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In need of a book
Posted: 02 October 2008 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hey thar everyone,
  School is in full swing and all my reading is text books.  The brain needs some non mandatory reading, figured I’d see what people are recommending.  Preferably fiction, not particular on the genre.

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Posted: 02 October 2008 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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One of my favourite fiction books (and I am not that big on the fiction)

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

I am now have way thru the book, Mirror Mirror by the same author Gregory Maguire

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“Is there a God in heven, a devil in hell, or is the only light to be seen the one at the end of my cigarette?”

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Posted: 02 October 2008 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Just finished re-reading one of my favorites, “Lamb” - The story of the gospel as told by Biff, Christ’s childhood pal. By Chistopher Moore. It’s both hilarious and fascinating.

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Posted: 02 October 2008 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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FatFlightlessFowl - 02 October 2008 08:44 AM

Hey thar everyone,
  School is in full swing and all my reading is text books.  The brain needs some non mandatory reading, figured I’d see what people are recommending.  Preferably fiction, not particular on the genre.

Here are 2 suggestions: The Forgotten Soldier. Great WWII book Non-Fiction,First hand account of a French youth who joins the Wehrmacht and claws deep into Russia,and then is beaten back out of Russia like a cur dog.Five flippin stars.Really!The best first person war book I’ve ever read!Con:Too short,can easily be read in 2-3 days.Or faster.I took a couple of weeks,I didn’t want it to end.
Second suggestion: Steven Kings “The Stand” odds are you’ve read it already.If you haven’t,and want to read his best,go for it.Not typical horror.Really a great Epic.Fiction,contrived,slight pulp,page turner.

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

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Posted: 02 October 2008 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Anything by John Steinbeck or Isaac Asimov.

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Dan

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Posted: 02 October 2008 08:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Nothing by Stephen King or Anne Rice.

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Posted: 03 October 2008 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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If you prefer short tales, I’d recommend Borges. Very short tales with incredible ideas and filosophical background.

I’d also recommend Stanislav Lem. The only sci-fi writer who could draw a real allien universe, in my opinion.

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Posted: 03 October 2008 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Barto - 03 October 2008 06:55 AM

If you prefer short tales, I’d recommend Borges. Very short tales with incredible ideas and filosophical background.

I’d also recommend Stanislav Lem. The only sci-fi writer who could draw a real allien universe, in my opinion.

Love them both. Borges is the master, better in spanish actually, but very dense.

That said, I don’t read much fiction.

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Posted: 03 October 2008 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’m going to recommend the Horatio Hornblower novels of C. S. Forester (the author of “African Queen”).  They are set during the Napoleaonic Wars.

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Posted: 03 October 2008 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Yes, Borges is somewhat dense, but as a compensation the tales tends to be very short. Also, his books could be divided into too diferent periods. The first is period of compadritos inhabitants of the suburbs of Buenos Aires, living in the margin of the society and the law. “The Brodie Report” is a good example of this period, and its tales don’t tend to be very dense.

The second period is the dense one. “Fictions” is from this period. Tales like “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”, “Deutches Requiem”, “Ragnarok” or “Three versions of Judas”. I love both styles, but I think the former is the less universal, more localist so I tend to prefer the philosophical and abstract Borges.


Regarding Lem, I laughed reading ‘Stars Diaries’ (the history optimization chapter was really amazing) and was really amazed by ‘Solaris’ and the idea of non biological evolution from ‘The Invencible’.

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Posted: 03 October 2008 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I heartily second Vyazma’s recommendation of Guy Sajer’s “The Forgotten Soldier”. It really is the “All Quiet on the Western Front” of World War II. It’s full of unforgettable moments: the charge of the Russian infantry, the Russian tanks grinding German soldiers into the soil—it’s really horrific.

I seldom read fiction. But I can recommend some lighter nonfiction books that you might enjoy.

Systems of Survival, by Jane Jacobs. Subtitled “A dialogue on the moral foundations of commerce and politics”. You think there’s nothing new under the sun in discussions of morality? This book has a stunningly original thesis that is profound, unexpected, and patently correct.

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond. A fantastic book describing how and why Europeans conquered the world. It was biology!

If you want to get a real grip on history, I suggest that you read the series “The Story of Civilization” by Will (and later Ariel) Durant. It’s eleven volumes long and was so popular that you can get individual volumes on eBay for $5. Start with “The Life of Greece”. The series has plenty of flaws—I think they spend entirely too much space talking about the development of philosophy. But Will Durant is a master of the English language, and his writing is so graceful that just reading him will make you a better writer.

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker. OK, this isn’t what I’d call ‘light reading’, but it’s still fun reading.

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Sounds boring, right? This is the perfect bathroom book. Every topic is broken down to a two-page spread. It’s got lots of pictures. The spreads are modular, so you can bounce around, if you wish. And you can pick up the book, read a spread, and put the book down. The problem is, spreads are light potato chips—you can’t eat just one.

The Structures of Everyday Life by Fernand Braudel. This is REALLY, REALLY not light—but it’s good! Braudel did vast amounts of research and explains in vast detail exactly what people ate, drank, wore, furnished their homes with, read, and played with. It’s not so much on the behavior as on the material wealth. What was the physical foundation of the development of the modern economy? It really is fascinating reading about how much beef 500 years ago came to Northern Europe in big cattle drives from Hungary, or about the price of glass window panes, how expensive wheat bread was compared with barley or oats. Well, *I* thought it was fascinating…

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Posted: 03 October 2008 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Chris Crawford - 03 October 2008 08:29 AM

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond. A fantastic book describing how and why Europeans conquered the world. It was biology!

Describing a “theory” of how and why Europeans conquered the world.  wink

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Posted: 03 October 2008 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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George - 03 October 2008 08:39 AM

Describing a “theory” of how and why Europeans conquered the world.  wink

Describing actually a ‘hypothesis’ of how and why Europeans conquered the world, because it is not testeable wink

(Oh… I allways wanted to sound like Popper grin )

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Posted: 03 October 2008 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Chris Crawford - 03 October 2008 08:29 AM

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond. A fantastic book describing how and why Europeans conquered the world. It was biology!

I also want to add that Diamond’s conclusion was that it was geography, not biology, that is responsible for the shape of today’s world.

[ Edited: 03 October 2008 09:13 AM by George ]
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Posted: 03 October 2008 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I was disappointed Palin didn’t make a serious gaffe.

Yes, geography was the ultimate cause. But the geographical element (the longitudinal spread of the Eurasian landmass) led to a biological advantage: a wide array of species available for domestication and a broad array of diseases that Europeans had developed resistance to.

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Posted: 03 October 2008 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Chris Crawford - 03 October 2008 09:19 AM

Yes, geography was the ultimate cause.

No, the ultimate cause was the Big Bang. cool smirk

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