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Book Thread. I have nothing good to read.

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Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#1 » by doclinkin » Tue Jun 9, 2009 12:47 am

Soliciting suggestions from the collective mind.

Most recent fiction, I just finished The Exile Kiss, the last of the Marid Audran series. Near future dystopia set in Muslim countries of North Africa, sort of a noir Private Eye cyberpunk ramble. Highly recommended. But now I'm bookless.

Recent non-fiction, Malcolm Gladwell's meditation on success: Outliers. Pretty good. Basically it says you have to put in your baseline 10,000 hours to have a chance to become a world-class anything. Makes you wonder what you've put your 10K hours in, qualifying towards what. Internet posting maybe...

Who's reading what? Anything good?
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#3 » by daSwami » Tue Jun 9, 2009 2:39 am

Check out "The Wettest County in the World" by Matt Bondurant. It's literary fiction that tells the true story of a pair of mineshine bootleggers in rural Virginia in the 1930s. great read.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#4 » by fugop » Tue Jun 9, 2009 2:41 am

Try Rick Perlstein's Nixonland. Lot's of good stories in there, would provide great fodder for your trademark analogies.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#5 » by pancakes3 » Tue Jun 9, 2009 3:11 am

bill bryson: a short history of nearly everything ( a nice refresher course for the non-science major)
tom vanderbilt: traffic (how we drive and how we should drive...)
trevor corson: the story of sushi (an interesting view on sushi in america)
jared diamond: guns germs and steel (lengthy, and past trendy but still a good read. a tad repetitive)
john perkins: confessions of an economic hitman (makes you rethink everything of international relations)
eric larson: devil in the white city (i like some history in my thriller novels)
ayn rand: atlas shrugged (just to spread my libertarian propoganda)
ori and ron brofman: sway (blink meets freakonomics)
drew pinksy: mirror effect (i mentioned this early wrt Lebron; a study into narcissism)
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#6 » by Ruzious » Tue Jun 9, 2009 1:35 pm

"Extremely loud & incredibly close" by Jonathon Safran Foer - amazing novel by a young author written from the perspective of a 9 year old whose father has just died in the WTC attacks. Another book I'd recommend from him that's not quite as good but very much worth while is "Everything is illuminated".
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#7 » by MJG » Tue Jun 9, 2009 2:24 pm

My personal favorites are just about any of the books by Christopher Moore. If you want something deep and profound and moving, look elsewhere. But if you just want something really fun to read, he's great.

The first one I read was Lamb, which tells the story of Jesus' childhood and young adulthood through the eyes of his best friend. If that sounds a bit heavy for what I called a fun read author, trust me, it's anything but. It's actually completely absurd in a very fun way, while still managing to be respectful of the source material. And if you're wary about the religious aspect for whatever reason, I can safely say it's neither preachy nor offensive, so both sides should be safe there.

Outside of that one, his other books mostly set in the modern day, and follow what I'd call a soft time line - the stories generally go in order, and take place in the same world, and feature some connection to one another, but can mostly be read in any order without losing anything. If he really sounds like something you think you'll like, I'd recommend starting at the beginning, but if you're more just mildly curious, there's no reason you can't start with whatever story you think sound the most intriguing.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#8 » by DallasShalDune » Tue Jun 9, 2009 3:20 pm

Faulkner and Dostoevsky are good if you want thinkers. They're great at writing complex and at times confounding novels. Right now I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, which is the king of all confusion, in my opinion.

For heavy reading, yet at also simple in structure, Cormac McCarthy is awesome. No Country for Old Men and The Road are both great novels.

For lighter a lighter read all together, I suggest Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Hilarious.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#9 » by NbdyBeatsTheWiz » Tue Jun 9, 2009 3:38 pm

DallasShalDune wrote:Faulkner and Dostoevsky are good if you want thinkers. They're great at writing complex and at times confounding novels. Right now I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, which is the king of all confusion, in my opinion.

For heavy reading, yet at also simple in structure, Cormac McCarthy is awesome. No Country for Old Men and The Road are both great novels.

For lighter a lighter read all together, I suggest Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Hilarious.


Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury was intense... four parts in stream-of-consciousness, the first from the view point of a 30 something man with mental retardation. Will either 'blow your mind' or literally blow your mind trying to read it.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#10 » by dobrojim » Tue Jun 9, 2009 6:22 pm

Greenwald for modern political commentary

John D MacDonald or Carl Hiaasen for escapist fiction.

Doc, I can't help but believe you'd love a book like Lucky You
or Sick Puppy by Hiaasen. Both high-larious.
A lot of what we call 'thought' is just mental activity
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#11 » by Zerocious » Tue Jun 9, 2009 6:32 pm

i have a few books on my shelf, what genre are you looking to read next?

i think mcCarthy is great, the road was the last one of his i read, it'll be a movie in the fall with viggo.

i read 'the jungle' recently by Upton Sinclair, which is a very moving and grossing-out story about russian immigrants in the trun of the last century in the chicage meat packing district. it promted prez roosevelt to establish the pure food and drug act.

Then for a intellectual futuristic view on cloning etc, 'next' by crighton is a good read. both these books are 'faction' if you know what i mean.

For a decent laught, read 'yes man', about a dude who says yes for a year or so and his stories.

for some reflection and mental work: i really like wayne dyers books. 'the power of intention, 'excuses begone' and 'change your thoughts, change your life'.
Also 'virus of the mind' by richard brody and 'biology of belief' by bruce lipton.

oh, and stay away from 'skinny bastard', it'll utterly gross you out, and if you can't haggle to be a vegan after reading it you'll never look at food the same again, besides the pretentiousness of the writers (although hot), they litter the book with a bunch of unnecessary 'man-words' to be cool or something. That book will probably be closer to the trashcan than the shelf. very unbalanced.
It did manage to make me look at my eating habits and make some minor adjustments, i guess i can't say it's a complete piece of Sh after all...

anyway, won't be disappointed by any of these books, have a good read doc
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#12 » by barelyawake » Tue Jun 9, 2009 7:07 pm

Have you read everything by Vonnegut, Kerouac, Kesey, Orwell, Burroughs, Douglas Adams (and I mean all the Dirk Gently stuff -- really the most underrated books), Sartre, Hunter S. Thompson, Roth, Plato, Nietzsche & Kafka? Three times over? How about "Lamb" by Moore? "A Confederacy of Dunces" by Toole? "Catch 22" by Heller? "The Good Soldier Schweik" by Hasek? If so, then I've heard good things about "The Baby in the Bag." From the title you could probably tell, like much of the rest of the list, it's dark comedy.

PS Faulkner's "Sound and the Fury" is one of my all time favorites. So, great minds...
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#13 » by tkunit » Tue Jun 9, 2009 7:11 pm

I am currently reading john adams. I enjoyed 1776 so i picked it up.


There is a big book thread in the media lounge. A few people mentioned "happyslapped by a jellyfish" no idea what its about but hte name caught my eye.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#14 » by Cramer » Tue Jun 9, 2009 7:49 pm

daSwami wrote:Check out "The Wettest County in the World" by Matt Bondurant. It's literary fiction that tells the true story of a pair of mineshine bootleggers in rural Virginia in the 1930s. great read.


Wow Swami, I knew as soon as I saw the title where this book had to be about. Went and read a review and I'm heading to get it after work. My mother grew up in Franklin County (Callaway) and her older brother ran shine for many years (then worked 30 years for GM...if he was alive he'd need a blast with what's happened there). Apparently they talk about the huge federal trial that took place. My Grandfather apparently played a large roll in that and testified at it (apparently in an attempt to get my uncle out of trouble and out of the business) and, at least as of several years ago, my mother still had a 2" stack of old newspaper clippings of the coverage of the trial.

Thanks for the heads up. Can't wait to get it and get a copy for my mother...but I grew up hearing the stories first hand.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#15 » by daSwami » Tue Jun 9, 2009 8:06 pm

Cramer wrote:
daSwami wrote:Check out "The Wettest County in the World" by Matt Bondurant. It's literary fiction that tells the true story of a pair of mineshine bootleggers in rural Virginia in the 1930s. great read.


Wow Swami, I knew as soon as I saw the title where this book had to be about. Went and read a review and I'm heading to get it after work. My mother grew up in Franklin County (Callaway) and her older brother ran shine for many years (then worked 30 years for GM...if he was alive he'd need a blast with what's happened there). Apparently they talk about the huge federal trial that took place. My Grandfather apparently played a large roll in that and testified at it (apparently in an attempt to get my uncle out of trouble and out of the business) and, at least as of several years ago, my mother still had a 2" stack of old newspaper clippings of the coverage of the trial.

Thanks for the heads up. Can't wait to get it and get a copy for my mother...but I grew up hearing the stories first hand.


Cramer, I hope you enjoy it. The author, Matt B., is a buddy of mine, and he'll be thrilled to know people are gravitating to the book. He, Matt, is actually the great nephew of one of the protagonists - his great uncle probably ran in the same circles as your grandfather.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#16 » by W. Unseld » Tue Jun 9, 2009 9:22 pm

daSwami, does Bondurant have any truck driving relatives in Richmond? I seem to remember a story from a former client about grandparents being in the business.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#17 » by DallasShalDune » Tue Jun 9, 2009 11:00 pm

NbdyBeatsTheWiz and barely...

Sound and the Fury is my favorite book, actually. It is rough, but the fact that I can see through the characters heads, and they're strong, difficult, and distinctive voices, makes this book amazing.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#18 » by Joe_Wiz » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:43 am

Not all especially recent, but some of my favorites:

Have to agree about Guns, Germs & Steel, as well as just about anything else by Jared Diamond.

Peter Hopkirk has excellent non-fiction that reads almost like fiction. My favorite is The Great Game, mainly about Brittish spies in central Asia in the 19th & early 20th centuries.

Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy is very dark. A (fictional) Berlin detective in the 30's and 40's dispises the Nazi's, but lives in their world.

Stumbling on Happiness (non-fiction by Daniel Gilbert) about why we're really bad at predicting what will make us happy but most of us end up pretty happy anyway. Not intendedas a "self-help" book, but has inspired me to try to be unrealistically optimistic (about the Wizards, for example, but really just about everything) -- with mixed success.

The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, who estimates that 4% of Americans are sociopaths. She thinks very few of these commit murder or other major crimes, but all are devoid of conscience and incapable of love. Not a fun read, but pretty interesting. Also, forewarned is forearmed, and it might help you understand some people whom you've always found perplexing.
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#19 » by sfam » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:38 am

doclinkin wrote:Soliciting suggestions from the collective mind.

Most recent fiction, I just finished The Exile Kiss, the last of the Marid Audran series. Near future dystopia set in Muslim countries of North Africa, sort of a noir Private Eye cyberpunk ramble. Highly recommended. But now I'm bookless.

Recent non-fiction, Malcolm Gladwell's meditation on success: Outliers. Pretty good. Basically it says you have to put in your baseline 10,000 hours to have a chance to become a world-class anything. Makes you wonder what you've put your 10K hours in, qualifying towards what. Internet posting maybe...

Who's reading what? Anything good?


I've been into a lot of urban fantasy lately (Kim Harrison's series is a must read if you like that stuff - can give you tons more in that area), but have recently gotten into a Scifi streak. For a good futuristic cyberpunk series (only 3 books long right now), I'd recommend the Cassandra Kresnov series. Deals with a lot of Roy Batty-type issues with an ultra tough replicant-style (meaning organicly enhanced instead of machine-enhanced) ass-kicking hawt cyberchick:
http://www.amazon.com/Crossover-Cassand ... y_b_text_c

For truly awesome space combat (at least as good as the early Honor Harrington books), I just blew through Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series. It is military scifi with the most realistic space combat battles I've read. I'd really recommend this series to anyone even mildly interested in scifi:
http://www.amazon.com/Dauntless-Lost-Fl ... 740&sr=1-2
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Re: Book Thread. I have nothing good to read. 

Post#20 » by daSwami » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:16 pm

doclinkin wrote:Soliciting suggestions from the collective mind.

Most recent fiction, I just finished The Exile Kiss, the last of the Marid Audran series. Near future dystopia set in Muslim countries of North Africa, sort of a noir Private Eye cyberpunk ramble. Highly recommended. But now I'm bookless.

Recent non-fiction, Malcolm Gladwell's meditation on success: Outliers.
Pretty good. Basically it says you have to put in your baseline 10,000 hours to have a chance to become a world-class anything. Makes you wonder what you've put your 10K hours in, qualifying towards what. Internet posting maybe...

Who's reading what? Anything good?


Doc, I read an excerpt of Outliers a few weeks back in the New Yorker. It was the bit about a Nigerian man, new to America, who decided to try and coach his daughter's youth basketball team. Despite knowing virtually nothing about the game he managed to coach his daughter's team to the state finals. He didn't know anything about basketball except what he observed. He coached almost completely on instinct. His first observation was that he couldn't understand why teams didn't defend the entire length of the court (he reasoned that it was foolish for teams to simply acquiesce and surrender 50% of the surface area they were supposed to be defending). So he made the full court press became his team's signature defensive strategy, and it worked with great success: other teams were completely flustered by it and ended up turning the ball over constantly in the face of the unrelenting pressure. The article instantly brought to mind the old John Thompson coached Hoya teams of the early 80s. Those teams played frenetic defense. In fact JT often subbed in 5 guys at a time to insure that the pressure remain at peak levels for 40 minutes a game. Those teams would wear teams down both physically and pyschologically. You could almost count on their opponent melting down at some point in the second half. In fact, those hoya teams were famous for their "runs," meaning: you could count on them running off 10-15 unanswered points in the 2nd half of every game. I've often wondered why more teams don't try and replicate that style of play anymore.

It wasn't until I read that article that I began to ruminate on Eddie Jordan's main short-coming as a coach: he was far too wedded to his system. He seems to lack that certain strategical capacity that some coaches have (i.e., the ability to look at the relative strengths and weaknesses of the players you have vs. the players on the other team, and adjust the strategy accordingly.) JT's hoya teams of the 80s weren't pretty but they won a TON of games, mostly, I think, because Thompson made the most of the players he had.)

Yes, sorry, I've somehow managed to turn a BOOK thread into an Eddie Jordan-bashing thread. I suck.
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