Re: Re-Ding

1

From the Amazon link for the first book: "Three young adults grapple with the usual thirty-something problems".

WORDS MEAN THINGS, DAMMIT.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:14 AM
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You know, there are, oh, thirty-some problems that young adults usually grapple with. Thirty-three? Thirty-six? Somewhere in there.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:19 AM
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Not to impugn either the book or Ogged's maturity level, but The Martian is aimed squarely at nice teenage nerdy kids. Lots of suspense, techy-exposition, no interpersonal emotional stress (the only emotions are fear and hope). Newt loved it a lot, and was complaining that it was hard to find things that were just like that. I keep on meaning to find him some collections of old Clarke stories from the fifties and sixties -- I can't think of what else is closer to that kind of nuts-and-bolts SF anymore.

(I enjoyed it a lot too; I am by no means above teenage books.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:20 AM
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My dad keeps telling me that I should read The Martian. I think "nice teenage nerdy kid" fits his reading preferences pretty well.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:22 AM
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I got thiry-some problems but young ain't one


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:24 AM
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1: They're unusual twenty-somethings in that the problems with which they grapple are those usually encountered by thirty-somethings.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:26 AM
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I forgot to mention, The Martian reads like a slightly fleshed-out screenplay, and sure enough, it's been optioned for a movie (which could be very good).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:26 AM
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Maybe now you'll read the book I recommended to you three years ago.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:27 AM
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Has anyone here read All The Light We Cannot See? It's the book for book club this month, and it's 500+ damn pages and if I'm going to monopolize spring break with it, I want it to be worth my time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:28 AM
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Josh, is your problem that "young adult" is incompatible with "thirty-something?" That doesn't seem so strange; you should hang out with more old people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:28 AM
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"Three young-at-heart adults…"


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:29 AM
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the book I recommended to you three years ago

Remind me.

Heebie, my wife loved that book.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:30 AM
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9: My mom read it and liked it a lot, for whatever that's worth. Her reading habits are pretty omnivorous and not, I think, very discriminating, so it's probably not worth a lot.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:31 AM
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9. Ugh, I hated that book.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:31 AM
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7: I dunno -- one character, and I don't think the (fascinating on the page) nerdery transfers over as well. You could probably do a pretty good man-against-the-elements -- Castaway but with the advantage of not starring either Tom Hanks or a volleyball -- but it'd lose a lot of the charm of the book.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:32 AM
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14: Oooh, how come?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:32 AM
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12: Barley Patch by Gerald Murnane.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:32 AM
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Books in the vein of ogged's books that I have read recently or am reading: 1) Tigerman (via snarkrec), Glow (via Wm. Gibson rec; great but so excruciatingly personally familiar (in a good way) that I'm struggling with getting into it I realize that makes no sense)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:33 AM
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You could probably do a pretty good man-against-the-elements

Yes, exactly, with some nerdery. I'm sure the movie will drop a lot of the nerdery. But think of the bad things that happen: very cinematic.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:34 AM
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I frikkin' love my Kindle. Kindle + subway commute = match made in heaven. Books I've read recently include a biography of Trotsky, In the Garden of Beasts, and Never Let Me Go.* I just started a book about the Aleppo Codex.

*Whoa, "literary" fiction that I didn't hate!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:35 AM
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Barley Patch by Gerald Murnane

Hmm, doesn't even ring a bell, but sample downloaded!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:36 AM
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Oh, that reminds me. The new Ishiguro should be out now, shouldn't it? I should go to the bookstore. Again.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:37 AM
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18: I liked Tigerman but it was not exactly what I was expecting. I mean it fits with the themes of the rest of his work, but it was more measured and slower-paced.

I went back and re-read Angelmaker a few months ago and it didn't really hold up for me. I feel like Harkaway is this close to writing a really outstanding book, but I don't know if he'll ever get there.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:37 AM
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16. It's not badly written per se, but it's so precious, and so shamelessly manipulative. I have a low tolerance for shallow, cutesy novels about WW2.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:38 AM
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22: Relevant.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:38 AM
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I confess that I found basically every element of the premise(s) of NLME so implausible that I couldn't enjoy it, even though it was engaging and well written.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:38 AM
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Er, NLMG. Maybe I shouldn't be such a lazy typist!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:38 AM
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Also, more people should read Phil Klay's "Redeployment" so they can tell me what I should think about it. I still don't know.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:39 AM
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I agree that NLMG was preposterous, but I still loved it so much.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:40 AM
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I liked Tigerman a lot. I think the general consensus is that Angelmaker was not very good.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:40 AM
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Never Let Me Go was not among my favorite Ishiguro books but "favorite Ishiguro books" for me is a really, really high bar to clear.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:40 AM
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Is there some an advantage to a dedicated kindle as opposed to just getting the kindle app on a tablet?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:41 AM
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How about Tigermangelmaker? (That which brings about a paucity of tigers, I guess.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:41 AM
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32:Not having to buy a tablet.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:41 AM
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Also battery life, readability of the screen.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:42 AM
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32: I find reading e-ink much easier on the eyes than reading a tablet.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:42 AM
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I feel like my Kindle diminishes the pleasure of reading. At least, I notice that I like books a lot less when I read them on the Kindle. (Data point, I read Anthony Doerr book on my Kindle.) Or maybe it's not the Kindle, but the fact that I only use the Kindle when I'm on the plane, and flying makes me so anxious.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:42 AM
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I loved NLMG. I was a little shattered when they mentioned they were cloned from different people, because I had wonderful images in my head of these identical, except at different ages, cloned kids in all these scenes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:42 AM
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no interpersonal emotional stress

I still hate that. My son will fast-forward through almost any hint of it in a video.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:44 AM
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I use a kindle app all the time. I agree that reading is not quite the same, but the convenience and instant gratification and being able to read without a light source are all huge enough that I pretty much only use the ipad to read, now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:45 AM
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I too find reading books on a Kindle (I have a paperwhite) much more pleasant than on a tablet, and it really is wonderful for travel how the charge lasts and lasts and lasts.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:45 AM
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Of new-ish stuff I've read in the last six months: The Secret History of Wonder Woman was entertaining. Weinberg's new book on the history of science up to Newton or so was worth the read. Naomi Klein's new book contained, somewhere within it, ten or fifteen pages that could be rearranged into a really interesting article about how trade agreements undermine environmental policy, along with three hundred pages of stuff I either already know or don't really care about. The Warmth of Other Suns was, as discussed previously, depressing but well worth spending time with.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:46 AM
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One double-edged sword is having the internet on your book-device. It's so great to be able to instantly start reading, or to stop and look up something in wikipedia. But when I'm not super absorbed, I end up distracted and getting a choppy reading experience.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:46 AM
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The Martian sounds like it would freak my shit out the same way Gravity did. There's nothing more terrifying than the idea of being alone in space. Except for babies. And the holocaust or whatever.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:47 AM
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I use the kindle app all the time on various devices but use the kindle proper before bed because some switch got flipped where the "blue light fucks with your sleep" thing works really intensely on me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:48 AM
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44: on a desolate planet, one wry opera fan is trapped with babies and the holocaust.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:50 AM
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44: I don't think it'd set off lost-in-space freakout. You might be entirely bored by it, but it's not at all emotionally high pressure: it could not be more clearly telegraphed by the genre that everyone makes it though all right. (Suspenseful, yes, but TV-show "how are they going to make it through, given we know that they're going to be back in next week's episode" suspenseful, not "is something emotionally wrenching going to happen" suspenseful.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:55 AM
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44: Avoid the film Moon.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:55 AM
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Lately the concept of swimming in oceans is a bit freaky to me. Just so vast.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:57 AM
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||

Piece in the Guardian on Pratchett, by a dneirf of the blog.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:57 AM
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Moon was very good.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:58 AM
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Especially off the coast of Hawaii, a place I've never been, but it just looks so little and easy-to-slip-off-of on the map.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:58 AM
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As I mentioned elsewhere, I just read Timothy Jarvis's The Wanderer, which is basically Arthur Machen + Melmoth + The Purple Cloud, all blenderfied up with Stephen King. Good for fans of oldy-timey horror/weird fiction who are not put off by modestly graphic evisceration. Also Marilynne Robinson's Lila, which I quite liked, and a rereading of Achebe's Things Fall Apart, which I didn't appreciate enough as a college student.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 11:58 AM
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Going Clear is a very gripping read.

Digital Divide and Maker Space (in that chronological order) by K.B. Spangler - technically a webcomic spin-off but focusing on new characters in a more book-worthy way. A government program created agents with strange new technomagey abilities, and the heroine, one of those agents after the program becomes public, is on exchange with the DC police.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:01 PM
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51 is correct.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:02 PM
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54.1 is true.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:04 PM
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53. I admit I was really disappointed by Lila. Gilead and Home are among my very favorite novels of all time, and Lila just wasn't at that level at all.

The two earlier novels are notable in their focus on these deeply solitary, inward-directed characters, and their intense relationships with just one or two people. Gilead is Ames reflecting on the past and its implications on the present; and Home is the changing relationship between Glory and Jack. In both cases, there's no plot to speak of; the only movement is in the subtle changes in Ames' comprehension, or in the siblings' relationship. Lila was, by contrast, so much more shallow and all-over-the-place. It felt like a lot more happened, but it mattered a lot less.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:07 PM
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||

I just discovered that if you export from OpenOffice to .pdf the "title" entry that's tucked away in the 'description' section of the file's metadata ends up prominently displayed in the .pdf. As in, literally it's the title that shows up on the window itself instead of being buried deep down where no one looks.

I discovered this when I opened up the final, formatted and submitted to the graduate school .pdf of my thesis. I never got any nasty little "reformat your file you moron" notes from them after I submitted it, and it has been finalized in their database/I have the diploma/etc. So there's a really good chance that anyone who downloaded* the thing from the database to read would discover that despite the filename, database entry, and title page the actual title that shows up for the thesis when you open it is "{Replace with the Title of Your Dissertation}".

I could not possibly be more delighted right now.

*Yes I know it's very hypothetical there and won't happen, but that just makes it a delicious secret hidden away that I know about and other people don't.

|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:08 PM
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I liked Moon in an oh my god oh my god ARGH kind of way. I also love Gravity actually but I didn't stop digging my fingernails into the arm of my seat the entire time.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:10 PM
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I haven't read Home but I will certainly cop to Lila not being as good as Gilead.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:10 PM
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For leisure reading, I've been reading literally nothing but books about WWI or WWII or related eras for the past 6 months. Not sure why. I just finished a new long biography of Stalin (Steven Kotkin, vol. 1, it was like 700 pages and we only got into the late 1920s) which had some interesting stuff but ultimately gets the verdict of "not that great." You know who is a fucking awesome badass historian, though? Adam Tooze, that guy is amazing. The Nazi economy book is the best book about the Nazis I've ever read. The book about WWI and America may be even better.

The last new-ish fiction I read was The Luminaries which I really liked for the first 250 pages, then hit a wall of "just get to the fucking point, why am I still reading this" and I put it down. That may be more my problem than the book's, though.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:14 PM
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The last new-ish fiction I read was The Luminaries which I really liked for the first 250 pages, then hit a wall of "just get to the fucking point, why am I still reading this" and I put it down.

This was my experience also, except I dragged myself through it to the very end, and then I was like, why did I do that, I just wasted how many hours of my life.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:18 PM
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61: If I'm remembering right, your previous identity once mentioned an interest in the Habsburgs. Simon Winder's Danubia is a fun read and just came out in paperback.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:18 PM
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I thought you were just supposed to look at that book and admire its wacky structure, not read it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:19 PM
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59: Likewise. I liked how the sci-fi future of Moon wasn't all shiny and new, but rather a shithole of an industrial site. I loved Gravity but thought the script was extraneous, so the film might have been more effective with the sound off. Do you hear that, producers of The Martian adaptation?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:20 PM
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All Is Lost in spaaaaaaaace


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:26 PM
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I've been reading literally nothing but books about WWI or WWII or related eras for the past 6 months.

Have you read? Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age.

I am considering it, but am predisposed to be skeptical of the premise, which seems to be, "if you really understand the conditions surrounding the genesis, meaning, and reception of $exemplaryContemporaneousArtWork, you'll understand why and how these societies were able to justify waging war the way they did."


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:32 PM
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Even though the thread has mostly moved on, I'll give my reasons for not really liking All the Light We Cannot See.

There were no interesting people in it, nor any surprises. It's set in WWII, so sure there's plenty of conflict and so on, but the use of that setting seemed kind of lazy to me. Within the first 100 pages or so you know where everyone's going, and everybody just plods along until they reach their completely-expected destinations. I see it getting a lot of praise for being "lyrical," where my experience was that I frequently needed to pause because it was hard to focus on the page for how much my eyes were rolling at the over-writing.

In recent literary fiction that has gotten lots of attention, Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, is much, much better, as is Euphoria, by Lily King (I'm only halfway through the latter, but I'm still confident in that assessment).


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:41 PM
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67 -- I have read that book, but so long ago I can barely remember it. I recall it being good if you're just looking for some high-level-of-generality-cultural-history fun, but that it suffered from exactly the problem you point to. I'd say unless you want culture-only, read this book, which is a brand new, genuinely awesome look at Austria-Hungary and Germany during WWI. Not heavily culture-focused, but gives a lot of background that I hadn't known for understanding that period's culture.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:41 PM
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the actual title that shows up for the thesis when you open it is "{Replace with the Title of Your Dissertation}".

Its not like its the only one.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:00 PM
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Agh, so many comments. I thought The Martian was loads of fun. Light reading, sure, but fun. The movie has already been cast and has lots of heavy hitters - I think it'll be entertaining fluff.

HG, I read All The Light We Cannot See on my mother's recommendation. I had been avoiding it and expected not to like it, but I found it strangely compelling and couldn't stop turning the pages. In the end I enjoyed it, but I would not shelve it in the 'great literature' section.

Thanks to jennyrobot I ended up binge reading an entire romance series (by Courtney Milan) last week. Fun!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:05 PM
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I went back and re-read Angelmaker a few months ago and it didn't really hold up for me. I feel like Harkaway is this close to writing a really outstanding book, but I don't know if he'll ever get there.

This. It's keeping me from picking up Tigerman, but I should anyway. I'll enjoy it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:06 PM
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70 - This could work out very well for me. A lot of those have got to be better than my thesis, so it might end up with someone giving me more credit than they otherwise would have.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:11 PM
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I really want to get a Kindle, I think, but I also think that some of the value I get re: reading on my phone is that it is ALWAYS there. (Yeah, I'm one of those people. Husband moans.)

The last new-ish fiction I read was The Luminaries which I really liked for the first 250 pages, then hit a wall of "just get to the fucking point, why am I still reading this" and I put it down.

I got a lot out of the The Luminaries, but had that exact experience with The Goldfinch. (Though I of course finished it. Why?)

In recent literary fiction that has gotten lots of attention, Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, is much, much better, as is Euphoria, by Lily King (I'm only halfway through the latter, but I'm still confident in that assessment).

I enjoyed Station Eleven, but in the same way I enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See - it didn't quite click for me the way it seems to have for many people. Euphoria was just fantastic, IMO. Loved it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:12 PM
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I also think that some of the value I get re: reading on my phone is that it is ALWAYS there

My phone is always there. But rarely charged.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:16 PM
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I've been on a SFF kick for the last six months or so. I read Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear, the start of a series that seems likely to be nominated for some a Nebula? or is it Hugo? can't remember and really enjoyed it, but everyone else in my reading group disliked it.

Currently reading a book that I should like - Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie - but it is just not clicking for me. I expect essayists to tell me things I don't know; unfortunately for Jamie so far all of her essays have covered topics that I'm pretty familiar with and there hasn't been much to engage with. It'll get better, I hope.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:16 PM
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To augment LB's 3, The Martian is definitely YA for nerdy guys, but like the recent trend where YA books are increasingly popular amongst adults (I still can't believe how many female professors read and loved Twilight), all my adult engineer friends loved it. It's definitely Twilight for dudes.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:20 PM
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I just finished reading Ready Player One to my kid. It was fun, but I had to edit out all the bad words.

Not that I mind my kid hearing bad words, I'm just hoping to avoid another incident like the time he used magnetic letters to spell FUCK on the dry erase board at school. No sense of discretion, that one.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:22 PM
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a rereading of Achebe's Things Fall Apart, which I didn't appreciate enough as a college student

I have been meaning to do this as well!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:24 PM
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Everything Flows is not ideal bedside reading, but it's good!

I just got BOTH volumes of Les Armées révolutionnaires for my birthday, does it count to call them first editions if there was never a 2nd or 3rd? I don't care! Loving it and know I will reread appx 1 gazillion times, poss best birthday present EVER.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 1:54 PM
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For leisure reading, I've been reading literally nothing but books about WWI or WWII or related eras for the past 6 months.

I miss leisure reading . . .


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 2:13 PM
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78. Did your kid like Ready Player One? I thought it was okay fun, but M, who was a pretty devoted player of 80s and 90s video games, appreciated it a lot more than I did.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 2:17 PM
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I'm just about finished with Little Women. It has lots of useful advice if you are a young woman in 19th century America and you want to have a Happy Home. Also, I was almost weeping on the bus to work yesterday morning, when Beth said that she didn't mind dying, but she thought she might be homesick even in heaven.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 2:28 PM
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I'm ashamed to admit that I just now "got" the title of the OP. (Not quite as ashamed as I would be if I had been the one to write the title of the OP, but still pretty ashamed.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 2:30 PM
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83. I just finished Mallory Ortberg's Texts from Jane Eyre, which is worth reading only because it will take you like twenty minutes, but this, from the section on Little Women, made me die of LOL:

a broken home
that's what I come from now
a broken home

that's not what they call it when your sister gets married
then why does it feel broken, Meg
why does it feel broken
this is the worst thing
that has ever happened
to anyone
since Father died
Father didn't die, Jo!

Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 2:41 PM
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I read Ready Player One right in the middle of Gamergate, and that was a case of current events making me harsher on a book than was probably fair. I enjoyed it but I just could not stop finding fault.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 2:48 PM
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I have to admit to getting utterly impatient with LW when then-wife and I were tag-team reading it to the girls. Jesus, Alcott, could you juice the prose up a bit? They're supposed to fall asleep before I do, for crying out loud.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 2:50 PM
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I'm considering "H is for Hawk" based on things I've read about it. Anybody else tried it? Also - I second the Elizabeth Bear mention. She has completed her "The Eternal Sky" trilogy and it is ever so good.


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:01 PM
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I recently purchased H is for Hawk, The Goshawk, The Pilgrim Hawk, and The Peregrine, because I believe in sticking to a theme. Started The Goshawk this morning.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:04 PM
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Everyone is telling me I must must must read H is for Hawk, but frankly the description makes me want to run screaming.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:09 PM
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87: I very much want a pickled lime. I still haven't had one.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:10 PM
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They all look good - kind of surprising for such a niche subject. What could it mean? Meanwhile - they aren't always on target but FSM bless the New York Review Books Classics publishing house.


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:12 PM
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92.last is totally right.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:16 PM
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The New Yorker review renewed my interest in H is for Hawk but I'm not sure if I'll actually enjoy it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:18 PM
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You guys need to stop repeating the title of the book in 9 or I will develop a permanent twitch.

I broke my horribly long reading fast by picking up Eurasian Crossroads, a pretty dry academic history of Xinjiang, which nevertheless is making me happier than is situationally reasonable. Please feel free to share your Central Asia-themed recommendations.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:19 PM
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I too am interested in Central Asia-themed recommendations.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:20 PM
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53, 79: I picked up Things Fall Apart when Achebe died (never having read it before). I will admit I didn't get very far into it before losing interest. It's been gathering dust on my Kindle since.

Recently read: Bury The Chains, which is as outstanding as everyone said it was when it came out; Deborah Lipstadt's The Eichmann Trial (which would have been much much better without the -- now hilariously dated -- alarmism about Ahmadinejad); and Man's Search For Meaning, which wasn't ultimately as helpful in dealing with depression as I might have hoped. Also Dan Harris's 10% Happier, which has almost convinced me to try meditation.

Currently reading: David Talbot's Season of the Witch (a history of San Francisco from ~1966 to ~1982); Richard White's Railroaded, about the transcontinental railroads; and I'm intermittently picking my way through L'Etranger (never read it; more of the depression reading project).


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:20 PM
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L'Etranger wouldn't have been my first pick for reading meant to help "in dealing with depression", but if you're enjoying it, so be it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:21 PM
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93. I think one of my happiest stumbled upons that wouldn't have happened with NYRB Classics was Elaine Dundy's "The Dud Avocado" What kind of genre is hilarious and wise by a surprisingly young person?


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:24 PM
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but if you're enjoying it

Well if I could enjoy things then I wouldn't be looking for things to help with depression now would I?

(Kidding. My depression has mostly lifted.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:24 PM
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Damn .93 +without


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:24 PM
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Arrrgh - 99 +out


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:28 PM
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||
NMM to Michael Graves, just in case Disneyish po-mo was your thing.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:28 PM
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99: Zop.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:31 PM
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Range of Ghosts, the first in The Eternal Sky series, is Central-Asian themed! But, well, not real.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:32 PM
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I may have mentioned here before, but I found The Teleportation Accident to be a good little read if you're willing to just go along with a few potentially off-putting elements.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:34 PM
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March

Critical Companion to Contemporary Marxism - 800 fucking pages

R Taggert Murphy - Japan and Shackles of the Past Excellent

Rasu Vasudevan - Melodramatic Public - Film Form and Spectatorship in Indian Cinema - good theory

Junji Banno - The Political Economy of Japan - like corporate structure, union history, zaikai stuff

Geoffrey Maurice de Ste Croix - Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World - hardcore Marxian and classic scholarship, epigraphic evidence abounding, good but dry

Scott McLoud - Understanding Comics - Shoulda been done long ago, but just started looking at some manga, and I thought it would be more superhero oriented Essential

Brenner - Understanding Manga and Anime - meh. Japanese do like this, you see.

Steven Fraser - Age of Acquiescence - one to recommend, C Robin's buddy, fun read, well written, not theoretical or academic, 1st half 1st Gilded Age, to show all the holy hell raised back then as a contrast to our own.

Yuki Obata, Bokura ga Ita girl's romance manga. Started a file of notes on this, almost shared. Proust has been surpassed.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:39 PM
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How estranged am I from the aesthete level of my profession? My first reaction to 103 was to figure out what the poet/translator had to do with Disney or po-mo. Also how he could still be alive.

I'd add that we have a (locally) noteworthy Graves Downtown (and, credit where due, the interior detailing is quite lovely, even if the whole thing is not my bag).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:40 PM
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I've got to write something about depression at some point. I've had so many years to refine my tropes. They are extremely refined now.

A completely random recommendation: Ibuse's "Black Rain," the basis for the Imamura film, is absolutely great. Maybe everyone knows this already. It doesn't seem to have the reputation of something like "Survival in Auschwitz" or Solzhenitsyn*, to my knowledge, but I was really, really impressed.

* those are really different reputations in my world, but I'm thinking of global profiles. Also to-me-surprisingly good but not news, strictly speaking: Nadezhda Mandelshtam's "Hope Against Hope." It is monumental, one of the least sentimental books I've ever read; I was expecting something totally different. (Additionally the NYRB-issued Merwin translations of Mandelshtam, while very free, are great poems in their own right, and the originals have been worth a long-standing project of hacking my way through (birch?) forests of Cyrillic.)

Lest you think I have no lightness in my heart, there's a bit in "Hope" where Mandelshtam meets Anna Akhmatova at the train station, after a long delay, and greets her thus: "You travel at the speed of Anna Karenina."


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:53 PM
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I'm finally reading Piketty and benefiting from memories of last year's book club. I'm in chapter 14, and am worried about how implausible international wealth tax coordination appears. I do appreciate his ability to explain mathematical ideas and tease out relationships that are "obvious" for someone who plays with the numbers, but not to someone who just skims over equations.

I recently finished City of Stairs, which was good but didn't impress me as much as others seem to be experiencing. I wonder if the stuff that makes it a step above requires looking more at the world building...

Prior to that I enjoyed a very fluffy reread of Katherine Kurtz's Deryni books. Still very enjoyable.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 3:59 PM
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108: As you know, we have one of his iconic buildings here, and it hasn't worn well. The look is dated, the structure is showing its age prematurely, and the people I know who have worked there hate it. Hint to architects designing for the PNW: windows are favored. I wouldn't mind if they tore the thing down and replaced it with one of those sleek, glassy, small-footprint things they have all over Vancouver, BC.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:01 PM
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Vancouver architecture is all about looking out through windows, though. Many buildings, especially newer ones, are kind of ugly.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:09 PM
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I thought City of Stairs was entertaining, mostly on account of the world-building and because of the fun he was having with colonialism and post-colonialism. Not a brilliant book, but entertaining and with lots of breadcrumbs strewn about for those who have had to study colonialism in some form or another.

I mostly read to be entertained nowadays, though, and I'm pretty sure a lot of the book wouldn't hold up to serious scrutiny.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:11 PM
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Entertaining! I like this word today.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:11 PM
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112: Really? I think the newer ones look, on the whole, nicer than the ones that were newish 20 years ago, even if they're not especially characterful. I do like places that allow you to look out of windows and have lots of natural light, and we have a lot more of that kind of building going on here.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:14 PM
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89: neb, do you know this one? You gotta let me know if any of those books is better than it.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:27 PM
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116: That's lovely. Thanks for sharing.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:31 PM
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I really love my Kindle paperwhite, partly for Sifu Tweety reasons -- I can read it late at night without catching insomnia cooties from the screen; partly because it is so easy to make notes with; mostly because since the divorce my real books are all in store and there's no place to shelve new ones in this flat. The Kindle app, which I use on both phone and tablet and sometimes, for work, on the screen, is a much less satisfactory experience, especially if you like reading in bed, because those screens are so much less restful. It's good for commuting, though.

As for what to read: lots and lots of fairly forgettable SFF and beyond that programmatic poetry reading. Graves, Herbert, Browning, Tennyson, Eliot, the lovely edition of Donne I gave my gf as a birthday present but seem to spend a lot of time browsing in myself. Anything which, once read for five or ten minutes in the early morning, will echo all day in your mind. I managed to work a wonderful line of Graves into a po-faced respectable piece of official writing earlier this week, and felt so *glad*. Maybe, you know, someone would click through and find the whole poem and have their lives enriched.

A big part of why I had myself thrown out of school was so that I would never get taught these things, but could go on loving them for my own reasons. That still seems to me a good reason.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:32 PM
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The quality of "glass box" has IMO gone through the roof of late. Without thinking too hard, I'd say it's because the original glass boxes were poorly-considered, gut/aesthete reactions to This Modern World, and the ones that did, in fact, take over this modern world were pretty awful*. When people returned to that style (because pomo was a joke and hardly anyone has the budget for decon/Gehry wankery, not that it's any better), they first returned to a lot of the original sins, but 20 years of doing that stuff has shaken out some of the kinks.

There are some bad (or at least lazy) pomo habits baked into current mainstream architecture, but IMO the current generic large building is better, on almost every measure, than its median peer of most of the past century. I'm on a local design review board (neighb. level), and the first passes we see now are better than most of what we'd wrestle people to achieve 10 years ago.

*I mostly mean functionally - poor insulation, HVAC insulting to occupants, unyielding surfaces everywhere - but also aesthetically, because while there's a certain freshness to the first gestures a new idiom, they're also not very sophisticated, but for whatever reasons, they didn't appreciably grow in sophistication during the pre-pomo era


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:34 PM
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78. I enjoyed Ready Player One (after having had it recommended by an infinitude of gamer and SF friends) but, as one of them said "Hmmph. It's impossible to imagine that those puzzles remained unsolved for decades." Still, that's obviously a nerd answer.

61. TRO, have you read Paris, 1919? It's about the peace conference and is quite good.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:41 PM
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even if they're not especially characterful

On this specific note, I think the situation is this: most of the aesthetic energy (if you will) is being absorbed by (IMO) wankery Gehry*-style stuff, such that you get competent but bland stuff in a sort of generic 21C Modern style or else very hit-or-miss characterful stuff in that Gehry/Koolhaas style.

The flaw in High Modernism has always been that the line between really good and hack has always been razor thin. The language is so stripped down that there's no room for error between transcendent** mastery and workmanlike competence. And mediocre hackery is only a step or two farther down the line. But, as I say, I think the floor of workmanlike competence has risen.

*Koolhaas is probably a more relevant reference, but whatevs. I don't hate all of it, but it's a bit like Pollock: "my kid could make that" is a Philistine comment, but it's not as if everyone who followed in those footsteps is producing at an above-kid level. To be fair, the much more accessible Wrightian style also spawns a thousand crappy imitators

**maybe an overstatement. In terms of the sort of glass boxes were discussing, the Seagram's Building seems to be the ultimate example, and I find it far from transcendent. But let's take as given that people in the '50s achieved transcendent glass boxes.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:43 PM
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TRO, have you read Paris, 1919

No, but I find the song completely addictive.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:45 PM
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Did your kid like Ready Player One?

Well, I could tell that most of the reference went over his head, but then he spent a half hour this evening finding and playing Galaga, so.....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 4:49 PM
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"Hmmph. It's impossible to imagine that those puzzles remained unsolved for decades."

I have never read Ready Player One but this kind of thing was part of the conceit of the Davinci Code, except the facile Latin 101 puzzles were supposed to have withstood millennia of contemplation by geniuses.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 5:03 PM
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The flaw in High Modernism has always been that the line between really good and hack has always been razor thin.

Sounds like someone should read "Music Discomposed"!!!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 5:04 PM
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104. Zuleika something, something? (via Beerbohm)


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 5:15 PM
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97: Reading several Frankls was good for depression, IMX. His writing is so repetitive and turgid that reading him falls into the " . . . makes me stronger" school of therapy.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 5:30 PM
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121. If I may. Total amateur when it involves architecture but aren't the interior spaces of several of the buildings along Grant Street quite awesome? I used to be a delivery boy down there long ago and I often got lost in admiration just entering the lobby, never mind the elevators. Off topic I suppose but the impressions remain.


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 5:48 PM
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Did anybody bother checking the hero's calculations in The Martian? By the way, I thought it was billed as non-genre, not sf.


Posted by: Robert | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:01 PM
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Oh hell.

"Bokura ga ita" is apparently as idiomatic as hell, and is used in the series a couple of times in the (to stick to the original translation ) sense "We were there when the Towers fell" or "We were there at their wedding". So "Our experience." You can think about that if you want, about what is being said.

As I said the French title is "C'etait nous." This makes me wonder if Obata is using the idiom idiosyncratically.

The story is essentially about a couple that forms at 15, and then gets separated and endures vicissitudes, and meets again at 25. The theme is about how the couple relates to and relates the dreams and promises of their youth to, well, not only their changed selves, but even the memories of those earlier dreams promises and feelings. Are they in some sense, if so what sense, still those 15 year olds?

So "It was Us" does work a lot better.

You thought I was kidding about Proust. I especially love it because it is as absolutely ordinary, these people are so undistinguished, the events so mundane that making the ideas and feelings powerful and art is indeed amazing. This is fucking melodrama, to illuminate the quotidian.

And I'm connecting it to the loss of faith in socialism. Fraser's Age of Acquiescence. Are we those people who staged 1000 railroad strikes in the summer of 1877?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:06 PM
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109 last is *delicious *.

Neb, consider adding The Raptor and The Owl Who Liked to Sit on Caesar to your rapacious list.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:21 PM
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128: Is everybody from Pittsburgh?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:28 PM
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but this kind of thing was part of the conceit of the Davinci Code, except the facile Latin 101 puzzles were supposed to have withstood millennia of contemplation by geniuses.

Oh yeah, Fermat's Enigma had the same exact premise.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:38 PM
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The Goshawk is certainly an odd book so far.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:53 PM
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Total amateur when it involves architecture but aren't the interior spaces of several of the buildings along Grant Street quite awesome?

I'm not sure what you mean. Most of the buildings along Grant are distinctly pre-Modern. There are brilliant Modern lobbies (sadly, one of which was recently removed), but I just want to be sure I know what you mean.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:56 PM
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Sounds like someone should read "Music Discomposed"!!!

I bet the whole thing would go over my head.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:57 PM
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It's really good!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:57 PM
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128: Is everybody from Pittsburgh?

Only the important ones.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:57 PM
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137: Based on Amazon preview, I'm really certain it would go over my head. Real music, to me, has, you know, a madonna in it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 6:59 PM
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Also, you know the commentary etc. about the speculation about White's sexual proclivities in the earlier thread? Perhaps one has been primed by the very article that speculated, but The Goshawk doesn't precisely, you know, make the speculation appear groundless.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:00 PM
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The thing is, you don't really need to know anything about music to get the point or appreciate the essay.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:00 PM
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135. Sorry - My comment wasn't relevant to the thread.

But yes - everybody is from Pittsburgh sooner or later.


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:04 PM
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How did I not know about Music Discomposed? Why did you not tell me?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:04 PM
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140: I didn't get into the discussion at the time, because no doubt the leather comments were as anachronistic as everyone more knowledgable than me said they were, but yes, there's really no denying that the book features (a) INTENSITY, (b) plenty of attention to the bondage element of the whole thing, and (c) a sexual frisson to all the proceedings.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:08 PM
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142 - If we're good or if we're bad?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:13 PM
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very hit-or-miss characterful stuff in that Gehry/Koolhaas style

The only Koolhaas building I've actually been inside (to my knowledge) is the Seattle main library, and man, he knocked it out of the park with that. It's wildly fanciful in its modernist way, but somehow it doesn't clang amid the surrounding architecture, and it's incredible to me that it's a public building. The reading room on the top floor is a vast space with a windowed ceiling, so even on the grayest winter day there's plenty of natural light, and anyone can come in out of the rain to sit in comfort and read or work on a computer. I have mad respect for the vision behind that building.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:19 PM
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||

This is both an amazing commentary on silicon valley/tech-entrepeneurs and also a good explanation of the basic idea of privilege itself.
|>


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:21 PM
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Oh, that was me.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:22 PM
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They had that ready player one book in the loot crate my kid got last month

I have been impressed with the stuff that comes in the loot crates


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:24 PM
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147: That is awesome.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:26 PM
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140 and 144 are what I expected, really. I haven't read either hawk book yet.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:29 PM
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Teo is right about 147.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:32 PM
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I really don't think STW was speculating, I think in her bio she was being both tactful and playing by rules set by her publisher in light of the fact that many folks were still alive. I remember this coming up several months ago and someone getting a bit touchy about my intimating that White's very personally unfortunate tordu sexuality was a bit creepy but honestly would I be okay with him being fixated on my nascent teenage kid? Quite honestly no, sad though I really and truly do find it that he wasn't able to find the closeness in his personal life that should be part of *every adult's life* I truly believe. And also that real life version of that tale didn't end at all happily on either White's or his fixation's side.

At any rate, 147 is so wonderful, so so so so so so wonderful!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:36 PM
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I feel cheesy recommending a friend's book, but Shadow Scale came out yesterday and I think it's extraordinary, particularly for a YA book about dragons. It's so refreshing to read YA fantasy with meaningful race awareness (so the protagonist realizes she's thought of her white skin as default or normal, but it's not a Huge Life Lesson, just an aside) and where the priority in romantic relationships is healthy mutual interest and respect regardless of whether they're straight, queer, poly, human-dragon. Plus I'm big on stories about the ways we hurt people while trying to help them and could learn a thing or two about self-forgiveness maybe. But if you're not into any of that, there are still quests and grotesques and dragon fights and music and philosophy and so on.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:38 PM
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153: it came across as speculation in the NYer article, even if the biographer (whom the NYer author didn't mention) wasn't speculating.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:41 PM
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Understood. Also, nothing can take away from the transcendent scene with the raptors in The Sword & the Stone, the fabulous joust in that exasperating book with the dog business and the hunting tchotchkes scene in Mistress Masham's Repose. Those are all for the ages!!!

You should check out STW's fiction. My favorite (one of my favorite novels of all time unto eternity) is The Corner That Held Them, but she's basically all 'round fabo.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:45 PM
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White's Book of Beasts is a great pleasure to stumble upon and leaf through.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:55 PM
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Stupid iPad keyboard!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 7:56 PM
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I have been impressed with the stuff that comes in the loot crates

Have you worn the Space Invaders tie yet?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 8:25 PM
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95: All the Light We Cannot See But, Like, Bees Can See It


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 9:10 PM
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146: The Koolhaas library is a fine public square for a rainy city, but it's a middling to inconvenient library because of Koolhaas' no-expert-but-me theory. Was terrible until the librarians fixed the stylish signage (iirc they got sued by the sign designers).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 9:16 PM
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when I am very goddamn grouchy, I point out that almost all the benefits of public space in the angly library would be provided by a wintergarden that Loudon wouldn't have found alien.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 9:23 PM
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(Yes. Maybe some Advil.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 9:25 PM
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Wow, after watching the funny video I pretty solidly flunked North Korea or TED Talk. But it was fun!


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 9:58 PM
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That is a surprisingly difficult test! I got 8 out of 14.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 10:33 PM
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Exhortators be exhortatin', I guess.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 10:33 PM
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115: I think we're working from different definitions of newer. I was thinking more broadly of post-1950s newer. I agree that the more recent buildings seem to look nicer than the ones from the 80s/90s.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:20 AM
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13/14, some of us are just more attuned to the ways of totalitarian revolutionary dictators.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:46 AM
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The full list of 301 exhortations from North Korea is really something. "Carry out the Party's policies in exactly all aspects as the Chonji Lubricating Oil Factory did!" is what I want on my Successories poster.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:58 AM
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A little late there, isn't it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:01 AM
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Maybe just a little early for me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:02 AM
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154: I haven't read it yet but I bought it the day it came out and am eagerly awaiting it. (But I told myself I was going to read a handful of other books before I realised the release date was upon us, so I have to delay my pleasure a little.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 4:44 AM
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164. According to this, Kim Young 'Un would be baffled by that link.

[Via Jamie, obvs.]


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 4:48 AM
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I point out that almost all the benefits of public space in the angly library would be provided by a wintergarden that Loudon wouldn't have found alien.

But it wouldn't be full of books, grouchypants. Who cares if people have a little trouble finding exactly which ones they want? You try to give people something nice, and all they do is bitch. Anyway, you also have the conservatory at Volunteer Park.

You know who else has a super-cool central library? Vancouver, BC, that's who.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 5:48 AM
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I was thinking more broadly of post-1950s newer

In that case, agreed. My impression on my first visit there c. 1990 was that it was a gorgeous location marred by dull high-rises.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 5:59 AM
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I went to junior high with the guy in 147. He's always been hilarious. He was the first one who told me the "ICUP" joke.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 7:34 AM
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Huh. You're younger than I thought, or that guy is older than he looks*. You mean the main narrator guy, right?

*or maybe older than I'm now thinking he looks; I might go back and think, "Oh, no, he looks just as old as I think Spike is."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:14 AM
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Topically, I just bought the first Discworld book. I've not read any Pratchett before.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:32 AM
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Have you read any Fritz Lieber?

If you've read the Fafhrd/Grey Mouser stories, Discworld starts out as almost a straight parody, and I'm not dead sure if the first two books work without the background. Everything after the first two books, while it's certainly riddled with callbacks to older fantasy, isn't tied to anything particular, and they're all better after the first two as well.

tl;dr -- if you like TCOM, great -- if you don't like it, drop it, skip the next one as well, and give him one more shot starting later in the series. While there's some continuity between most of the books, they're stand-alone enough that you don't have to worry about starting in the middle.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:39 AM
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169: It's all yours. I call dibs on "Let the strong wind of fish farming blow across the country!"


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:41 AM
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I probably should have asked before buying. I haven't heard of fafhrd or the grey mouser. On the other hand, reading the parody first can be a real time saver.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:43 AM
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fafhrd or the grey mouser

Those stories are one of the foundational texts for any kind of fantasy cliche that wasn't pulled from Tolkien -- smartass thieves and cynically evil priests and gritty medieval-esque cities. And they're really very good on their own terms, if that's your kind of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:46 AM
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I picked up those cliches from somewhere.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:49 AM
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I didn't really like TCOM, and I've read Fafhard and the Grey Mouser.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:50 AM
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I didn't think either of the first two books were great -- the series really picked up after that. But I thought they might be even less appealing without the background. (Although, come to think, isn't Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan somewhere in the first two books? Great character name.)

Something I've always been amazed by in the Discworld books is how feminist Pratchett managed to be without pissing off his largely male-nerd audience at all. I remember Frowner commenting on it once, but I don't hear people talking about it a lot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:02 AM
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You're younger than I thought, or that guy is older than he looks

Well, I am pretty cranky for my age. I think I'm maybe a couple years older than Heebie, if that puts in perspective.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:03 AM
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I thought fafhrd was an acronym until I looked just now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:03 AM
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182. The thing that F&TGM did was view a lot of the fantasy cliches (which go back to, oh, Lord Dunsany at least) with a certain tongue-in-cheek, urbane attitude. That was unusual at the time, though Dunsany started it when he invented some of those cliches. De Camp & Pratt's books (The Incomplete Enchanter stories, for example) do it too.

"She told me she had calculated that there wasn't enough time to read both the books and the sources. I told her it was required to read not just the sources, but the sources of the sources." -- Gamesmanship (I think; maybe one of its sequels)

Don't forget The Faerie Queen, either!


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:05 AM
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if you like TCOM, great

I didn't really like TCOM

Google's not helping here. (Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine? Probably not . . .)


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:09 AM
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De Camp & Pratt's books (The Incomplete Enchanter stories, for example) do it too.

I would say this is fundamentally different. There's always been a strain in 20th C fantasy of fish-out-of-water comedy (going back to A Connecticut Yankee?); drop a modern American in a fantasy setting and watch hijinks ensue. Lieber was doing something something different; cynicism within a coherent fantasy setting, where the setting is taken seriously on its own terms. But you're right that Dunsany hits very much the same note sometimes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:10 AM
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189: The Color of Magic. That and The Light Fantastic are the first two Discworld books, the ones I'm saying aren't as good as the rest.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:11 AM
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(Man, I miss being a young nerd. I don't like anything in the world now nearly as much as I liked reading fantasy and science fiction then.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:12 AM
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192. "The Golden Age of Science Fiction is twelve."

The "fish out of water" point is good one.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:16 AM
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192 - I wouldn't go quite that far, but damn do I miss being able to say "What am I going to do today? I know!—I'll stay in my room and read this one book cover to cover! And tomorrow I'll do the same thing with the next one in the series!"


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:20 AM
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Really long chapters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 10:43 AM
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So, does somebody have a suggestion for the best starting place in Discworld?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 11:24 AM
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194: I miss those days too. Part of it is encroaching TV with my wife instead of solitary and expansive evening reading. It's a trade off.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 11:31 AM
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196: Guards! Guards! is a good suggestion. Here's a pretty jpg of suggested subseries and reading orders.
http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/the-discworld-reading-order-guide-20.jpg


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 11:33 AM
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198: Thanks, Mooseking! I purchased!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 11:43 AM
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Small Gods is good as a standalone, if you want to see if you like Pratchett but don't want to get involved yet. It's in the same world as the rest, but ancient history, and nothing else is tightly linked to it. But Guards! Guards! is also very good, as would be Wyrd Sisters.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:14 PM
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200: Thanks, LB! I actually read a random Discworld novel I found in the library, and I enjoyed it, even though it seemed like I was coming in on the middle of things.

154: I should read Seraphina first, right, Thorn?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:28 PM
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Probably, peep. It's definitely a sequel, though I think it could stand on its own if it had to.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:30 PM
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Wait a minute, I'm confused. So should I start with something from Discworld or should I first read something by Fritz Lieber/Fafhrd/Grey Mouser?

(I literally only read about four SFF books as a youth--grew up in a house without books without library access--but I loved them so incredibly much that I can't imagine I wouldn't love them at least somewhat now.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:30 PM
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Fafhrd's comedies of manners are slight, but an unparalleled evocation of the subtleties of Lankhmarian society. Sadly, they're all lost to us.

No, you don't have to start with Lieber. I only brought it up because the first two, weakest books (they're not terrible. They're fun if that's your kind of sense of humor, and it is mine. But they're sort of only silliness, there's not much book there under the jokes), are a pretty tight parody of Lieber (well, the first one is, maybe he wanders a little further afield by the second), and I think they might be a little unintelligible to someone who hadn't started there. So the solution would be to read a later Discworld book, and skip the first two, maybe coming back to them later.

Although, come to think, maybe everything pulled from Lieber has made it into the fantasy-cliche vocabulary, so I'm worrying about nothing. I shouldn't have brought it up at all. Forget I said anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:36 PM
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Wait a minute, looking to Wikipedia for a recommended reading order, I see that:

all the main storylines take place around the same period of time (end of the Century of the Fruitbat, beginning of the Century of the Anchovy)
If I'm already annoyed, does that mean I won't like these books?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:39 PM
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If you wanted to read Lieber for his own sake, that's not a bad thing to do at all. For the kind of fantasy he does, I don't think anyone does it better. (Admittedly, I'm reporting memories of reading this shit when I was a teenager, so no guarantees. I suspect that if I reread, I'd still be having a good time so long as there weren't any women visible, but I'd start having humorless-feminism related problems pretty fast when a female character showed up.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:40 PM
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205: Pretty much, yes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:40 PM
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Okay, yeah, I just read a few pages of Small Gods on Amazon's "Look Inside" preview thing, and I wouldn't be able to read that book. Oh well.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:48 PM
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Although, come to think, I mentioned that Buck generally has a hard time with whimsy - Wodehouse doesn't work for him - but somehow Pratchett isn't a problem. I didn't bother recommending Pratchett for a long time, but when I got around to suggesting that he try Discworld, he loved them. So, dunno, maybe if you gave it a couple more pages you'd get over the annoyance?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:55 PM
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If that degree of whimsy offends you, don't even try looking at the work of Robert Asprin.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:57 PM
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Also, if you like whimsy? Don't even try looking at the work of Robert Asprin. There are things that shouldn't happen to self-respecting whimsy.

Back when I was reading everything, I read everything, but there's stuff I won't recommend.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 12:59 PM
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The fact that you both apparently independently chose the identical phrase "don't even try looking at the work of Robert Asprin" is very bizarre.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:02 PM
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Even as a 16-year-old I thought "These Robert Asprin books are stupid". Also, the number of synonyms for "said" is off the charts. Sometimes you'll see a stretch with 20 consecutive different synonyms for "said".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:03 PM
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Oh, wait, no, now I see that 211 was a response to 210. Sorry.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:03 PM
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213: when Wodehouse does it it's charming.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:25 PM
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(With "walk".)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:25 PM
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So I received notice that my six year subscription to The Atlantic is finally about to expire. Should I renew for another year or two?

Pros: Hitchens is dead, McMegan has moved on, Sandra Tsing Loh is no longer preaching the virtues of loveless marriage, Jeffrey Goldberg no longer trying to write a humor column. Also, Fallows is still Fallows, and TNC occasionally hits one out of the park.

Cons: Supporting, however modestly and indirectly, the continued employment of Conor Friedersdorf and Caitlin Flanagan; mediocrities like Molly Ball, Olga Khazan and that Doogie Howser, M.D. guy; circle jerks with the Aspen Institute; "sponsored content". Also, most of the good stuff is available online anyway (however: I like to read it on the plane, on paper, and the newsstand price is extortionate).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:26 PM
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I wouldn't turn it into a moral quandary. If you like reading it, and want to do so in print, then subscribe.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:27 PM
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Train your children to steal from the newsstand.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:31 PM
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I wouldn't turn it into a moral quandary. If you like reading it, and want to do so in print, then subscribe.

It's not so much a moral quandary as uncertainty about whether I like reading it enough to justify spending a token amount of money on it. Not to invest my decision with too much significance, but I can't help but think that if The Atlantic is losing me, a man who is practically a synechdoche for their target audience, then the future of high middlebrow print media must be very much in doubt.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:33 PM
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220: I smell thinkpiece! Pitch it to The Atlantic!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:37 PM
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220: Do you subscribe to any other print magazines?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:38 PM
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Conor Friedersdorf is such a milquetoast libertarian, I can't imagine caring about what he says enough to allow that to decide my subscription policies.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:41 PM
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||

I have been regularly asking a student to schedule their qualifying exam for, oh, the last eight months or so. The student keeps putting it off. Today I asked again. "Oh, I thought I shouldn't do it until we finished this paper and published it." MY HEAD ASPLODE.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:45 PM
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Huh, I was plenty scornful of 90s-era TNR, but I don't think it even came close to the lineup of Hitchens, McMegan, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jeffrey Goldberg, Caitlan Flanagan, and Conor Friedersdorf. And Andrew Sullivan wrote for them too. Good lord, you should not only cancel your subscription immediately, but do some serious praying and penance for ever having subscribed in the first place.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:45 PM
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Do you subscribe to any other print magazines?

Yes. One other high middlebrow and two middlebrow.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:50 PM
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I think Pyramids is also a good starter Pratchett.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:50 PM
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Juggs is high middlebrow these days?


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:51 PM
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222. "Vibe", and also there's an administrative assistant who prints out and staples together the combined twitter feeds of Alain de Botton and Berfrois biweekly.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:52 PM
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It is if you read it ironically.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:52 PM
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228. I thought that went bankrupt about three years ago, or at least changed publisher.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:53 PM
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I have a subscription to The Atlantic because I once made the mistake of answering the doorbell when a magazine salesman was there and I'm really bad at politely getting rid of people.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:55 PM
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Huh, I was plenty scornful of 90s-era TNR, but I don't think it even came close to the lineup of Hitchens, McMegan, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jeffrey Goldberg, Caitlan Flanagan, and Conor Friedersdorf.

Dude, TNR bottomed out in the 80s. The lineup of Marty Peretz, Fred Barnes, Charles Krauthammer, Robert Kagan and Michael Ledeen easily eclipses The Atlantic at its most pernicious.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:56 PM
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226: I subscribe to the Atlantic, Mother Jones and the Nation on my Kindle. Because I'm not wasting any paper, I don't feel bad if I don't read them. Mother Jones and the Nation is mostly to support lefty journalism and the Atlantic is out of loyalty to my imaginary friend.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:57 PM
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233: And you were a subscriber weren't you?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:58 PM
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I have a subscription to The Nation on my Kindle Nook and feel weirdly guilty when I get behind on reading it. Also I generally read the whole thing even though some parts of it, like the art reviews, are like the reading equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard for me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 1:58 PM
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I just gave up on The Hollywood Reporter which is a weird combo of useful to me business news like "Hollywood's Top Ten Accountants," combined with a lot of stuff like "An Oral History Of Grey's Anatomy: The Last Show That Mattered," "New York: One Restaurant You Can Go To When You're There" and "This Year's Runway Trend: Butts."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:00 PM
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236: Is it easy to navigate through the magazine on your Nook? It's terrible on the Kindle. Or maybe it's just my stupid.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:01 PM
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"This Year's Runway Trend: Butts."

This cracked me up.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:02 PM
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Hmm, I had kind of forgotten about 233 last. Still, McMegan is the absolute worst, Friedersdorf and Flanagan are close, you must cancel your subscription and do penance.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:02 PM
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Terrible in what way? On the Nook there's a table of contents that links to each article or you can go through it linearly from one article to the next.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:03 PM
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241: I'm never able to get from the TOC to the articles, so I wind up just reading it from the front to the back, except I never make it that far.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:11 PM
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And you were a subscriber weren't you?

Although I was a loyal reader during the Kinsley / Hertzberg era, I was not a paid subscriber. I was poor, and it was convenient to read the library copy. Later, I maintained a paid subscription for the better part of 20 years. I let it lapse sometime during the early Foer editorship, I think. Not out of pique, but because I wasn't learning much from it that I couldn't get a week earlier on blogs.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:16 PM
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How did Hertzberg fit in with that bunch? He's always been a good liberal, hasn't he?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:21 PM
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244: It was a bizarre situation. Read all about it here.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:23 PM
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245: Interesting! I've probably read that before, but I'm getting senile enough that I can enjoy things several times.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:30 PM
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Not having to recycle or otherwise dispose of magazines would be enough to make me buy at the newstand, if (a) I was going to be on the road and (b) some magazine had something worth reading. And (c) the airline didn't provide free copies.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:37 PM
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Presidential for purposes of own-horn-tooting. Nice to be told "you are a fucking rock star" for work I did after a few weeks of crushing sense of futility.


Posted by: Hubert Humphrey | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:42 PM
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248: Good job! We all knew you'd be able to drive the Dixiecrats out.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:44 PM
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Nice to be told "you are a fucking rock star" for work I did after a few weeks of crushing sense of futility.

Actually, I find this make everything hurt worse.

I've done several projects that were well regarded or even garnered awards where I thought I deserved to be fired.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:48 PM
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I just needed to know there was some point to me being at this job I am deeply ambivalent about.


Posted by: Hubert Humphrey | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:52 PM
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||

Jammies is home, I went and exercised, then showered, and he is out picking up all the kids and I'm home by myself for a short while, and have just the best, happiest sense of well-being at the moment.

Anyway, something I don't say enough is how much I am glad for you all, and what a crazy lucky break it's been to blog here. It's frankly surreal how smart and lovable you all are.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:57 PM
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251: Fair enough!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 2:59 PM
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Heebie, I'm glad the denouement was positive and not "tonight on Action News 8, an unthinkable thought: death on innertubes."

I can absolutely imagine how very tough it would be, except, you know, divided by two.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 3:01 PM
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245 reads as on the Stockholmy side.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 3:04 PM
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If we're still complaining about the Atlantic, may I put in a bad word for Noah Berlatsky? Because I dislike him and his writing.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 3:32 PM
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245 reads as on the Stockholmy side.

For a moment I thought you were referring to my mushiness.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 3:43 PM
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You kind of have been mentally kidnapped by our in-house Marty Peretz -- Ogged.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 3:51 PM
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For first Pratchett, I once put the question to Martin Wisse on his blog and he recommended Pyramids which did very nicely indeed.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 3:55 PM
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"An Oral History Of Grey's Anatomy: The Last Show That Mattered"

Please tell me that there was nothing remotely like that. I've recently seen that show, and clearly the better title ("Grey's Anatomy" being pretentious wanker bullshit) would be High School Hospital.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 4:21 PM
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217: Goes to your "most of the good stuff is available online" point, but this piece on ISIS by Graeme Wood is excellent. The interview with the author is quite interesting on its own.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 7:40 PM
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261 -- it seems to be getting a lot of praise, including some from actual experts, but I have a deep background peasant's suspicion that that article is mostly bullshit, admittedly in large part because it was published in The Atlantic. It's largely the "let me explain to you university educated folk this complicated, foreign issue you know nothing about by reference to the history of ideas, which will then explain everything." It's just a classic journalistic bullshitter move, even if he's partially right.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 7:48 PM
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262: I assume by your wildly inaccurate characterization of the article that you did not read it, correct?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 7:54 PM
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I started to read that about a month ago, then stopped on the grounds that an American publication was not going to provide a reliable explanation of ISIS. Could be wrong, but I don't really care. I also have a suspicion that ISIS is basically a side-show with great PR.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:06 PM
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ogged only trusts Iranian sources when it comes to the perfidious Sunnis.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:11 PM
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No, i read it. "History of ideas" was a confusing way to put it but the whole thing is based on this guy's belief that he's got a firm grasp of this group's ideology, largely by talking to some guy at Princeton, and which he takes great pains to tell is is "truly Islamic" (as opposed to?). There may well be some genuine theological differences that are conscious distinctions between this group and Al Qaeda but I doubt (a) that this guy has a firm handle on them (b) that they provide much explanatory power for ISIS' actions and especially (c) that the article is a useful guide to policy for Americans. It seems to fit into a long history of Americans using half-understood generalities about the ideology of foreigners as a guide for understanding a complex world. Like I say, I'm no expert, but it set off a strong suspicion of bullshittitude.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:12 PM
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265 apparently also applies to Ripper.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:14 PM
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Or what 264 says.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:14 PM
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261, 262 That Graeme Wood piece is actually pretty terrible and has been getting ripped to shreds by experts on various academic religious studies and Islamic studies listservs.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 8:58 PM
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Experts ruin everything.

(General statement, haven't read the link.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-13-15 9:27 PM
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Just because it seems to have been lost in the shuffle: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is really good!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 6:36 AM
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largely by talking to some guy at Princeton

Don't forget that he talked to a guy in Australia who is clearly part of the ISIS inner circle.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 7:01 AM
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272: Which he clearly misrepresented. Not.

The criticisms of the piece that I have read seem to be responding to a different article than the guy actually set out to write and write. his followup here in response to some of the criticism. Maybe it is my idiosyncratic (and possibly too generous) reading, but I do not see him making the broad claims that many people seem to be responding to. I think it was one interesting way to approach the "pop religious" aspects of the Islamic State--in pARTICULAR THE VIEW THAT IS RESONATING AMONG WESTERN "RECRUITS." I find Jessica Stern and JM Berger's views quite interesting as well; and I think they are complementary to Wood's piece even though Berger is quite critical of Wood.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 7:57 AM
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270 Experts on a part of the story.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 7:58 AM
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273: Hmm, I AM YGLESIAS. That time when you inadvertently wrote something in all caps and didn't notice.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 7:59 AM
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For you, JP. Post headline, "War with Iran is probably our best option." Pullquote, "It may be the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons."


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:36 AM
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Yeah, saw that. "The Washington Post: The Most Reckless Editorial Page in America."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 11:57 AM
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In other demonization of Muslims-related program activities, when you mix Grover Norquist, Glenn Beck, Frank Gaffney, the NRA and Wayne LaPierre up in a bag you get some grade A craziness.

"Many of the reasons why we are off on the wrong track now in the Middle East," Beck said, "is because of the influence of Grover Norquist ... This guy is on the wrong side. Whether he knows it or not, I don't believe he's out trying to destroy America, but his efforts and his work will lead to the destruction of America."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 12:06 PM
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Chait is certainly good on certain things. For instance this great take down of the Iran letter:

The letter episode contains all the characteristic traits of a neoconservative project. First, of course, is the wild confrontationalism, which in this case was directed not against Iran but against the Obama administration.
...
Second, the letter was drafted and signed with maximum haste and a total contempt for planning or serious thought of any kind.
...
Third, the ploy has failed even by the standards of its own logic.
...
And, then, finally, there is the stubborn refusal to concede the plan has backfired even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Bill Kristol explains it all:

If brow-furrowing were thinking, the Republican establishment would be geniuses. If hand-wringing were prudence, GOP politicians would be exemplars of Aristotelian virtue. If tongue-clucking were eloquence, conservative elites would be orators for the ages. But of course Trey Gowdy, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Tom Cotton have done more for conservative principles and Republican prospects in the last few weeks than the brow-furrowers, hand-wringers, and tongue-cluckers have done in years.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 8:22 PM
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280

I really need Kristol to shut up or I'm in danger of becoming giddily overconfident.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-14-15 8:24 PM
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Following up on 22, The Buried Giant punched me in the gut. It's been a long time since I did my Ishiguro binge-reading but I feel like this one at least makes it into the upper half for me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 8:55 PM
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||

!! Google trawl

Devo member Jerry Casale wrote the lyrics to "Whip It" in one night, imitating Pynchon's parodies in Gravity's Rainbow. Said Casale: "[Pynchon] had parodied limericks and poems of kind of all-American, obsessive, cult of personality ideas like Horatio Alger and 'You're #1, there's nobody else like you' kind of poems that were very funny and very clever. I thought, 'I'd like to do one like Thomas Pynchon.'"

|>


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 8:58 PM
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282 is spectacular, though I was less impressed with the rest of the list. I should be sleeping, but it's so nice that the Internet is rewarding me for doing otherwise.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 9:01 PM
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Yeah, the rest of the list is really nuthin; just cite, you know. I also would like to get punched in the gut by The Buried Giant.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 9:04 PM
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281: Oh boy, yeah. I'm curious, but reading Never Let Me Go spectacularly fucked me up for a whole day, for what I hope are just idiosyncratic reasons that wouldn't extend to other novels. I know the plot is very different, but if the moral universe is the same I'm not sure I could take another hit.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 03-15-15 9:23 PM
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