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Last post Author Topic: What books are you reading?  (Read 200660 times)

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #625 on: February 12, 2016, 03:59:33 AM »

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #626 on: February 12, 2016, 08:09:46 AM »

tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #627 on: February 18, 2016, 03:13:26 AM »
Reading another book about English, this time about the future of the language: how it's changing in different ways all over the world; that it may even evolve into various languages.
The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches from the Future of English (amazon)

This one is beautifully written, a pleasure to read. Moving all over the world, currently in Singapore exploring 'Singlish'.
Tom

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #628 on: February 18, 2016, 07:37:32 AM »
I seem to be running out of Joe Haldeman.  He is supposed to have authored some 60 odd novels.  But what is convenient to get out of the public library is drying up.

I am trying another scifi author Elizabeth Moon.



panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #629 on: February 19, 2016, 03:34:54 AM »

rjbull

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #630 on: February 29, 2016, 03:59:24 PM »
mfd1.png

Quote
Little more than 10 years after the first powered flight, aircraft were pressed into service in World War I. Nearly forgotten in the war's massive overall death toll, some 50,000 aircrew would die in the combatant nations' fledgling air forces. The romance of aviation had a remarkable grip on the public imagination, propaganda focusing on gallant air 'aces' who became national heroes. The reality was horribly different. "Marked For Death" debunks popular myth to explore the brutal truths of wartime aviation: of flimsy aircraft and unprotected pilots who had no parachutes; of burning 19-year-olds falling screaming to their deaths; of pilots freezing and disorientated as they flew across enemy lines at 15,000 feet. James Hamilton-Paterson also reveals how four years of war produced profound changes both in the aircraft themselves and in military attitudes and strategy. By 1918 it was widely accepted that domination of the air above the battle-field was crucial to military success, a realization that would change the nature of warfare for ever.

rjbull

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #631 on: February 29, 2016, 04:05:01 PM »
dr.png

Unexpected detail: the book was first published in 1897.  The first few chapters purport to be the journal of a newly-qualified solicitor temporarily practicing as an estate agent.  Even then, he carried a "Kodak" camera (a model introduced in 1888) for photographing property.  Estate agents' windows full of photos of houses must be a much older phenomenon than I expected.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 03:00:49 PM by rjbull, Reason: Added Kodak »

rjbull

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #632 on: February 29, 2016, 05:17:33 PM »
what is convenient to get out of the public library is drying up.
Advanced Book Exchange (ABE) :)

I am trying another scifi author

In case you don't already know them:

Jack McDevitt
Jack McDevitt on fantasticfiction

Adam Roberts
Adam Roberts on fantasticfiction
Especially his first three novels, Salt, On, and Stone.  In particular don't miss On; it's truly extraordinary.

Paul McAuley
Paul McAuley's blog: Earth and other unlikely worlds
Paul McAuley on fantasticfiction



wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #633 on: February 29, 2016, 05:24:17 PM »
mfd1.png

Quote
Little more than 10 years after the first powered flight, aircraft were pressed into service in World War I. Nearly forgotten in the war's massive overall death toll, some 50,000 aircrew would die in the combatant nations' fledgling air forces. The romance of aviation had a remarkable grip on the public imagination, propaganda focusing on gallant air 'aces' who became national heroes. The reality was horribly different. "Marked For Death" debunks popular myth to explore the brutal truths of wartime aviation: of flimsy aircraft and unprotected pilots who had no parachutes; of burning 19-year-olds falling screaming to their deaths; of pilots freezing and disorientated as they flew across enemy lines at 15,000 feet. James Hamilton-Paterson also reveals how four years of war produced profound changes both in the aircraft themselves and in military attitudes and strategy. By 1918 it was widely accepted that domination of the air above the battle-field was crucial to military success, a realization that would change the nature of warfare for ever.


I've been looking at this for a while - how is the book?  I couldn't decide if I wanted to read it or not.

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #634 on: February 29, 2016, 08:20:27 PM »
I found a more recent Joe Haldeman novel.



It uses the "novel within a novel" approach.  The protagonist is an author writing a novel etc..  I won't give anymore details to avoid spoilers.  This one was published in 2014.  I am about 4/5 of the way through it.  Entertaining reading if you don't mind graphic descriptions when characters are killed.  But if you ever read any of his novels you are already aware of that "pitfall" if that term is appropriate.  :)



rjbull

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #635 on: March 01, 2016, 02:35:09 PM »
I've been looking at this for a while - how is the book?  I couldn't decide if I wanted to read it or not.
Informative, interesting, even fascinating, but grim, as anything to do with the First World War would be.  The author doesn't purvey triumphalist BS or derring-do, but tells it like it was, using a vast array of documents from the time, including quite a few memoirs from the airmen themselves.  It took me a while to read as it's hardly lightweight, but it's well and clearly written.  Includes unusual areas such as the physiology of flying, which was as little understood at the time as aerodynamics.

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #636 on: March 01, 2016, 04:21:44 PM »
@rjbull: re Bram Stoker's book "Dracula".
I had got this book for $FREE on the Kindle, and my now 14½ y/o daughter Lily recently finished reading it during the school holidays. She found it "unputdownable". The narrative, story, character development - everything - was, she said, really good. She also found its description of a sinister, remorseless evil to be quite scary.
I had similarly enjoyed the book when I was 13 y/o, or so. In my view, the many vampire films - from Nosferatu (1922) onwards - have generally failed to meet the standard for gripping, creepy horror set by the book.
I suspect this is probably because the story in the book captivates the imagination and encourages the mind to conjure up mental images and feelings/emotions from the story, in ways that are difficult to replicate in a film medium.
Thus, despite the plethora of vampire movies - the formulaic Hammer Horror ones being typical examples - there tend to be only a few vampire movies that stand out as being exceptionally good.

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #637 on: March 01, 2016, 07:56:26 PM »
We've been reading "Jane Eyre", by Charlotte Bronte.
In searching for reviews of Jane Eyre, as part of my assisting my daughter with her reading programme, I just now came across something quite interesting that is in the book that either had entirely escaped me before, or which I simply had not read/understood. I certainly do not recall having read it: The book includes a pretty balanced approach to revealing the fallacy of the Christian teaching of "Turning the other cheek".

My attention was drawn to this by reading a post in drhurd.com: Jane Eyre Exposes the Fallacy of Turning the Other Cheek (Charlotte Bronte)
Quote
Posted on February 21, 2016
“If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and unjust, the wicked people would have it all their own way: they would never feel afraid, and so they would never alter, but would grow worse and worse. When we are struck at without a reason, we should strike back again very hard; I am sure we should–so hard as to teach the person who struck us never to do it again.” [said Jane Eyre]

“You will change your mind, I hope, when you grow older: as yet you are but a little untaught girl.”

“But I feel this, Helen; I must dislike those who, whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who punish me unjustly. It is as natural as that I should love those who show me affection, or submit to punishment when I feel it is deserved.”

“Heathens and savage tribes hold that doctrine, but Christians and civilised nations disown it.”

“How? I don’t understand.”

“It is not violence that best overcomes hate–nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury.”

“What then?”

“Read the New Testament, and observe what Christ says, and how He acts; make His word your rule, and His conduct your example.”

“What does He say?”

“Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you.”

“Then I should love Mrs. Reed [Jane’s abusive aunt and foster parent], which I cannot do; I should bless her [abusive, bullying] son John, which is impossible.”

— from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
______________________________
This artificial discussion does not seem to be polemic or propaganda, but merely puts both sides of the issue out in the open using the device of a fictitious discussion between an adult (a Christian) and a child - viz: the Turn the Other Cheek Christian teaching on the one hand, and, on the other hand, why this may not be pragmatic/rational in our everyday life (particularly in the world of reducing peace that we might find ourselves in today).

This, for me, leads to a perfect example of why reading widely and making connections between what one reads is likely to be beneficial for developing an improved understanding of the de facto philosophical challenges that we are likely to face in life, and so I pointed it out to my daughter - because she is studying philosophy at school this year - as a useful teaching point when read together with a news item that I had read recently and with two of the other books that she refers to from time to time (and which I encourage) - which are the Bible and the Koran.

The news item was from an interview with an orthodox Christian man living with his family in Syria (the Middle East), and what his response was when ISIS (jihadist soldiers of orthodox Islam) had taken over his home town. He reported that of the thousands of Christians living there, his was one of only about 50 families that had decided to remain. They had been faced with three options:
  • Expulsion: Be expelled (forced to flee - become a refugee) under threat of almost certain death/rape/pillaging by ISIS (because all non-Islamic people are "infidels" and the women and children and their property would become legitimate slaves/spoils of war).
  • Jizya tax: Stay and hope to be allowed to pay the annual jizya tax (ISIS so far has seemed pretty reliable in honestly allowing jizya).
    Quote
    Jizya or jizyah (Arabic: ????? gizyah IPA: [d?izja]; Ottoman Turkish: cizye) is a religiously required per capita tax on non-Muslims under Islamic law, levied by an Islamic state.[1][2] Jizya tax was not paid by Muslims, who however paid zakat (alms) tax instead.[3]
    Jizya is an example of taxes that depended on the religion of the individual. However, historically, the Jizya tax has been rationalized as a fee for protection provided by the Muslim ruler to non-Muslims, for the permission to privately practice a non-Muslim faith with some communal autonomy in a Muslim state, and as material proof of the non-Muslims' submission to the [supreme] Muslim state and its laws.[3][4]] - Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jizya
  • Convert to Islam: this would be to formally renounce all one's Christian (or other non-Muslim religions) views and beliefs, which are all considered heretical under Islam - and submit to Islam ("Islam" means submit) that is, to the will and the word of Allah as per the Koran. (The Jews are not allowed to convert though.) Islam is a one-way ticket, because, having once become a Muslim, one may not leave, under fear of death by stoning for committing the heresy of apostasy.

The Syrian Christian decided to take the 2nd option - the stigmatising and prejudicial jizya tax, and he and his family were "safe" under the protection of the Caliphate (rather like the Mafia), as long as his annual jizya tax had been paid and was still current - like a licence to practice Christianity.
If that 2nd option had not existed, then it would have been the 1st option - i.e., flee as a refugee, leaving one's property behind (which would be expropriated by the Caliphate) - because the 3rd option (renounce Christianity and submit to Islam) would presumably have been untenable to an Orthodox Christian.

The "Jane Eyre moment f truth" here is the realisation that nowhere in this is the response of "turning the other cheek" likely to be an appropriate or acceptable or even useful response - if one values the lives of one's family and oneself. That is, the foe that one faces and who curses you may have an infinite appetite for your extinction, and thus "turning the other cheek" could be interpreted as a weak response and a sign of weakness, and would thus be at best a useless response and at worst a response inviting death.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 08:11:18 PM by IainB »

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #638 on: March 08, 2016, 11:12:22 AM »

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #639 on: March 08, 2016, 11:37:31 AM »


I just finished this yesterday.  I really enjoyed it.  Just for the sake of accuracy, I read the hardcover print edition.

Spoiler
This novel has a cool plot gimmick.  I won't give it away entirely.  Just imagine The Old Jedi Mind Trick(tm) taken to its logical conclusion.




panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #640 on: March 09, 2016, 03:21:45 AM »

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #641 on: March 09, 2016, 09:22:50 AM »
http://www.amazon.co...rds=isabella+vedichi (free until March 11th)

Somehow a "crash" course in C++ doesn't bring to mind robust programming techniques.  :)

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #642 on: March 10, 2016, 05:01:46 AM »

Deozaan

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tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #644 on: March 10, 2016, 04:58:32 PM »
And purely for recreation, Haven Kimmel's A Girl Named Zippy. One of the best coming of age autobiographical essays ever. There isn't a page without at least one funny anecdote of quotable sentence on it.

zippy.jpg

hadnt this post before today 40:
just read this book lately (was put off by the cover, but I'm slow to refuse a book in English) and it *is* a seriously enjoyable book. Not at all as wholesome as the cover suggests (sort of prefect 1950's) but wholesome in a much more down to earth and real manner. Will read again at some stage (cant give higher praise really).
Tom

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #645 on: March 18, 2016, 05:14:04 AM »
Free e-book:
http://www.amazon.co.../ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 (free until March 21th)

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #646 on: March 18, 2016, 07:53:10 AM »
Elizabeth Moon short stories



panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #647 on: April 15, 2016, 09:35:21 AM »

panzer

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #648 on: April 25, 2016, 08:06:49 AM »

MilesAhead

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #649 on: April 25, 2016, 01:51:19 PM »
I have been reading books on Time Travel to pass the time lately.  I am about 2/3 of the way through this one.  Kind of fun.  The old "book within a book" bit with time travel thrown in.