Re: Consumer reporting

1

I have only held a Kindle a few times, so I have no advice. But I went to the page for it on Amazon, where Kindle reminds you how easy it is to download even the top bestsellers, like Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis:

Clay has returned to Los Angeles to help cast his new movie, and he's soon drifting through a long-familiar circle. Blair, his former girlfriend, is married to Trent, an influential manager who's still a bisexual philanderer. Then there's Clay's childhood friend Julian, a recovering addict, and their old dealer, Rip, face-lifted beyond recognition and seemingly even more sinister than in his notorious past. But Clay's own demons emerge once he meets a gorgeous young actress determined to win a role in his movie.

Sometimes I fantasize about going ahead and writing all the blurbs for every book that Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk write for the rest of their lives. Let's just get all those done now.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:12 AM
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We got my dad a Kindle for Chanukah last year, and he seems to love it. So, if you're anything like my dad, you'll love the Kindle.

I'm not particularly interested in the Kindle, because it's basically a single-use device, and you can read Kindle books on many other multi-use devices (like computers, iPhones, and iPads).


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:20 AM
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I really can't picture myself buying an iPhone or iPad any time soon, though. And curling up with my laptop sounds very very unappealing. If that were the case, I might as well be commenting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:23 AM
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They're pricier than I thought. Even the used ones on Amazon are $219. I was picturing something under $100.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:25 AM
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I'm growing less enthusiastic now that I saw the price tag.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:28 AM
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I'm growing less enthusiastic now that I saw the price tag.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:28 AM
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And growing even less.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:28 AM
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even


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:28 AM
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Large print is better for my mother these days; does anyone know if there are any e-readers that are particularly good or bad for that?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:28 AM
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less


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:30 AM
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Sorry to interrupt your shrinking, Heeblet.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:31 AM
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The main problem I foresee with these e-readers is that I would go through media way too fast and that nothing would be available for free. As it is I'm trekking to the library every couple of days to re-up, and that would get fairly pricy if each book cost a dollar.

One potential upside: friends tell me that short stories and novellas become much more attractive on e-readers. There's not that pressure to get through a story collection, or that lingering sense of purchaser outrage at the pricing.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:31 AM
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now


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:31 AM
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I wonder if libraries would ever have a way to provide free e-books.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:32 AM
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US OUT OF KINDLE NOW!!!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED HIPPIE | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:32 AM
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4, you know there are old-fashioned (but new! edition!) hardbound books that cost more than $100 each.

I see quite a few Kindles and a few Sony (bookman?) on the trains and people who keep using them are delighted. I just read my own Moleskine.


Posted by: Econolicious, tenured much less than zero | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:34 AM
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Can't you offer to, uh, review a Kindle? Does it do math books?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:36 AM
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I foresee with these e-readers is that I would go through media way too fast and that nothing would be available for free.

At this point in the history of the Web, I cannot imagine, presuming a not hopelessly discriminating taste, ever running out of free media. What, copyright unprotection is now up to 1927?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:36 AM
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you know there are old-fashioned (but new! edition!) hardbound books that cost more than $100 each.

I certainly won't be buying any of those single use Kindles any time soon.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:37 AM
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14: bookserver.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:37 AM
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The main problem I foresee with these e-readers is that I would go through media way too fast and that nothing would be available for free.

Is this true. I though there was a bunch of public domain material that had been converted to an e-book format and was available for free (I don't remember, though, whether that is available for the Kindle, which uses a proprietary format).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:37 AM
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The public-domain pulp of yesteryear fulfills a different media-consumption need than does contemporary pulp. I need both, and in enormous quantities.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:38 AM
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That link is just about the only thing I know about bookserver, though.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:39 AM
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20: Any experience with it? Is there a decent amount of material on it yet?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:40 AM
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The public-domain pulp of yesteryear fulfills a different media-consumption need than does contemporary pulp. I need both, and in enormous quantities.

Getting a Kindle wouldn't preclude borrowing contemporary pulp from the library as well, of course.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:41 AM
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I bet I don't read as much as the average Unfoggeder, or at least Jackmormon, it sounds like. In the summer I get through a few more than just the book club books, but in the school year it's hard enough to maintain a healthy amount of commenting here and book club.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:41 AM
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Hauling library books is pretty much my only form of exercise.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:42 AM
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There was a while when I had a long bus commute once a week, and that made me want an e-book reader. Now that I'm no longer doing that commute, it tempts be a little bit, but it isn't an active desire.

But it seems like it would be great for reading on transit.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:42 AM
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I bet I don't read as much as the average Unfoggeder, or at least Jackmormon,

I bet that those two quantities are not the same.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:44 AM
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There is surprisingly little public transportation available between small towns in Texas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:44 AM
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30: "Surprisingly"? Who's surprised?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:46 AM
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But it would be nice for travelling, I'd think.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:46 AM
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It seems like libraries are required for the likes of Jackmormon, to prevent her from devouring all the text in the world.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:46 AM
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31: I think Standpipe's blog expressed surprise.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:46 AM
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34: I surprised myself with that very same post over there right after clicking "Post".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:47 AM
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Cost is the main thing that keeps me from getting an e-reader. Well, that and the fact that I don't think anything currently on the market will seem worthwhile in a few years, but that's part of cost, since if I could I'd just buy one and then another later.

Also, I would need to spend a lot of time figuring out how well each one that can do pdf does pdf, and I'm lazy. It seems like getting a netbook would be a better choice for me, except I don't want one. I tend not to read on public transit, or at least so little that one small paperback can last a long time, so most situations where I'd read are places where you can use a netbook or even a laptop.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:51 AM
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Sometimes it amazes me that public libraries are still legal.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:51 AM
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Sometimes it amazes me that public libraries are still legal.

They probably wouldn't be if the idea for them came up today.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:56 AM
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Speaking of consumer reporting, I need a book recommendation. I would like to buy a sleep aid. In the past, my go-to cure for insomnia was the very excellent History of the Arab Peoples, but I finished that a while ago and have had trouble getting to sleep lately. So, I'm looking for something interesting (or I won't read it), but DRY.

Analytical history of the Oxford school has seemed to be most effective in the past. No sweeping narratives (or I'll stay up too late to see how the story turns out), no chronicles (a in the chronicle vein was well reviewed but I found it bewildering), no tendentious arguments.

Ideally, I'd be interested to learn more about the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Byzantium, the Ottomans, and the Silk Road, but the form is more important. Any suggestions?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:00 PM
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Sometimes it amazes me that public libraries are still legal.

Still in existence, you mean. Barely so, now. It involves the gubmint, and therefore taxes, so.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:00 PM
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I bet I don't read as much as the average Unfoggeder

I often feel this way, too, and console myself by reminding myself that I do read a newspaper (A section and arts section) pretty much everyday. I'm the only person my age who still reads a physical paper with any regularity, and I'm convinced that, at some point in my mid-40s, I'll be the last person in the US still buying a daily newspaper.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:05 PM
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So, I'm looking for something interesting (or I won't read it), but DRY.

Have you considered Kant's critical philosophy?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:07 PM
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And David Broder will still have a column in it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:07 PM
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Have you considered Kant's critical philosophy?

Briefly.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:09 PM
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Any other suggestions?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:09 PM
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39: Not your requested subject area, but I can recommend, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 for your purposes. 1416 pages and apparently a 2nd volume is planned.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:13 PM
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39: Have you ever read any Braudel? That might fit with your stated desires.

To the OP: I always want a Kindle when I'm travelling. When I was little, we would go on month-long camping trips and I would bring along 30 books. That mindset has stuck with me and I still seem to read a ton on trips. I'd love to eliminate that weight from my bags. Otherwise, it doesn't seem necessary. I wish they were cheaper.

Also, my two month old kitten fell in the toilet this morning (woke me up, actually). Hilarious.


Posted by: paren | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:13 PM
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paren

A sure sign that your local internet plague continues. My sympathies, 'thetical.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:15 PM
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I wonder if libraries would ever have a way to provide free e-books.

Just in case you weren't joking -- yes, they have such a way, and yes, they do.

There is a huge and silent crisis going on with regard to digital rights, and I keep struggling to think about how to raise awareness. Basically, in the old days, a library could buy an encyclopedia and put it on the shelf. If there were funding cuts in the next year, the encyclopedia would still be there -- a year older, but there.

These days, as more and more resources become electronic, libraries were encouraged, coerced, and sometimes forced to rent rather than buy access to critical information. As a wave of budget cuts swamps public libraries, access to that information is disappearing.

In the 2001 and previous recessions, libraries still had phone books. We still had the Thomas directory of manufacturers. We still had drug encyclopedias and physician directories and Consumer Reports and used-auto price guides and hundreds of similar reference materials that poor and middle-class Americans needed to use occasionally and could not afford to buy.

Now, increasingly, those items are subscription-based. In hard times, the subscription to E-books gets canceled. The subscription to Recorded Books gets cut. Reference USA, and the Kelly Blue Book and CR and a million other tools that small-business owners and blind people and poor people and everybody once used...are gone.

We have lost access to a whole realm of valuable information that helped individuals redress the information imbalance they face against corporations.

It's been mostly invisible because the pundit class and other heavy Net posters are sufficiently academically-affiliated and/or middle-class that single-use purchases of information to look up a car seat on Consumer Reports or come up with a used-car trade-in value are affordable to them. But they're not affordable to everyone. And it's a terrible crisis for the old lady who used to look up her cardiologist's record, or the disabled man who used to get car-repair information from books -- actual, dead-tree, BOOKS -- at the library.

I don't want to romanticize the past; there were certainly plenty of access issues back in the day too -- starting with which libraries were rich enough to buy materials in the first place. But I've been working in libraries since 1989, and what we've lost is real and meaningful.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:16 PM
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His book on the Mediterranean might work rather well.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:17 PM
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And it's a terrible crisis for the old lady who used to look up her cardiologist's record, or the disabled man who used to get car-repair information from books -- actual, dead-tree, BOOKS -- at the library.
To say nothing of the itinerant, masterless ninja.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:21 PM
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Some of Braudel's Mediterranean is actually quite well-written, I thought, but then there are the chapters on currency and metalzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz or something. I never made it through the narrative section, since it was just a bunch of stuff that happened.

I don't remember much of Treadgold's big history of Byzantium, so I'm guessing it was dry. You could read the Byzantine Commonwealth to get an overview of (what is now) eastern Europe during that period, and then follow it with Peter Sugar's book on eastern Europe under the Ottomans. I haven't read Sugar, so maybe it's too exciting.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:25 PM
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For a dry, comprehensive, and long survey on the Habsburg Empire try Kann's History of the Habsburg Empire 1526-1918 An emphasis on the dry. It does its job of providing a thorough outline of the history that you can then use to read more interesting and targeted mongraphs.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:27 PM
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Having lacked home internet for a bit a while ago, I sympathize, ().


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:28 PM
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here are the chapters on currency and metalzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sounds perfect! Treadgold sounds good, too. [Famous Historian]'s big book on [big dry topic] is just what I'm looking for. Okay, now I must obsess over Brasil vs. Costa de Marfil (!?).


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:28 PM
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so maybe it's too exciting.

Fake accent has NOT read the Sugar.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:28 PM
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53: I was trying to remember that, but mistakenly remembered the author's name as Vann, not Kann. I haven't read it, but its dryness is apparently legendary.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:29 PM
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The main problem I foresee with these e-readers is that I would go through media way too fast and that nothing would be available for free. As it is I'm trekking to the library every couple of days to re-up, and that would get fairly pricy if each book cost a dollar.

This is the problem with junk food reading. I borrowed two Dennis Lehanes yesterday, started reading them at three, and was done by eight. If I didn't have libraries I'd be broke one of those people you trip over at the bookstore.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:33 PM
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"Legendarily dry" sounds a bit daunting, frankly. I'll check out the writing before I run to purchase that one. I *do* already own Kant's critical philosophy, mind you, and was looking for read material a bit more tempting.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:35 PM
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David Christian's History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia, Volume I:
Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire
is about what you'd expect based on the title. I don't know if a second volume ever appeared, but you get some silk road stuff in it.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:37 PM
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phone books

My initial thought when I read this, was "books you can read on your phone?"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:40 PM
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59 BPL has it so you can look at it there. I also have a copy someplace.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:40 PM
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It's a promising title! Except for the "prehistory" part, which I've never enjoyed as much. Generally, I've found that big books with exceedingly boring titles are what I what in this genre.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:41 PM
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I'll look at the BPL copy, but this is the sort of book I'll probably want to buy, since I'm expecting to read it very slowly, in half-hour, liminal-state increments.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:44 PM
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Yeah, the no intenet at home (and it isn't like I spend 40 hours a week at the office - I work at home) is incredibly frustrating. Also frustrating? The property manager declining to return any of my phone calls. I've also talked to her in person but that's just bad business.


Posted by: paren | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:45 PM
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I remember the prehistory part being tolerably short. Christian has gotten into the "big history" idea (I think he has a book by that name), which sometimes seems to try to put things on a big bang to the present scale, but I don't remember it being that bad.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:45 PM
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Yeah, the no intenet at home (and it isn't like I spend 40 hours a week at the office - I work at home) is incredibly frustrating. Also frustrating? The property manager declining to return any of my phone calls. I've also talked to her in person but that's just bad business.


Posted by: paren | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:48 PM
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And yes, the Braudel has many zzzzzz moments, but in between it can be rather gripping.


Posted by: paren | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:48 PM
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Gol!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:50 PM
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And yes, the Braudel has many zzzzzz moments, but in between it can be rather gripping.


Posted by: paren | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:50 PM
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I don't know how that happened. Ok. I should go to the library now.

(Oh, and, goal!)


Posted by: paren | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:50 PM
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I've been working through the Oxford History of the United States, and been enjoying it.


Posted by: Light Rail Tycoon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:51 PM
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49 seems fairly inevitable, which is why I think that the idea of Online libraries needs to be examined.

That idea being that having bought CR, put it on my hard drive, I should be able to act as a library, and loan it to friends.

It is probably not so good to support a model of profitability that is based on an obsolete technology and contingencies of access.

The neighborhood video store has disappeared, and Blockbuster is not looking so good.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:53 PM
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I think what I want is history as systems-analysis. But good?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:55 PM
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I feel bad for all the obsolete people who only use obsolete technology.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:56 PM
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The Oxford history of the US books might be too well-written. At least the original series goal was to write more lively narrative syntheses than you usually get from academic history. I've liked the ones I've read, but they aren't really broad-ranging surveys. On the other hand, two of the three I've read have quite a lot about wars, so that's different than say, the one on the mid-19th century, which I really want to read.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 12:59 PM
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The subscription pricing model is really a huge problem for libraries, even rich ones, but for poorer ones especially.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:01 PM
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Adding to 76: pre-Civil war mid-19th century, that is.

I wanted to do a bunch of reading today, so maybe I should stop commenting.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:02 PM
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lively narrative

Oh, no, no, no.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:02 PM
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Bravo to Witt's 49. It's well-explained: the shift to electronic media (books and periodicals) leaves a lot of people in the dust.

Witt describes this as a silent crisis, but as she attests, and as the book world in general well knows, it's not happening unnoticed.

Apparently I can't avoid being earnest about this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:04 PM
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The goalie for Cote d'Ivoire looks like Tupac Shakur and is dressed like a UPS man. Disconcerting.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:05 PM
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Looking up the histories at OUP they run about $50 a volume in paperback.

Libraries existed because books were expensive. Some books, I don't think libraries really exist to provide access to the latest Grisham. Some do get the Grisham from libraries, but considering the cost of the bus ride or gas & parking, it is probably cheaper at the used book store.

I don't think lib Books were expensive mostly because print runs were small. If 100 thousand people in Dallas bought the Oxford History of X not only would each series be much cheaper, but Oxford also might worry less about profits from limiting distribution.

But in a digital world, 100k people aren't going to but a hardcopt of an Oxford history. I don't have the answer, and I know this has been discussed to death already. But we really aren't dealing well.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:06 PM
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76: Do you mean What Hath God Wrought?

I haven't gotten nearly as far into it as I would have liked. It does appear that academic history has ruined me for the more readable surveys. (Lots of good stuff for teaching in there, though.) Also, Wood's latest volume in the series? Agh.


Posted by: paren | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:22 PM
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Mote's history of imperial china is long, dry, and well-written.

Distributed Proofreaders is a good way to stumble over interesting old free stuff, and do a tiny fix of not-enough-free on the way. Also, soporific! but not Kindle or cellphone friendly.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:28 PM
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That sounds promising, clew. I know next to nothing about imperial China.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:32 PM
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Gol! 2-0 Brasil.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:32 PM
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I would like at least ONE African team to go through, but it's not looking terribly likely.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:36 PM
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I've found that having children is an effective solution to the problem of going through books too fast.

This has been a special Father's Day Unfogged comment.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:39 PM
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82.last: But we really aren't dealing well.

No. Basically the haves want to have more for free, or more cheaply, and sometimes seem to feel entitled to that, which is not really working out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:40 PM
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83: Yes. And I didn't realize that that Wood book was in the series. (Shows how far I've slipped away from informing myself about books I haven't read.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:40 PM
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Also, (), what's bad about Empire of Liberty?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:41 PM
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I shall elaborate as soon as they actually let me into the library (seriously, not open until 1? It is a conspiracy against me and work) but my dislike of Empire of Liberty is mostly idiosyncratic, not a judgment on quality.


Posted by: paren | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 1:50 PM
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Thanks, (). Also, to follow on 88, one advantage of having kids is the opportunity to fill in reading gaps from one's own childhood. I just read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:03 PM
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I just read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time.

Dude.

You should also read Lloyd Alexander. And of course LeGuin. How remedial are we here?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:06 PM
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I think what I want is history as systems-analysis

Not history, but why not read Luhmann? "His relatively low profile elsewhere is partly due to the fact that translating his work is a difficult task, since his writing presents a challenge even to readers of German, including many sociologists.", sez Wikipedia.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:09 PM
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I still haven't read The Velveteen Rabbit. Or that book that everyone hates about some tree.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:12 PM
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My elaboration will take the form of a link - I pretty much agree with Lepore's analysis. Also, and again, this is purely individual, but he barely addresses many topics that I think should be in there. Then again, it's already an extremely long book, and I'm no Gordon Wood, so.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:16 PM
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I will state that I was teasing in 94.

And I haven't read the rabbit book either.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:16 PM
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You can't throw a kindle across the room in disgust without soon thereafter feeling a bit foolish.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:18 PM
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I read Goodnight Moon for the first time several years ago.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:18 PM
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After playing with my kid's iPad and iPhone for a bit, I'd suggest waiting a few months. All the players are frantically trying to figure out how to get slices of Apple's pie and there should be some good hardware and software combinations coming soon. To me the Kindle's screen is somewhat low in contrast though that might because my eyes are 69 years old (today).

I'd go for a smartphone with a bigger screen than my original Droid and without the slide-out keyboard. Unfortunately for my budget, one is coming to Verizon soon.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:19 PM
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At one point, I could recite Goodnight Moon from memory.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:19 PM
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he barely addresses many topics that I think should be in there.

This is an issue with all of the Oxford books, although, in a sense, they are supposed to be that way or else they'd be way way too long, and too dry for how they're supposed to be written.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:20 PM
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Happy birthday, Biohazard! Hope you and DE are doing something fun.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:22 PM
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Happy birthday, Biohazard!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:23 PM
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||

This is some kind of intense iliac crest action

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:25 PM
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I want some content in my theory, neb.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:25 PM
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106 was your birthday present, Biohazard.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:26 PM
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Drat. Pwned, in identical terms even. Still, I'll take this opportunity to say that you're one of my favorite commenters: all good will to you on your birthday.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:26 PM
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103: Right. I'm just tired of women's history being completely tangential in books of that sort of size and scope, and not all of the Oxford series is guilty of that. Also, and this is something that shouldn't really be important to the lay reader, and possibly something Wood isn't even responsible for, but I really wanted the bibliographic essays to be better.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:26 PM
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I want some content in my theory, neb.

And I want some sugar in my bowl. We've all got problems.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:26 PM
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AJP Taylor on the Hapsburgs, Steven Runciman possibly too interesting, but "The great Church in captivity" is pretty dry and everyone ought to read his history of the crusades. I found three volumes of the Cambridge Modern History in the local second-hand shop the other day, and they are perfect for these purposes. But probably harder to discover cheap in NYC.

Can't help you with the Silk Road.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:26 PM
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oops. the last was for Jackmormon, but I screwed up the HTML


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:28 PM
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A little hyle for my morphe. Some noemata for my noeseis.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:29 PM
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Thanks Werdna! Is the Taylor more about the dynastic family or about how the Empire worked?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:34 PM
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Also, and this is something that shouldn't really be important to the lay reader

Actually, for lay readers with enough interest to pick up an Oxford book and want more, I think the bibliographic essays can be really important. If you don't have easy access to book reviews/academic literature, there aren't many places to look for further readings aside from the small slice of work that makes it into newspapers and magazines. I'm not a huge fan of unannotated lists of readings.

And I agree with you on the lack of women's history being a problem in that kind of work. Which Oxford book isn't guilty of that? The later 20th century ones?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:35 PM
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And of course LeGuin

I was going to link to my recent comment about her postcard to one of my daughters, but it's lost in the hoohole somewhere. Anyway, we've read the Catwings series; the rest of her books, which I haven't read, await.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:37 PM
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Happy hazard, Biobirthday!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:47 PM
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117: Right, I remember that comment, about the postcard, now -- a bookseller friend of mine is an acquaintance of hers, and all word is that she's terrific. Move on to the Earthsea trilogy, definitely.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:49 PM
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Happy birthday, Biohazard's eyes!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 2:50 PM
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||
ARGH. I hate house-hunting. I don't want to be doing this for another year and a half. I just got back from vacation and immediately on the agenda is seeing a house that already has two offers and is going to be considering all their offers about three hours from now. Said house is strictly inferior to but probably more expensive than the one we missed out on a couple of weeks ago by not bidding quite fast or aggressively enough (hindsight, etc). We're still smarting from that, and are deep in "nothing else will ever be that good" territory, so this is extra-painful.

This counts because it's about consumerism, right?
|>


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 3:09 PM
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121: The house you missed had 6 inches of water or a corpse in the basement. My advice is that you don't want to buy a house while thinking, "We need to make decisions quicker."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 3:43 PM
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I started Grand Expectations and it looked to be gearing up to cover women's history. Unfortunately, I left it on an overnight megabus before I got too far in.


Posted by: Light Rail Tycoon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 3:47 PM
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IMHO, unless one is a pre-adolescent girl, Catwings is pretty much without merit.
All of LeGuin's other work is better, and some is superb.

If you lean more SF than fantasy, you could do worse than to start with Planet of Exile before going on to The Dispossessed and finally The Left Hand of Darkness

For dry bedtime reading, I recommend Will and Ariel Durant's Story of Civilization in 11 volumes, or Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy in 1, or Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 3:57 PM
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YOU HAVE A POSTCARD FROM LeGUIN?

Wow.

It looks to me like library funding is falling anyway; and then the online==subscription model is a ratchet that chews away last years' investments? Ow. Pretty soon it *will* be cheaper for libraries to run their own servers. I wonder what a Wikipedia staffed by librarians would be like.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 3:59 PM
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I wonder what a Wikipedia staffed by librarians would be like.

Teh sexy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:04 PM
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Not only do I have a postcard, I also have an autographed beer coaster from when I waited on her at a restaurant.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:05 PM
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I'm finally reading The Pillow Book. It's not dry, except for the bits that just list names of mountains or whatnot.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:10 PM
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128: Isn't it great? I taught it to freshmen one semester.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:11 PM
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129: It is great! It was one of your comments that reminded me that I should read it (someone recommended it to me years ago, and I never got around to it).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:23 PM
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128: Oh wow, one of my favorite things I read in college was The Art of the Personal Essay, which was pretty much unendingly great. One of the standouts in a series of standouts was Sei Shōnagon's "Hateful Things," the title of which I just blanked on and had to Google.

So wonderful.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:27 PM
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It's nice for that sense of thinking on some little thing for a few pages at a time. There's no need to learn anything or get to a plot point. You're just thinking about something for its own sake.

In Grand Army Plaza here in Brooklyn, there was an enormous snow mountain made by the plows, and I walked past it every day thinking about Sei Shonagon's wager. I love the one about the banished dog, too.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:29 PM
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Oh, poor Oborozukiyo.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:32 PM
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Re the original post, I've decided the Kindle would be great for monstrously long books, the kind that hurt your wrists when you're trying to read in bed and quickly starts falling apart from its own weight. I just downloaded the "Anatomy of Melancholy" to my laptop (I have Kindle for the Mac; however much I like the idea, I can't bring myself to by the hardware). Others I would want in this format should they become available are "Three Kingdoms" and maybe "Gravity's Rainbow".


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:38 PM
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starts falling apart from its own weight
start, not starts, their, not its. My god, what's happening to me?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:40 PM
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Btock style--I meant Okinamaru and now I must go and lie down.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:42 PM
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Thanks, y'all. We went out with my son and daughter-in-law for exotic hamburgers.

For presents I got a bottle of Glenlivet, a laser pointer for playing with the cats, and a gift card. All good stuff. I'm quite happy even though I'm not quite in the same shape as the guy in s'nosfloW 106


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:42 PM
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136: Ha. I was going to ask, but I thought maybe it was a Japanese joke I'm smart enough to get. Okinamaru!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:48 PM
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Biohappy birthdayhazard! And thank DE for me for schooling my friend in the ways of things, there.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 4:56 PM
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138: Usually I just call him O-dog.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:18 PM
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Was this O-dog character the inspiration for Ogged?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:19 PM
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And happy birthday Biohazard! Don't look into the laser!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:19 PM
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I'm not sure he could swim.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:20 PM
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If I recall correctly, I think ogged could swim. Or at least he represented as much on the blog.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:24 PM
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134: I have had this thought. Especially after taking my second stab at Infinite Jest (unsuccessful) and resorting to tearing it into what one might either call "volumes" or "bleeding chunks of murdered art" depending on one's relationship to the idea of book-as-object.

I thought maybe lugging around all that book was the major impediment to my finishing it. And, while it turned out the actual #1 impediment to my finishing it was that I somehow convinced myself the tennis school thing was going to be just an annoying subplot (I was way more interested in the addiction stuff) and therefore neglected to remember who was who and then it turned out (somewhat obviously) to be the main plot so I was kind of fucked, I was still happier to be largely uninterested in manageable pieces of book-bortion than inconvenient large whole bookness.

(Um. I want to say since I believe Infinite Jest to be really popular around here that I acknowledge the failure in this book-vs-man scenario to be mine. I liked it enough to get what's good about it. I am just easily defeated by things designed to be overwhelming and then I get defensive, to the tune of "you want not to be easily read by me? FINE I won't read you at all!" Unless they're 4.5-hour German operas in which case I am On Board.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:29 PM
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125-6: I wonder what a Wikipedia staffed by librarians would be like.

I happen to have, since Friday night, direct knowledge of what a gay bar full of librarians is like, if that helps in imagining this. No? Well anyway the answer is "even less fun than imagined in the jokes one would make about it." So basically it was exactly like a librarian-run Wikipedia, but louder and with gender-queer strippers.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:38 PM
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Unless they're 4.5-hour German operas in which case I am On Board

I went to Die Walküre recently—free ticket!—and let me tell you, I was not prepared for it to be 4.5 hours long.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:51 PM
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145: I've tried twice and failed twice also. I haven't tried tearing the book apart, probably because it's my wife's copy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:56 PM
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147: Do they have breaks?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 5:57 PM
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Are bars and Wikipedia generally alike in your view, Mister Smearcase? Perhaps I have been misjudging bars.

Vikram Seth, I think, habitually tears big books into signatures.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:01 PM
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147: I just remembered where you are/who the singers would accordingly be and got a bit envious. But yeah, there are stretches of Act II where the notion of a 4.5 hour German opera becomes suddenly all too real.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:04 PM
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I got a kindle for my AT hike, which worked out great. Much lighter than a stack of books, and the battery lasted long enough to get me between electrical outlets (they're not kidding about the 2 week battery life).

I like reading on it, though it's hard to flip back and forth in a book so it works better for things you read straight through. Essay-length stuff works well. I subscribe to the New Yorker on it and have it synced up with my Instapaper account.

Overall I'm really happy with it, though I don't know if I necessarily would have gotten one if I wasn't going on a long backpacking trip.

One annoyance: occasionally the kindle edition of a book is more expensive than the paperback, which I find ridiculous. Macmillan's explanation is sort of bullshit.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:06 PM
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But yeah, there are stretches of Act II where the notion of a 4.5 hour German opera becomes suddenly all too real.

And of Act III. Man could that guy not write an ending. I especially loved Brünnhilde's question to Wotan regarding what her fate would be, when Wotan had just explained that ten minutes earlier.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:07 PM
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Why does being in German make an opera more tiresome?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:14 PM
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It's not the language, it's the ponderousness.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:16 PM
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Don't the helmets with horns help pass the time?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:19 PM
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Oh, there were some really stupid bits regarding the staging, as well.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:19 PM
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153: Wagner--not afraid to repeat himself. The Anna Russell Ring lecture will either strike you as dorkily annoying or dorkily funny, depending on things about you I don't know, but anyway makes reference to this. I guess it should come with a warning that if you make any reference to it, certain opera queens will unstoppably recite the whole thing.

But I mean, once he gets around to actually winding things up, I think of endings as one of the signature glories of Wagner operas.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:22 PM
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156: Due to directorial trends in Wagner (no, these actually exist), you are a zillion times more likely to see trench coats than horned helmets nowadays.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:25 PM
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Just like riding Greyhound.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:25 PM
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It's not the language, it's the ponderousness.

And the ponderous nature of Germanness is unrelated to the language?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:28 PM
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4.5-hour German operas

Oh my fucking lord, I can't imagine sitting in the same seat and paying attention for 4.5 hours. I don't even like 2 hour movies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:31 PM
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Plenty of trenchcoats in this staging. Also: guns, which are a pretty stupid thing to have in your opera when so much turns on the efficacy of a sword in a fight. We also had, as sets, a conference room in a skyscraper (Wotan's digs, natch), a humble cottage in the woods, and a disused freeway underpass, with tires heaped up all around. When are we, exactly? None of the costumes in the first act made any sense when set aside those of the (first half of the) second.

But the BEST was when, at the beginning of the third act, all the valkyries were looking out toward the audience singing about, and pointing toward, the approach of Brünnhilde, carrying a strange woman—who then entered from the back of the stage. (Well, a rival for "BEST" was the fact that the valkyries, who were done up in "aviatrix from the turn of the century" duds, were apparently, like, parachuting in. Were their planes shot down, or what?)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:32 PM
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162: I can't even imagine it with not paying attention.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:33 PM
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Maybe if I had a steady supply of candy. Maybe.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:33 PM
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162: there were two intermissions.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:33 PM
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But 4.5 hours of candy is enough to make even my mouth feel fuzzy and numb.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:34 PM
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Even your mouth? What gets fuzzy and numb first, when eating candy?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:34 PM
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||I am totes excited to leave tomorrow for a little vacation in Asheville. Any recommendations, esp. for things in the downtown area?|>

And, just to be somewhat topical, while I'm there I think I might read me a little Henry James. Or, if I go contemporary, some Richard Ford or Barbara Kingsolver.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:35 PM
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Ew, Kingsolver blech.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:35 PM
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I assume other people's mouths get fuzzy and numb earlier, but even my (steel-trap, mega-candy-consumable) mouth would weary after 4.5 hours.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:35 PM
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I wouldn't have made it through Infinite Jest if it wasn't for Infinite Summer. I wouldn't have made it through Gravity's Rainbow if it hadn't been for Weisenburger's guide. I can only read big books by myself if I summon the courage to ask for help, but it's always worth surrendering my man card.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:35 PM
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Off to go jogging! Hopefully it is sub-95 degrees by now. Seeing as how it's 7:40 pm.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:36 PM
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On the OP: There are shitloads of public domain books available for the Kindle. The reader reviews can point out which versions have the best formatting and proofreading. The "Send a Sample Now" function is also a great money saver, as you can read the first chapter or so of any book for free and winnow out the losers. IME the Kindle is good for the nearsighted (adjustable print size, everything from teensy to extra large), vacations (took mine to Bonaire for beach reading), commuting, and buying trashy, unshelfworthy books. It is not as great as one might expect for air travel, because it counts as an electronic device and thus you get yelled at to turn it off during takeoff and landing and often have to take it out like a laptop at security.

I recommend them wholeheartedly over the iPad due to the backlighting=eyestrain issue. I have at least one friend who crowed loudly about his new awesome multifunction iPad and then realized that reading on it for hours was much less fun than advertised.

One thing to watch out for is that Amazon is sneaky and they will make Book 1 by an author temporarily free, which suckers you into purchasing an entire series to see what happens.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:36 PM
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I will take that under advisement, neb. (Seriously. I've never read anything by her, but a colleague handed me _Prodigal Summer_.)


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:38 PM
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What about the Nook? Barnes and Noble keeps pushing them and says they do wireless internet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:38 PM
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who then entered from the back of the stage.

So what, it would have been better if she'd entered like this?


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:38 PM
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175: Can't speak to that one, but Poisonwood Bible is great and devastating. She wouldn't strike me as one to recommend to neb.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:40 PM
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177: Wow, I don't like that woman's singing. Anyway, an entrance along those lines would at least have made sense. Better yet, obviously, would be arranging the scene so that one didn't have to choose between something totally ridiculous and, well, something else totally ridiculous.

I also objected to the parts where Brünnhilde was behind Wotan as the latter sang to the former, turning his back to the audience and becoming difficult to hear clearly on that account.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:41 PM
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I mean, Wotan is a great and powerful god, and all, but Miles Davis he ain't.

I only read Kingsolver once, in high school, but even then it struck me as trash, trash! Moreover, transparently didactic trash.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:42 PM
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||I am totes excited to leave tomorrow for a little vacation in Asheville. Any recommendations, esp. for things in the downtown area?|>

Huh... you could say hello to Mrs. Landers. She left for Asheville today. It could be like a meetup.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:46 PM
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145: I want to say since I believe Infinite Jest to be really popular around here that I acknowledge the failure in this book-vs-man scenario to be mine.

When I went to buy Infinite Jest at the local indie bookstore last summer , the owner convinced me to get 2666 instead and I had no regrets. Give it a try; as far as I recall it has been universally praised by folks who have mentioned it here.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:48 PM
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I am still very fond of the Wagner opera staging that featured Noh theater super-slow movements combined with giant neon tubes that switched on in interesting configurations to signal scene changes. At the end of the day, you go to a Wagner opera for the music, mostly.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:49 PM
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If you think she'd want to meet one of your imaginary acquaintances, I'm game. We could get totally Lnaders-style.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:49 PM
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184: Go for it. An opportunity not to be missed, Merganser


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:50 PM
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IJ is clever pop culture, but 2666 is something more, even in translation. IJ if you're under 30, maybe, 2666 otherwise.

Public domain for kindle-- depends pretty sensitively on what you like about the past. Juvenal, Petronius, Hume, Sterne, Pepys, Rimbaud, Balzac are all good.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 6:58 PM
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185: Off topic, but if you happen to know a good place to take a four year old fishing, let me know. Given patience levels (mine), a stocked pond would probably be best.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:02 PM
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Moby, do you think that the four year-old actually wants to catch a fish? I certainly didn't, at any time of my childhood.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:13 PM
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I think he'll want to see somebody catch a fish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:15 PM
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My dad told me not to put a real hook on his line, just to keep the family eye count at 2.0 per person.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:17 PM
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Off topic, but if you happen to know a good place to take a four year old fishing, let me know.

I worked at a trout farm for a summer. Bamboo poles, stocked ponds, sneeze and you'll get a fish jumping in your lap. They'll charge you an arm and a leg per pound of fish (armless, legless fish at that), but they'll clean it for you, and sometimes we gave tours. Good place for a four year old to watch other people catch fish if he doesn't actually want to do it himself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:18 PM
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191: Yes, that's what I'm looking for. Except, you know, not several states away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:20 PM
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187: Not something we ever really did, but for what I've heard, Deer Lake County Park would fit the bill--three stocked lakes and convenient parking (I've been there for non-fishing program-related activities and it's a nice little setup). It is a few miles off Rt. 28 in the northeast part of the county.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:20 PM
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193: Thanks, I'll look into that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:22 PM
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183: Robert Wilson's Lohengrin! A work of genius. People hated it when it premiered. Like loudly and demonstratively hated it.

At the end of the day, you go to a Wagner opera for the music, mostly.

Wagner would have disagreed, I guess, but he's dead so you win. (I mean this without any sarcasm. When people start in on the composer's intentions, it's usually to make a misguided and essentially conservative point.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:23 PM
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I took the almost-four year old fishing for the first time two weeks ago, to a place just like that described in 191. He loved it until one of the fish got hooked badly and was bleeding everywhere (including all over my clothes). He didn't like that at all.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:28 PM
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Like loudly and demonstratively hated it.

"That one! That is the one I hate!"

That could also be an example of ostensively hating something, but it really depends on the circumstances.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:28 PM
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Favorite New Yorker cartoon ever:

Surgeon leaning over patient, whose eyes are bugging out. Surgeon says: "We've going to be performing this procedure using the original instruments."


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:29 PM
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Oh, not just like 191, because we had to throw all the fish back in the water. But otherwise similar.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:29 PM
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192, 193: My place requires your own kit, Oglebay Park in Wheeling is the closest I know like heebie describes. At one time there was a group Pittsburgh TriAnglers who had fishing for beginners (and provided equipment) at the point every Wednesday at 11:30. Unclear form the internet if they are still doing it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:29 PM
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196: My first fishing memory that involves an actual fish was when I caught some kind of sharp toothed fish (bullhead?) that was too small to keep and cut my uncle very badly when he tried to unhook the fish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:31 PM
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163: Oh wait...you guys have Francesca Zambello's "American Ring." My envy is diminished. This is the shallow end of re;iuml&nvisioned Wagner stagings. Maybe I should say the Lost of etc. because it really seems like nobody thought any decision through past the scene it was in. Oy.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:33 PM
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Wagner: longer than he sounds.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:36 PM
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200: Thanks again. They still do that, and its free if you put the fish back, if you don't squeeze the fish too hard first.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:36 PM
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We also had, as sets, a conference room in a skyscraper (Wotan's digs, natch), a humble cottage in the woods, and a disused freeway underpass, with tires heaped up all around.

What company is this? It sounds like they're using the Washington Opera's staging from a few years ago.

If they're doing the whole cycle, just wait till Siegfried. Fafnir is a big Fern Gully-esque bulldozer.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:36 PM
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177: They went with that kind of entrance for Nekrotzar, prince of Hell, in the Philarmonic's Le Grand Macabre. Sort of. I'm serious.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:39 PM
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re: Silk Road:
It might be a bit late, but Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game is good light history. It's well written, but it does get repetitive and there is a great deal of somnolent bivouacking.

BPL==Ber/keley Public Library? You are sadly underserved and should agitate against Big Used Bookstore. Moe's had his thumb on the library racket for years. Before I moved to MA, I didn't know what a library should be. The Minuteman network here is a wonder of the modern world.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:44 PM
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What company is this?

SF Opera.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:49 PM
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Oh, and they are doing the whole cycle, but next year.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:50 PM
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Menarche?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:51 PM
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196,201: My first fishing memory was somewhat similar. We were at a place like heebie describes while on vacation and it was going fine until a kid in the family we were with hooked one really deep in the mouth and no one could not get the hook out although the fathers were insistent on keeping it alive because they did not want to pay for the fish. (My day would never just kick back and suspend extreme fiscal conservatism on vacation, an attitude I have had trouble kicking myself, although I am convinced it is detrimental to relaxing and actually having a good time.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:53 PM
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I haven't gotten around to reading 2666 yet but I wholeheartedly recommend The Savage Detectives.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:55 PM
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Except to the colleague who was complaining about not having reading material on a trip, to whom I proffered my finished copy of it, who exclaimed "good! I like detective stories!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:56 PM
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BPL=Brooklyn Public Library. It's pretty great.

I don't really want light history, as I understand the term. I want analysis of bureaucratic systems and trade routes and judiciary ideologies. Bivouaking sounds like the sort of thing that left me dead along the Vistula before the Grande Armee ever even got to Moscow.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:57 PM
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I've never gotten into opera, and the people for whom it seems to be their one artistic interest in life and who thus think I'm a Philistine make me unwilling to give it a sufficient try. (There are more of these people than I would have guessed.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:58 PM
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Mr. Smearcase, I may have said this yesterday at some point, but I find the easiest way to read books that you feel intimidated by but bound to read for some damn reason or another is to pretend you're 19 and can read anything. 19-year-olds aren't intimidated by mere novels in the way maturer adults are. They read Nabokov and Joyce and Sterne and Wallace and go "Huh, interesting stuff."

In my own distantly 19-year-old past, I blithely named Ada as my favorite novel to a brilliant professor who blinked several times and said, "I have no idea what the hell that book is about." At the time, I'm sure I felt mighty proud of myself--it never occurred to me that I didn't understand it, and I didn't get that he was digging at me for being ignorant. But I'm also not sure that I was wrong. Having read it again several times, I'm sort of amazed by how insightful my marginal notes were. There's a special kind of arrogant intelligence that people that age have, in that walking into any novel with the assumption that one must be able to understand it--it's a goddamn novel, after all, not rocket science--is extremely helpful for reading.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:59 PM
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211: My dad never had trouble relaxing the fiscal controls for family vacations after a couple of really cheap vacations with a pop-up camper caused mom to threaten to stay home next time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 7:59 PM
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BPL==Ber/keley Public Library?

Bass-playing Lifeguard?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:00 PM
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BPL==Ber/keley Public Library?

Brook/lyn, one presumes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:01 PM
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216: You realize that you might be atypical in that regard. Between 16 and 22, I tried and failed to read Joyce, Dickens (except for an abridged version that I loved), and Tolstoy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:01 PM
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Which is kind of like Ber/keley, only different.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:02 PM
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219 without having seen 214. oops.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:02 PM
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19-year-olds aren't intimidated by mere novels in the way maturer adults are.

I dunno, AWB, but I think your reading comprehension skills at 19 far outstripped the average bear.

Actually - and I'm genuinely curious - has there been anything (as an adult) you couldn't derive pleasure from reading, strictly because it was too hard for you?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:05 PM
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191: Yes, that's what I'm looking for. Except, you know, not several states away.

This was in Michigan, near Ann Arbor, which I think might be a little closer to you than Texas? At any rate, I think those trout farms pepper the country.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:08 PM
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I want analysis of bureaucratic systems and trade routes and judiciary ideologies.

Try some of the volumes of the official Army History of World War II. As I recall one whole volume is devoted to logistics in the Pacific and is fascinating in its own way.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:08 PM
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analysis of bureaucratic systems

Oh, in that case. (No, I haven't read it.) I don't read history. I prefer, uh, historical criticism.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:08 PM
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I've always been intimidated by novels. Definitely more so at 19. "I probably haven't read nearly enough beginner-level novels to tackle advanced novels."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:08 PM
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214: I want analysis of bureaucratic systems and trade routes and judiciary ideologies

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes is kind of like that in a macro, Guns Germs and Steel kind of way, but it has no more to do with the Silk Road than does any other survey of economic history.

I think the key to good public libraries is to have your plutocrats die while they're fashionable.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:10 PM
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I find the easiest way to read books that you feel intimidated by but bound to read for some damn reason or another is to pretend you're 19 and can read anything. 19-year-olds aren't intimidated by mere novels in the way maturer adults are. They read Nabokov and Joyce and Sterne and Wallace and go "Huh, interesting stuff."

By the time I was 19 I was unable to do that any longer, but I did do stuff like that in high school. I even read the first volume of The Man without Qualities, completely uncomprehendingly. At one point I overheard my dad saying to my mom, "he reads all this stuff but he doesn't understand it", and I realized he was basically right.

I'm enough of a philistine, though, or can talk myself into being enough of one, that I have little problem sitting down to read something and letting it wash over me (that said I certainly got a lot more out of TMwQ the second time through than the first, though I still haven't read v2).

Nevertheless, I find the easiest way to deal with books I'm not enjoying is to stop reading them and start something else. I feel very little shame at having abandoned Three Trapped Tigers 80% of the way through! If I were k-sky and needed the support of Infinite Summer to make it through Infinite Jest, I'd probably just say, "no offense to you, IJ, but this isn't working out for me. You deserve a better reader than I can be for you right now.".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:10 PM
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I've always been intimidated by novels. Definitely more so at 19. "I probably haven't read nearly enough beginner-level novels to tackle advanced novels."

For some people the second novel is even more intimidating than the first.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:11 PM
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||

Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to give you a consistently working IP address.

- sent from my iPhone

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:12 PM
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Beyond Nationalism might not be dry enough or long enough for jm's purposes. Plus, it assumes a solid outline knowledge of Habsburg history.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:12 PM
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I can't read things without understanding them. It seems like the purest example of a waste of time imaginable. Except as a way of learning a foreign language, of course.

It was literally almost impossible for me to read literally every one of my science textbooks. They're all written in such a dry way, like those history books. In one eye and out the other.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:13 PM
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226.---Oh, that does look rather good.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:14 PM
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220, 223: Well, I do teach, of course, and I find that freshmen often have a knack for crazy-difficult stuff that they sometimes lose even later in college. My freshman course on Pale Fire was an enormous success--they saw all kinds of wonderful things in it that I didn't, and they scoffed a bit when I said it's such a hard book that many of my highly educated and brilliant friends found it a slog.

I did have a bit of difficulty getting into Gravity's Rainbow, which I tried to read for fun in later undergrad. When I graduated, I remember telling myself that I now had a degree in English lit, for fuck's sake, and it's a goddamn novel, so I told myself I was qualified to read it. There have been a few novels I've had to pep-talk myself into since then, or had to have a good reason for reading to force myself through. But it helps to pretend I have no idea why it should freak me out to read a novel. And then there are a few that it just wasn't worth getting it up for--Finnegan's Wake, for example. I have a life to lead.

But my mom is like a perpetual 19-year-old in this way. She isn't freaked out by anything, despite not having any particular special knowledge of literature. She loved Infinite Jest.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:15 PM
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But only 304 pages! Needs more heft. Maybe the "legendarily dry" Kann is a safer bet.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:16 PM
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Bureaucratic systems, trade routes, judicial ideologies... Hmmh. How about bureaucratic systems, economic development, daily life and totalitarian ideology? If that sounds appealing I'd strongly recommend Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as Civilization by Stephen Kotlin. It's a study of the creation of a big industrial city out of nothing and how people actually lived there set in Stalinist Russia.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:18 PM
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Well, I do teach, of course, and I find that freshmen often have a knack for crazy-difficult stuff that they sometimes lose even later in college.

I could read stuff with the support of a classroom (read: yours) that I couldn't read on my own, I suspect. I loved As I Lay Dying, but if I'd read it on my own I don't think I would have realized that the girl gets pregnant, that whatsisface set his leg in cement and it was rotting, etc, etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:18 PM
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But as I was informed when I noted that Magnetic Mountain is over 700 pages: "Yeah, but half of that is footnotes."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:20 PM
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Robert Wilson's Lohengrin!

If each person's hell is specifically tailored to her, I'm pretty sure this is what will be in mine.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:20 PM
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Reading difficult things while discussing them with people who are also reading them would provide an incentive to read difficult things. That hasn't happened since high school of course.

I tried reading one of those Robbe-Grillet novels but couldn't think of any reason to continue doing so.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:20 PM
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235: I was going to mention Finnegan's Wake as one that I have so far had trouble believing will meet a minimum reward-to-effort ratio.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:20 PM
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When I graduated, I remember telling myself that I now had a degree in English lit, for fuck's sake, and it's a goddamn novel, so I told myself I was qualified to read it.

I wouldn't be asking myself if I was qualified to read something, either at 19 or at twice that age. Now, my question would be, do I enjoy reading this enough that I am willing to make it my leisure activity for today? Which is why the last novel I read involved a British wizard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:21 PM
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Infinite Jest didn't really seem like much to be freaked out about. Maybe this is a sign that I missed absolutely everything.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:22 PM
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Also, fiction I read has to be clear enough that you can read it while drinking. If you want me sober, I have to learn facts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:22 PM
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239 True, but the footnotes in that book are a lot of fun.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:23 PM
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242: Yeah, a friend and I tried to read it to each other aloud at a bar, exchanging paragraphs, and we got about a page in before giving up on our "huh, that's interesting, i wonder if it's suggesting a connection with blah blah blah" before dissolving into fits of laughter and never opening it again.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:23 PM
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one of those Robbe-Grillet novels

There is a bookstore a few blocks from my apartment that has inside it one of those vending machines with a chicken on top, that makes a clucking noise and then spits out a plastic egg with something inside when you put in money. The twist here is that there is a basket of empty eggs next to the machine, and bookstore patrons are encouraged to put things in the eggs and then put the eggs in the machine. (You just lift the top off and put the filled eggs in.)

Anyway, I've been cutting up a Robbe-Grillet novel someone gave me into little interesting phrases to put in an egg. It was the only good thing I could think of to do with the thing.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:27 PM
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I've found that I can read long novels better if I read them more quickly. Not so much in terms of speed of reading, but in terms of time spent reading every day. That's how I got through Ulysses, War and Peace (not actually difficultly written, just a lot of writing, Bleak House, and The Way We Live Now.

On the other hand, Moby Dick took about 5 years on audiobook. But my listening skills aren't that great, especially while driving, and once I bought the audiobook, I was committed to finishing it. I could have sat down and read the last 100-150 pages fairly quickly for about two years.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:27 PM
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And Beyond Nationalism is 212 pages long once you exclude footnotes, appendices, etc.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:27 PM
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study of the creation of a big industrial city out of nothing and how people actually lived there

Sounds dangerously novelistic!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:28 PM
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Moby Dick took about 5 years on audiobook.

I remember very vividly my first breakneck read through Moby-Dick. Most of it was done in the three-foot long bathtub of an incredibly pink bathroom


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:30 PM
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Anyway, I've been cutting up a Robbe-Grillet novel someone gave me into little interesting phrases to put in an egg. It was the only good thing I could think of to do with the thing.

This is, in fact, a great thing to do.

Somewhat reminiscent of "Befriend a Bacterium", perhaps.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:30 PM
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I find that I need escapism from novels, but not from movies. It's perfectly fun to watch an artistic movie whose plot makes no sense, because it carries me along with the lights, the sounds, the colors, the words. The same experience in a novel could not possibly "carry me along". I just sit there thinking "Has anything happened yet? Should I read that page again?"

Meanwhile the so-called escapist movies are generally boring because I seem to find a lot of movies predictable, unless set in an interesting setting.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:31 PM
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My wife claims to have read (and loved) Finnegan's Wake in an AP English class in high school. I've always said, basically, there's no fucking way. If she'd claimed to have read it while in high school I'd think "huzzah for you, although I'm sure you didn't understand a damn word of it", but to have read it as part of a high school course? Um, no. I think you must be confusing that book with some other one. And yet, she seems not to be confused about which book she's talking about. It's weird.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:33 PM
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My wife claims to have read (and loved) Finnegan's Wake in an AP English class in high school.

Ugh. I read (and hated) Portrait of an Artist in an AP English class in high school. I remember near the beginning there's some speech that goes on for pages and pages, and the teacher explained that he was trying to imprint the droning boringness of the experience upon the reader, or something, and I got totally angry and irate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:36 PM
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You guys, there's no apostrophe in the title of Finnegans Wake.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:36 PM
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And Portrait of an artist is no Finnegan's Wake. From what I hear. I'll never touch either one of them, so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:36 PM
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You're so efficient, Neb.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:37 PM
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I remember near the beginning there's some speech that goes on for pages and pages

You're misremembering; the moocow bit is actually fairly short.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:38 PM
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There's an interesting distinction between fiction and nonfiction: if I read nonfiction and don't understand it, even after struggling with it a bit, I conclude that it's either because the author is failing to be clear, or it's wrong, or there's some necessary background information that I'm missing. If I read fiction and don't understand it, I leave open the option that there's something deep going on that I'll never get. I'm not sure if this option really exists or not.

Of course with things like Ada there are zillions of allusions and details that almost anyone will miss. But it's still a good read even without following every nuance. Finnegans Wake, not that I've ever looked at more than a few lines of it, doesn't seem to work that way; if something isn't readable at all without intense effort, I tend to be suspicious of whether the effort will actually turn up anything worthwhile. But I don't discount the possibility, despite knowing no example of it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:38 PM
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I've found that I can read long novels better if I read them more quickly. Not so much in terms of speed of reading, but in terms of time spent reading every day.

I agree. I'd tried Proust several times without success until one intensive German summer I started spending a couple hours a day on it and was absolutely overwhelmed. Early in the fifth volume it was time for grad school again, and that was it. Intensive German was good for reading difficult canonical modernist works in French, I did Musil the previous summer.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:39 PM
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I read Portrait of the Artist in one night. I suspect I missed a fair bit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:39 PM
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You're misremembering; the moocow bit is actually fairly short.

Well, there was probably something boring that went on for pages and pages.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:40 PM
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why do you hate me heebie im a nicens little boy


Posted by: baby tuckoo | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:40 PM
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264: Maybe it was the novel itself.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:40 PM
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trade routes and judiciary ideologies.

Wedgwood's Thirty Year's War is good for these. Ooh-- maybe too far in the past, but Pirenne's Mohammed and Charlemagne.

Max Weber's prose is unspeakable, and there's no narrative, but he's usually interesting after having worked out what he's trying to say.

McNeill's Plagues and Peoples is dry byt interesting afterwards in the same way, thousandfold better than Diamond. Vasiliev for the Ottomans.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:45 PM
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walking into any novel with the assumption that one must be able to understand it--it's a goddamn novel, after all, not rocket science--is extremely helpful for reading.

Ha. That was me. It's mostly still me, except that when I was 19 I was more open to the idea that if I didn't think much of a book it might still be very good. These days I'm more willing to accept my own verdict as a global indicator, if not a final judgment.

I was also puzzled by some of the ways that professors approached books. Lectures on how difficult and confusing Wuthering Heights was going to be, charts to track the "impossible" chronology of Beloved...at least I was taught Moby-Dick by somebody who really loved it. I still have very fond memories of that book.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:46 PM
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But, as Heebie mentioned, being in a class helps finish things. I would have never made it through The Brothers Karamazov or The Plague if I wasn't being graded. I know because when the class was over, I failed to read Crime and Punishment and The Stranger.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:48 PM
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AWB, when I think about the books I brazened my way through that way, well...we read As I Lay Dying in eleventh grade and I'm pretty sure I just let my eyes glaze over on certain pages and then skipped a few until things made sense to me again, and I'm not completely sure there was a point to it other than being able to say I'd read it. I guess I could take another lunge at IJ or Gravity's Rainbow that way, and I may, but these days I'm a lot more likely to just give up and let Infinite Jest down easy, as you suggested above to K-sky, than say "well I may not understand the next twenty pages but maybe I'm getting something out of this anyway."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:48 PM
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we read As I Lay Dying in eleventh grade and I'm pretty sure I just let my eyes glaze over on certain pages and then skipped a few until things made sense to me again,

They had sex while picking peas in the field, if that helps. Then she got pregnant.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:49 PM
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269: Dude, The Stranger takes like an hour to read. It's like a tenth the length of the The Plague. George W. Bush read it. You can totally handle it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:50 PM
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You guys, there's no apostrophe in the title of Finnegans Wake.

I just copied and pasted from 235, and AWB has a PhD in this stuff, so that absolves me.

Also, I completely agree with 244.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:52 PM
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Wedgwood's Thirty Year's War is good for these.

I think I ogled this in the bookstore! The title looks right up my alley. I've already read Weber and McNeil. On the strength of your other recommendations, I shall look into the Vasiliev!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:54 PM
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272: I had no motivation to read it, so I didn't get very far. If I read everything that was short and existentialist, I'd never have time to water the new shrub.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:56 PM
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In addition to avoiding novels that are impossible to read without being in a class, it's also important to avoid novels that were notable for their realism at the time but are now not realistic at all, or novels that were notable for breaking some taboo that hasn't existed for 150 years. I think this describes most of the work of Stendhal, though I am no expert.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:56 PM
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No way, Stendhal was the greatest psychologist of his age!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:58 PM
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I liked The Plague better than The Stranger.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 8:58 PM
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Also, am I the only one who can't help mentally transforming the name "David Foster Wallace" into the novel title The Day Vidfas Tore Wall Ass? Like, if I read in print that someone read David Foster Wallace last summer, in my brain it comes across as "I read The Day Vidfas Tore Wall Ass last summer..." I've tried to stop this but I can't. I've been suffering from this for a while now.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:00 PM
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I am dead certain that you are the only one.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:01 PM
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279: Here's to hoping you are unique in that regard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:01 PM
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Shit, slightly drunk-- Vasiliev is Byzantines, but probably OK for you.

I don't have a specific suggestion for Ottomans, but the politics of dynastic succession there was beyond insane, makes Roman adoption laws look sensible.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:04 PM
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248 is awesome.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:06 PM
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I have an anti-suggestion for the Ottomans: Finkel's Osman's Dream At first glance it might look like what you're looking for, but first impressions can mislead. Nothing beyond the doings of the seniormost members of the Ottoman state, and even that without any analysis.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:15 PM
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People should be recommending primary sources to JM. Maybe there's a compendium of Ottoman laws?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:16 PM
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Try reading Burke's Peerage translated into Turkish.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:17 PM
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Jackmormon, something you said upthread made me think you'd like this, though it's probably too brisk a read for your stated purposes.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:20 PM
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Back in the day every semi-self respecting state was publishing multivolume foreign policy document series, I'm sure there's one for the late Ottomans. Or see if you can get one of those collected works by some second string commie leader. They may seem to offer plenty of campy amusement, but by the time you reach you're twentieth thirty page speech to some factory's workers, congratulating them on fulfilling the plan, all you'll need is a page or two before you nod away (or throw the thing across the room).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:22 PM
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256:heebie is likely remembering the fire and brimstone sermon in Portrait. Joyce's biggest failure? I never got it.

I did FW 10 pages a day in an hour, every day, for at least a year, maybe two. Maybe more. And then an hour a week reading secondary literature. I had four pages of cribsheet I would glance at. So I have "read" FW at least 5 times.

The discipline was important to me at the time, the suspension of critical faculty for an hour a day so that the Wake became something`like a mantra for me, a Zen meditation rather than a Hindu concentration. I found it relaxing rather than challenging or stressful.

So much going on in that book. Joyce was nearly blind and dictated much of it to Beckett and in one sense FW is meant to be read aloud, and does not approach the condition, but actually is music.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:23 PM
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No, not primary sources, neB! I want the soothing voice of an authoritative analyst!

284.--And again the title is a dead giveaway!

Ari, that does look interesting, but I think I want a vaster scale and less argument.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:27 PM
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288: Great results here by looking for "Naim Frashëri". Somehow it doesn't work at Powell's Books.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:28 PM
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Ooh! Only 20 bucks including shipping!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:29 PM
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So what if you were to assign, after careful consideration, a name, word, concept, or symbol to the notes on the piano with science being given the flats and conflict the sharps and then started writing melodies and harmonies that sounded pleasing and interesting yet were not semantically nonsense?

Would some deeper truth about Western Civ spontaneously emerge?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:31 PM
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Would some deeper truth about Western Civ spontaneously emerge?

No.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:32 PM
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Prequel to Eggers's AHbWoSG?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:35 PM
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I want the soothing voice of an authoritative analyst!

Hey there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:49 PM
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What about Leonard White's four volume administrative history of the US? You just know you want to wake up to the arsenal and fall asleep thinking about the custom house. Who doesn't?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 9:59 PM
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294:Damn Hessian


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:00 PM
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On the Ottoman Empire, I've been trying to remember an author recommended to me years ago when I was trying to put together a reading least of general surveys/syntheses that I would then make my way through (yeah right), and I think it's Halil Inalcik, and the titles of his books sound right, but I can't be sure.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:02 PM
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The bestest program notes I ever read were for _Parsifal_; the director explained that they were sorry it was such a sexist, whiny, domineering plot, and they'd thought about toning that down; but the music was so completely on the side of the s.w.d. that it couldn't be done, so they just played it straight. It seemed like an unusual example of "I hate to be offensive, but..." actually working.

Vaguely linked, I quite like reading novels that turn on some exploded social constriction, because I, what, de-habituate to the pleasure of having it gone? Why, I can... eat on the sidewalk!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:02 PM
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that would be list, but not least


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:02 PM
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Shouldn't 296 read "Howdy, ma'am"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:09 PM
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Why, I can... eat on the sidewalk!

Don't be so sure, sister.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:11 PM
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I eat where the chalk white arrows go.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:26 PM
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Thanks for all of your awesome recommendations for Dry Reading That Will Put Me To Sleep. I'm going to compile a list and search this stuff out bit by bit.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:26 PM
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Oh, and now I must go sleep.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:26 PM
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IJ is clever pop culture

IJ is at its worst when it inveighs against mass cultures. If you read a plot summary that appears to be the main thrust of the book. It is not. The main thrust of the book is the importance of true things even though they sound hollowed out and clichéd, often by their appearance in clever pop culture but more importantly by their place in the twelve-step catechism. It is full of bloody overpowering heart and really should not be dismissed that way.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:28 PM
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Shouldn't 296 read "Howdy, ma'am"?

Indeed, it probably should. I was trying to think of a better way to phrase it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:29 PM
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Better than the way I actually did phrase it, that is.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:30 PM
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Speaking of not getting what's going on, I read the description to this video and was still unable to track the actual music, which is, nevertheless, pretty awesome even to my untutored ear.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:34 PM
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This video.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:34 PM
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I find the easiest way to read books that you feel intimidated by but bound to read for some damn reason or another is to pretend you're 19 and can read anything. 19-year-olds aren't intimidated by mere novels in the way maturer adults are.

And the best way to solve logic problems would be to pretend to be a really bright 8 or 9 year old, but that can be challenging to do.

There are intellectual tasks that I was (significantly) better at when I was 19 than I am now, but reading novels was not one of them. I think there is a power when you're young to being able to completely devote one's intelligence to a project but at least for me at 19 there were only certain things that I was sufficiently practiced at such that I could have that focus and feel confident in my abilities.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:40 PM
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Speaking of not getting what's going on, I read the description to this video and was still unable to track the actual music, which is, nevertheless, pretty awesome even to my untutored ear.

Seconded. That's very neat.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:42 PM
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There have been a few 2 to 3 year periods since I was 19 in which I read 1 or 2 or 0 novels/year. This has been unfortunate, not least because I've picked up a number of cheap used copies of novels I would have read had my novel reading not gone into decline, and have even had to dispose of a few of them without reading because they were falling apart or the smell was making me sick.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:48 PM
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I haven't read a novel in years.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:49 PM
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I don't even own a novel.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:52 PM
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I'm trying to think of the last time I spent a full week without reading fiction. My first thought was the two months before my orals, but my minor field was a lit one, and I spaced them in for variety. It's quite possible that it hasn't happened since I started compulsively reading back at age six.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:52 PM
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Hey, it just occurred to me that I can hijack this thread. I'm looking for a good book on the history of long 19th century France. Periodization is such that it might take more than one book, and that's ok, if they complement each other, and if there's not too many. Basically, I want to cover the revolution to the first world war. It seems easier to cover 1848 on, or up to the end of Napoleon, but filling the gap between 1815 and 1848 (or 1871) is a bit more challenging. I'm not looking for monographs, for the most part.

Oh, and is there a reason not to read Furet's book on Revolutonary France? I've read a few reviews and am ok with dealing with the biases therein discussed.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:56 PM
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Maybe 1 AM eastern is not the best time to do this.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:57 PM
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And now for further suggestions for jm: Theodore Hamerow's Birth of a New Europe:State and Society in the Nineteenth Century Lots and lots on trade, development, and ideology. Or Ivan Berend's History Derailed, Central and Eastern Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 10:59 PM
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Maybe 1 AM eastern is not the best time to do this.

I think most of our historians are in California, so it's probably fine.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:01 PM
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Possibly the wrong geographical specializations for my question, though. But people do read widely.

My problem with getting a lot of fiction reading is that I get these crazy ideas about wanting to know more historical context first, which is how I end up asking for recommendations like in 318.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:03 PM
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And then I take a long time to read the history. I'm actually quite a slow reader, by standards around here, unfortunately.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:05 PM
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319 The Furet is fine, assuming you know his biases and take them into account. There is also a book whose title and author are eluding me but which is a good look at Restoration France from the perspective of it being a deeply altered country and thus that the notion of 'restoration' is misleading. I can't remember whether it goes to 1830 or 1848.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:05 PM
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I'm actually quite a slow reader, by standards around here, unfortunately.

Me too. It can be a real problem at times.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:07 PM
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Thanks Werdna! Is the Taylor more about the dynastic family or about how the Empire worked?

It's very diplomatic history, as I remember it: one of those books which uses "Berlin" to mean four heavily moustachio-ed men and refers to foreign ministries by the names of their office buildings


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:13 PM
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I worked at a trout farm for a summer. Bamboo poles, stocked ponds, sneeze and you'll get a fish jumping in your lap.

evil evil evil evil evil evil evil Just saying.

Find a small stream on the country with real wild fish in it, probably minnows, and drop bait into undercuts and anywhere else that food might collect if it drifted with the current. Still, I suspect that four is too young to go fishing especially with someone who doesn't.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:17 PM
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I approve of Hillary Clinton having the metonym Foggy Bottom.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:20 PM
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It's like wrestling!

Simla vs. the Sublime Porte! Who will prevail!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:22 PM
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I want analysis of bureaucratic systems and trade routes and judiciary ideologies. Ah. YOu want Peter Spufford's book about mediaeval trade routes in Yurp -- "Power and Profit". PS is a friend of mine, but it's still excellent.

(can anyone tell from all these comments that I have to go back to the office shortly after three weeks on holiday fishing and working on a fairly OK piece of fiction? It feels like preparing to shove my dick in a pencil sharpener and knowing I must do so every morning for the next six months)


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:26 PM
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326 That makes me think of all those 'Origins of WWI' books, which in turn brings to mind Gerald Feldman's Army, Industry and Labor in Germany 1914-1918 Such an amazing accomplishment of historical research, such an incredibly eye-glazing book. There's a two volume thing on Vienna in the Lueger era that's also like that.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:27 PM
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Such an amazing accomplishment of historical research, such an incredibly eye-glazing book.

Sounds perfect for JM.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:32 PM
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I wonder if anyone eschews Sellars' Market Revolution, which is a classic and was actually rejected for various reasons from the Oxford history of the US 20 years ago (there are some funny stories about this, incidentally), and instead reads his two volume biography of of one term president James K. Polk instead.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-10 11:42 PM
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OT: Does anybody know why one might have a very minor sprain in the ankle that, over the course of 24 hours, becomes completely excruciating, though all I've done is ice and elevate? When I woke up yesterday, it was a very mild new-shoe twinge from the previous day. Now it's 3am the following day, I can't sleep for the pain and I'm canceling class because I can't even get to the next room in under 10 minutes, and I'm screaming the whole way. Am I dying?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 12:06 AM
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You might have torn a ligament. I did that in high school and it went from minor pain to barely being able to walk on that foot in a short period. I think I limped around school that day - the injury came on a really easy morning run the day after a more difficult run - then went to the doctor. There was little swelling, though, and I never needed crutches. I just couldn't push off on that foot for a few weeks (and actually, it screwed up my stride when I came back and my running style was never quite the same even when fully healed).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 12:10 AM
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But reading your comment more carefully, I don't remember having had that level of pain. Certainly not as much pain as I've had with less serious ankle sprains.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 12:12 AM
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That's awful, fa. But that does sound about right. There's not much swelling, but the pain just grows and grows. A few hours ago I read somewhere that it's not too serious if it doesn't hurt without weight on the joint, and I was relieved, but now, yeah, it's screaming pain without weight on it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 12:13 AM
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My approach to these kind of things is to wait a few days, keep weight off of it as much as possible, and see if it gets better. So far it always has. However, you have insurance, right? So you might want to make an appointment if it's not beginning to improve by Tuesday.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 12:41 AM
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I'd make an appointment tomorrow (have I forgotten some holiday?) You don't know why, it's getting worse, and it's affecting your ability to work; I think even Protestantism lets you use your insurance under the circs.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 1:46 AM
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I've sprained an ankle and it's gone that way, and then back to normal within a few more days. I once sprained an ankle on the way to a kickboxing class [fell down a step outside my house], trained anyway [idiot], and then woke up the next day unable to put weight on it at all. It was back to normal within about a week [although I was prone to respraining it for a while afterwards], but in that case there was visible bruising.

It's also sometimes possible to irritate/pinch a nerve in that area. I have a problem with over-supinating sometimes, and that can leave me with excruciating pain around the ankle bone/talus that can suddenly just clear.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 3:52 AM
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God, I hope this settles itself. Right now the pain is the worst it's been, and constant, and if I could imagine how to get there, I'd go to the hospital a few blocks away, but it might as well be the moon. Also, there's probably nothing to be done for it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 4:20 AM
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Hobble to the door, taxi to the hospital?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 4:37 AM
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I'm not seeing it happen. I am worried about not passing out on the way to the bathroom five feet away. Four flights of stairs is even harder than the four blocks.

I am seriously whining. I'm guessing pinched nerve. The way it feels, it should be as big as a basketball, and it's not very swollen at all. But I just tilt it the wrong direction and there are these hideous bottomless twinges.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 4:46 AM
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334: Torn ligament/tendon. X-rays, immobilizaton, possible surgery.

The luckless DE has been there, done all that. If something is completely torn then,waiting around isn't good 'cause things retract and are harder to get reattached.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 5:29 AM
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Have you got someone close by that you could call to help you hobble down the stairs?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 6:04 AM
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Also, there's probably nothing to be done for it.

There are pain meds! And x-rays and information to be gathered. And possible clues about what to avoid or what will help. I'd go.

Although it really needs a small town GP who can fit you in easily within a day or so, because sitting around an emergency room is no fun.

Good luck!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 6:59 AM
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mentally transforming the name "David Foster Wallace" into the novel title The Day Vidfas Tore Wall Ass

I have this problem transforming "Snow Patrol" into Snoopy Troll.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 7:03 AM
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evil evil evil evil evil evil evil Just saying.

It didn't feel evil^7. It was boring at times. I got very good at cleaning fish, although I haven't tried to clean one in ten years since.

Trout mills just don't tug my heartstrings like puppy mills. Is there something I'm missing?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 7:05 AM
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Just as well to post this when the thread is perhaps trailing off, but for the 1-2 people it will amuse, one of my favorite pieces of "the internet did WHAT?": a disturbing/hilarious mashup of Parsifal and Bye Bye, Birdie.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 7:58 AM
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347: I do this unconsciously all the time. It takes effort not to let that silliness leak out at inappropriate times.

Also Vidfas is a jerk and should leave that poor wall alone.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:05 AM
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349: gaaaah!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:09 AM
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Oh dear. I broke Tweety.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:24 AM
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Trout mills just don't tug my heartstrings like puppy mills. Is there something I'm missing?

I think it's that trout are meant to be wild, and puppies are meant to be domestic. Also fishing is meant to be contact with nature and becoming a bit wild yourself. So I don't think that the trout in such places suffer particularly; my objection is that the humans are being palmed off with something ersatz. It's like a birding trip to a chicken farm.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:35 AM
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What about trout in an aquarium? Or a grocery store?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:44 AM
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Also, I don't think you justified seven evils. Perhaps a few tut-tuts, at best.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:48 AM
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I'm surprised to see 300+ comments on a Sunday.

Re: e-books, I believe I've mentioned more than once (here and in the rest of this thread for example) that I have the Sony Borders e-book reader (and yeah, the marketing people working on that fucked up if they couldn't give it a more interesting name) and I like it. Free stuff exists; I've got a few things from Google books and elsewhere. There are still a number of options I've been meaning to investigate (the big one is, is there some way to get Amazon e-books on my Borders e-book reader? ) and just haven't got around to because it's been too much work.

I dunno, I feel like there's a lot more I should say about e-books and libraries and "serious" literature and reading for fun in general, but I'm barely awake at the moment. In brief, I agree a lot with the basic idea of 243: "I wouldn't be asking myself if I was qualified to read something, either at 19 or at twice that age. Now, my question would be, do I enjoy reading this enough that I am willing to make it my leisure activity for today?" And I think the distinction in 276 is important, between stuff that's timeless and stuff that was really important to its time but isn't necessarily important to ours.

Also, anyone else seen the movie Network? Great movie. I watched it Saturday afternoon. I think bob likes his entertainment more impenetrably pretentious, but as far as its actual social/political message goes, it definitely reminded me of him. And other stuff too.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:50 AM
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353: Some trout are meant to be wild, some have long ago been domesticated. Not as long ago as chickens, but still I think that farmed trout would do worse than an escaped pig in the wild.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:55 AM
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What about farmed trout against an escaped pig? Two will enter, but only one will be victorious?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 8:57 AM
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I would have said "on the veldt," but trout can't breath the fresh air of the veldt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:00 AM
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heebie is likely remembering the fire and brimstone sermon in Portrait. Joyce's biggest failure? I never got it

You people are weird. That's one of my favourite passages of Joyce, and I've read pretty much everything he ever published.

As for his biggest failure, it's probably Exiles. That said, it was staged recently by the National Theatre and I have to say it came across a lot better than it does on page.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:01 AM
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I liked going to Shady Lakes when I was a little kid because I was guaranteed to catch a fish or two. And it demystified fishing for me.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:02 AM
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And it demystified fishing for me.

I don't have the right mind-set for the idea that fishing is a serious sport requiring training, fancy lures, reels and whatnot. I'm sure some people enjoy the challenge, but I would rather fish where the fish are and leave the challenge to people with patience and too much free time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:08 AM
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Update: So around the time of my last comment, I was crying and sweating from constant pain for hours. Somehow I managed to pass out and now, at 11, it only hurts when I move it. Progress!!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:10 AM
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You should try to write press releases for BP. Hope you keep getting better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:14 AM
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I'm not nearly as dismayed by the lack of wild! experience for trout-farm fishers as I am by the loss of wild! habitat for actual wild fish. Where stocked ponds preserve the latter, I am all for 'em.

(And most of the ways to be cruel to the fish are, as I understand it, a matter of overstocking, which is bad for the habitat downstream, so I get to disapprove single-thoughtedly.)

I hope AWB is off getting looked at, or at least asleep. Note: if you can't get out of your house to get help, EMTs will help you.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:21 AM
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Well, I had just spent three weeks on the edge of a proper wild river, so seven evils seemed to me just about right.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:26 AM
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363: It may not be helpful, but I figured I'd mention it just in case: Arnica Montana is the shiznit for joint and muscle aches and pains. Much better than anything else I've tried short of opiates. It's an strong medicine so you have to be careful about overuse, but for occasional external use it works great.

I hope you feel better soon.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:29 AM
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Also, anyone else seen the movie Network? Great movie. I watched it Saturday afternoon. I think bob likes his entertainment more impenetrably pretentious, but as far as its actual social/political message goes, it definitely reminded me of him. And other stuff too.

The glorious cynicism and pessimism compensated for much of the trite and predictable plotline. Also a lack of positive normal characters in need of disenchantment.Americanization of Emily and The Hospital are slightly better Chayefsky. Paddy reminds me of Joe Eszterhas

Updike. Cheever. Revolutionary Road The quotidian heart of darkness


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:37 AM
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366: I live near an industrial river plied by barges full of coal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:37 AM
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369: domesticated coal is sadly unprepared for life in the wild rivers of Nworb country.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:43 AM
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Also, I forgot to say it earlier, but sorry AWB. Personally, I'd call an ambulance. I know you have problems getting your insurance to actually pay for anything, so a cab ride to the hospital sounds like a reasonable compromise, doesn't it?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:56 AM
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James Joyce's "The extraordinary is the domain of the journalist, not the artist." I take very seriously.

I vastly prefer Bergman, Allen, Altman to Scorcese and Coppola. Prefer Ozu to Kurosawa by lightyears.

The heroism of AWB (today) and heebie impresses and interests me more than a thousand Hurt Lockers. Just, you know, for random examples not internet crushes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 10:05 AM
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Bob has an internet crush on me!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 10:23 AM
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Well, I had just spent three weeks on the edge of a proper wild river, so seven evils seemed to me just about right.

I live on a proper wild river! Actually not that wild a river. But people do fish in it. But most people tube it. And swim in it. Because it's clear and pretty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 10:24 AM
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Missed the weekend threading and JM is probably full up on historical sleep aids, but I would be professionally remiss if I didn't recommend Jospeh Miller's Way of Death. The Americanistgrad students who were occaisionally forced to read it quickly nick-named it "read of death." It's interesting, but not nearly so much as the title would suggest. It's also long and sweeping and ties together three distinct components of Atlantic history.

Ari, the Averaged American book looks good. Will have to read.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 10:53 AM
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Thanks for all the advice, internet friends! I think I was more nervous about whacking it around trying to get to the doctor than about sitting through this. There were some scary moments earlier today, but I have managed to feed myself, ice it, and rest, and it's hurting less and less without weight on it. I'm hoping by the end of the day I'll be able to take a few steps, and can get to work tomorrow. My students are freaking out because I was supposed to give back papers today. Whoops!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 12:25 PM
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Back on-topic, I assume you saw this, Heebie:

Amazon Drops Kindle Price to $189 By BRAD STONE
That was quick.
Reacting to Barnes & Noble's price cut on the Nook Monday morning, Amazon.com has just dropped the price of its Kindle e-reader to $189 from $259.
That gives it a slight edge on the comparable $199 Nook (which also has a Wi-Fi connection), though Barnes & Noble also announced a $149 Wi-Fi-only Nook this morning as well.
Buyers can thank Steve Jobs and the briskly selling and more versatile iPad ($499 and up) for the furious price competition among e-readers.

Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 1:11 PM
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Hadn't seen that, actually. I wonder if that means the kindle will be phased out eventually.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 2:26 PM
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Hadn't seen that, actually. I wonder if that means the kindle will be phased out eventually.

The person who wrote about the iPad for the NYRB said that they liked the Kindle (as well as/instead of) the iPad because it was much lighter. I can see that being a big advantage.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 2:29 PM
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Heebie, I got the iPad hoping it would be an alternative to the laptop that had just died, which it is definitely not, but I also managed to take a chip out of one corner the day I got it, so I didn't think returning it was an option. I didn't like it first but am growing increasingly fond of it. I'm more on the Jackmormon end of the reading spectrum and so it's not economical for me to use an ereader for more than a tiny fraction of my reading, but it has been nice for that and I like to keep something on it so that if I'm reading in bed and my partner complains about the sound of pages turning or library binding crackling, I can read something online instead. The Kindle library is much more extensive than the iPad one, but to be honest I typically end up just going online and reading unfogged comment threads until I get in trouble because snickering is even more disruptive than making reading noises. I haven't noticed eyestrain and it's very nice not to have to be turning pages all the time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 2:31 PM
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Still longing for the que, which is even farther out of my price range than I had feared, and which also looks set to vanish from the market. Maybe I can get one cheap afterwards, but probably not; sure didn't work for Fingerworks equipment.

I'm... too nerdly for my desk...


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 2:32 PM
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Combine a que and an eee and you'll really have something.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 2:35 PM
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Combine a que and an eee and you'll really have something.

The Kindle Freddy Mercury Signature Edition?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 2:37 PM
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Cooo-eeee. Coom up, sow.

I can't find a list of which Barnes and Nobles are actually physically carrying these. Since I want to see if it's really as good for reading PDFs with plots in them as it was originally supposed to be, I want hands-on.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 2:40 PM
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Combine a que and an eee and you'll really have something.

The Kindle Freddy Mercury Signature Edition?

low hanging French fruit


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 5:19 PM
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I ended up with a shitpotfull of B&N Gift Cards so was considering the nook, but have held back because of concerns that it will lag significantly in book availability.

(Was just searching for compatibility info and landed on the Amazon page for buying a nook.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:29 PM
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I can't find a list of which Barnes and Nobles are actually physically carrying these.

Here.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:33 PM
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I had just about convinced my wife that we should hold out for an iPad and use the cards for B&N eBooks to read on that*. But the price decrease might change that. I think the best course is to sit around doing nothing while worrying that I'm being a big schmuck, and then when I die my kids will discover a bunch of worthless B&N gift cards in a shoebox in my closet.

*I assume that works; I am too bored/irritated to read up on the various compatibilities. Information EBooks want to be free platform-independent.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 9:56 PM
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then when I die my kids will discover a bunch of worthless B&N gift cards

"Holy crap, guys! Check these out! They're the rare 2010 series E gift cards with the mag stripe accidentally printed with porn. Do you know how much these'll go for on eBay3000turbo.com? I wonder why Paw-paw held onto 'em?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 10:01 PM
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We became the beneficiaries of my widely-traveled father-in-law's extensive hotel and airline mini-soap collection* when he moved out of his house (none of his kids had a clue that he had collected them). We unceremoniously used them for years to wash with.

*Sadly non-pornographic.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 10:08 PM
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390.last But drop me an e-mail Tweetster, and I'll give you the rest of that story.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 10:13 PM
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I assume that works

Yeah, there's a B&N reader program similar to the Kindle's that you can use on other platforms.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-21-10 10:47 PM
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