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What Are You Reading Now?

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vikinger
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vikinger replied on Mon, May 7 2018 11:05 AM

I had a tendency in the past to look for rare books or books of local interest on Abebooks or eBay and I would often just put them on the shelves after a cursory look. I've just taken one off the shelf ‘Foul Bills and Dagger Money' by *** Hamilton, who was a barrister back in the 1950's. Great reading including trial by ordeal in the time of King Alfred onwards. I hadn't realised until picking up this book that Circuit Judges (a term still in use in the U.K.) used to pick the circuit around which they wanted to ride from court to court. Different circuits had different perks for the judge......

Graham

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vikinger replied on Mon, May 7 2018 11:12 AM

What is wrong with the auto-moderation on this site? The asterisks above replace the common abbreviation for Richard (as used by the author). Strange that the auto system cannot identify a string that is clearly part of a name.

Graham

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Jeff replied on Mon, May 7 2018 1:33 PM

vikinger:

What is wrong with the auto-moderation on this site? The asterisks above replace the common abbreviation for Richard (as used by the author). Strange that the auto system cannot identify a string that is clearly part of a name.

Graham

I first encountered this when talking about a book by Philip K. ***, seems it hasn't changed. A stern mistress is our nanny. Stick out tongue

Jeff

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CB replied on Mon, May 7 2018 2:53 PM
“today” in French is also moderated Unsure
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Jeff replied on Mon, May 7 2018 7:09 PM

CB:
“today” in French is also moderated Unsure

Unless my translation is way off, that doesn't even make sense!

Jeff

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chartz replied on Mon, May 7 2018 8:04 PM
Jeff:

"Still Alice" sounds very emotional but not going to be reading or watching it. We're living it sadly with my mother-in-law. I've watched a brilliant lady turn into what's basically a potted plant over the last 4 years, and it's been especially hard on her children.

Yes. The other half’s godfather is gradually becoming that as well. And he too was a teacher.

Jacques

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Jeff replied on Mon, May 7 2018 11:42 PM

chartz:
Jeff:

 

"Still Alice" sounds very emotional but not going to be reading or watching it. We're living it sadly with my mother-in-law. I've watched a brilliant lady turn into what's basically a potted plant over the last 4 years, and it's been especially hard on her children.

 

 

Yes. The other half’s godfather is gradually becoming that as well. And he too was a teacher.

 

I'm very sorry to hear it Jacques, it's very hard to watch. I'm not sure if it's because people are living longer or what but it sure seems to be becoming more prevalent sadly.

Jeff

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vikinger
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vikinger replied on Tue, Jun 26 2018 11:52 AM

Picked up a book whilst on a weekend away.... at a National Trust thrift book shop. Large hardbacks suggested donation £2, paperbacks £1....... .

Large hardback, "Parrot and Olivier in America" by Peter Carey. (Apparently it was a Man Booker Prize shortlister 2010).

Adventure from the time of the French Revolution and how a french aristocrat and english engraver/ forger were thrown together. It gradually reveals that the englishman has had a far more adventurous life, including living in Australiia. (The author is Australian). Great descriptions of life in Connecticut.

Really well written, but as with so many books (in my experience) slightly unsatisfactory at the end where the author probably struggled to conclude the great story he has created.

Graham

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Jeff replied on Tue, Jun 26 2018 12:57 PM

Thanks for the recommendation Graham, books like that, usually found in dusty corners of used books shops, often turn out to be quite interesting. Bummer about the observation on the ending, but like you I notice this as well with many books as well as movies and TV shows. They do great for the first 75 percent then wake up and realize they have to solve all of these loose ends and such in almost no time, and seem to panic and just start sticking things together that don't fit and/or are far too simplistic.

The old joke about Star Trek: The Next Generation was that every problem on the ship could be solved by reconfiguring the main deflector screen. Damn, my Earl Gray tea is not only not hot, but the food replicator gave me coffee instead! Geordi, reconfigure the deflector screen!

On one such odd fishing expedition in an old book store my wife found a copy of "Headhunting In The Solomon Islands," which was a delightful book about two young ladies, slightly post WWII period, suddenly decided to go and paint/sketch/photograph people in the Solomon islands and see if they could round up any headhunters. So, off they went, can you imagine two young women surviving the places they went nowadays without issues?

That's also how I came across a very funny and sadly out of print book by Lt. Roger Hall called "You're Stepping On My Cloak And Dagger," which is a very humorously written take on his joining the OSS (precursor to the CIA) in WWII and his subsequent training and such.

Right now I'm reading "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" which is the first book in the series that also spawned the TV series called "Dexter," about a socially conscious serial killer in Miami who only kills people who the police have missed or couldn't jail properly due to the courts. Very well written.

Jeff

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vikinger
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vikinger replied on Wed, Jun 27 2018 11:18 AM

Jeff:

That's also how I came across a very funny and sadly out of print book by Lt. Roger Hall called "You're Stepping On My Cloak And Dagger," which is a very humorously written take on his joining the OSS (precursor to the CIA) in WWII and his subsequent training and such.

Hi Jeff, that comment made me do a bit of research about the book and its (very favourable) reviews. Many early copies are now quite expensive, and getting a copy sent from the US to U.K. incurs stupidly expensive postal charges with most booksellers. However, I have found a copy of the 2004 reprint online at a Berlin bookshop, and they will send it post free to the UK for £5 total! Looking forward to reading it.

Graham

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Jeff replied on Wed, Jun 27 2018 1:27 PM

vikinger:

Jeff:

That's also how I came across a very funny and sadly out of print book by Lt. Roger Hall called "You're Stepping On My Cloak And Dagger," which is a very humorously written take on his joining the OSS (precursor to the CIA) in WWII and his subsequent training and such.

Hi Jeff, that comment made me do a bit of research about the book and its (very favourable) reviews. Many early copies are now quite expensive, and getting a copy sent from the US to U.K. incurs stupidly expensive postal charges with most booksellers. However, I have found a copy of the 2004 reprint online at a Berlin bookshop, and they will send it post free to the UK for £5 total! Looking forward to reading it.

Graham

Excellent Graham! I hope you enjoy it. I remember when I was in London last, some years ago, being near Hyde Park, which reminded me of his description of it, he described Hyde Park as the largest collection of anti-aircraft guns ever assembled in the world, and since his hotel was next to this it made him feel good, until he found out that the first objective of every German attack on London was to knock out the Hyde Park battery.

I remember reading not long ago that the cookbook "A Treasury Of Great Recipes" by Vincent and Mary Price (yes, that Vincent Price) which went out of print in the mid 60's was the 8th most sought after used book, I'm assuming they meant in the US. They rereleased it in 2015, I have my wife's mother's copy from the early 60s. I never ever would have thought that was such a sought after old book!

Jeff

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vikinger
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Hi Jeff, “You're Stepping on my Cloak and Dagger” arrived in the morning post. Virtually ‘As New’ condition.

Hilarious and well written. Difficult to put down! How do books like this get overlooked by mainstream publishers?

Graham

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Jeff replied on Tue, Jul 3 2018 7:46 PM

Glad you're enjoying it Graham! I know what you mean, gems like this get overlooked, while some truly dreadful novels and such become bestsellers, go figure.

I remember the first time I read it I often found myself laughing out loud, same as when I first read Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

I've just finished the first Dexter book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, and have moved on to reading a collection of the late Harlan Ellison's stories, Strange Wine, which is as dark as you'd expect from him. Been a while since I've read it so with one or two exceptions I'm finding the stories fresh.

Jeff

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vikinger
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vikinger replied on Sat, Jul 21 2018 3:24 PM

Jeff:

Glad you're enjoying it Graham! I know what you mean, gems like this get overlooked, while some truly dreadful novels and such become bestsellers, go figure.

I remember the first time I read it I often found myself laughing out loud, same as when I first read Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

I've just finished the first Dexter book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, and have moved on to reading a collection of the late Harlan Ellison's stories, Strange Wine, which is as dark as you'd expect from him. Been a while since I've read it so with one or two exceptions I'm finding the stories fresh.

Well, You're Stepping on my Cloak and Dagger was a brilliantly written book, and although about the end of WW2 and the late 40's it deserves another reprint.

i managed to get hold of another Roger Hall book, ‘19, A Story'. Although this time fictional, and perhaps a little contrived, you couldn't help wondering how much of this CIA based story reflected Roger Hall's own life. Did he really get by writing the odd novel,(as suggested by his 2008 obituary) or was he, like the hero of 19, always in one of the secret services, using the profession of author as a front?

Graham

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Jeff replied on Sat, Jul 21 2018 3:59 PM

I haven't read any of Hall's other work, should start looking for some now. You wonder about the spooks like him, what's a real career and what's a cover?

Right now I'm reading "Deathbird Stories" by Harlan Ellison. Truly some dark and depressing tales but as always very well written, poetic even.

Plus there's the advantage of perspective, after reading Ellison, even the mess of the world as it exists today seems optimistic. Crying

Jeff

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Jeff replied on Sat, Jul 21 2018 4:43 PM

Haven't found "19, A Story" as yet, but have found out that, at least here in the US, "You're Stepping On My Cloak And Dagger" is available as a Kindle book!

Jeff

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CB replied on Sat, Jul 21 2018 6:27 PM
Jeff:
Plus there's the advantage of perspective, after reading Ellison, even the mess of the world as it exists today seems optimistic.

Huh? Indifferent Sad StormStormStorm

Not for me then...
Anders Jørgensen
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Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Another re-read of this classic. So much depth!

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vikinger replied on Mon, Aug 6 2018 10:56 PM

Just finished reading “An Officer and A Spy” by Robert Harris, a story closely following the real life Dreyfus Affair of France at the end of the 19th Century.

How an innocent man was condemned by the French military and legal systems. There are still so many parallels that one can imagine going on right now with our present day spies and politicians.

Graham

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Jeff replied on Tue, Aug 7 2018 12:24 AM

Sounds interesting, I just looked up the Dreyfus Affair, and it's indeed shocking, but sadly not unusual. Witch hunts, show trials, and scapegoats, have always been around, miscarriages of justice are depressingly all too real. When entrenched elements of the government decide to railroad you, there's precious little that can be done, and if there is anything done it can take years to fight back.

I'm currently reading a collection of Harlan Ellison stories, "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream," which begins with the story of the same name. Unsettling. I reread the Roger Hall book, and found it all I remembered, and also finished a book "The Nasty Bits" which is a collection of essays and articles written by Anthony Bourdain.

Jeff

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Currently rereading:

The Science of getting rich but Wallace D Wattles.

Again so much to depth to understand and apply. Still great education.

beocool
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Technically not reading as yet, as I have to finish my brew first, but here you go!


 

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Jeff replied on Thu, Mar 21 2019 12:57 PM

Looks interesting, what brands other than B&O does it cover?

I'm reading Haruki Murakami's "Kafka On The Shore" right now, very well written and odd book, as was his book "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle."

 

Jeff

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beocool replied on Thu, Mar 21 2019 2:55 PM

Jeff:
Looks interesting, what brands other than B&O does it cover?

Hi Jeff Smile

The book starts with two chapters about the invention of the loudspeaker and the history of the loudspeaker since 1915. Then there is a chapter for each of the following brands:

  • Artcoustics
  • Audio Technology
  • Audiovector
  • Bang & Olufsen
  • Clint
  • Cornered Audio
  • DALI
  • Dynaudio
  • Jabra
  • Libratone
  • Podspeakers
  • PointSource Acoustics
  • Quali-fi
  • Scan-Speak
  • System Audio

 

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Jeff replied on Thu, Mar 21 2019 8:40 PM

Interesting, I'm familiar with a lot of those companies but there are some I'm definitely going to have to web search on to learn about. I'd forgotten, or never knew, Audiovector was Danish.

Jeff

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Enjoying a gift from a fellow Beoworlder Smile


 

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Jeff replied on Thu, Apr 11 2019 4:43 PM

I have that book too! I think you'll find it interesting.

I just finished reading the Murakami book "Kafka On The Shore." While enjoyable and thought provoking, it's even more abstract than the previous work of his I've read, "The Windup Bird Chronicle." Was well worth reading though.

Jeff

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beocool replied on Fri, Apr 12 2019 9:23 AM

Jeff:

I have that book too! I think you'll find it interesting.

It's an excellent book! Smile I'm getting reacquainted with a lot of stories and facts and also learning some new ones. Turns out I've been owning a non-B&O Jacob Jensen design for ages without even knowing it. Without this book I would have never known.

 

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Jeff replied on Fri, Apr 12 2019 4:29 PM

So, David Lewis designs or pre Jensen?

I like the Jensen designs, but think Lewis did even better. Then again new technology allowed Lewis even more design latitude I think. Sadly I don't think any of the current designs are as good.

I just started reading the latest book in The Expanse series, "Tiamet's Wrath." So for it's good, the authors have remarkably kept the quality of writing high and consistent among all 8 books. I actually got to reading the books after watching the first season of the TV show "The Expanse." The show is quite good, the books of course better. What amazes me is the books are written by two authors, each chapter moves the story forward from the perspective of a different character, and the writers take turns, as in each has a set of characters they write for that is consistent. Yet, I'd have an impossible time telling that they were written by different authors at all, the style of writing is very consistent, which is amazing.

Jeff

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beocool replied on Sat, May 11 2019 1:59 PM

About to start in Steven Pinker's Enlightenment now.

 

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Jeff replied on Sun, May 12 2019 7:50 PM

beocool:

About to start in Steven Pinker's Enlightenment now.

I've been thinking about reading that, how is it? His basic premise is one I agree with, but it appears the better things are the more people complain. When life is good and there's more time for whining because less time is needed for basic survival, I think in general humanity loses its marbles.

I've just started reading "Peace" by Gene Wolfe. My favorite author, he passed away in April at the age of 87 sadly. So far I've encountered a sentence that is 191 words long! Even more complicated than his usual prose.

Jeff

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 I just downloaded the Pinker book.  Heaven knows when I’ll get to that.

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beocool replied on Mon, May 13 2019 11:29 AM

Jeff:

beocool:

About to start in Steven Pinker's Enlightenment now.

I've been thinking about reading that, how is it? His basic premise is one I agree with, but it appears the better things are the more people complain. When life is good and there's more time for whining because less time is needed for basic survival, I think in general humanity loses its marbles.

I've just started reading "Peace" by Gene Wolfe. My favorite author, he passed away in April at the age of 87 sadly. So far I've encountered a sentence that is 191 words long! Even more complicated than his usual prose.

Hi Jeff. I bought this book for my girlfriend somewhere around September 2018, I think. It was meant to cheer her up a bit by showing her there is enough reason not to believe in the gloom and doom scenarios we hear all the time. She was in bad health, but seemed to recover. Unfortunately things went bad quickly after that and she never had a chance to read it. It's been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I just started reading it and I limit myself to one chapter a day.

First impressions are good. I agree with his basic premise too. The main critique on this book is that it's very one sided and Pinker has only been cherrypicking in all the data he analyzed to make his case. I can already see where the critique is coming from, but on the other hand aren't the ones who critique him cherrypicking too, just to make their case? They come up with things that are wrong in todays world and blame Pinker for not acknowledging them. But that's missing the point, I reckon. I don't think Pinker dismisses the issues we have to deal with, but he pleads the use of science, reason and logic to counter those very issues. Based on what I understand that would be our best bet, I reckon.

Humanity seems indeed to be loosing its marbles with postmodernism, the SJW mindset and political correctness. The next book that's on my list of must reads is Gad Saad's new book, which will be published in 2020 as far as I know.

 

 

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beocool replied on Mon, May 13 2019 11:42 AM

Jeff:

So, David Lewis designs or pre Jensen?

I like the Jensen designs, but think Lewis did even better. Then again new technology allowed Lewis even more design latitude I think. Sadly I don't think any of the current designs are as good.

It's hard to chose for me between Jacob Jensen and David Lewis. I'd probably go with Jensen.

 

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Jeff replied on Mon, May 13 2019 2:28 PM

beocool:

Jeff:

So, David Lewis designs or pre Jensen?

I like the Jensen designs, but think Lewis did even better. Then again new technology allowed Lewis even more design latitude I think. Sadly I don't think any of the current designs are as good.

It's hard to chose for me between Jacob Jensen and David Lewis. I'd probably go with Jensen.

The thing that impresses me is that you can put a Jensen piece and a Lewis piece next to each other and they visually work well together. Some of the latest designs, not so much.

I'm very sorry to hear about your girlfriend. And you're right, the modern "postmodern" world is losing its collective marbles at a rapid rate. I think, if you look at history, no culture or civilization ever seems to survive prosperity.

Jeff

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beocool replied on Thu, May 30 2019 11:44 AM

Jeff:

beocool:

About to start in Steven Pinker's Enlightenment now.

I've been thinking about reading that, how is it? His basic premise is one I agree with, but it appears the better things are the more people complain. When life is good and there's more time for whining because less time is needed for basic survival, I think in general humanity loses its marbles.

I've just started reading "Peace" by Gene Wolfe. My favorite author, he passed away in April at the age of 87 sadly. So far I've encountered a sentence that is 191 words long! Even more complicated than his usual prose.

I've finished reading Enlightenment now. Pinker uses lots of data to make the case for reason, science, humanism and progress: the references and index in this book alone are just over 100 pages. As far as I'm concerned the basic premise of the book is made plausible.

Some people have complained about the way Pinker writes, mainly his use of language and the fact he isn't always to the point. I can see where their critique is coming from, but personally I don't agree. This book is not a scientific paper itself even though Pinker makes an enormous amount of scientific references, but rather Pinker's personal approach to an issue that he thinks needs addressing.

Another critique I often heard was that it's reference mainly to the situation in the US and is written as an answer the most recent presidential elections in the US and therefore attached to a certain moment in history. The first part of this critique can be easily dismissed as there are many examples from other countries. The second part is more tricky. Pinker's own preference is made very clear in the book on a few occasions, but he also states that reason, science and humanism are not political terms. Also progressophobia, as he calls it, can be found anywhere, regardless of political preference, age, gender and so on. That seems a pretty fair argument as well, but as far as I'm concerned Pinker lacks to come up with solid arguments to back up his preference. The third and last part of the critique can be easily dismissed as well. The book basically shows how much has been achieved by enlightenment in the last two centuries as opposed to what went on prior to 1800.

I would like to read 'Factfulness, ten reasons we're wrong about the world - and why things are better than you think' by the late Hans Rosling to get another perspective on this topic.

 

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Jeff replied on Thu, May 30 2019 3:19 PM

Thanks for the review, sounds like I'll probably be reading it eventually. I have a backlog at present I'm working through but should buy this on Kindle and have it in the queue.

 

Jeff

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beocool replied on Thu, May 30 2019 5:12 PM

Jeff:

Thanks for the review, sounds like I'll probably be reading it eventually. I have a backlog at present I'm working through but should buy this on Kindle and have it in the queue.

 

You're welcome, Jeff. That backlog sounds familiar Smile Just started a completely different book: The Cross I bear by Ingar Johnsrud.

 

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Jeff replied on Thu, May 30 2019 6:31 PM

That's one of the nice things about an eBook reader, your queue takes up no space and is right there whenever you want a new book to read! I especially liked my old Sony Reader when traveling for work, made my carry on luggage so much lighter not having to stuff 3 or 4 books in it, and in a tiny space I had about 300 books stored.

Right now I'm working through a collection of stories written as tributes to Gene Wolfe. The book came out in 06 so before he passed away which was just last month. All by well known scifi writers. It's a mixed bag, some are excellent, some less so, as might be expected. Then I have a couple of novels by Alastair Reynolds to get to.

Jeff

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One for the car fans out here. Today is my birthday and my brother got me this lovely book Smile

 


 

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