Author Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club  (Read 70364 times)

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Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #120 on: January 04, 2013, 03:17:02 PM »
I read NYT's David Brooks regularly, and his recent column is on politeness.

Quote
He was making the mistake, which metaphysical fools tend to make, that there is no connection between your inner moral quality and the level of courtesy you present to others.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #121 on: January 06, 2013, 01:50:26 AM »
Just picked up the Valis trilogy by Philip K. Dick. Looking forward to starting this one!

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #122 on: January 09, 2013, 04:34:43 PM »
I read ‘House of Leaves’ by Mark Z. Danielewski and was so intrigued and impressed by it, I excitedly purchased his ‘Only Revolutions’. It, however, has been extremely difficult to get into. It’s sort of written in abstract, stream of consciousness style. The book basically has only front covers, the character Sam’s story/perspective runs from one cover and meets Hailey’s, the other character’s story/perspective, which when the book is flipped, starts from the other cover. (Two front covers, no back.)
Tricky, huh?
Sam and Hailey are teenagers who never grow old. They travel through time, chasing and trying to outrun history.
It is like attempting to read a jigsaw puzzle, where you know there is a picture, but the pieces are not perfectly matched.
Fitting it altogether has been a challenge I have yet to accomplish.
Has anyone else read this book?
It is as uniquely written as ‘House of Leaves’, in that ‘reader participation’ sort of way, with surprises and mysteries around every corner. Literally!
 


Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #123 on: January 20, 2013, 09:38:50 AM »
Ideal for a psychiatrist's waiting room!


Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #124 on: January 24, 2013, 07:01:01 AM »
Finished Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, which was really well done. The second half was really surprising.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #125 on: February 09, 2013, 03:29:36 PM »
I am reading ‘The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody’ by Will Cuppy.
It is a very amusing tongue-in-cheek look at a few of the great and not so great figures who grace the pages of history (factual, in most cases.)
Here are some sample excerpts concerning the section on Hannibal-
"Rome was founded in 753 b.c. by Romulus, a baby who was suckled by a she-wolf and guarded by a black woodpecker. Carthage was founded about a hundred years earlier by Elissa, daughter of Mutton I, King of Tyre. Later on, she was identified with Dido, the lady who was so fond of Aeneas.
It’s a strange world we live in.
The Romans and the Carthaginians were very different in character and temperament. The Carthaginians had no ideals. All they wanted was money and helling around and having a big time. The Romans were stern and dignified, living hard, frugal lives and adhering to the traditional Latin virtues, gravitas, pietas, simplicitas, and adultery. (there is a foot note- Carthage was governed by it’s rich men and was therefore a plutocracy. Rome was also governed by it’s rich men and therefore a republic.)"
It goes on to state "Hamilcar, the great Carthaginian general, hated the Romans something awful, as they had marooned him on top of a mountain in Sicily for several years and made him look very silly. Back home in Carthage, he would gather his family around him and they would all hate the Romans until they almost burst."
Hamilcar had 3 sons, Hannibal, Hasdrubal, and Mago, as well as two daughters.
"When his son Hannibal was 9 years old, Hamilcar took him to the temple of Baal and made him swear eternal hatred against the Romans.
Hamilcar also told Hannibal about elephants and how you must always have plenty of these animals to scare the enemy. He attributed much of his own success to elephants and believed they would have won the First Punic War for him if things hadn’t gone slightly haywire; for the war had turned into a naval affair.
(The Romans had learned about elephants while fighting Pyrrhus, whose elephants defeated him in 275 b.c., and even before that, in Alexander’s time, King Porus had been undone by his own elephants. Thus, if history had taught any one thing, it was never to use elephants in war.)
The Carthaginian elephants were trained to rush forward and trample the Romans, but only too frequently they would rush backward and trample the Carthaginians."
 
We know about the crossing of the Alps, business. All the elephants survived the journey, although about half the soldiers perished.
"Whenever a thousand or so of his men would fall off an Alp, Hannibal would tell the rest to cheer up, the elephants were all alright. If someone had given him a shove at the right moment, much painful history might have been avoided. It’s the little things that count. (footnote- Livy informed us that Hannibal split the huge Alpine rocks with vinegar to break a path for the elephants. Vinegar was a high explosive in 218 b.c., but not before or since.)
Hannibal expected to get more elephants that he had left in Spain with his brother Hasdrubal when he arrived, but the Romans cut the supply line. During his 15 years in Italy, Hannibal never had enough elephants to suit him. Most of the original group succumbed to the climate, and he was always begging Carthage for more, but the people at home were stingy. They would ask if he thought they were made of elephants and what had he done with the elephants they sent before."
It goes on, but I think that is enough. If it has not made you inwardly grin, you won’t be interested in the rest of the book.
 
As far as the elephants are concerned, I mean, come on! Elephants are great!
They have opposable noses and never forget!
I could see it if they were taught to swing a club, brandish a sword, or fling a spear besides trampling. It could work, as long as you were very nice to them (because of the not forgetting business; if you ever treated them badly; then you would need to use caution in teaching them weaponry.)
Gosh, I guess we are lucky there are fewer of them than us, and they are not a hating sort in general. If they were, they might rise up against us if they could only learn to handle firearms and create WMD...

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #126 on: February 14, 2013, 03:48:24 AM »



                After reading the recommendations in this thread, I listened to the audiobook of "World War Z" the other night. Many thanks, I really enjoyed it. A fresh take, indeed.


Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #127 on: February 14, 2013, 10:18:22 AM »
Family of Secrets by Russ Baker.
I'm currently reading this too. Excellent topic, but it's a difficult read. Very dry, yet fascinating.

Just recently finished The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. I'm not usually a fiction reader, but damn, this was a page turner. Post-apocalyptic survival story that will get your heart racing.

Also just finished Fringe-ology by Steve Volk. Goes over a lot of topics Art would discuss, and comes to the conclusion that there's a lot we just don't know. It's a very even-handed take on the world of the paranormal.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #128 on: February 14, 2013, 02:17:19 PM »
I'm reading Stephen King's 11/22/63. The first few hundred pages were really interesting, and I could not put the book down. Then just like that the book turned into a dull romance novel. Its like reading two different stories, and neither one has anything to do with JFK. Instead of JFK and time travel, you have to read about the main character's relationship with the least interesting character in history and his job substituting kids while directing a school play and watching high school football. Its a 200 page story stretched to fit onto 850 pages, and half the book is dull filler. its become a chore to read. I hope the story gets better or I may not finish it, and I hate not finishing a book.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #129 on: February 15, 2013, 04:50:31 AM »


                After reading the recommendations in this thread, I listened to the audiobook of "World War Z" the other night. Many thanks, I really enjoyed it. A fresh take, indeed.

Now get ready for the disappointment of the film version....

After the audiobook there is no way anyone but Mark Hammil and Henry Rollins can play those respective characters.

Book Recommendation: Master-Mind
« Reply #130 on: February 17, 2013, 01:05:21 PM »
"Master-Mind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes",  by Maria Konnikova   
 
I highly recommend this book.  You'll find it to be a combination of neuroscience, philosophy and psychology with an intrinsic overlay of Sherlock Holmes' deductive methodologies applied to the working of your mind.  Konnikova is a superb writer.  This book is enjoyable, and should be considered "required reading" by intelligent adults.
 
 http://www.amazon.com/Mastermind-Think-Like-Sherlock-Holmes/dp/0670026573/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361127033&sr=1-1&keywords=master-mind   

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #131 on: February 17, 2013, 03:31:35 PM »
I'm reading Stephen King's 11/22/63. The first few hundred pages were really interesting, and I could not put the book down. Then just like that the book turned into a dull romance novel. Its like reading two different stories, and neither one has anything to do with JFK. Instead of JFK and time travel, you have to read about the main character's relationship with the least interesting character in history and his job substituting kids while directing a school play and watching high school football. Its a 200 page story stretched to fit onto 850 pages, and half the book is dull filler. its become a chore to read. I hope the story gets better or I may not finish it, and I hate not finishing a book.

C2C is not somewhere I ordinarily get reading hints. I'm kind of surprised Stephen King tried something like you describe with 11/22/63, which seems more SciFi than horror. I confess I'm not really a King fan. The last Stephen King I read was Pet Sematary, and I admit it grabbed me in spite of what I thought were King's deficiencies. I started after dinner one night and finished, teeth clinched in fright and sleepless, at 6:00 a,m. the next morning. Needless to say I called in sick.

Overall I think King has wonderful concepts and great plot lines. He is a classic movie scriptwriter and would still have been a multi-millionaire if he'd done only that. But for me he simply cannot create an interesting non-stock character, and his dialogue is wooden and dead. I remember with PS being simultaneously terrified because of some plot twist, and embarrassed for King at his characters and their conversations with each other and the shallowness of King's characterizations. But its what the public wants.

I wonder whether I'm being unfair to contemporary authors. I'm trying to think of the youngest author I last read with general approval, and it's Tom Wolfe, who has to be in his 80's. I think his stuff is worthy of Dickens, which is my test for authors: will they still be around and read in 50 or 100 years? I think Mailer and Kesey will be, and I have liked several things they wrote (but certainly not all, particularly with Mailer). Even though I made myself read about the world according to John Irving I just couldn't care about him, and he didn't do it for me. I think generally I haven't read a new author with approval in 20 years. Things like 50 Shades and Hunger Games are just so much popular-press fluff to me. So I guess I've doomed myself to thinking A Man In Full is "new literature". And I'm probably missing out on a lot of good fiction writing.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #132 on: February 17, 2013, 05:13:38 PM »
Finished Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, which was really well done. The second half was really surprising.


I remember reading that years ago and it really made an impact. Along with Stranger in a Strange Land they were among the 2 most memorable sci fi books for me.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #133 on: February 17, 2013, 05:26:22 PM »

I remember reading that years ago and it really made an impact. Along with Stranger in a Strange Land they were among the 2 most memorable sci fi books for me.

Stranger in a Strange Land is also on my reading list. Never read it before.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #134 on: February 18, 2013, 09:16:52 PM »
I think generally I haven't read a new author with approval in 20 years.


Patrick O'Brian?


Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #135 on: February 18, 2013, 09:27:59 PM »

Patrick O'Brian?
Ah, you remembered, and I forgot! And after my sniffy pontifications about Stephen King. It should be a lesson to me.

But O'Brian was still pretty close to the 20 years, since Blue At The Mizzen was, what?, 1999? You're right, 13 years isn't 20, so I stand convicted by my own words, and corrected by a Gabster who paid attention (more than I did, apparently).

Man, I did love O'Brian. He was truly a great, great writer. I think he was the equal of Dickens - his characterizations and explorations of the human condition were worthy of Shakespeare. He certainly understood the convoluted trail our thoughts and feelings so often take from their beginning to their end. A true master of style, and a commander of language. Wow, that was bad. But we Gabsters must so often take the lesser of two weevils.

Thanks for the reminder.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #136 on: February 18, 2013, 09:28:44 PM »
 
        I think Noory could hang tough with the two authors I've been reading this week( ;D )

          Kevin Phillips: 1775: A Good Year For Revolution
         Gordon Wood : Empire of Liberty-A History of the Early Republic 1789-1815.

       

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #137 on: February 18, 2013, 09:30:33 PM »

        I think Noory could hang tough with the two authors I've been reading this week
          Kevin Phillips: 1775: A Good Year For Revolution     

Is that the Kevin Phillips who is/was also a political columnist/writer?

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #138 on: February 18, 2013, 09:40:25 PM »
Is that the Kevin Phillips who is/was also a political columnist/writer?

      Yes, Mr Southern Strategy himself. Has ventured into Anglo-American history, starting with his "The Cousins Wars" in 1998.

       Reviews for him on Amazon are funny, some "reviewers" unwilling to forgive his Nixonite beginnings, despite a 25 year leftward drift that has put him on Bill Moyers show. John Dean gets that too...it's pretty amusing.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #139 on: February 18, 2013, 11:41:49 PM »
     ...Reviews for him on Amazon are funny, some "reviewers" unwilling to forgive his Nixonite beginnings, despite a 25 year leftward drift that has put him on Bill Moyers show. John Dean gets that too...it's pretty amusing.

I just don't get it with those people: John Dean has every right to live his life as an oily, self-serving weasel who rolled over to save his own ass. Sheesh, give the man a break.

Besides, it's not like we haven't always known Dean's was a conversion of convenience - Jeez, man, he's a lawyer. And like every graduating law student, prior to sitting for the bar exam he had the mandatory surgery which stripped him of any vestiges of his conscience, along with whatever remained of his spine, guts, nuts and heart.*


*The female version of this surgery has never had a sexual component. But there have been whispers that the surgery for women candidates for the bar exam has included certain cranial procedures which significantly impaired their ability to speak, and in some cases, significantly lessened any combative and adversarial attitude. There have been unkind references to this being a "lobotomy", but surely this is not the case, since that would be illegal.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #140 on: March 25, 2013, 09:14:02 AM »
The Time Paradox explains the three time orientations - past, present, and future - and the way people with varying orientations differ. It's a crappy "self help book", but I found it interesting simply because it introduced ideas I was not all that familiar with. For example the contrast between the way the old and young generally think/behave relative to their perception of time and specifically to the amount of time remaining in their lives.


Against Fairness is next. It's received a lot of press and stirred some controversy. If anyone's read that please post your views, thanks.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #141 on: March 25, 2013, 10:13:22 AM »
Finished Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, which was really well done. The second half was really surprising.


"Childhood's End" was my favorite book authored by Clarke.  I wish Kubrick would have turned it into a classic movie, even if it had been at the expense of no "2001 - A Space Odyssey."  I think "Childhood's End" would have made a more satisfying movie.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #142 on: March 25, 2013, 03:23:59 PM »

"Childhood's End" was my favorite book authored by Clarke.  I wish Kubrick would have turned it into a classic movie, even if it had been at the expense of no "2001 - A Space Odyssey."  I think "Childhood's End" would have made a more satisfying movie.


I've read that various people have kicked around the idea of filming Childhood's End, but it's scope has presented problems. Kubrick was probably the best chance we had at getting it done; I do hope someone eventually takes on the challenge.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #143 on: March 25, 2013, 03:53:29 PM »

I've read that various people have kicked around the idea of filming Childhood's End, but it's scope has presented problems. Kubrick was probably the best chance we had at getting it done; I do hope someone eventually takes on the challenge.


It's a real shame Kubrich and Clarke didn't do the movie since it could have been a sci-fi classic.  I agree, you'd need somebody of Kubrick's caliber to pull-off such an undertaking.  Ridley Scott comes to mind but I wasn't happy with how "Prometheus" turned out.  I'd hate to see the Sci-Fi channel do a crap made for TV version but, fortunately, it's probably nowhere on their idiocy horizon.  Most Hollywood directors would no doubt turn such a thoughtful work as "Childhood's End" into a CGI junk fest.  Maybe it's best to just accept things as they are.  :(

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #144 on: March 25, 2013, 06:17:52 PM »
I'm finishing up Friedrich Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1844.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #145 on: March 25, 2013, 08:03:03 PM »
Ideal for a psychiatrist's waiting room!



Mail a copy to Snoory and use this as the postage for it.

http://www.zazzle.com/custom/Stamps

Says you can create your own stamps.

Hmm, a picture of a clown holding up a sign that says :

George Noory Sucks.



[attachment deleted by admin]

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #146 on: March 26, 2013, 04:22:18 AM »

It's a real shame Kubrich and Clarke didn't do the movie since it could have been a sci-fi classic.  I agree, you'd need somebody of Kubrick's caliber to pull-off such an undertaking.  Ridley Scott comes to mind but I wasn't happy with how "Prometheus" turned out.  I'd hate to see the Sci-Fi channel do a crap made for TV version but, fortunately, it's probably nowhere on their idiocy horizon.  Most Hollywood directors would no doubt turn such a thoughtful work as "Childhood's End" into a CGI junk fest.  Maybe it's best to just accept things as they are.  :(

Prometheus is a film that makes it absolutely clear what the responsibilities of a director are. It was a nice looking film. Scott knows how to make worlds look great, he always creates an awesome stage on which a script plays out. But that's all - it's dependent on the scriptwriters to make a movie all it can be. Prometheus is a perfect example of this. The script and story sinks the whole production. To be honest I'm quite surprised that Scott himself didn't have more to say about what was happening on screen. There are too many problems with the movie to list and it belongs in the trash. Hints of greatness are watered down and lost in the mud of a terrible script.

Now I huddle up and have a good cry in the shower every time I see the name Lindelof attached to a project.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #147 on: April 19, 2013, 07:40:52 AM »
I did not know where to place this (and dunno if it has been posted before) but Omni magazine is now available here for free, if you are interested-
https://archive.org/details/omni-magazine

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #148 on: April 19, 2013, 12:53:05 PM »
Thanks for the link, Rachael ~ I didn't know Omni was still around.  I'll add the link to my favorites!

I just started Alvin Toffler's Future Shock.  I was too young to read it effectively when it first came out (I was eight), but I remember adults talking about it and in jr. high our history instructor showed us a film version of the book, which was interesting.  Anyway, I am guessing that I'll end up scanning some pages where it looks like the material is less-than-relevant or out-of-date, but other passages will probably still be intriguing.

Re: Reading Minds: The CoastGab Book Club
« Reply #149 on: April 19, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »
Thanks for the link, Rachael

Your welcome.  :)   I had never heard of it either, it was in a newsletter I get, and when I read what it was about, I thought people here would like it.  The newsletter said it had articles concerning fringe science, which is what caught my eye.