm very slowly making my way through Moby Dick again. Best novel I've ever read by a wide margin.



Fun story: when my daughter was between her junior and senior years of high school, summer 2008, she was assigned Moby Dick for summer reading, for advanced Am Lit class. She was complaining about it, so we made a deal: I would read it with her, and we’d talk about what we read. So we made it through the summer, reading some each day (it can drag in the middle).

On the first day of class, the teacher gave a test on Moby Dick. Not the kind of thing that you could get from reading the Cliff’s Notes, but stuff like “Name five of the ships that the Pequod encountered.” Stuff that you would have had to actually read the book to know. She was the only one in the class who passed.
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EvenBob
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August 3rd, 2019 at 9:11:13 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

I’ve read a few of his. I particularly enjoyed At Home: A History of Private Life.



Haven't got there yet. I'm reading
Summer of 1927 next.

Quote:

and I changed from being nearsighted to being far sighted.


I read with an old 5" magnifying glass
now, like my great grandad used to
do. I don't need it, but it makes it
easier and no eye strain. I come from
a family of readers. When we visited
the old folks, my dad, grandfather, and
great grandfather would all be sitting
in the parlor by the tall bay windows,
in rocking chairs, reading paperbacks
with magnifying glasses. It was straight
out of Norman Rockwell.

My dad read mostly sci/fi, but both
grandparents read nothing but pulp
paperback westerns. They were both
born in the late 1800's and the Wild
West was a huge deal. This was the
50's and early 60's, they watched
western after western on the B/W TV.
10 years before that, 1945, they didn't
even have electric yet. It must have
seemed like the 21st century to go
from kerosene lamps to television
in just 10 years.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Mosca
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August 4th, 2019 at 6:19:13 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

I come from
a family of readers. When we visited
the old folks, my dad, grandfather, and
great grandfather would all be sitting
in the parlor by the tall bay windows,
in rocking chairs, reading paperbacks
with magnifying glasses. It was straight
out of Norman Rockwell.



My family has always been readers, too. My dad had a stroke in May (91 years old). He had to leave assisted living and move to a personal care home, and I’ve been cleaning his room. He had close to 100 books, maybe more, piled up in his closet.

Now he is in a personal care home, doing much better but with huge gaps in memory, reasoning, and ability, including the ability to read. But he requested two books: C.J. Box’ The Disappeared and Wolf Pack. He tries to read them, but hasn’t made it past the first page. But he still sits there with one or the other of them open, trying.

I used to read more fiction, but I feel the quality of writing has declined over the years; or maybe it has passed me by, I don’t know. Too many times I’m aware of the artifice. The only guy I’ve read in the last few years that I’ve liked has been Cormac McCarthy. Elmore Leonard was great, but of course he’s been gone for a while now.

Styles change. We can still read fiction written 150 years ago, but it requires some patience, in the same way films from the ‘30s and ‘40s do for younger people today, because people structured their sentences differently, cared about different things, etc. Language changes. When those changes accumulate to a certain point, they interfere with meaning, and thus Moby Dick changes from “fascinating” to “difficult”. But imagine the reader in the late 19th century, who knew there was a whaling industry but knew nothing about it. The minutiae must have been fascinating in that analog culture where people depended on specific tools for everything,
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Rigondeaux
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August 4th, 2019 at 6:26:38 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

Fun story: when my daughter was between her junior and senior years of high school, summer 2008, she was assigned Moby Dick for summer reading, for advanced Am Lit class. She was complaining about it, so we made a deal: I would read it with her, and we’d talk about what we read. So we made it through the summer, reading some each day (it can drag in the middle).

On the first day of class, the teacher gave a test on Moby Dick. Not the kind of thing that you could get from reading the Cliff’s Notes, but stuff like “Name five of the ships that the Pequod encountered.” Stuff that you would have had to actually read the book to know. She was the only one in the class who passed.



It might not be suitable for high school. At least not reading the whole thing. I would probably focus on portions of the book and trying to explain why they are good.

If they are bright, which I'm sure your daughter was, they might get the language and begin to perceive the poetry. The guy who wrote the intro to mine argued that it's actually an epic poem.

Some people might never be into all the history of whaling stuff. Since I have a personal preference for nautical stuff, I eat it up with a spoon. The amount of knowledge/research, even if much is fictionalized, is impressive by itself. I think that sort of thing is especially hard for high schoolers because it's still a bit hard form them to grasp that people in olden times were just as real as they are, and that this was what life really was like. It's hard to actually visualize themselves living a life so far removed from what they know.

The philosophical stuff, which is packed in there, is going to be very hard for a young person to get. For example: "There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness."

I can barely accept the fact that the book was written by a single man. And that's just based on the parts of the book I grasp. Certainly, much of the genius still sails over my head, and then I miss more stuff because I live in a different time.
Mosca
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August 4th, 2019 at 6:37:56 AM permalink
Quote: Rigondeaux

It might not be suitable for high school. At least not reading the whole thing. I would probably focus on portions of the book and trying to explain why they are good.

If they are bright, which I'm sure your daughter was, they might get the language and begin to perceive the poetry. The guy who wrote the intro to mine argued that it's actually an epic poem.



Yeah, she’s bright. Brighter than me. It was AP American Lit, and when she graduated she got a full scholarship to Notre Dame. So the philosophical/religious stuff was a big part of the assignment. And I agree, that a lot of it isn’t really relevant until you have some life under your skin.

The “different era”, I just referenced that in my last post. You gotta work at some things, and the older it is, the more work it can be.
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lilredrooster
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August 4th, 2019 at 7:10:24 AM permalink
I'll never forget Anton Chekhov's short story "Ward No. 6" or the impact it had on me - Chekhov was a Doctor



it's set in Russia a long time age
a political dissident is sent to a psychiatric hospital which is what they did with dissidents who refused to conform back then

the Doctor who is treating him notices that he is very intelligent and enjoys conversing with him for long amounts of time which is not at all the way patients were handled back then

the staff notices what the Doctor is doing

the staff assesses that because the Doctor keeps talking to this patient that the Doctor himself is insane

the Doctor is then committed as being insane to the same hospital where he was working - and has a bed next to the dissident patient

wow. the message to me was: the world is mad
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
Rigondeaux
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August 4th, 2019 at 7:39:02 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

Yeah, she’s bright. Brighter than me. It was AP American Lit, and when she graduated she got a full scholarship to Notre Dame. So the philosophical/religious stuff was a big part of the assignment. And I agree, that a lot of it isn’t really relevant until you have some life under your skin.

The “different era”, I just referenced that in my last post. You gotta work at some things, and the older it is, the more work it can be.



Even in grad school, I still really struggled with older/dryer writing. I could understand what they were saying, but it was like it all had to pass through a filter. Maybe it was like reading in a foreign language that you understand well, but it's still your second language.

At some point, the switch flipped and now I can read something like Moby Dick or Seneca fairly fluidly.

This isn't from reading them for hours and hours, as I'm not really THAT big a reader. During my years at dead end jobs and so forth, I almost never read that kind of stuff. Something just changed.

I don't know if that's normal.
Mosca
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August 4th, 2019 at 7:50:48 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

I'll never forget Anton Chekhov's short story "Ward No. 6" or the impact it had on me - Chekhov was a Doctor



it's set in Russia a long time age
a political dissident is sent to a psychiatric hospital which is what they did with dissidents who refused to conform back then

the Doctor who is treating him notices that he is very intelligent and enjoys conversing with him for long amounts of time which is not at all the way patients were handled back then

the staff notices what the Doctor is doing

the staff assesses that because the Doctor keeps talking to this patient that the Doctor himself is insane

the Doctor is then committed as being insane to the same hospital where he was working - and has a bed next to the dissident patient

wow. the message to me was: the world is mad



The one that is indelible for me is Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. The one written in 1953. About a serial killer.
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EvenBob
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August 4th, 2019 at 10:03:04 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

I used to read more fiction,



I avidly avoid fiction now, unless it's
something I've already read. You
become acutely aware of time passing
when you get older and I don't want
to waste it on some crap somebody made
up. And there is a lot of crap out there.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
EvenBob
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August 4th, 2019 at 10:09:22 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster



the Doctor is then committed as being insane to the same hospital where he was working - and has a bed next to the dissident patient wow. the message to me was: the world is mad



The world is confused until set straight.
Reminds me of the hospital doc in London
in the middle of the 19th century
who discovered that he had 80% fewer
sick patients if he washed his hands
between surgeries. When he presented
his findings, he was almost driven from
the profession by his fellow hospital
doctors. He was laughed at and called
insane. Within 20 years washing hands
after surgery had become mandatory.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
jmills
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August 4th, 2019 at 11:08:16 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

You'd absolutely love the Flasman series
by George McDonald Fraser. Best historical
fiction ever written. He writes about a
coward/hero in the early days of queen
Victoria's reign. His research is flawless,
you can read his books as actual history.
Just read the first one, I guarantee you'll
be hooked.



The Flashman books are among my favorites. Flashman at the Charge, which has the main character desperately trying to avoid combat and yet participating in the the charge of the Light Brigade, the charge of the Heavy Brigade, and the thin red line, is probably the best.

If you like those, I would strongly recommend the Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian. They're not irreverent like the Flashman books, but they are a compelling look at naval warfare during the Napoleonic wars. Great characters, and really funny too. The best thing is that if you like the first one, there are 19 more. Peter Weir's movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is based on the tenth book.

I'm also a huge fan of Stephen King. The Dead Zone is the best one, I think, but they're all worth a read (except The Talisman, which was terrible).

As far as the Great American Novel, my money is on Catch 22.
Rigondeaux
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August 4th, 2019 at 11:10:23 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

The one that is indelible for me is Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. The one written in 1953. About a serial killer.



Her and Borges are my short story Mount Rushmore. It only has two people for whatever reason.
EvenBob
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August 4th, 2019 at 11:14:43 AM permalink
Quote: jmills



As far as the Great American Novel, my money is on Catch 22.



I haven't read 22 in 30 years, but I
think about the characters all the
time and even quote from it. The
story hits very close to how absurd
much of real life is.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
EvenBob
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August 4th, 2019 at 11:39:45 AM permalink
Quote: jmills



If you like those, I would strongly recommend the Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian.



I checked it out at Amazon, read reviews
and looked inside a coupe. Just ordered
11 of them from Ebay, $20, free shipping.

"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
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