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Author Topic: What books are you reading?  (Read 106707 times)
edbro
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« Reply #150 on: December 05, 2010, 10:41:38 AM »

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Beautiful writing.
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40hz
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« Reply #151 on: December 05, 2010, 10:47:25 AM »

@kyrathaba: I'm pretty sure it's one or the other. Which is one more reason why I don't have, or plan on getting, a Kindle. I have too much money invested in paper to be willing to re-buy all the stuff I'd want on it.

Besides... I like the idea of owning and having complete control of my library. With a Kindle it's more like you're renting. You're only licensing the limited right to read something - and that right is subject to change at Amazon's discretion.

Yoiks!!!

« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 10:49:39 AM by 40hz » Logged

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kyrathaba
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« Reply #152 on: December 05, 2010, 01:20:47 PM »

Quote
You're only licensing the limited right to read something - and that right is subject to change at Amazon's discretion.

Does that mean Amazon could deny me the ability to read something I've paid for and downloaded?
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Darwin
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« Reply #153 on: December 05, 2010, 01:58:14 PM »

Quote
You're only licensing the limited right to read something - and that right is subject to change at Amazon's discretion.

Does that mean Amazon could deny me the ability to read something I've paid for and downloaded?

Yes! It's already happened. Of course, I can't remember the titiles involved, but there was a stink earlier this year about it...

EDIT: It was actually over a year ago, involved two George Orwell titles, and Amazon has vowed not to repeat it: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10290047-56.html
« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 01:59:49 PM by Darwin » Logged

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kyrathaba
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« Reply #154 on: December 05, 2010, 02:23:39 PM »

Thanks for that link, Darwin.  I read the article.  It appears Amazon was trying to act in compliance with the law, and that they have subsequently changed their own internal policy (and perhaps their arrangement with third party suppliers) to prevent a recurrence.  I sure hope so.  I was relieved to learn that they did at least refund the purchase cost of the revoked downloaded materials.
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« Reply #155 on: December 05, 2010, 04:34:33 PM »

Just finished: Captain Alatriste by Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte.
  The first volume in a series that's a sort of a Spanish equipment of the Three Musketeers, by an author who's a fan of Dumas.  I was a bit disappointed, especially after the same author's excellent free-standing present-day novels, The Flanders Panel and The Seville Communion.

Just finished:  The Old Straight Track by Alfred Watkins.
  The original ley-line book, that was later to inspire a multitude of nutters.  The ley-line fuss seems to have died down at present.
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« Reply #156 on: December 06, 2010, 08:15:13 AM »

Just finished:  The Old Straight Track by Alfred Watkins.
  The original ley-line book, that was later to inspire a multitude of nutters.  The ley-line fuss seems to have died down at present.

true havent heard anything about leylines in a while -
so what was your opinion of that one ?
just had a quick look in Amazon, I see it's from the 1920's
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Tom
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« Reply #157 on: December 06, 2010, 08:55:36 AM »

Just finishing up "23 Problems in Systems Neuroscience":


I had really high hopes for it from the table of contents -- looked like it was going to be a collection of high-level chapters laying out fundamental questions that as of yet are unsolved.. But the chapters almost all seemed to fall short.  I wouldn't really recommend it.
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« Reply #158 on: December 06, 2010, 02:29:31 PM »

true havent heard anything about leylines in a while -
so what was your opinion of that one ?
just had a quick look in Amazon, I see it's from the 1920's

You're right about the date.  I read a facsimile of the 1925 edition, complete with original typewriter-like typeface.  I think he got the ley-line idea first, then tended to co-opt any evidence he could find to substantiate it.  But that's a bit "superior," as I haven't gone ley hunting myself.  I think I'd like to see a reasoned critical review with statistical analysis of the chances of finding "x" number of significant items on a straight line.  Watkins probably didn't have much in the way of statistical methods available to him back then, and I imagine that much of the archaeological and other evidence he quotes has been updated as well.  But, he wasn't himself an idiot; he was the inventor of the Watkins Bee Meter, and early photographic exposure meter, and had his own photographic business.  He doesn't go in for soggy mysticism of the "earth energies" variety either.  He comes over to me, lacking qualifications for sensible criticism myself, as having been carried away by his idea.
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« Reply #159 on: December 06, 2010, 02:44:58 PM »

Just read and thoroughly enjoyed...

How To Be Free by Tom Hodgkinson.
The Idler Shop | Amazon.co.uk



It made the middle ages sound very appealing compared to our current Western capitalist culture, and I'd like to read more about the European guilds system. Any one know a good book on the subject?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 02:47:21 PM by Ampa » Logged
tomos
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« Reply #160 on: December 06, 2010, 02:52:21 PM »

He doesn't go in for soggy mysticism of the "earth energies" variety either.  He comes over to me, lacking qualifications for sensible criticism myself, as having been carried away by his idea.

I know nothing about them myself. There could well be a scientific/archaeological basis for it, but once, eh, enthusuaists start talking about 'spiritual' powers related to some site or concept, the archaeologists/scientists tend to avoid the whole thing like the plague. Which means it's nearly impossible to find out what's really the case. Wikipedia is disputed and doesnt really have very much info, although it is interesting to read what the dowsers have to say about it [In the 1930s, two British dowsers...]- I grew up in a town in the west of Ireland, but in the surrounding countryside dowsers were used to find a location for a well. From what I heard they would even be able to tell how deep you'd have to go. So I have great respect for dowsers...
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« Reply #161 on: December 06, 2010, 03:57:51 PM »

It made the middle ages sound very appealing compared to our current Western capitalist culture, and I'd like to read more about the European guilds system. Any one know a good book on the subject?

If you don't mind something that focuses primarily on the economic ramifications of the guild system, Wage Labor and Guilds in Medieval Europe by Steven Epstein is a good read. We used it in an economics course I took a few years ago, and I thought it was a pretty fascinating book.

Amazon sells it for a lot less than the college bookstore wanted for it!  Cry  Link here.

For excellent general introductions to medieval lifestyles try the "Daily Life" books by Frances & Joseph Gies. There are three titles in the series:

  • Life in a Medieval Castle
  • Life in a Medieval City
  • Life in a Medieval Village

I just discovered there's also a 400-page omnibus edition (if you want all three in a single volume mrgreen) called: Daily Life in Medieval Times: A Vivid, Detailed Account of Birth, Marriage and Death; Food, Clothing and Housing; Love and Labor in the Middle Ages



Amazon carries all of these too. But your local bookstore and library usually have copies since this is an extremely popular series. You can always check it out at those places before you buy.

 Thmbsup



« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 04:03:10 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #162 on: December 06, 2010, 04:24:45 PM »

thanks for the recommendation of the Daily Life book, i think i'm going to pick that up -- looks cool.
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« Reply #163 on: December 12, 2010, 03:38:53 PM »

I know nothing about them myself. There could well be a scientific/archaeological basis for it, but once, eh, enthusuaists start talking about 'spiritual' powers related to some site or concept, the archaeologists/scientists tend to avoid the whole thing like the plague.

Quite so, very sensible of them.  But...  there's a book called The Experience of Landscape by Jay Appleton (Wiley, revised edition 1996, ISBN 0-471-96235-X).  It starts from the question, "What do we like about landscape and why do we like it?"  I've never managed to finish the book, but have heard others who have speak of it.  The thesis appears to be that since humans evolved as hunter-gatherers, the landscape is very much the arena in which life happens.  The ideal landscape consists of a location where one can look out for potential prey and for potential predators, with somewhere close by to rapidly retreat to in the case of the latter.  He calls this idea Prospect-Refuge-Hazard theory.  No way to prove this, but it seems to make sense, and would indicate a deep and emotional relationship with the landscape would be likely.  That might be the stimulus for 'spirituality' notions.

Quote
Which means it's nearly impossible to find out what's really the case. Wikipedia is disputed and doesnt really have very much info, although it is interesting to read what the dowsers have to say about it [In the 1930s, two British dowsers...]- I grew up in a town in the west of Ireland, but in the surrounding countryside dowsers were used to find a location for a well. From what I heard they would even be able to tell how deep you'd have to go. So I have great respect for dowsers...

The Wikipedia article does justice to Watkins, as far as I read him; it quotes him from other sources than The Old Straight Track.

I haven't heard much about dowsing recently, but it works well enough to be at least semi-respectable.  My former boss is a Ph.D and a very good scientist and technologist; he found it worked for him on at least one occasion.  It's been mentioned in New Scientist magazine, albeit not (I think) for a long time.  The last speculation I remember seeing was that dowsing is a naturally-occurring form of nuclear magnetic resonance in the brain.
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« Reply #164 on: December 13, 2010, 03:56:10 PM »

Just finished reading Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff (who also wrote Fool on the Hill, which is one of my absolute favorite novels. Thmbsup)



Bad Monkeys is dark, disturbing, and quasi sci-fi. It deals with Ms. Jane Charlotte, operative for The Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons, a shadowy and elusive organization which investigates, judges, and removes from society those deemed beyond hope of redemption. Jane is one of their hatchet men.

The story unfolds as a series of flashbacks and interviews with her prison psychologist. Jane has been arrested for murder. The government is trying to determine if she is criminally insane since nobody seems to believe her truly weird tale of how she was recruited and became part of what she insists is an actual government agency.

As her interviews progress, her story begins to get stranger and stranger. And more and more believable...


Disturbing book. And a very relevant moral tale in this era of "rendition," extrajudicial government enforcement actions, secret prisons, and wars on terror.

 Cool






« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 04:00:58 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #165 on: December 13, 2010, 03:59:44 PM »

sounds interesting..
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #166 on: December 14, 2010, 11:49:51 AM »

Sounds like my kind of novel.  I've added it to my wish list.
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« Reply #167 on: December 14, 2010, 01:20:41 PM »

You can read the first few pages up on Amazon. It will give you and idea of Ruff's writing style.  smiley
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« Reply #168 on: December 17, 2010, 07:04:59 AM »

I am re-reading «Cryptonomicon» by Neal Stephenson. Great book, I want to recommend it to coders especially.  smiley
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« Reply #169 on: December 17, 2010, 07:37:05 AM »

The last book I read was a Finansist by Theodor Driser...it's about a guy who have become a millionarie...it's very inspirational
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #170 on: December 18, 2010, 05:59:34 PM »

I have Crytonomicon, but haven't read it yet.  Will have to give it a go.

Also, just finished an oldie but a goodie:  a scifi novel by Gerard Klein entitled "Starmaster's Gambit."
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« Reply #171 on: December 18, 2010, 09:12:55 PM »

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson.  Good stuff if you're a fantasy reader like me.  Really deep, take-no-prisoners type of style (similar to George R. R. Martin).

http://en.wikipedia.org/w...alazan_book_of_the_fallen
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« Reply #172 on: December 18, 2010, 09:57:57 PM »

Quote
...Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson.


Not quite like anything else I've ever read.  A lot of pages.  Wish there were more...
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #173 on: December 19, 2010, 07:29:52 AM »

I enjoyed George R.R. Martin's Fire & Ice novels: the first three more than the rest.  Haven't read his other works.  Read the first two Book of the Fallen novels.  My dad's really gotten into them.  He ordered the whole set off eBay Wink
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« Reply #174 on: December 19, 2010, 10:42:17 AM »

When it comes to fantasy, there aren't too many series that I don't enjoy.   cheesy  kyrathaba (and any other Martin fans), did you know that HBO are making a series based on the Song of Ice and Fire books called Game of Thrones?  It looks completely badass.

http://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/index.html
« Last Edit: December 19, 2010, 11:03:26 AM by skwire » Logged

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