Author Topic: Now reading  (Read 90473 times)

phi

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #200 on: July 26, 2009, 01:30:15 PM »
Did you like that? Fred Dibnah  ;D

avec

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #201 on: July 31, 2009, 11:45:24 AM »


http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307266303

This really was one of the most interesting and inspiring books I've read in a long time, and made me question a lot of our assumptions about physical limitations


This book looks really fascinating, I'll check it out, thanks!  I don't run any more, but I do walk all day long on my job (through rain and snow, etc). 

I went home for a visit and took a few children's books off the shelves.  Charlotte's Web, Wind in the Willows, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  Putting them by my bedside for night time reading. 

Also reading "The Four Noble Truths" by Geshe Tashi Tsering

Dave Michuda

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #202 on: July 31, 2009, 09:32:58 PM »
I am starting "Heaven's Reach", the 6th & final book in David Brin's "uplift" series.  I read the first trilogy a long time ago & recently returned to the series to read #4 & 5.  I really enjoyed those & am looking forward to #6.

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #203 on: September 14, 2009, 02:30:59 PM »
I've seen the movie Silence of the Lambs many times, and the movie Manhunter once, but haven't previously read any work by Thomas Harris.  Manhunter is based on Harris's third novel Red Dragon which was more recently re-made into a film of the same name starring Ed Norton.



I'm now listening to the audiobook of Red Dragon and I'm pretty impressed with it.  Harris's style is simple, kind of terse and unornamented, more of a gritty detective story than a horror story in terms of feel, but there are these incredibly hard-hitting and awful scenes of horror interspersed throughout.  The horror feels real, though, not supernatural or make-believe.  I haven't enjoyed a new fiction author discovery as much since Robert Charles Wilson a few years ago, and I look forward to reading Harris's later books, though I've heard Hannibal is not quite as good and Hannibal Rising is fairly questionable.   OK, let's just say I'm looking forward to finishing this one up, and then reading Silence of the Lambs.



Just recently finished Queen of Angels by Greg Bear and found it a challenging, thought-provoking piece of science fiction, quite different in style from the other Greg Bear works I've read.  Though definitely a science fiction story, this one feels more literary and sort of poetic than his other stuff, though maybe closest to Blood Music.  An interesting story focusing on distortions of the mind, and questions of consciousness and soul, both human and artificial.  I'll probably want to pick this up again in a year or two and go through it once more, as it's fairly thick with ideas.
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cromag

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #204 on: September 15, 2009, 12:33:31 AM »
Recently I really, really enjoyed a book called Born to Run which is mostly about a tribe called the Tarahumara in Mexico who live hidden in the canyons and whose culture involves extremely long-distance running, for hunting and for entertainment.

The author is an American magazine writer who keeps getting injuries while running relatively modest distances and he becomes curious about why so many modern, urban runners are hurt all the time, despite fancy, expensive running shoes, while relatively primitive runners running in the mountains in bare feet or hand-made sandals, can run 50 or 100 miles at a time without injuries.

So it's partly an exploration of the Tarahumara, with insight into the American running scene, particularly the niches of ultramarathoning and trail running, culminating in a "challenge" race between top American ultramarathoners like Scott Jurek and Jenn Shelton, against a handful of Tarahumara runners in their weird garb and sandals.



http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307266303

This really was one of the most interesting and inspiring books I've read in a long time, and made me question a lot of our assumptions about physical limitations.




I didn't spot this at first, but the author was interviewed on one of my semi-local public radio stations.  You can hear the show, if you like, by downloading the MP3 from their archives, <HERE>.  Enter the author's name in the search box.  I was born with flat feet, and they've only gotten worse, so I was pretty interested in the show when I heard it.
Science News, Vol. 175, No. 9, April 25, 2009, page 1 -- "New mapping of the human genome shows none of us are normal."

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #205 on: September 15, 2009, 08:31:26 AM »
Thanks for the link, Cromag.

I found the book so interesting I've been reading every article or interview I've come across featuring McDougall and he seems to be giving the same interview over and over and over, in magazines and newspapers and blogs across the world.   I've downloaded the mp3 you linked to and I'll give it a listen now and see if he gives up anything other than the same anecdotes as before.
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #206 on: December 21, 2009, 04:27:23 PM »
Just finished "Just a Geek" by Wil Wheaton.



If you don't recognize him and don't know who Wil Wheaton is, he's the actor who became famous for starring in Stand by Me and then played Ensign Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The book is a combination of reminiscences about his earlier acting career, and reflections from the 30 year old he's become, who struggles with being unable to get the kind of acting roles he figured he'd get when he quit Star Trek TNG.  The book is based a lot on his blog, wilwheaton.net which became notorious in the early days of the web for being maybe the first "celebrity" website actually designed and coded by the actual celebrity and not by some PR firm or publicist. 

He tells stories of dealing with how much everyone hated the Wesley Crusher character and took it out on him, as if the things they didn't like about the character were the fault of this teen-aged actor who had nothing to do with writing the words the character spoke.  He discovers other outlets for his need to express himself, first his blog, and then he gains enough confidence to start writing these books.

My description of this makes it sound pretty self-indulgent and at times it is, but it's also pretty funny, and the behind-the-scenes TNG stories and later interactions with Star Trek legends are worth it for sure.  I understand Wheaton ended up pretty angry at his publisher for marketing the book as a "Star Trek book," feeling it could stand on its own, I guess.  But even though I feel for the guy, he seems determined to fight a losing battle against the perception that the most interesting things he'll ever do in his life were done by the time he was old enough to vote.

I'd recommend this to Star Wars fans, particularly to TNG fans, whether or not you like the Wesley Crusher character.  It's also of interest if you've ever enjoyed reading wilwheaton.net over the years, as there's a bunch of information here about how he drifted into designing a web site, and saw his audience grow.  I imagine some will enjoy this from the "look at the washed-up child star" angle, but really this whole book is about Wheaton's fight against that perception.

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jkn

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #207 on: December 22, 2009, 06:44:30 AM »
I've read about half of Just a Geek - and I love it.    But then - I've been following his blog for a long time.   

The latest twitter updates from him are his being a bit upset with O'Reilly for being out of print on "Just a Geek" yet again - and as usual - right before Christmas.   He's been doing Publish on Demand stuff - and looks like he might be doing that going forward. 

He generally cracks me up - that he can toss in a d&d reference for what he's making for breakfast - or the air elemental coming down his street cracks up the inner geek in me.   

Somewhere there's a great post on his blog (not sure if it's in his book) about ambient / chill in the 90's.  ... found it:

http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2008/09/this-post-has-e.html

 
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #208 on: December 22, 2009, 10:33:11 AM »
Pretty cool that Wil's an ambient music fan.  He even name-drops Robert Rich.  I oughtta send him a CD with a note saying, "Here you go, Wesley."   ;)
 
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SunDummy

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #209 on: January 19, 2010, 10:47:37 AM »


"Fruitless Fall", by Rowan Jacobsen.  Along with Michael Polan's "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dilemna", this is the most interesting and disturbing book I've read in years.  It tells the story of the search for the cause of CCD (collony collapse disorder) in honeybees, and what it means for the long-term health of our entire agricultural system.  Highly recommended!


The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis

"Many people will remember that Rachel Carson predicted a silent spring, but she also warned of a fruitless fall, a time when “there was no pollination and there would be no fruit.” That fruitless fall has nearly arrived as beekeepers have watched a third of the honey bee population mysteriously die over the past two years. Rowan Jacobsen uses the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder to tell the bigger story of bees and their essential connection to our daily lives. With their disappearance, we won’t just be losing honey. Industrial agriculture depends on honey bees to pollinate most fruits, nuts, and vegetables—more than a third of the food we eat. Yet this system is falling apart. The number of these professional pollinators has become so inadequate that they are now trucked across the country and flown around the world, pushing them ever closer to collapse. By exploring the causes of CCD and the even more chilling decline of wild pollinators, Fruitless Fall does more than just highlight this growing agricultural crisis. It emphasizes the miracle of flowering plants and their pollination partners, and urges readers not to take for granted the Edenic garden Homo sapiens has played in since birth. Our world could have been utterly different—and may be still."

“A spiritual successor to Rachel Carson’s seminal eco-polemic Silent Spring… You can’t finish this book unconvinced that our food supply is in serious danger.…Jacobsen’s concern for the fate of the honey bee population is easily contagious…The Verdict: Read.” —Time
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #210 on: January 19, 2010, 02:22:12 PM »
That sounds interesting, Sundummy.  I know a guy who keeps bees as a hobby and he must have forwarded me two dozen articles over the past 18 months or so regarding this bizarre colony collapse thing.

I myself have been doing a ton of reading and (audiobook) listening lately.

I finished Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End a couple of weeks ago and loved it all the way through.  It also stood up incredibly well for science fiction over half a century old.  Great writing, a fascinating central "mystery" slowly revealed, pretty good characters (though this is tough with any story that unfolds over more than a century of story-time), and such a world-shifting turn of events toward the end.  Overall, just fantastic.  I wish there were more books containing this kind of simple, imaginative wonder.



I know there are other Clarke fans out there -- would you say the next logical step in exploring this author would be Rendezvous With Rama?  I can't believe I've waited this long to start checking him out, especially given how much I liked the film of 2001: A Space Odyssey and even 2010.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 04:41:09 PM by mgriffin »
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False Mirror

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #211 on: January 19, 2010, 02:34:46 PM »
I'm currently reading Dan Simmons' "Endymion", the sequel to "Hyperion", which I enjoyed quite much.
Additionally I'm also reading a yet unfinished novel from a friend...

SunDummy

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #212 on: January 19, 2010, 02:49:10 PM »
I keep bees as a hobby, so the topic of CCD is relevant to me; but what this book shows clearly is that EVERYONE, not just beekeepers, has a major interest in keeping the pollinators healthy.  The ripple effect of CCD is likely going to mean major shifts in our eating habits and the availability of foods.  This book gives the best explanation I've read yet on CCD, and how we're all in trouble if we don't find a solution. 
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #213 on: January 19, 2010, 03:08:55 PM »
Previous read, The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer



In this one, a scientist is able to do such a high-accuracy brain scan of an individual dying to determine that some kind of electrical energy leaves the human brain at the time of death.  Once this information becomes public, this energy phenomenon is called the "soul wave" and the story takes on all kinds of scientific, social and religious implications. The discovery leads very quickly (though I can't see how one is closely connected to the other) to an experiment in which digital simulations of a human mind are subjected to different effects and limitations in order to determine how they would react.  It's quite science-oriented, which might make a difference in some people enjoying it, or not, but there's also a bit of detective story mixed in as well.

It's a relatively early book for Sawyer, and won the Nebula award.  I'd recommend it to those who usually enjoy this author, or for people interested in the idea of the human mind reduced to a virtualization.
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einstein36

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #214 on: January 19, 2010, 05:22:14 PM »
quite curious if you have read his Flash Foward book(yes, same series based on his book)....
I personally haven't, but was intrigued...


Previous read, The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer



In this one, a scientist is able to do such a high-accuracy brain scan of an individual dying to determine that some kind of electrical energy leaves the human brain at the time of death.  Once this information becomes public, this energy phenomenon is called the "soul wave" and the story takes on all kinds of scientific, social and religious implications. The discovery leads very quickly (though I can't see how one is closely connected to the other) to an experiment in which digital simulations of a human mind are subjected to different effects and limitations in order to determine how they would react.  It's quite science-oriented, which might make a difference in some people enjoying it, or not, but there's also a bit of detective story mixed in as well.

It's a relatively early book for Sawyer, and won the Nebula award.  I'd recommend it to those who usually enjoy this author, or for people interested in the idea of the human mind reduced to a virtualization.
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #215 on: January 19, 2010, 05:26:50 PM »
Yes, I read Flash Forward about a year ago.  I thought it was quite good, and though I haven't watched the show at all, I understand the premise is only superficially similar.  Of course, if they'd used the exact situation of the novel for the TV show, it wouldn't have made a good series.

Robert Sawyer is a writer of very interesting ideas, energetic storytelling, and a fairly direct, unornamented style.  He's one of my favorites now.
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Bebbo

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #216 on: January 20, 2010, 04:15:43 AM »
That sounds interesting, Sundummy.  I know a guy who keeps bees as a hobby and he must have forwarded me two dozen articles over the past 18 months or so regarding this bizarre colony collapse thing.

I myself have been doing a ton of reading and (audiobook) listening lately.

I finished Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End a couple of weeks ago and loved it all the way through.  It also stood up incredibly well for science fiction over half a century old.  Great writing, a fascinating central "mystery" slowly revealed, pretty good characters (though this is tough with any story that unfolds over more than a century of story-time), and such a world-shifting turn of events toward the end.  Overall, just fantastic.  I wish there were more books containing this kind of simple, imaginative wonder.



I know there are other Clarke fans out there -- would you say the next logical step in exploring this author would be Rendezvous With Rama?  I can't believe I've waited this long to start checking him out, especially given how much I liked the film of 2001: A Space Odyssey and even 2010.


Rama is pretty good, as are The Fountains of Paradise and The Songs of Distant Earth. Have you read The City and the Stars?

Bebbo

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #217 on: January 20, 2010, 04:19:02 AM »
Just finished Magnificent Desolation by Buzz Aldrin. It's a revealing insight into his life after the moon landing, and the battles he's had to fight with his "demons".

Now reading the last volume of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It's over a year since I read the second volume, which I found pretty boring so am hoping the last one will be better.

einstein36

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #218 on: January 20, 2010, 08:18:46 AM »
thanks...he seemed like a good writer to read...


Yes, I read Flash Forward about a year ago.  I thought it was quite good, and though I haven't watched the show at all, I understand the premise is only superficially similar.  Of course, if they'd used the exact situation of the novel for the TV show, it wouldn't have made a good series.

Robert Sawyer is a writer of very interesting ideas, energetic storytelling, and a fairly direct, unornamented style.  He's one of my favorites now.
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Seren

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #219 on: January 24, 2010, 06:54:57 AM »
Meeting numerous people with memory loss and/or dementia in work I thought it would be interesting to read 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat' by Oliver Sacks....illuminating and disturbing after just two chapters.

First a music teacher who taught in college, yet was not able to recognise a glove and thought his foot was his shoe. He could manage all his tasks as long as he sung himself through them, but if suddenly distracted or presented with a 'what is this?' type question was completely at a loss. The writer said he had no body image but had a music image.

Secondly a submariner whose memory stopped working in the 1970's and could remember nothing beyond 1945. Perfectly functioning in everyway but completely cut adrift or isolated from time. He could still type and work out equations etc (as long as the task was not too long, but quickly became bored and restless as the tasks were just mechanical). However he lived in constant involvement in aesthetics and act that gave his life expressive content that memory could not.

athird person mentioned in passing had a stroke that took away his sight and all memory and concept of sight - he did not know that he had been able to see before, was unable to describe anything visually and became bewildered at the concept of light. - also mentions people who no longer dream visually.......

as I said, illuminating and strangely disturbing.