Sunday Morning Book Thread 01-26-2014: Fluff [OregonMuse]


fluffy angora rabbit.jpg
"She'll Pay For This"


Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to the award-winning AoSHQ's prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.


The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Did you know that the central theme of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the evil of racism? No? Well, then, you should be thankful that we have Margaret E. Wright-Cleveland of Florida State University to tell us these things. In an article that polls a number of "experts" as to what is the greatest American novel, she proclaims:

A land defined and challenged by racism, America struggles with how to understand and move beyond its history...Twain confronts American history head-on and tells us this: White people are the problem...

If the Great American Novel both perceptively reflects its time and challenges Americans to do better, Huck Finn deserves the title. Rendering trenchant critiques on every manifestation of whiteness, Twain reminds us that solving racism requires whites to change.

Now it's obvious that Margaret E. Wright-Cleveland of Florida State University very much believes this. But I thought it would have been taught in Crit. Lit. 101 not to read your own attitudes and beliefs back into authors who lived in earlier centuries and most likely had different assumptions and modes of thinking due to living in a culture different than ours. Otherwise, objective meaning is lost and books become nothing but Rorschach ink blots upon which you merely project your own prejudices and fears.

The education writer E. D. Hirsh is best known for for his book on cultural literacy, but he is also the author of an earlier work, Validity in Interpretation, which lays out a systematic and detailed defense of the idea that the meaning of the text is determined solely by the intent of the author. It's written more for an academic than for a popular audience, so it can be a bit dry, but if you stick with it, it's quite good.

Now, I'm sure that Margaret E. Wright-Cleveland of Florida State University would no doubt argue that what she said was in fact Twain's intended meaning. But if I were to read a book and conclude that an author who lived many years before me somehow had managed to have beliefs that coincide exactly, 100% with mine, shouldn't that give me pause? Shouldn't I be even the least bit skeptical? Like that silly biography I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that populated Norman Rockwell's paintings with all manner of sexual sub-texts that every viewer and art critic somehow had missed until she came along and pointed them out to us, there's no end to the foolishness you can get into once you sacrifice objective meaning and substitute your own.

The New Republic actually has a pretty good article you can read on a similar theme:

Proust was a neuroscientist. Jane Austen was a game theorist. Dickens was a gastroenterologist. That’s the latest gambit in the brave new world of “consilience,” the idea that we can overcome the split between “the two cultures” by bringing art and science into conceptual unity—which is to say, by setting humanistic thought upon a scientific foundation.That’s the latest gambit in the brave new world of “consilience,” the idea that we can overcome the split between “the two cultures” by bringing art and science into conceptual unity—which is to say, by setting humanistic thought upon a scientific foundation.

Which is kind of like substituting your own meaning for the author's. The TNR piece goes on to a scathing review of Jane Austen, Game Theorist by Michael Suk-Young Chwe, and indirectly, Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer.


fluffy chickens.jpg
"Yeah, That's Right, We're Chickens and We're Bad-Ass"

Story Bleg

Thanks to all of you morons who identified the answer to last week's story bleg as "A&P" by John Updike. Commenter 'jethro bodine' wins a year of AoSHQ Premium membership for being the first. Also, special thanks to commenter 'Buck Farack, Gentleman Adventurer' who provided a link to the actual story. It's different than what I had thought, but then again, so is pretty much everything else in my life these days.


Books We've Never Read

The Federalist has compiled a list of the top ten books people lie about reading. You can read the whole article, but here is the author's list that he thinks most people lie about reading:

10. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
9. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
8. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo and A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
7. 1984, George Orwell
6. Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville
5. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
3. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
2. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
1. Ulysses, James Joyce:

To this list I would add:

0. The Bible, God and various human authors

...but that's just me. Of the 11 books on the list (he snuck two items in at entry #, I'm ashamed to say I've only read 4 and parts of two others. But at least I haven't lied about any of them, so there's that.


Dictators' Libraries

Another article in the New Republic lists favorite books of dictators. I read it mostly because I was curious to see who TNR labeled as dictators, specifically, if they did anything stupid by including world leaders they hate, such as George W. Bush or Margaret Thatcher. But for all its faults, TNR is not "The Nation", so they didn't. And they did include that rat bastard commie Hugo Chávez, so there's that.

I'm certain, by the way, that the future Barak Hussein Obama Presidential Library will only contain two books, Dreams From My Father, and The Audacity of Hope.

Books By Morons

Moron lurker bikermailman mentioned in the comments last week that

A cob-logger at The View From North Central Idaho (good gun blog), Rolf Nelson has written a Firefly type of book, only with more libertarian thought, more splodey, and a ship's AI with PTSD. An interesting twist is that it's written in a screenplay format. He'd put out chapters mostly daily when it was coming together and we goaded him into bookifying it. He got it edited so it avoids many of the first timer problems. *Very* Moron friendly.

From the Amazon blurb:

Helton Strom is a just guy between contracts when he runs afoul of officialdom and pirates. He is left with nothing but the clothes on his back, not even citizenship to his name. Is the ancient, broken down military surplus starship and the young lady living aboard it the key to a bright future, or will his repairs and new mercenary friends reawaken the demons lurking in the ship’s murky and lethal past to come back and deliver a world of destruction?

The book, which does indeed sound a lot like Firefly, is The Stars Came Back by Rolf Nelson. The Kindle edition is < $4.00.

___________


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:49 AM




Comments

(Jump to bottom of page)

1 Currently working on all the Vince Flynn books on the Kindle.

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 10:49 AM (T2V/1)

2 Is that a real cat?

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 10:50 AM (T2V/1)

3 Hyphenated last name + professor = douche.

Posted by: Adam at January 26, 2014 10:50 AM (Aif/5)

4 That's the biggest Tribble I've ever seen.

Posted by: BackwardsBoy, who did not vote for this shit at January 26, 2014 10:50 AM (0HooB)

5 Did you know that the central theme of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the evil of racism?


I have heard that many times before. Usually when someone is accusing Mark Twain of being a racist.

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 10:51 AM (T2V/1)

6 Does that pic mean they've finally developed Q-tips for Obama?

Posted by: --- at January 26, 2014 10:52 AM (MMC8r)

7 Working on "Lone Survivor" but I have to take it in small doses.

Been reading some cookbooks also, for fun.

Posted by: DangerGirl at January 26, 2014 10:53 AM (GrtrJ)

8 I'm rereading alone Survivor and The Devil in the White City and working on Almost a Miracle, about the revolutionary war. All pretty good.

Posted by: Adam at January 26, 2014 10:53 AM (Aif/5)

9 Vic, that's a rabbit. Probably (likely) an angora. Their fiber is spun into yarn. I'm allergic so I avoid them when I'm at fiber festivals.

Posted by: Gingy @GingyNorth at January 26, 2014 10:53 AM (N/cFh)

10 Stupid autocorrect.

Posted by: Adam at January 26, 2014 10:53 AM (Aif/5)

11 10. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

9. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin

8. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo and A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

7. 1984, George Orwell
6. Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville

5. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith

4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville

3. The Art of War, Sun Tzu

2. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

1. Ulysses, James Joyce:


I have read two of them, in fact they are on my shelf now.

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 10:54 AM (T2V/1)

12 Books We've Never Read



10. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

9. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin

8. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo and A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

7. 1984, George Orwell

6. Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville

5. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith

4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville

3. The Art of War, Sun Tzu

2. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

1. Ulysses, James Joyce:

To this list I would add:

0. The Bible, God and various human authors

---

Am I a nerd if I've read 9 of those (wealth of nations and the prince are the two missing)?

Posted by: tangonine at January 26, 2014 10:55 AM (x3YFz)

13 8 I'm rereading alone Survivor and The Devil in the White City and working on Almost a Miracle, about the revolutionary war. All pretty good.
Posted by: Adam at January 26, 2014 10:53 AM (Aif/5)
I read Devil In The White City years ago. I remember being fascinated with the level of detail given.

Posted by: Gingy @GingyNorth at January 26, 2014 10:56 AM (N/cFh)

14 I've also.heard from the idiot actors of Lord of the Ring that Tolkien wrote his stuff as anti-Industrial revolution tripe.....even though he wrote and said NOTHING in those lines.

Posted by: MtTB at January 26, 2014 10:56 AM (pyh5u)

15 9
Vic, that's a rabbit. Probably (likely) an angora. Their fiber is spun
into yarn. I'm allergic so I avoid them when I'm at fiber festivals.





Posted by: Gingy @GingyNorth at January 26, 2014 10:53 AM (N/cFh)


LOL, a rabbit

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 10:56 AM (T2V/1)

16 i've read three of the 10 and began one other that i guess i should begin again

Posted by: phoenixgirl @phxazgrl 32 days until spring training at January 26, 2014 10:56 AM (u8GsB)

17 I actually have read three from that list, honest and for true, and since I'm a slacker that's not bad.

Posted by: --- at January 26, 2014 10:57 AM (MMC8r)

18 Just for clarity

NR is short for 'National Review'
TNR is short for 'The New Republic'

Posted by: bobbymike at January 26, 2014 10:57 AM (hY7Vw)

19 So, I have a question. Maybe I am going crazy, but I am seeing more and more pro-progressive or anti-conservative messages in the books I read. Sometimes it is a anti-Palin reference, sometimes it is about global warming, sometimes it is making fun of conservatives generally, etc. I have not spent much time on the book thread, so this may have been talked to death already. But do others experience the same thing, or am I beginning to see liberal douchebaggery even in places where it does not exist?

Posted by: Scanner Dan at January 26, 2014 10:57 AM (T4Ab6)

20 The second book on that list that I have read was supposed to be Democracy In America. It didn't take by bold.

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 10:58 AM (T2V/1)

21 10. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
9. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
8. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo and A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
7. 1984, George Orwell
6. Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville
5. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
3. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
2. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
1. Ulysses, James Joyce:


Some of these, we had to read in university.

I don't know why people would admit to reading something they didn't. I read, and still have the hard copies of:

Ulysses (have hard copy)
The Art of War (have hard copy and give as gifts)
Moby Dick
1984
Atlas Shrugged (have hard copy and gave as gifts)

Another one I would add that I *think* people said they have read is Mark Levin's Liberty & Tyranny book. Too bad, because they should have. I use it for reference, now.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at January 26, 2014 10:58 AM (IXrOn)

22 4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville


Ahhhhh the book I've attempted to read three times and never even got to them leaving port. I just can't do it.

Posted by: DangerGirl at January 26, 2014 10:59 AM (GrtrJ)

23 And yes, Gingy is correct, that is an angora rabbit. Followed by some silkie chickens (I believe).

Posted by: DangerGirl at January 26, 2014 11:01 AM (GrtrJ)

24 19 Posted by: Scanner Dan at January 26, 2014 10:57 AM (T4Ab6)


Most authors are liberals so yes, you will see a lot of that. When I see it I quit getting books from that author. I don't mind them being liberals but when they make it part of their book I turn it down.


There is only one liberal author who I continue to read even though he does manage to stick some "I love unions crap" in his books and that is Eric Flint.


But I am about ready to give up on that 1632 series because it looks like he is never going to end it and it just runs on and on.

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 11:01 AM (T2V/1)

25 Fantasy Fiction rec: The Way of Kings. Brandon Sanderson
Non Fiction rec: Killer Elite, Michael Smith
History rec: The Russian Revolution, Richard Pipes

Posted by: tangonine at January 26, 2014 11:02 AM (x3YFz)

26 Florida State?

'nuff said.

Posted by: Dr. Varno at January 26, 2014 11:02 AM (V4CBV)

27 Yikes.

I just heard scratching (or gnawing) in the walls and I'm pretty sure that I'm not living in the middle of an HP Lovecraft story...

{i]Pretty sure

Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 11:02 AM (KBvAm)

28 >.But do others experience the same thing, or am I beginning to see liberal douchebaggery even in places where it does not exist?

Yes - I'm seeing it a lot and it annoys me greatly! If I'm indulging in a stupid chick lit book I don't need some Cheney slam slipped in there. It's like some sort of wink to readers, a way the author can let reader know that they're on the proper side.

Posted by: Lizzy at January 26, 2014 11:02 AM (POpqt)

29 22 4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville


Ahhhhh the book I've attempted to read three times and never even got to them leaving port. I just can't do it.
Posted by: DangerGirl at January 26, 2014 10:59 AM (GrtrJ)

same.....the copy is in the garage... i should go get it and see what happens......never got through the movie either

Posted by: phoenixgirl @phxazgrl 32 days until spring training at January 26, 2014 11:03 AM (u8GsB)

30 I tried reading Moby Dick but had trouble with the writing style. I did download the free audio reading from Libravox. So I have kinda read it.

Posted by: The Hickster at January 26, 2014 11:04 AM (TI3xG)

31 The whale wins at the end, right?

Posted by: Dr. Varno at January 26, 2014 11:05 AM (V4CBV)

32 The whale wins at the end, right?

It turns out the whale is Ahab's father.

Posted by: --- at January 26, 2014 11:06 AM (MMC8r)

33 Les Miserable, by Hugo, is almost unreadable, in the sense that it is so long and meanders about.
Hugo was supposed to be an incredibly great writer, and he wrote several novels of the French Revolution, but they all seem almost inpenetrable.

Posted by: Ribald Conservative riding Orca at January 26, 2014 11:06 AM (+1T7c)

34 It turns out the whale is Ahab's fatherBrian Dennehey.

Posted by: --- at January 26, 2014 11:06 AM (MMC8r)



FIFY

Posted by: DangerGirl at January 26, 2014 11:07 AM (GrtrJ)

35 " i should go get it and see what happens"

Spoiler alert












The Whale wins.

Posted by: Village Idiot's Apprentice at January 26, 2014 11:08 AM (kFCo1)

36
Ahhhhh the book I've attempted to read three times and never even got to them leaving port. I just can't do it.


Posted by: DangerGirl at January 26, 2014 10:59 AM (GrtrJ
I'm glad I'm not the only one.heh

Posted by: weirdflunky at January 26, 2014 11:08 AM (wrDcz)

37 The moral of Moby Dick is "Be Yourself."

Posted by: Homer Simpson at January 26, 2014 11:08 AM (V4CBV)

38 #19

There are a few books I gave up on very early in because the author made it clear that he didn't like me and I shouldn't like him.

One was an SF novel in which aliens have been offering cures for the terminally and chronically ill in exchange for joining their colonization corps. The maladies treated include severe mental illness and the opening scene of the book has a group discussing the situation around a campfire. One of them wonders if the aliens could successfully cure George W. bush of his criminal insanity.

At that point I closed the book and put it on the 'return to library' stack. I haven't bothered with any of the author's other works.

Larry Niven has stated that it is a failure on the reader's part to mistake the author's beliefs for that of his characters but I have to disagree. I think it can be pretty clear from the context whether the character is acting as a mouthpiece for the author or not.

Posted by: Epobirs at January 26, 2014 11:09 AM (bPxS6)

39 It turns out the whale is Ahab's father.

Are we absolutely sure it isn't Brian Dennehey?

Posted by: BackwardsBoy, who did not vote for this shit at January 26, 2014 11:09 AM (0HooB)

40 I will have to take issue with one part of that idiot's critique of HF.


Twain confronts American history head-on and tells us this: White people are the problem...


That is BS. HF may have been about bringing blacks into the mainstream and the evils of slavery and racism but he never attacked white people per se. The book was meant to be a satire on the evils of racism, not an attack on the white establishment.


Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 11:09 AM (T2V/1)

41 "That’s the latest gambit in the brave new world of “consilience,” the idea that we can overcome the split between “the two cultures” by bringing art and science into conceptual unity—which is to say, by setting humanistic thought upon a scientific foundation.That’s the latest gambit in the brave new world of “consilience,” the idea that we can overcome the split between “the two cultures” by bringing art and science into conceptual unity—which is to say, by setting humanistic thought upon a scientific foundation."
I'm gonna go get the papers, get the papers.

Posted by: Jimmy Two Times at January 26, 2014 11:10 AM (B45L3)

42

Strange, I had a dream last night about going back to read a Proust book I have laying around that has a book marker in it. I dug it up this morning, covered with dust. hah.

I like my sci-fi too much, and I'll never read all I want to in my lifetime.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at January 26, 2014 11:10 AM (IXrOn)

43 "The moral of Moby Dick is "Be Yourself.""

And the Captain dressed fabulously.

Posted by: Village Idiot's Apprentice at January 26, 2014 11:10 AM (kFCo1)

44 If a writer has to slip current-events snark into a book, it's a sign to me that he doesn't think anybody's going to be reading this book very far into the future.

If they don't think it will have legs, why should I?

Posted by: --- at January 26, 2014 11:11 AM (MMC8r)

45 Phoenixgirl@29: Whale 1, Ahab 0.

Posted by: butch at January 26, 2014 11:11 AM (EV3Uf)

46 Of the 12 books on the newly expanded list- I've read five of them in their entirety and substantial parts of four. I've read only bits and pieces of The Prince, never tried The Art of War, and got bogged down entirely in the obtuse writing style of Ulysses after about 3 chapters. Ugggh.

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at January 26, 2014 11:11 AM (g4TxM)

47 Also, I stayed up until 1:30 last night reading Lone Survivor- found it both inspiring and depressing. Nothing but awe for those four guys on the mountain, as well as the quick response team in the helicopter that went down. God bless each and every one of them and their families.

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at January 26, 2014 11:12 AM (g4TxM)

48 Of the four I've read-

1984
A Tale of Two Cities
The Prince
Ulysses

I can't imagine anyone lying about the first 3, they're all ridiculously easy reads.

As for "Ulysses"...well...I was in college and striving for intellectual cred in my own mind and read cuz that's what intellectual types do.

Then learned most people were lying about it cuz they couldn't discuss it at all-

except for barfing out something about Molly Bloom's famous soliloquy/stream of consciousness dealio at the end.

Yes, they would yes they'd say that Yes

Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 11:13 AM (KBvAm)

49 I have never read "The Prince", but I do have a copy of Machiavelli's "Discourses", which is a whole book of essays on government, law, constitutions, etc.

It can be read in small doses, and is actually interesting, in that the problems of governing people and the corruption of the people that govern are the same whether it is 1550 or 2014.

Posted by: Ribald Conservative riding Orca at January 26, 2014 11:13 AM (+1T7c)

50 "The moral of Moby Dick is "Be Yourself."">>

And you don't have to fear sleeping with other men.

Posted by: The Hickster at January 26, 2014 11:13 AM (TI3xG)

51 #24

I gave up on Trotskyite Eric Flint when he wrote a novel in which he had a race of aliens who were essentially communists at a genetic level, which meant they were mammals who behaved like hive insects. Which left me feeling like, "OK Eric, it works for them but they aren't real and humans are. So what is your point?"

Posted by: Epobirs at January 26, 2014 11:13 AM (bPxS6)

52 Haven't read 2, 5, and 6. Most of them i read before i was 20...but i'm from a generation where an 18 year old man was an adult and expected to act like it.

Posted by: Trainer at January 26, 2014 11:14 AM (LfjBa)

53 Hello all,
This past week I read a fair bit from my kindle and in front of the fire in a wing-backed chair. I recommend it highly.

I finished a one act play by Chesterton called Magic, which was enjoyable and contained some thoughts of his which I have seen touched on in some of his other works. I started Freehold (started it a week ago Saturday and it was odd to see everyone talking about it here the next day) and stopped about a third of the way through. Too much free sex, I didn’t find it believable biologically or psychologically that it could be as consequence-free as it was set up. But I’m unmarried and still looking to manifest an incarnation of the ideal and the principles and ideas the book established (as regards relationship anyway), seem to cause that ideal to fall into nihilistic depths.

Plus, I thought the world was a little unrealistic. I’m all for small government, but small government means it’s bound to only its essential purposes--but there are still purposes because man is inherently sinful, but this is my problem with actual extreme libertarianism in any case.

Hyperion has been mentioned many a time in many a place and has been on my list for a while. I finally read it this last week. Really enjoyed it, but what the heck of an ending?

To the morons out there who've read it, should I read the sequel? I’m not sure the setup could even be resolved in a satisfactory way. I can’t remember the last time I read a novel that set up something metaphysical and moral like that and then actually paid off in a profound and enlightening philosophical resolution, but maybe I’m just being cynical.

Read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, last week or the week before, can’t remember if I mentioned that here or not. It was interesting, shockingly sad at times, literally laugh out loud funny at others, and quite bleak in the end. My copy seems to have been missing the prologue so the end wasn't as setup as it should have been, which might have mitigated the bleakness. If you want to engage in a good bout of chronological snobbery for a while, I don’t think you could have a more well-written or engaging time than Twain’s book.

Now I’m reading Beowulf and it is slow going. Grendel is almost certainly dead, but they haven’t confirmed that yet. 13 books in and many more to go.

Posted by: .87c at January 26, 2014 11:14 AM (qZPXs)

54 *pushes a Coke through Danger Girl's USB port*

Enjoy. Your fleet fingers were just too quick for me.

Posted by: BackwardsBoy, who did not vote for this shit at January 26, 2014 11:15 AM (0HooB)

55 44. My worst example of current events snark was Dave Barry's book where he had one of the characters urinate on Sarah Palin at the end. I generally find Barry to be funny, but that was one of the most bizarre things I have run across. It was totally gratuitous, and was put in there for no real reason other than to signify team affiliation.

I have gotten to the point where I read the bio of a new author, I stay away from anyone who has what looks like a liberal pedigree--wrote for NYT, etc.

Posted by: Scanner Dan at January 26, 2014 11:15 AM (T4Ab6)

56 In the epilogue, the whale falls into a volcano.

Posted by: Waterhouse at January 26, 2014 11:15 AM (8hbTS)

57 >.But do others experience the same thing, or am I beginning to see liberal douchebaggery even in places where it does not exist?

I used to enjoy Barry Eisler's "John Rain" thrillers. Author's web site showed he is a flaming lefty, but early books were relatively apolitical.

I guess he figured his success allowed him to start preaching in his newer books. I stopped reading him.

Posted by: doug at January 26, 2014 11:16 AM (mb/WO)

58 Otherwise, objective meaning is lost and books become nothing but
Rorschach ink blots upon which you merely project your own prejudices
and fears.



*koff* fuckyouderrida *koff*


In which I rant about pomo literary criticsim: The thing about deconstruction as a literary theory is that it requires the recognition of a construct in the first place. Derrida and Foucault were rage rage against the light of not only the entirety of French history and literature but also the construct of the French language itself. Attempting to move their interpretative methodoly to an alternate language structure, because, after all, deconstructionism is every bit as structured an approach as those approaches it attempts to supplant, does not work because those other languages do not necessarily have as formal of a structure.

To steal from Paglia, the best deconstructionists in the world are the Marx brothers because film is a forum that lends itself to both formality of structure and the deconstruction thereof. Tarantino's entire career (and/or schtick depending on what you think of him) is based on putting a genre in a blender and pressing puree. Hell, the South Park movie is a prime example of the use of deconstruction to advance art. Bigger, Longer and Uncut is a Disney movie. It is. The beats of the plot, where the songs are located, what the songs are about, the arrangement of the acts, it follows the exact format of every Disney movie ever. Just. You know. Ridiculously profane and turning it on its ear.

Deconstruction works in film because the structure of pacing and plot is pretty much universal. It doesn't in literature because the structure of written language is not.

The point of lit crit is to advance the meaning of the work, not bury it under jargon. That whatshisname could autogenerate a submission to a journal and then get it published and no one thought for a second that hey something's up tells you all you need to know about the current state of pomo lit crit.


Annnnd after all that tl;dr, I submit any of Hawking's pop science books as things claimed to be read but not.



Posted by: alexthechick - Skittle fueled Godzillette at January 26, 2014 11:16 AM (Gk3SS)

59 Otherwise, objective meaning is lost and books become nothing but Rorschach ink blots upon which you merely project your own prejudices and fears.

*****


It's likely been done by someone, but that might be a cool idea for a SF book- an e-book that is linked to a chip in the reader's brain that takes the reader into the innermost depths of his own psyche, reading your own dreams in literary format so to speak.

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at January 26, 2014 11:17 AM (g4TxM)

60 World War Z was chock full of BDS.A quick glance at it in the bookstore confirmed that for me.

Posted by: steevy at January 26, 2014 11:17 AM (zqvg6)

61 56 In the epilogue, the whale falls into a volcano.
Posted by: Waterhouse at January 26, 2014 11:15 AM (8hbTS)

I thought the Japanese finally took him down.

Posted by: Insomniac at January 26, 2014 11:17 AM (UAMVq)

62 Dave Barry wrote a book with someone urinated on Sarah Palin??? WTF

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 11:19 AM (T2V/1)

63 Have read Atlas Shrugged and 1984 a couple of times each. Started several of the others and just couldn't get through them. Obviously my problem, but I read a lot, and simply will not get bogged down, period,if a book does not grab me by say, 50 pages.

I've noticed the liberal "winks" becoming more prevalent. Stephen King's recent novel about JFK assassination had a postscript trashing Dallas and establishing King's liberal mindset. I found it a real turnoff and will try to avoid him.

Interestingly, a couple of Dean Koontz' books (horror genre) have some Libertarian comments woven in (and this goes back to the early 80s). Very unusual.

Posted by: RM at January 26, 2014 11:19 AM (fRppw)

64 I read the first thousand pages of Atlas Shrugged. Unless there's some sort of Law ampersand Order twist ending, where the fascists turn out to be the good guys and the producers committed the murders, I think I got the gist.

My house is kind of drafty, so I've been huddled in bed reading total crap all week. Jude Devereaux, murder mysteries solved by cats.


There's a "movement" in Indianapolis to encourage people to read 26 books in 2014. *tsk* Normals. They're kind of pathetic.

Posted by: HR's cats at January 26, 2014 11:19 AM (hO8IJ)

65 In high school we read "Anthem" by Ayn Rand, "Deliverance," "Alas, Babylon" and others I can't remember.
As indifferent as I was at the time, I have to admit it was a higher-than-average high school. I did enjoy those books.

Posted by: Dr. Varno at January 26, 2014 11:20 AM (V4CBV)

66 "I thought the Japanese finally took him down."

Only after blasting the Sea Shepard group out of the water.


Posted by: Village Idiot's Apprentice at January 26, 2014 11:20 AM (kFCo1)

67 2,3,6,10 and 11. I guess I'm too stupid to read Joyce. Unlike upthread I didn't even make three chapters. Tried MD a couple of times and just couldn't do it. Not on the list but equally dreadful IMHO is "Scarlet Letter", like I said stupid I guess.

Posted by: weirdflunky at January 26, 2014 11:20 AM (wrDcz)

68

10. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

9. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin

8. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo and A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

7. 1984, George Orwell

6. Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville

5. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith

4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville

3. The Art of War, Sun Tzu

2. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

1. Ulysses, James Joyce:

To this list I would add:

0. The Bible, God and various human authors
====
10. Read it. Liked the overall message, but some of how it was presented was meh.
9. Read parts of it for school
8. Nope.
7. Yep, in high school. It's been forever though.
6. About 1/2 of it, for college.
5. Yeah, but it's been forever. Recently picked up a copy, but I have a backlog.
4. Yeah, again, for school. I found it dense and hard to grapple, but that may have been because of the reading pace limits imposed by the class.
3. I own two translations, have read through one, am reading through the other.
2. Read it in high school, and again about 8 years ago.
1. Nope.

====
14
I've also.heard from the idiot actors of Lord of the Ring that Tolkien
wrote his stuff as anti-Industrial revolution tripe.....even though he
wrote and said NOTHING in those lines.

Posted by: MtTB
====

That's not an entirely unreasonable conclusion to make given overall civilization trends in the narrative. The wilds and forests are presented as dangerous but -usually-beautiful places unless 'tamed' by elvish or friendly Entish presence making them safe (magic hippies and tree-hobos). Pastoral lands with small towns are painted as ideal home country. The good cities are pre-industrial feudal strongholds, and in the case of Gondor are nearly totally reliant on remnant ancient precursor civilization technologies for their survival. Dwarves keep getting wiped out and/or losing all their stuff by being too greedy with gold and magic gems, summoning dragons, or orcs, or busting in on balrogs. Sauron and Saruman annihilate everything everywhere they go to feed industrial scale weapons production (and in Saruman's case actual industrial machinery).

Posted by: Ranba Ral at January 26, 2014 11:20 AM (G99e4)

69 Hmmmm, read all but 9, 3 and 1. I have OofS but need to crack it open. I've never felt inclined to read Sun Tzu. As to Ulysses, I tried it once, found it unbearably banal, and it really does incessantly insist upon itself. If you write a book, as Joyce did, with the express intent of making it difficult for the reader just to prove how many arcane references you can make, then you end up with that dramatically overrated doorstop. As some of you know from past comments of mine, I have a very high tolerance for older writing and its slower pace, but this was just reader abuse.

It would be at the top of my overrated list except that place will forever belong to Catcher in the Rye.

Posted by: pep at January 26, 2014 11:20 AM (6TB1Z)

70 "6. Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville"

Am reading right now. Am at around page 200 or so. It's not written terribly; in fact, it's easy to read. However, when you think about what the author means -- because unlike Adam Smith, De-T can be pretty abstract (Smith loves providing loads of detail) -- and the problem is, he assumes a familiarity with his times and then-existing principles and ideas. His description of America is also, well, quaint (unless that word has been appropriated to mean gay, unless it means the pre-appropriated term gay).

Posted by: SFGoth at January 26, 2014 11:20 AM (iFeuA)

71 I picked up a few books for the next couple of weeks: The King's Hounds by Martin Jensen ($1.99 at Amazon), The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell ($2.99 at Amazon), House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty ($3.99 at Amazon), The Tattered Banner by Duncan M. Hamilton ($3.99 at Amazon), and The Passage by Justin Cronin.

As for the book list, I've read four of them. I just can't read Moby Dick. Les Miserables was required high school reading. I wish I could have back the time I spent reading it and Germinal by Emile Zola.

Posted by: no good deed at January 26, 2014 11:21 AM (vBhbc)

72 "Rendering trenchant critiques on every manifestation of whiteness, Twain reminds us that solving racism requires whites to change."

IIRC, between the years 1861-1865, the lives of about 600,000 young white males changed abruptly and permanently. But that was about 100 years ago, pretty much. And how does she explain the mass Hutu and Tutsi slaughterfests? Or the historical enmities existing between the Bantu-speaking tribes of Africa? Does she propose a sliding scale of melanin density as an explanation for industrial-scale social violence in all parts of the world?

Posted by: mrp at January 26, 2014 11:21 AM (JBggj)

73 62 Dave Barry wrote a book with someone urinated on Sarah Palin??? WTF
Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 11:19 AM (T2V/1)


I like the cut of this Dave Barry's jib.

Posted by: Martin Bashir at January 26, 2014 11:21 AM (UAMVq)

74 Atlas Shrugged would be a much better book if a good editor got hold of it and removed about 200 pages.

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 11:21 AM (T2V/1)

75 Three Little Pigsis, of course, an allegory about the joys of gay buttsecks.

Posted by: Margaret E. Wright-Cleveland at January 26, 2014 11:21 AM (JQuNB)

76 Moby Dick is another book that is almost unreadable by modern readers, due to the style of writing by Melville.

It is worth trying to read, as it is almost Biblical in scope of the Fall of Man. Think of Paradise Lost, in a way. Moby Dick is the Devil, that Ahab pursues. But in the pursuit, Ahab himself falls in to the sins of pride, revenge, hate. Starbuck, his first mate, is his moral counterpart, trying to remain virtuous, and the crew swings back and forth, finally following Ahab to doom.

The reading of the story is the best part, if you can wade through the language, because of the incredibly articulate sense of the coming doom is portrayed.

"And I alone have survived"

Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities and Huckleberry Finn were all somewhat "contemporaries" of each other in the era that they were written, in that these were religious men writing them, and pondering the fatally flawed nature of Man.

Posted by: Ribald Conservative riding Orca at January 26, 2014 11:21 AM (+1T7c)

77 “I never had any intention of urinating on Sarah Palin,’’ one of the two
mismatched narrators informs us towards the end of “Lunatics’’, the
screwball comedy of errors co-written by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel.
It’s a significant moment because it captures the novel’s blend of
lowbrow and below-brow humor aimed at leaders who could stand to loosen
up a little. The story recounts the madcap adventures of Phillip Horkman
and Jeffrey Peckerman, a straight man/funny man pair of New Jersey dads
who are mistaken for terrorists.

From Boston Globe

Posted by: Scanner Dan at January 26, 2014 11:22 AM (T4Ab6)

78 >>>> a systematic and detailed defense of the idea that the meaning of the text is determined solely by the intent of the author.<<<<<

Defense? How can this idea even be controversial? Why even read if you are not attempting to understand what the author is trying to say? If your goal is to read what you want into the work, it is a lot easier just to write your own text and be done with it.


Posted by: the guy that moves pianos for a living... at January 26, 2014 11:23 AM (P/gm7)

79
45 Phoenixgirl@29: Whale 1, Ahab 0.
Posted by: butch at January 26, 2014 11:11 AM (EV3Uf


Well technically its Whale 2, Ahab 0.

I read Moby Dick in the Seventh Grade. It was a slog for me then and I apparently had a 12th Grade or college level reading aptitude at the point according to one of those tests that gauge such thing.

I still can remember bits and pieces of the actual book but the biggest thing that I remember is that on the hardcover copy I was reading there was a page with only to lines of the actual book, and the rest of the page was footnotes.

Posted by: buzzion at January 26, 2014 11:23 AM (LI48c)

80 Is that a real cat?

That's a giant angora rabbit.

I forget to mention I first saw it, and the chick pic, linked on the ONT.

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:23 AM (fd0Pp)

81 IIRC, between the years 1861-1865, the lives of about 600,000 young white males changed abruptly and permanently.

As did the lives of their wives, children, the women they would have married...

But no, none of that counts. Cash only.

Posted by: HR at January 26, 2014 11:24 AM (hO8IJ)

82 It's rabbit season.

Posted by: Dr. Varno at January 26, 2014 11:24 AM (V4CBV)

83 In the epilogue, the whale falls into a volcano.


Whalecano!

Posted by: BackwardsBoy, who did not vote for this shit at January 26, 2014 11:24 AM (0HooB)

84 18 Just for clarity

NR is short for 'National Review'
TNR is short for 'The New Republic'

Posted by: bobbymike at January 26, 2014 10:57 AM (hY7Vw)


Of course, I knew that. Why did I forget? Thank you for pointing it out and it's been corrected

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:25 AM (fd0Pp)

85 ♫ I fought the pod and the pod won! ♫

Posted by: ahab at January 26, 2014 11:25 AM (NU/ou)

86 As a survivor of the 12 year ordeal known as Catholic schooling I can say that the bible was a regular reference book for right and wrong...That being said, Atlas Shrugged is by far the book that influenced my opinions and hardened my beliefs against the liberal idiocy that surrounds me here in Minnesota...

Posted by: Tony253 at January 26, 2014 11:25 AM (3yMFT)

87 83 In the epilogue, the whale falls into a volcano.


Whalecano!
Posted by: BackwardsBoy, who did not vote for this shit at January 26, 2014 11:24 AM (0HooB)


*furiously scribbles notes*

Posted by: SyFy at January 26, 2014 11:25 AM (UAMVq)

88 81 IIRC, between the years 1861-1865, the lives of about 600,000 young white males changed abruptly and permanently.

As did the lives of their wives, children, the women they would have married...

But no, none of that counts. Cash only.
Posted by: HR at January 26, 2014 11:24 AM (hO8IJ)


But but but the Narrative!

Posted by: Insomniac at January 26, 2014 11:26 AM (UAMVq)

89 I ejoyed P> J> O'Rourke's take take with his On The Wealth Of Nations. He brings modern sentence and word descriptions to describe what Adam Smith laid down. Laymans terms.Plus, its PJ.

Posted by: free tibet, etc. at January 26, 2014 11:27 AM (jAc/f)

90 Others on the mentioned but unread list>:

Federalist Papers
Communist Manifesto
Critique of Pure Reason
Playboy, the articles

Posted by: pep at January 26, 2014 11:27 AM (6TB1Z)

91 Ugh.

This "Consilience" is just Humanities majors trying to get over their hard penis science envy.

Look, great novelists are generally great observationists as well, but-

the genius of, say, Newton isn't that he noticed that apples fall down go boom-

it's that he codified and defined the force of gravity.


This is a very different thing than noticing something.


Epic intellectual fail.

Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 11:28 AM (KBvAm)

92 Um, I just had to comment here about "objectivity" and seeing authors and narratives in their historical contexts, i.e., the time periods in which they were written. Here's the deal, we do not teach objective perception. We teach subjective perception. It is constructivist methods that are used today in American schools, and this allows students to construct, or create their own knowledge. Students are NOT taught from a top down, teacher to student perspective, students are given material and are able to explore and interact with a text, thereby contstructing their own knowledge and their own understanding. Of course, there is what's called pre-reading activities which provide some "front loading," i.e., a way to sort of steer students conclusions; a way of asking questions so students will interpret a text through a certain prism, etc.. Remember, there is no objective truth of anything! Didn't you read 1984? 2 + 2 = 5!

Posted by: MistressOverdone at January 26, 2014 11:29 AM (2/oBD)

93 Moby Dick--I learned more about whaling than I ever wanted to know. Also there are sections of the book that read read like stage directions interspersed with dialogue. Very strange.

Posted by: the guy that moves pianos for a living... at January 26, 2014 11:29 AM (P/gm7)

94 One I read this week is 'The Dead Hand' by David Hoffman. This is an account of the final years of the Cold War and just how much insane stuff the Soviets had going on.

One area it gives attention to is how intent Reagan was on ending the threat of nuclear war and how little of this determination was allowed by the media to reach the general public. If you trusted the networks and the New York Times, Reagan was itching to launch everything at the slightest prompting.

A big focus is the massive biological warfare capability the Soviets continued develop after signing on to a treaty banning all such activity. There was so much of this work happening that nobody knew where all of it was, much as the sheer volume of fissionable materials had long exceeded anyone's ability to track. A vast portion of the USSR's most capable scientific and engineering talent was devoted to this while their economy festered.

Most of us have read about this stuff but I can recommend this volume for anyone who wants more detail or feels they weren't paying proper attention at the time this was all happening. Even if you were paying attention, it took many years for many of the secrets to come to light, making this a more complete account than many that came before it.

Posted by: Epobirs at January 26, 2014 11:29 AM (bPxS6)

95 nood

Posted by: weirdflunky at January 26, 2014 11:29 AM (wrDcz)

96 Great post, OregonMuse!

I've read The Prince, 1984, Atlas Shrugged, and bits and pieces of the Bible.

I own Democracy in America and Moby Dick, but have not gotten around to reading them.

Posted by: rickl at January 26, 2014 11:29 AM (sdi6R)

97 I am reading Child 44 because of the previous book thread. Intense & horrific - I keep taking breaks.

Posted by: Votermom at January 26, 2014 11:30 AM (GSIDW)

98 The Gregory Peck version of Moby Dick is pretty damn intense, and the special effects were pretty good for the time.

http://tinyurl.com/48xwzgu

Posted by: Dr. Varno at January 26, 2014 11:30 AM (V4CBV)

99 Hugo was supposed to be an incredibly great writer, and he wrote several novels of the French Revolution, but they all seem almost inpenetrable.

I had the same problem with The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The writing style, which is almost impossible for me to describe, was so irritating that I just gave up after 3 or 4 chapters.

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:30 AM (fd0Pp)

100 I'm surprised so many posters had trouble with Moby Dick! I thought it was fascinating hard to put down.

My favorite part:

Ishmael: "Is it safe for me to room with a cannibal?"

Innkeeper: "Well... he pays reg'lar."

I've only read 3 or 4 of the 12 books. I tried twice to read Ulysses failed both times.

Posted by: mnw at January 26, 2014 11:31 AM (68RU9)

101 read read?

More coffee.

Posted by: the guy that moves pianos for a living... at January 26, 2014 11:31 AM (P/gm7)

102 Playboy, the articles
Posted by: pep


That right there is pretty funny. May be lost on some of the younger folk.

Posted by: Ribald Conservative riding Orca at January 26, 2014 11:31 AM (+1T7c)

103 The real question is this:


Was Huckleberry Finn able to control his libido?

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at January 26, 2014 11:32 AM (g4TxM)

104

#2 The Prince

Well, I can say I've read (and have a copy of)

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

!!

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at January 26, 2014 11:32 AM (IXrOn)

105 It turns out the whale is Ahab's father.

Don't forget the homoerotic subtext, you uncultured lout! After all, you have a bunch of sweaty men in close quarters all chasing after 'sperm' whales. Sperm, get it?

No, I'm not making this up.

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:35 AM (fd0Pp)

106 #89

Yes, highly recommended. Many great works are unread because they can be a terrible slog to get through and make sense of for a modern reader.

Another great book of considerable vintage is Charles Mackay's 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds.' http://tinyurl.com/gdt72

This is a truly amazing work of research into human folly. But like many scholarly works from the great distance of 184, it can be rough going. Which is a shame because it still has much of value for anyone reading today.

Posted by: Epobirs at January 26, 2014 11:35 AM (bPxS6)

107 Wow, over 100 comments in 45 minutes. You morons are really talkative today.

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:35 AM (fd0Pp)

108 I have read 'The Prince' (have it on my nook) and 1984. I liked Orwell's 'Animal Farm' more than 1984
I have listen to Atlas Shrugg ( CD )
I tried reading Moby Dick, gave up at page 83. never understood it appeal
I tried reading Art of War

Posted by: Kyon at January 26, 2014 11:36 AM (mT+TO)

109 And speaking of Atlas Shrugged, I found a website that has the complete text of Francisco d'Anconia's speech about the nature of money. I got the bright idea to see if I could format it on a single sheet to hang on the wall in the lobby where I work.

This is my favorite passage from Atlas Shrugged. It distills the essence of the book. Most people haven't read all 1100+ pages, and the people who need to read it the most never will. But they might read this.

And I'm not making this available for free out of a sense of altruism. It's more like self-preservation.

I have put it up on Scribd. (Thanks, Tami!) It is a PDF that is suitable for downloading and printing. You can also download it as a text file, but then you'll lose the formatting.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/202338680/Francisco-s-Speech

Posted by: rickl at January 26, 2014 11:36 AM (sdi6R)

110 Don't forget the homoerotic subtext...

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:35 AM (fd0Pp)


*****


But wasn't there also a hetero-erotic element- all that stuff about the little man in the boat?

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at January 26, 2014 11:37 AM (g4TxM)

111 As to Ulysses, I tried it once, found it unbearably banal, and it really does incessantly insist upon itself. If you write a book, as Joyce did, with the express intent of making it difficult for the reader just to prove how many arcane references you can make, then you end up with that dramatically overrated doorstop. As some of you know from past comments of mine, I have a very high tolerance for older writing and its slower pace, but this was just reader abuse.

^^^^^THIS^^^^^

It's a massive piece of wankery. The banal prolonged forever.

But, I guess Joyce was the first guy to do it.

So, kudos?

pep,

CitR is a good choice for overrated but again I think Joyce takes the prize with "Finnegan's Wake" - pure unadulterated masturbatory obscurantism.

But again, he got there first, s-o-o-o kudos?

Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 11:38 AM (KBvAm)

112 #90

I have to take exception to that last one. When I got my first job as a fourteen year old in 1978, I spent a lot of my weekends working at swap meets. This gave me lots of opportunity to collect old Playboys. I had a complete set going back to 1967 and a few dozen more going back to around 1960. I can genuinely say I read those articles. It was a very different approach to modern history for a kid who wasn't attending school much.

Plus there were lots of pictures of nekkid women.

Posted by: Epobirs at January 26, 2014 11:39 AM (bPxS6)

113 Just picked up The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land by Thomas Asbridge $1.99 for kindle.

Posted by: FCF at January 26, 2014 11:40 AM (Khja4)

114 pure unadulterated masturbatory obscurantism.


****

I love this place!

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at January 26, 2014 11:41 AM (g4TxM)

115 I've read at least 6 of the books on the list-7 including the Bible. There may be one or two more that I read in university. I've got Wealth of Nations but was never able to work my way through it.

Posted by: Northernlurker at January 26, 2014 11:41 AM (tbQLr)

116 But wasn't there also a hetero-erotic element- all that stuff about the little man in the boat?

Har de har. There is NO such thing as a hetero-erotic subtext. The narrative will not allow it. Are you trying to be subversive, citizen?

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:41 AM (fd0Pp)

117 opps
Forgot to add Tale of two Cites to the I read list.
The only Dickens novels I haven't read is Oliver Twist and Christmas Carol

Posted by: Kyon at January 26, 2014 11:42 AM (mT+TO)

118 Re: the liberal wink-wink-nudge-nudge in books...it's hard to tell how much is actual author believe (I grant you Eisler; he's very clear about it) and how much is editorial fiat. As in, if you do anything different you won't get published. Notable exceptions being Baen (where they don't care *what* the politics are, as long as it sells) and indie, because nobody tells indies what to write. OK, they may tell us but we don't listen. Read Sarah Hoyt about how she had to hide her teeth for *years* as an author, just to be published.

I'm seeing some signs that this enforced groupthink is producing the exact opposite effect intended. Much like "literary" books that legacy publishers think everyone ought to like and don't (see my clever reference to the Books Lied About list?) there are only so many books about communist lesbian and transgender shapeshifting eco-colonies of color the market can bear. Many people, including myself, have remarked that even with money in pocket, walking in one of the few remaining bookstores fully intent on buying a book, we end up walking out again without buying anything.

The legacy publishers, despite their many loud protests to the contrary, DON'T know what people want. Or we would have had unicorn westerns (really), dinosaur erotica (really), and a tale of Martian survival that spends a lot of time focused on sewage bacteria and potatoes (really), a long time ago. Which is why they are flailing around blaming Amazon for everything except global warming (they'll get there, trust me) and spouting gloomy predictions that all these scampering little furry indie writers are just vermin and producing a tsunami of crap. Maybe so--but my bank account says my crap is much more in demand than theirs...and I never have to pretend to believe the groupthink. They *really* hate that.

Posted by: Sabrina Chase at January 26, 2014 11:44 AM (2buaQ)

119 66 "I thought the Japanese finally took him down."

Only after blasting the Sea Shepard group out of the water.



Whale factory battleship IJNS Yamoto

Posted by: Fox2! at January 26, 2014 11:46 AM (cHwSy)

120 The narrative will not allow it. Are you trying to be subversive, citizen?


Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:41 AM (fd0Pp)


*****


I stand corrected. My wife just pointed out that medical record keeping has been reduced to a series of pull-down menus with a restricted number of acceptable entries for various items. The same seems to hold true for academia- except the pull-down list looks something like this:

-homoerotic subtext
-European imperialistic subjugation
-Judeo-Christian constraints
-gyneco-existentialism
-environmental purity
-etc.

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at January 26, 2014 11:48 AM (g4TxM)

121 118 but my bank account says my crap is much more in demand than theirs

Glad to hear it. Now write some more so you can take more of my money.

Posted by: Anachronda at January 26, 2014 11:48 AM (U82Km)

122 So I'm reading a nice little murder mystery called "Fire Season" by Jon Loomis. It's set in Provincetown, MA, so I'm not expecting any conservative themes. I am, however expecting a nice mystery. And it's going along just fine for about the first half when I find this:

"Doing the crime theme?" Kotowski said, making finger quotes. "Are you talking about the Frog Marches? Those were deeply subversive paintings, Coffin. If you think they had anything to do with your conventional little arsonist, you've entirely missed the point."

The Frog Marches were a series of life-sized, photo-realist paintings Kotowski had done in 2008 and 2009. Frog March 1, depicting a weeping George W. Bush being led away in handcuffs by FBI agents, had sold immediatley for a price that even Kotowski thought ridiculously high. He'd done several more: Frog March 2 showed Dick Cheney being dragged into a courtroom in an orange jumpsuit; in Frog March 3 Donald Rumsfeld was tarred and feathered; Frog March 4 imagined the prison strip-search of Condoleeza Rice, complete with latex-gloved matron; and Frog March 5 showed Alberto Gonzalez, strapped to a table, cloth wadded into his mouth, eyes wide behind his glasses as a large man in camouflage poured water over his face. All had been sold to the same anoymous collector.

"Good series," Coffin said. "Very lifelike."

"Very lifelike?" Kotowski said. "Is that all you can say? What about the content, Coffin?"

Coffin shrugged. "They were terrible people. I'm glad they're gone. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want their pictures in my living room."


All that because the police chief asked a local artist to do a sketch to help ID a suspect. Needless to say, I closed the book and put it in the library return stack and thanked God I didn't actually give this bozo any money.

If this had been a political book, maybe, just maybe, this might have been appropriate, but Condi Rice being strip-searched? What a pig. And Dick Cheney would never be dragged into court: he would walk in with his head held high, no matter what he was accused of.

Jon Loomis: asshole.

Posted by: Tonestaple at January 26, 2014 11:48 AM (B7YN4)

123 Or we would have had unicorn westerns (really), dinosaur erotica (really)

Yeah, I thought about devoting a book thread to the emerging 'tryst with triceratops' dinosaur pr0n genre, but I couldn't think of a way to do it without violating the exquisite standards of taste and decorum of the AoSHQ book thread.

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:49 AM (fd0Pp)

124 dinosaur erotica (really),


****


???What??? Do tell!! Bunk. BRB

Posted by: Barney singing I love me, I love me... at January 26, 2014 11:51 AM (g4TxM)

125 My wife just pointed out that medical record keeping has been reduced to a series of pull-down menus with a restricted number of acceptable entries for various items. The same seems to hold true for academia...

Obviously, neither you nor your wife are of the Body. You'll both be in the camps, soon.

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:52 AM (fd0Pp)

126 SF & fantasy are the most looney left infested, which is a shame because that is my first genre love. Interestingly, paranormals, being closer to the romance genre than to fantasy, actually tend to have a lot of conservative themes. Not that they don't also have a lot of looney legties.

Posted by: Votermom at January 26, 2014 11:55 AM (GSIDW)

127 Yay!!! I always loved camp when I was a kid!



Will they have canoes?

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at January 26, 2014 11:56 AM (g4TxM)

128 Re: 118 -- "because nobody tells indies what to write. OK, they may tell us but we don't listen. Read Sarah Hoyt about how she had to hide her teeth for *years* as an author, just to be published."

Eisler was much more restrained when he wrote for a "real" publisher. The mask really came off when he started to write as an indie for Amazon.

Posted by: doug at January 26, 2014 11:56 AM (mb/WO)

129 Sorry I'm late getting here, but this is the first time in nearly a week that it's been warm enough to take Frank the Dachshund for a run, so that took priority.

On the book list:

10. Yes. As others have said, needed much editing.
9. No
8. Started both, got a couple of chapters in and quit.
7. Yes, also Brave New World about the same time.
6. No
5. No
4. Yes
3. Most, maybe all, don't remember.
2. See #3.
1. Gaack! No.
The Bible -- most, but in fragments.

Read and enjoyed Phil Robertson's autobiography last week, and am currently reading Grand Central Arena with much enjoyment. Many thanks to whoever recommended it in last week's thread.

Posted by: Empire1 at January 26, 2014 11:58 AM (V5NaJ)

130 don't think visual novels count but I've been making my way through Banshee's Last Cry on my iPad. So far the translation has been really good and it's an interesting whodunit

Posted by: The Dude at January 26, 2014 12:04 PM (bStrg)

131 I bought a galley proof of a book of Douglas Adams' writings, published posthumously. Blog posts and essays from his computer, that kind of thing.

Read about half of it, and got to an entry that showed he was really quite a Dawkins-esque asshole. An entry about religious people living in their trailers.

Closed the book and sold it on Ebay.

Posted by: --- at January 26, 2014 12:05 PM (MMC8r)

132 Don't forget the homoerotic subtext, you uncultured
lout! After all, you have a bunch of sweaty men in close quarters all
chasing after 'sperm' whales. Sperm, get it?



No, I'm not making this up.

Posted by: OregonMuse at January 26, 2014 11:35 AM (fd0Pp)


Yeah that one chapter "A Squeeze of the Hand" is loaded with strange imagery that I'm sure more than a few readers found disturbing.

Posted by: Captain Hate at January 26, 2014 12:06 PM (WRKdV)

133 Of them, I've read The Prince and 1984 only. I've *probably* missed the odd verse of the Bible here and there during my many years of "open it, pick something random, read it" readings, so no way of knowing if I've got the whole story there.

Posted by: Cato at January 26, 2014 12:07 PM (J+mig)

134 I've only read 10 and 8b, and most of 11 in scattered bits but could never get through more than a page of Revelations. We were assigned Animal Farm and Brave New World in HS, but not 1984. I keep meaning to get and read Art of War. I read the readers digest condensed version of Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Posted by: PaleRider at January 26, 2014 12:08 PM (5CusZ)

135 I like to keep books on the Great Depression in the bathroom, for reading material. I decided to add a copy of Hard Times last week. I've read it several times before. Somehow I never realized it was a book on union organizing. It seems to be all that he wants to talk about. I think it's time to pitch it.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at January 26, 2014 12:13 PM (Lqy/e)

136 ust picked up The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land by Thomas Asbridge $1.99 for kindle.

Posted by: FCF at January 26, 2014 11:40 AM (Khja4)

I got Monuments Men $2.99, and may go back for The Crusades before the day is over. That buy with one click is too easy sometimes.

Posted by: Retread at January 26, 2014 12:13 PM (cHwk5)

137 I think Shelby Foote's Civil War Trilogy should be on that list. I'm not denigrating it--it's a marvelously written example of narrative history, evocative and learned--but it's just too damned long;the physical books are clumsy too hold, and through it all, one hears the drawl of the author himself, recalled from Ken Burn's Civil War miniseries (which used the trilogy as a main source)....it can be read in small doses, I suppose, but that would take a lifetime....

Posted by: JoeyBagels at January 26, 2014 12:14 PM (Usdw3)

138 How come we never cover Mack Bolan books?

Posted by: CDR M at January 26, 2014 12:16 PM (LsJl8)

139 Did we miss the one where Shakespeare was an astronomer? There are several good PhD theses in that one. Apparently, proof that he wasn't Shakespeare.

but-
the genius of, say, Newton isn't that he noticed that apples fall down go boom


Man, you get nowhere trying to use Newton as an example. He was first foremost and always a furniture maker. Second, alchemist, ISYN, and he exposed himself to a lot of mercury fumes, to the point where his friends intervened at the wackiness of his public life, and he retired to furniture making for quite a while. Next, chancellor of the exchequer and criminal investigator, what he was really famous for during his life. The Mathematick and physics stuff was all in the background. Structure of the universe, kind of a hobby. Sideline.

Quick: other than the giant Andorra rabbit, what's "Deliverance" about? I had the racial subtext of Sawyer and Finn pointed out to me in high school, and I freely admit it's there, and it would be weird if it were not, considering the where and when of the books. But Twain was writing "about" human nature, several different parts of it, and poking it full of holes. It's screwy to say that whole books have only one point to them. If you read quite a bit of Twain, and especially his later material, you have a hard time liking him. He got all full of What's Wrong With This Country, like every modern liberal. Obviously many later writers patterned their life's work after that one part of his.

Nobody remembers how much, in catechism class or Sunday school, you wished that the writers of the Bible had that same editor you wish on Ayn Rand. The difference being that the Bible has now had those editors, and lost the gravitas and dignity of the original King James English that God wrote it in. I am pleased to see that some other readers have found stylistic problems with most of the French, all Russians in translation, and the Victorians plus Melville. You usually only hear the wordiness complaint about Rand. I met her once, and am convinced that she thought in Russian all her life. Do they complain of the wordiness of Tolstory, or Dostoevsky? Well, finally, they do here. Fair's fair.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at January 26, 2014 12:18 PM (xq1UY)

140 Whoohoo! I got a mention on the blog!

Posted by: Buck Farack, Gentleman Adventurer at January 26, 2014 12:18 PM (Nk6GS)

141 Of that list, I've read 1984 about three times, and about half of Moby Dick. I really enjoyed it but once I put it down , I just can't seem to find the energy to pick it up again. Some of those books (The Prince, The Art of War, Democracy in America) are quoted from , alluded to, cited, written about so much , and boiled down to their bare essence so much that you feel like you read them already.

Posted by: JoeyBagels at January 26, 2014 12:19 PM (Usdw3)

142 Currently reading "The Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov- my second time with it. Just finished "Identity" by Kundera.

Sorry to say I've pretty much abandoned American writers, and have started to get my fiction elsewhere.

On the positive side, when you start reading somewhat obscure international literature, people can't make any snarky comments because they have no freaking idea what you're talking about, and just look at you blankly. Which isn't a bad thing.

Posted by: shibumi at January 26, 2014 12:24 PM (25HWz)

143 Read a Tale of Two Cities, skimmed The Prince and Democracy in America ... but I did read Tolstoy's War and Peace entirely all the way through. In high school. Out of curiosity after watching the epic Russian movie about it. Pretty good, actually - if you skim over the long philosophical-political discussions which cropped up now and again.

I've also read all of Mark Twain ... ripping good fun, actually. Especially his essay on Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses, which should be stapled to the head of anyone reviewing books. Just saying here. I have found that it is jolly good fun, putting authentic 19th century sentiments into the mouths of my characters. I can look round-eyed and innocent and say, "But it's perfectly authentic." It feels good- like giving a swift kick in the nuts to political correctness.

In other news, 'rons and 'ronettes, I am about halfway through the process of buying out my partner in the Tiny Publishing Bidness. She's elderly, in not-so-good health and has always intended that I should take it over. I've been working at it for the last five years - it's a well-established local niche publisher, with excellent word of mouth. First on the agenda - getting an exhibitor booth at the San Antonio Book Festival - and second; redoing the website. Check out www.watercresspress.com to get an idea of what I am about work at until I get carried away myself.

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at January 26, 2014 12:24 PM (Asjr7)

144 There is only one liberal author who I continue to
read even though he does manage to stick some "I love unions crap" in
his books and that is Eric Flint.

But I am about ready to
give up on that 1632 series because it looks like he is never going to
end it and it just runs on and on.

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 11:01 AM (T2V/1)


He was a union rep/agitator in a previous life, so you will see that in the books he's penned in the 1632 series. And of course he's not going to quit writing those; they're a cash cow, even more so that he doesn't even have to write half of them anymore.

Posted by: Buck Farack, Gentleman Adventurer at January 26, 2014 12:25 PM (Nk6GS)

145 137 I think Shelby Foote's Civil War Trilogy should be on that list. I'm not denigrating it--it's a marvelously written example of narrative history, evocative and learned--but it's just too damned long;the physical books are clumsy too hold, and through it all, one hears the drawl of the author himself, recalled from Ken Burn's Civil War miniseries (which used the trilogy as a main source)....it can be read in small doses, I suppose, but that would take a lifetime....

Posted by: JoeyBagels at January 26, 2014 12:14 PM (Usdw3)


I did read the whole trilogy after watching Ken Burns' miniseries. It's awesome.

Posted by: rickl at January 26, 2014 12:28 PM (sdi6R)

146 I'm reading al-Sayyari's collection of Shiite variants to the Qur'an. ("Revelation and Falsification", Brill.)

Some of these variants are hilariously predictable, like the Shiite version of Q. 10:15 - "I follow only what hath been vouchsafed to me ABOUT 'ALI". Real subtle, that. Surprised they didn't get away with it./s

But then there's this in 11:108 - "And as for those who were [destined to be] prosperous, they will be in Paradise, abiding therein as long as the heavens and the earth endure, except what your Lord should will - a bestowal (uninterrupted?) (unrenewed?)."

The crossout means that this is in the version of the Qur'an we got, and the Shiites had at first rejected it.

In this case it looks a lot like some Ashari Sunnis had a preconceived notion about God's absolute will. In Sunnism, God is not bound by a promise. If he says Muslims are going to Paradise, Muslims are going to Paradise for as long as God feels like it.

In Judaism, if God says Jews have a share in the world to come, Jews are getting that share unless Jews break the promise first. Ditto Christians. Once they're saved, they're saved and it wouldn't even occur to God to yank it all away.

Perhaps in early Shiism too. Which means perhaps in Islam 1.0.

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at January 26, 2014 12:29 PM (vCyy6)

147 I would add Dante's Inferno to the list of Books We've Never Read.

And, I think you have failed to give Obama credit for the books he is yet to (supposedly) write. He has got some big paydays coming to him with his future books, not to mention the further opportunities to screw this country over some more.

His presidential library will contain more then just his current publishings.

Posted by: Anon Y. Mous at January 26, 2014 12:29 PM (IN7k+)

148 I remember reading "Moby Dick" in my youth (aka, a very long time ago).

I enjoyed it.

Posted by: dissent555 at January 26, 2014 12:30 PM (yR6A1)

149 #38 - Larry Niven has stated that it is a failure on
the reader's part to mistake the author's beliefs for that of his
characters but I have to disagree. I think it can be pretty clear from
the context whether the character is acting as a mouthpiece for the
author or not.

Posted by: Epobirs at January 26, 2014 11:09 AM (bPxS6)



I think you're right and Niven's wrong in this case. Also with everything Heinlein wrote after about 1970 except Friday.

Posted by: Buck Farack, Gentleman Adventurer at January 26, 2014 12:31 PM (Nk6GS)

150 What makes Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy all the more impressive is that it is a very even-handed, and almost definitive, treatment of the war written by someone who was born in a state that was on the losing side.

How many times in history has this happened?

Posted by: rickl at January 26, 2014 12:33 PM (sdi6R)

151 Ironic, the topic that got included on the same thread as my book, The Stars Came Back. I have references to The Odyssey, Achilles, and Sun Tzu, (as well as Firefly and Star Trek, but that's a different sort of classic) but not so much obtuse and sterile "look at ME" oblique references, as trying to cut to the core understanding that someone might try to convey if they were trying to teach a three minute course on them. Those books in the list are worth reading, but unless you are a specialist it's likely worth more to read a couple of good modern summary and analysis books about each of them. Some heavy stuff in that list, most of which are on my shelf, only half of which I've read. Just my 0.00005 doubloon's worth.

Posted by: Rolf at January 26, 2014 12:34 PM (+O7nZ)

152 I had the audio books of the Shelby Foote trilogy. They aren't read by him. I was doing an hour and a half commute to work, each way, and it made the drive go by faster. The problem for me is that I don't retain stuff that way and I really wanted to see the maps. I need to read them next time.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at January 26, 2014 12:34 PM (Lqy/e)

153 I would add Dante's Inferno to the list of Books We've Never Read.

I read it and very much enjoyed it. The Pinsky translation is excellent and is available at Amazon.

Posted by: pep at January 26, 2014 12:36 PM (6TB1Z)

154 I've noticed the liberal "winks" becoming more prevalent. Stephen King's recent novel about JFK assassination had a postscript trashing Dallas and establishing King's liberal mindset. I found it a real turnoff and will try to avoid him.


I finished "Dr Sleep" this week which is Stephen King's sequel to "The Shining".

I guess, as always seems to happen, King's leftardism has finally murdered his ability (to write horror novels).

In "Dr Sleep" he seems to be suffering from some sort of cognitive dissonance regarding his villains. King actually seems to like them more than his putative heroes.

And, really, why wouldn't he? They are perfect progressives/liberals-

The "True Knot" are a multi-cultural, multi-racial, ambisexual, matriarchal led group who produce nothing of value and literally live off the lives of the young.

Pretty much a libtard's wet dream, no?

King, at some level, must think so as well because he fills a couple of hundred pages telling us how much they love each other and how The Cat in the Rose the Hat (their leader) loves and cares for them all and how she must protect them.

The only time this story swings into horror is a very very very abbreviated glimpse at how they extract the life force from some kid we neither know nor care about.

Remember the real physical and psychological brutality of "The Shining"? Remember how every character suffered from the encounter with The Overlook Hotel? Remember how you felt that everyone, every single, well-drawn character who you cared about in the book was in danger of dying or worse?

Yeah, well that Stephen King, the guy who could keep you up nights reading. That guy is dead.


Plus, the protagonists never seem in any real danger at all.

The girl's Shining is far far beyond the psychic messaging service that poor little Danny Torrance had to work with.

Telekinesis, soul-shifting, etc - any psychic power you care to name, she can do it.

How's about psychically stamping my parking garage ticket? Can she do that, huh, can she?

Sure thing, buddy. No problem.


And Dan Torrance? Eh, I tell you what I think happened.

The first part of the book dealing with some of the aftermath of "The Shining" is pretty good. It's well-written and on point.

Then....well, then I think Stephen King ran out of ideas but-

had an Alcoholic's Anonymous story that he'd written that he couldn't sell so he folded it into "Dr Sleep"-

and wound up with a non-horrific, horror novel about different individuals, good people all, addicted to consuming something- be it booze or souls.


King, himself, appears to in the afterward to tell us how he only knows one thing and that's how to write a kickass story for his fans...

I'll bet even he realized what a limp noodle of a story he produced,

If "Dr Sleep" is kickass anything, it's kickass mediocrity.

Avoid.

Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 12:37 PM (KBvAm)

155 Read Earnest K. Gann novels while taking flying lessons at the Aero Club (blowing money saved serving in Nam).

Posted by: Bill at January 26, 2014 12:41 PM (uvyrw)

156 Has anyone ever written a story where JFK was so whacked out, tanked up on amphetamines that, he was on the verge of ordering a first strike on the USSR, leading the Soviets and LBJ down to engineer getting him out of the way (by manipulating Oswald) to avoid World War III?

Posted by: --- at January 26, 2014 12:45 PM (MMC8r)

157 10. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand- Nope
9. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin -Parts of it
8. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo and A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens-Yep, Read a Tale of two Cities several times
7. 1984, George Orwell- Yep
6. Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville-Parts of it
5. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith-Nope
4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville. Yep,
3. The Art of War, Sun Tzu-Nope
2. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli-Yep
1. Ulysses, James Joyce Nope:

To this list I would add:

0. The Bible, God and various human authors-Yep

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at January 26, 2014 12:47 PM (7kkQJ)

158
The Shelby Foote trilogy is a classic for our time, never boring, and written with a novelist's knack for building interest. And even at its length, every word is worth it. The Civil War is one of the great stories of our country which totally changed the concept of states vs. the fed.
Morons, if you have not read it you owe it to yourselves to do so.

Posted by: Libra at January 26, 2014 12:50 PM (GblmV)

159 142
Currently reading "The Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov- my second time with it. Just finished "Identity" by Kundera.

********
I lived on Patriarshiye Prudi in Moscow. I re read MM there. It was fun to do that. Your comment brought back a nice memory -- thanks.

Posted by: gracepmc at January 26, 2014 12:51 PM (rznx3)

160 Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 12:37 PM (KBvAm)

That was a very clever and amusing review. :^) Thx.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at January 26, 2014 12:52 PM (7kkQJ)

161 >>SF fantasy are the most looney left infested, which is a shame
because that is my first genre love. Interestingly, paranormals, being
closer to the romance genre than to fantasy, actually tend to have a lot
of conservative themes. Not that they don't also have a lot of looney
legties.

That is intentional. The http://voxday.blogspot.com/ blog has posted stuff from a Sci-Fi publisher that explicitly states that they're only interested in stories with grrl power female lead characters and other Left themes.

Posted by: Lizzy at January 26, 2014 12:52 PM (POpqt)

162 LOLing at Updike: You never know for sure how girls' minds work (do you
really think it's a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a
glassjar?)


Posted by: Anon Y. Mous at January 26, 2014 12:53 PM (IN7k+)

163 #142

I enjoyed "The Master and Margarita" a great deal.

Posted by: Captain Hate on an iPad at January 26, 2014 12:54 PM (WRKdV)

164 I love Dante's Inferno and have read it several times. In fact, I find it more entertaining than his book about heaven which probably says something unsavory about my character. ;^)

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at January 26, 2014 12:55 PM (7kkQJ)

165 Well, I hate to contradict one of the head morons, but the central theme of Huckleberry Finn IS the evil of racism, or at least the evil of slavery. Huck decides to go to hell rather than hurt Jim, and Jim is the best human being in the book. I suggest you get it out and read it again. It is a truly great book, funny and moving and beautifully descriptive.

Posted by: Rob Ives at January 26, 2014 12:56 PM (tUVNN)

166 Shelby Foote is an exception to the rule that "history is written by the winners".

Posted by: rickl at January 26, 2014 12:59 PM (sdi6R)

167 Posted by: FenelonSpoke at January 26, 2014 12:52 PM (7kkQJ)



Doitashimashite!


Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 12:59 PM (KBvAm)

168 I mean to give Foote's Trilogy another try, but I now have to work two jobs (thanks, Obama!) instead if the one, better-paying job I had under Bush, but it will be at the expense of about a dozen other books I really want to read....

Posted by: JoeyBagels at January 26, 2014 01:00 PM (Usdw3)

169 But I thought it would have been taught in Crit. Lit. 101 not to read
your own attitudes and beliefs back into authors who lived in earlier
centuries and most likely had different assumptions and modes of
thinking due to living in a culture different than ours. Otherwise,
objective meaning is lost and books become nothing but Rorschach ink
blots upon which you merely project your own prejudices and fears.

As comment #58 points out, the exact opposite is taught in college under the name "deconstructionism."

Also, why are there 11 books in a top ten list?

Posted by: sauropod at January 26, 2014 01:02 PM (G/vW6)

170 Oops. First paragraph of my comment was a quote and was supposed to be in italics, but the italics thingy didn't work.

Posted by: sauropod at January 26, 2014 01:04 PM (G/vW6)

171 Believe it or not, I had to read Moby Dick and 1984 in high school .

Posted by: Tuna at January 26, 2014 01:04 PM (M/TDA)

172 'Moby Dick' is a paean to my schlong, morons. Like an 18th century Vagina Monologues.

Posted by: H. Melville, Magnum user at January 26, 2014 01:17 PM (MMC8r)

173 I read The Prince when I was a junior in high school. I remember being
somewhat appalled. I do not recall why, exactly. I guess I should read
it again.



There are actually 66 separate books in the collection of writings
we call the Bible. I bet most people have read at least a smattering of
them. My guess would be maybe Genesis, perhaps Exodus, some of the
Psalms, one or two of the Gospels, maybe Acts of the Apostles, and the
Book of Revelation.



This week I have started reading William Tyndale's "The Obedience of
a Christian Man", written in 1528. Tyndale's translation of the Bible
accounts for over 80% of the content of the King James Bible. For his
efforts to bring the Bible to the everyday layman of his day, in
their spoken language, he was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536.

Posted by: grammie winger at January 26, 2014 01:20 PM (P6QsQ)

174 Posted by: Lizzy at January 26, 2014 12:52 PM (POpqt)


Which publisher? It will make it easier for me to know which books to ignore.

Posted by: Votermom at January 26, 2014 01:23 PM (GSIDW)

175 71
Just finished "The King's Hounds". It was fine. I understand this is the first a series so I'll pick up the second when it's released. Wish the translation from Danish to English was better though. The translator's choice of vocabulary was a little modern for a story that takes place during the reign of King Cnut.

Posted by: Tuna at January 26, 2014 01:23 PM (M/TDA)

176 Huck Finn was published 129 years ago. I think the Americans of that time are safely beyond challenging.

Posted by: toby928© at January 26, 2014 01:26 PM (QupBk)

177 Re "The Master and Margarita:
My interest is piqued. Which translation though. There seems to be a big difference of opinion amongst the Amazon reviewers.

Posted by: Tuna at January 26, 2014 01:27 PM (M/TDA)

178 So late to book thread so I will probably re-post in another thread too, but Scanner Dan way upthread hit on the very thing I was going to post. I finished reading Mary Roach's "Gulp" a non-fiction book about the digestive system (someone on here was reading her book "Stiff" last week). 3 pages from the end the author includes a gratuitous quote from one of the doctors she is speaking with that totally slams Republicans. I almost threw the book across the room I was so mad. It had NOTHING to do with the topic, it was only included to signal that she is a progressive and ha ha Republicans are icky like digestive bacteria.

Posted by: Paranoidgirlinseattle at January 26, 2014 01:31 PM (RZ8pf)

179 >>Which publisher? It will make it easier for me to know which books to ignore.

I'm trying to find the post...There's a whole battle between traditional SF writers vs. new generation that runs SFWA.

Posted by: Lizzy at January 26, 2014 01:31 PM (POpqt)

180 173
I read The Prince when I was a junior in high school. I remember being
somewhat appalled. I do not recall why, exactly. I guess I should read
it again.

Posted by: grammie winger at January 26, 2014 01:20 PM (P6QsQ)


That's funny. I read it a long time ago, after high school, and I had the opposite reaction.

I thought, "What's all the fuss about? It's just common-sense advice for a prince. I don't see anything dark or evil about it."

Maybe *I* need to read it again, too.

Posted by: rickl at January 26, 2014 01:31 PM (sdi6R)

181 9
Gingy, Angora garments are lovely but I don't like to knit with it. No elasticity.

Posted by: Tuna at January 26, 2014 01:33 PM (M/TDA)

182 Sad, with Stephen King. He had a mastery of establishing a mood of dread overhanging his novels, with a usual note of optimism at the end.

The Stand, many years ago, was an epic King novel about the end of the world as we know it and how a tiny group of people tried to pull it together again. Good vs. pure evil, and real heroism in the face of evil and against overwhelming odds were a couple of the themes I remember.

It's been a while but I don't remember anything liberal at all about it. If anything, it seemed like a conservative overall view. How things change. Somehow, when they become liberal, the personal becomes political yada, yada, and everything they produce is tainted by liberalism, like some kind of nasty parasite.

Posted by: RM at January 26, 2014 01:33 PM (fRppw)

183 The Prince should probably be read in the context it was written - in support of Cesare Borgia's attempt to create his own empire out of subjugated warring Italian city states. Basically one of the early statists.

Posted by: Votermom at January 26, 2014 01:34 PM (GSIDW)

184 #156

I had a friend who was very fond of the mercy killing conspiracy concept. There was no provision for relieving a President of his office for medical reasons until after JFK was gone. If JFK was adamant about retaining office and running for a second term, the rest of the administration may have seen no other option to avoid a catastrophic power struggle.

Posted by: Epobirs at January 26, 2014 01:34 PM (bPxS6)

185 Hate to swim against the tide but I actually agree that the evil of racial slavery was, in fact, a major theme of Huck Finn, if not the major theme.

The whole extended middle of the book, consisting of Huck and Jim traveling up river is a contrast between a boy's adventure, and the deadly serious consequences for Jim.

Much of the book takes superficially gentle issue with denying the humanity of Jim, but explores that theme quite deeply (along the lines of "hath not a Jew eyes, etc") but in the context of the ignorant and often comical Jim, who nonetheless realizes the stakes involved in his freedom, and who is genuinely anguished in trying to reunite his family.

The major difference between Twain's treatment of racial slavery and today's, and where it is wrong to project modern attitudes, is that Twain did not caricature the Southern whites, and Twain was not above taking a little broad humor from racial stereotypes that in his day were more or less a realistic portrait of many.

Huck Finn is a major work about which much deserves to be written, but I think that the racial slavery issues are in fact front and center in a legitimate way as intended by the author.

Posted by: NYC Parent at January 26, 2014 01:34 PM (36KA5)

186 182
Kind of like that nasty thing that Khan dropped into Chekov's ear.

Posted by: Tuna at January 26, 2014 01:36 PM (M/TDA)

187 Has anyone read "Was Huck Black?" Now, I didn't find it as revolutionary as the author intended (OMG y'all! Mark Twain may have - wait for it - interacted with coloured people and even read coloured authors! And - gasp! - it may have influenced his work!) but it's still pretty good.

Posted by: Lizzie at January 26, 2014 01:39 PM (RojCY)

188 169 But I thought it would have been taught in Crit. Lit. 101 not to read
your own attitudes and beliefs back into authors who lived in earlier
centuries and most likely had different assumptions and modes of
thinking due to living in a culture different than ours.

Posted by: sauropod at January 26, 2014 01:02 PM (G/vW6)


==================


I dunno. Ian Rankin did a piece in the London Times a few years back postulating that Macbeth had been set up. It's one of the few things that makes any of Shakespeare's plays not make me want to claw my eyes out. It can work.


Posted by: Lizzie at January 26, 2014 01:42 PM (RojCY)

189 an Rankin did a piece in the London Times a few years back postulating that Macbeth had been set up.

Can a brothuh get an amen?

Posted by: Marion Barry at January 26, 2014 01:46 PM (6TB1Z)

190 "I bet most people have read at least a smattering of them. My guess would be maybe Genesis, perhaps Exodus, some of the Psalms, one or two of the Gospels, maybe Acts of the Apostles, and the Book of Revelation."

Judges is a good read. More people should read that. After that mere anarchy you get to understand why Israel wanted the biggest, scariest guy around for a king (Saul).

The others are best handled in bible-study (esp. Prophets, Epistles) or in an academic setting (esp. I-IV Reigns, as the Greeks number them).

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at January 26, 2014 01:49 PM (vCyy6)

191 Those who can, do. Those who can't can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, make up shit and call it critiques.

Posted by: Dang at January 26, 2014 01:50 PM (MNq6o)

192 Re "The Master and Margarita:
My interest is piqued. Which translation though. There seems to be a big difference of opinion amongst the Amazon reviewers.


I like the old Signet edition translated by Michael Glenny.

The newer ones are supposed to be better, more accurate, but when I started reading M&M again in the new translation it wasn't as humorous as I remembered, so-

I went back and compared some passages and found the older translation better written, and more important, knew how to write the humor so that the joke came through.

I switched back to the older and read through it again.

YMMV.

Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 01:51 PM (KBvAm)

193 192
Thanks!

Posted by: Tuna at January 26, 2014 01:54 PM (M/TDA)

194 184, 156. I hate conspiracy theories, but what if JFK's assassination was a mercy killing? Did it have to be done in public in broad daylight? Did they have to blow his head off? This is what makes the idea stupid. They could have injected him with something, or induced a fatal heart attack during one of his many treatment sessions. It would have been much easier and cleaner, and Americans back then would have believed sudden death more easily than today, because it happened more frequently than today...

Posted by: JoeyBagels at January 26, 2014 01:55 PM (Usdw3)

195
192
Re "The Master and Margarita:

My interest is piqued. Which translation though. There seems to be a big difference of opinion amongst the Amazon reviewers.



I like the old Signet edition translated by Michael Glenny.


*****

I have Glenny and Ginsburg. You can't go wrong with either I don't think. My first translated read was Glenny.

The newer ones are supposed to have useful end notes if you like that.

Enjoy.

Posted by: gracepmc at January 26, 2014 01:58 PM (rznx3)

196 If "Dr Sleep" is kickass anything, it's kickass mediocrity.



Avoid.

Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 12:37 PM



I agree. I liked "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon," but other than "Dr. Sleep," it's the only book of his I've read since around 1993 because his work just went to shit.

If I want to read something in that genre, I read Koontz, who is obviously a libertarian, or McCammon, who is more conservative.

Posted by: huerfano at January 26, 2014 02:04 PM (bAGA/)

197 What has McCannon written that is good to start with?

Posted by: Votermom at January 26, 2014 02:09 PM (GSIDW)

198 What has McCannon written that is good to start with?

Posted by: Votermom at January 26, 2014 02:09 PM (GSIDW)

Swan Song

Posted by: The Dude at January 26, 2014 02:13 PM (bStrg)

199 Actually I should say Swan Song is the one you want to read but Boy's Life is a better starting point with his work IMO

Posted by: The Dude at January 26, 2014 02:14 PM (bStrg)

200 Votermom - Here it is: http://preview.tinyurl.com/mtspuhl

"We’re specifically looking for novels or collections which
demonstrate a significant crossover between genres – as the name or our
press suggests. CGP has always been a press with a progressive bent.
Bearing that in mind, here are some things we want to see MORE of:


Queer Main CharactersMC’s of ColorWomen MC’sDisabled MC’sScience saves the day!Far futureStories set outside North America

Posted by: Lizzy at January 26, 2014 02:15 PM (POpqt)

201 Extremely late to the discussion here. Someone upthread mentioned the Mack Bolan books; at one time (many many years ago) I had most (if not all) of the Mack Bolan books. When I was in high school (back in the early 80's) the publisher of the Mack Bolan series had a monthly subscription wherein you would get a Mack Bolan book, a Phoenix Force (a group of international "mercenaries" who worked for the US taking on mostly Soviet backed terrorists and other badniks) and an Able Team (3 Americans who did the same thing as Phoenix Force, except they worked inside the US). I need to get up into the attic at my mother's house and see if they are all still there.

Posted by: DaveinNC at January 26, 2014 02:29 PM (/NgNT)

202 69 "It would be at the top of my overrated list except that place will forever belong to Catcher in the Rye."

+1

I think Gravity's Rainbow should join Ulysses on the unread (and unreadable) list.

Readers who are sick of liberal douchebaggery in their fiction would probably enjoy The Last Centurion by John Ringo.

Posted by: cool breeze at January 26, 2014 02:41 PM (A+/8k)

203 Readers who are sick of liberal douchebaggery in their fiction would probably enjoy The Last Centurion by John Ringo.


Posted by: cool breeze at January 26, 2014 02:41 PM (A+/8k)


All of his stuff is good.

Posted by: Vic at January 26, 2014 02:46 PM (T2V/1)

204 Actually, I think Twain did write Huck Finn at one level as a way of raising awareness about how white people treated slaves in certain parts of the US.
The word ni66er is used a lot in the book, and in a way consistent with the South at that time. Huck evolves in the novel to see the error of his thinking, and becomes more humane, in a way that Sawyer never would (it would never even cross his mind).
That does NOT mean that whites have to change today. Nor that blacks do
not have most of the responsibility for their education levels, and
communities.
Many so-called black racists consider the novel Huck Finn to be racist for its use of the word ni66er. But, then again, Twain didn't write it to attract their conscious, jsut the majority white opinion. Still, they try to push it off the shelves of libraries and curricula for that reason because they one of two things if not both: they are genuinely stupid and/or bigots themselves (victims ).


Posted by: jb at January 26, 2014 02:55 PM (3tdHf)

205 #194

Martyrdom requires showmanship. The resulting deification of JFK guaranteed the election for Johnson and a great lack of opposition to anything that could be sold as a JFK legacy.

For people who weren't around at the time, it can be hard to realize that JFK wasn't as beloved by one and all as much of what has been written since would lead you to believe. I didn't realize until recently that the whole 'Camelot' thing was a post-hoc invention pushed by Jackie and dutifully perpetuated by the media.

Posted by: Epobirs at January 26, 2014 03:05 PM (bPxS6)

206 8
I'm rereading alone Survivor and The Devil in the White City and working
on Almost a Miracle, about the revolutionary war. All pretty good.

The Devil in the White City made me go on a buying spree and pick up everything that Erik Larson (the author) had written at the time. Really liked Isaac's Storm and the Garden of the Beasts was scary good. Keep looking for something new from him and have not seen anything. Anyone heard any rumors? real info?

Posted by: Charlotte at January 26, 2014 03:07 PM (u1eI9)

207 My HS senior English teacher once told us that the only three things worth writing about were sex, death and immorality. Seemed wrong to a bunch of us, and one guy pops his hand and asks "what about Huck and Jim floating down the river?". She comes right back with "What do you think they were doing on that raft?". We still laugh about that idiocy 30 years later.

King began getting downright weird in the 90s. As opposed to immortal evil spider/clown thingies. He's had a thing against Dallas since that time frame, with references in a number of books. Not sure if his collapse into full frontal attacks on what most people consider Normal Americans were due to brain damage after his accident, or just coincided with the rise of the Two Decade's Hate ca 2000. Or each fed off the other. 11/24/64 actually toned down on his hatred for The Other.

The Stars Came Back did make a lot of cultural references, but they weren't just *right now*. If you've been alive over the last few decades and seen various SF movies, or read a variety of books, you'll get it. There are things that relate to current events, but more as part of the storyline, not overt.

Posted by: bikermailman at January 26, 2014 03:10 PM (nhwUd)

208 200 Votermom - Here it is: http://preview.tinyurl.com/mtspuhl

Thanks Lizzy.

It's like we're living in some twisted neo-Victorian Age or something.

Posted by: votermom at January 26, 2014 03:18 PM (GSIDW)

209 On the practical reading side, and apropos the crumbling-as-we-type disaster that is Obamacare, I can highly recommend The Self-Pay Patient, a very recent offering by Sean Parnell.

It's concise, mercifully unblemished by ideological diatribes (although the author is clearly not a PPACA fan), and covers a surprisingly broad range of non-bureaucratic options for care. Parnell also goes over the nuts-and-bolts of Obamacare's impact on the average citizen.

"Health Ministries"? Had never heard of them. There's a Concentra urgent care clinic - which *gasp* posts prices for self-pay customers - literally within walking distance of my front door?? I had no friggin' clue.

It's on Amazon and easy to find by author or title. I picked up the Kindle version for less than $8. A ridiculous bargain, considering it has the potential to save some folks thousand$.

Enjoy!

Posted by: goy at January 26, 2014 03:22 PM (oGez1)

210 Putting Swan Song, Boy's Life, and The Last Centurion on my to-read list.

About King - we were watching Haven on Netflix & I commented to my kid that King always has an evil / crazy Reverend character. She said "he must really hate preachers."

Posted by: votermom at January 26, 2014 03:23 PM (GSIDW)

211 Gravity's Rainbow -and almost everything by Pynchon --is unreadable. But books by Don DeLillo who was very influenced by him are excellent, and most are eminently readable, especially his opus, Underworld. Another Pynchon acolyte, T.Coraghessan Boyle used to be very entertaining, but lately his novels have been populated by all types and sundry of prog-yuppies and there is no one in his books to like or to root for. I used to consume his novels in two sittings, but couldn't finish his last two books...

Posted by: JoeyBagels at January 26, 2014 03:33 PM (Usdw3)

212 Votermom, I think the term for the era mankind is (re)entering is better termed The Age of Moloch.

Second for Swan Song recommendation. Koontz also recommended, there's always a heavy presence of Light countering the evil in the stories.

Posted by: bikermailman at January 26, 2014 03:36 PM (nhwUd)

213 I know, so late, but I've been thinking about a blurb I saw in the elevator the other day and it has to do with books: Pope John Paul
II's personal secretary or valet or is having the pontiff's private notes published against his express wishes.

What a dick move.

Posted by: Gem at January 26, 2014 03:54 PM (Gc5mo)

214 And, oh, yeah, liberal sandbag shots are as prevalent in books as they are in movies and television. Lefty authors absolutely do not care if they offend conservative readers.

Posted by: Gem at January 26, 2014 03:57 PM (Gc5mo)

215 new writers group attended Thursday. Some of them asked if I had read Game of Thrones.

Wonder if it was a litmus test or something. Frankly told them that I read the first book and found it was completely depressing. That if I wanted depressing I would watch the news. End of discussion, stomped on Martin, and never mentioned what a leftist loon he is.

Finally finished horror story outline. 3,200 words. More like a short story than an outline. So back to writing fantasy novel.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at January 26, 2014 03:58 PM (OrnSX)

216 Now I’m reading Beowulf and it is slow going. Grendel is almost certainly dead, but they haven’t confirmed that yet. 13 books in and many more to go.

Posted by: .87c at January 26, 2014 11:14 AM (qZPXs)


The Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf is a very enjoyable read. If that is the version you're struggling with, then I'm sorry, that's as good as it gets, unless you want to go rogue and read Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead instead. If you're slogging through some other translation, however, you might want to consider switching.

Posted by: CQD at January 26, 2014 04:12 PM (d6iMX)

217 Gravity's Rainbow -and almost everything by Pynchon --is unreadable


I hated nearly every fucking page of Gravity's Rainbow and I'd been really looking forward to reading it. In addition to it being incredibly trite it reminded me of every goddamn thing I despised about the 70s.

Posted by: Captain Hate at January 26, 2014 04:14 PM (7FFZz)

218 I'm reading Follett's Pillars of the Earth - very good but very long. I'm liking it a lot more than I thought I would.

Posted by: biancaneve at January 26, 2014 05:07 PM (2sR50)

219 Gravity's Rainbow -and almost everything by Pynchon --is unreadable. But books by Don DeLillo who was very influenced by him are excellent, and most are eminently readable


"Ratner's Star" by Don DeLillo is pretty clearly his attempt at writing a "Pynchon-style novel".

Also, it's my favorite of his books - thin plot but fun ideas and good humor. DeLillo hadn't become too DeLillo-esque at that point in time.

"The Names" and "Running Dog" by him are also good. He was a young writer with something to prove then.

Posted by: naturalfake at January 26, 2014 05:28 PM (KBvAm)

220 Great post! Wasn't Mark Twain gay? He probably will be in the future.

Posted by: BignJames at January 26, 2014 06:23 PM (ZNQKl)

221 Re authors going on alibtard tangent, that's why I quit Tim Dorsey and the "Serge Storm" series. I used to get on waiting lists for his books. They were a scream. Then he let loose on Palin a few books ago and I never went back. I lost interest right then and there in that particular book.

Posted by: RushBabe at January 26, 2014 06:38 PM (hrIP5)

222 With all the talk this month about Pompeii by Robert Harris I couldn't resist picking it up myself.

It was a very enjoyable novel even if the historical reality with respect to the locals anticipating the eruption was very different.

Larry Correia finally convinced me to shell out the $40 for a WorldCon/Hugo supporting membership with his "Sad Puppies 2" campaign. I'll be nominating his "Warbound" as well as a host of 2013 books of similar authors for the Hugo in the hopes that something sticks that isn't about global warming or dragons raping robots.

http://tinyurl.com/kukedsf

Currently reading "How Dark the World Becomes" by Frank Chadwick. This is his first novel, perhaps his first published work of fiction, but it is extremely polished and well written. I'm enjoying it a great deal and plan to put Chadwick's name in as a Campbell Award nominee for best new sci-fi writer.

Posted by: BornLib at January 26, 2014 07:51 PM (zpNwC)

223 @165 and @185: I agree that the evil of racism is at least a theme of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." It may not be *the* theme, but it's at least in the realm of what is going on in the book. The professor may be adding her own views into her interpretation, but that interpretation at least is related to the text.

It's not like she's claiming that "Huckleberry Finn" is about gay marriage or global warming or something else that has nothing to do with the text.

Posted by: Joshua at January 26, 2014 09:45 PM (oMznd)

224
10. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
9. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
8. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo and A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
7. 1984, George Orwell
6. Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville
5. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
3. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
2. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
1. Ulysses, James Joyce:

Read:
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens, 1984, George Orwell, Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville
And at least part of The Art of War, Sun Tzu, The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith - I don't remember if I sat down and read the whole book for any of these but I definately read big chunks. None of the others, though, and aside from Moby Dick I doubt I will bother.

Posted by: Lea at January 27, 2014 10:16 AM (lIU4e)

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