What are you currently reading?

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  • #51
Ryan_m_b
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A few recent additions;

Read/re-read:
Brave New World
Siddhartha (good story about the life of a brahmin searching for enlightenment)
The first two books in the hunger games trilogy

Ongoing:
2312 (typically KSR, lots of worldbuilding but weak story)
The Handmaidens Tale (worrying warning regarding fundamentalism in the US)
 
  • #52
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Just finished Tyranosaur Canyon also by Douglas Preston. Murder and intrigue in the desert Southwest as corrupt forces converge to snatch a remarkable treasure uncovered by a lone prospector. Very entertaining!

Just started Best American Mystery Stories of 1997. Have read 3 so far and they're all top notch. (Strangely, though, none are mysteries. They're essentially murder/revenge stories, and there's never a mystery to solve. So, I don't get the title, but it's worth reading.)
 
  • #53
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I just received a recommendation for Nuclear Forces: The Making of the Physicist Hans Bethe by Silvan S. Schweber, June 2012.

I like to read biographies, autobiographies, textbooks and journal articles by (or about) physicists and mathematicians.

I just bought this and started reading it and I'm pretty impressed! It seems very well researched, but what I feel is equally impressive to the sheer amount of unique biographical information in this book is the lack of aversion to actual physics! I love that there's actual physics in the book. More "popular books" should be like this!
 
  • #54
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The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat, by Eric Lax.

Really awesome subject, the development of penicillin into a viable form by a British team, rendered into a real yawner by boring writing. I'm not sure I'm going to finish it.
 
  • #55
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Gödel, Escher, Bach (GEB), the quote on the cover describes it best: A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Caroll. It's an oldie but quite relevant and totally awesome!

The last fiction book is worth mentioning too: House of Leaves. A thriller of sorts written in a wildy creative style about a house who's dimensions appear bigger inside then it is on the outside. Another very cool and creative, inspirational book.

Good thread! =)
 
  • #56
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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I'm halfway through so you can ask me anything about mice.
 
  • #57
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Zooby, I think you would love An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.

It's essentially a story that takes in England in the 1600s, and uses Francis Bacon's Novum Organum loosely as it changes between four narrators each recounting their experience of the same murder, all of whom are lead to different conclusions as to who the murderer is.

It's an extremely well researched book (the author is an historian who has extensively researched English history) and it's amazing because you're completely enveloped in the atmosphere of 17th century England. Nearly all of the characters are real, with frequent ocurrences of Robert Boyle, John Locke, Richard Lower, etc, and the few characters who aren't real are based off of the stories of real people as well.

Now, I'll warn you that it does slightly include religion as part of the story, but here is why: Iain Pears was attempting to juxtapose the medieval thinking and learning that was still prevelant in the 1600s to the new scientific way of thinking that was emerging in the time period. So, while some narrators will enexplicably seem very religious, it's not because the author is trying to push religion, but merely compare it with science.
 
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  • #58
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I'm currently reading through:

The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo, which examines what turns good people evil, and the social phenomona and group dynamics that heavily contribute to evil moral standards.

I also have about 15 other books on standby, because I'm abusing my new Kindle Fire, and the ability to get any book pre-1900 for free. Those include Voltaire's Candide, several of Friedrich Nietzche's writings, The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, and some others that I don't remember.
 
  • #59
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Zooby, I think you would love An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.
Sounds like something I'd enjoy. Thanks!
 
  • #60
OmCheeto
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Current non-fiction: Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital by John Restakis. A really interesting read about the history and modern progression of the co-operative movement and how new practices with new technologies are allowing co-operatives world wide to out-compete corporates in areas they previously could not hope to.

Hmm... That looks interesting. The last book I read was Jim Clifton's "The Coming Jobs War", which I thoroughly enjoyed. It might be fun to read them side by side. Restakis sounds like a lefty, and Clifton is definitely right.

Current fiction: Joseph Heller's "Something Happened".

Please don't ask me anything about the book. I've had it since February and have not gotten past the intro. All I can recall is "sex, sex, sex." Not that I have anything against sex, mind you. I've just been too busy to read. :redface:
 
  • #61
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Currently reading Engines of Creation, by Eric Drexler.

And the MITECS. *smiles innocently*
 
  • #62
Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic by Bart Kosko
 
  • #63
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I am about to finish 1Q84, the first part.

It's an interesting novel keep you continue to read to see what will happen in the next chapter. However, nothing seems too deep.
 
  • #64
SpaceTiger
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Been working my way through some ancient literature. Currently in the middle of:

The Golden åss - Apuleius
Meditations - Marcus Aurelius
Chattering Courtesans - Lucian

This is all written around the 2nd century AD. Needless to say, conversations with people about what I've been reading lately tend not to last long.
 
  • #65
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Been working my way through some ancient literature. Currently in the middle of:

The Golden åss - Apuleius
Meditations - Marcus Aurelius
Chattering Courtesans - Lucian

This is all written around the 2nd century AD. Needless to say, conversations with people about what I've been reading lately tend not to last long.

I'm currently reading Friedrich Nieztsche's thoughts on religion and education. Two hundred years is already creating a barrier of difficulty with regards to the different syntax of the times. I couldn't imagine reading something from 200 A.D.

One thing that I have noticed from reading his works though, is that, even after the translation from German to English, the writing is far superior and intellectually stimulating than what I read today. Writing today seems bland, and today's writers seem to ignore the magnitude and power of the vocabulary that they have at their expense. There are obvious exceptions, but what I read today is nowhere near as elegant as what literature used to be.

When you say "working my way through" are you implying that you've learned both Latin and Greek and intend to "work" through the texts, or are you reading through a translated version of them?
 
  • #66
SpaceTiger
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When you say "working my way through" are you implying that you've learned both Latin and Greek and intend to "work" through the texts, or are you reading through a translated version of them?

I'm not quite that dedicated about it, I'm afraid, I'm just reading translations. I thought about teaching myself classical Latin, but decided the return probably wouldn't equal the effort required. By "working my way through," I meant that I'm reading the classics forward in time, starting with Homer (~850 BCE). I've read ~50 texts across a wide range of subjects, including history, poetry, philosophy, religion, and fiction.

The difficulty in reading them varies wildly, depending I think more on the translator than the original author. Some translators try to keep as closely as possible to the original text, while others just go for the general idea. Many ancient authors, particularly the historians, tended to write in very long sentences (would probably be called run-ons in modern English) and their prose tended to be less structured than in modern texts. But it's not too bad once you get used to it.

As for the poetry, that's another beast entirely. I stick primarily with the epic poems, famed as much for their story as their rhyming and meter. The latter can't truly be translated, only mimicked.


I'm currently reading Friedrich Nieztsche's thoughts on religion and education

Nieztsche was a fascinating thinker. He tended to be less abstract than many of the other great philosophers, so I found him very accessible as a student. He's not very close to my personal philosophy, of course, but he said a lot of things that needed to be said.
 
  • #67
OmCheeto
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Been working my way through some ancient literature. Currently in the middle of:

The Golden åss - Apuleius
Meditations - Marcus Aurelius
Chattering Courtesans - Lucian

This is all written around the 2nd century AD. Needless to say, conversations with people about what I've been reading lately tend not to last long.

wb ST.
Two years seems like a long time to read 3 books. :wink:
But I can relate.

The titles look interesting, and I'm tempted to ask you what the books are about. But, times being the way they are, I guess I'll jfgi....... :blushing:
 
  • #68
SpaceTiger
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wb ST.

Thanks! I probably won't be around very much (my 4-month old son keeps me very busy), but I thought I'd stop by and say hello.


The titles look interesting, and I'm tempted to ask you what the books are about. But, times being the way they are, I guess I'll jfgi....... :blushing:

Fiction, philosophy, and theater (in that order). The first one is my favorite -- it's about a guy that gets turned into a donkey and is dragged around from owner to owner, witnessing all manner of debauchery.
 
  • #69
OmCheeto
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Thanks! I probably won't be around very much (my 4-month old son keeps me very busy), but I thought I'd stop by and say hello.




Fiction, philosophy, and theater (in that order). The first one is my favorite -- it's about a guy that gets turned into a donkey and is dragged around from owner to owner, witnessing all manner of debauchery.

Ha ha! Sounds like the book I read last year; "Heart of a Dog"

Dog turned into a man, witnesses and attempts, all manner of debauchery.

The Golden "Donkey" is now on my A list. Thanks!
 
  • #70
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... He's not very close to my personal philosophy, of course, but he said a lot of things that needed to be said.

My thoughts as well. He does an excellent job of entirely neglecting emotions, and saying what needs to be done about something. His attitude while writing is also attractive, in that his superiority and sureness of his ideals are made apparent from the beginning, and he views anybody who takes a position against him as morons. It's somewhat arrogant, but I can't help but feel like his confidence was ultimately justified.
 
  • #71
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Currently reading the new edition of "An Introduction to Behavioral Ecology" (4th edition) by Davies, Krebs and West as well as "An Introduction to Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Skills and Applications" (2nd edition).

I am thinking of getting the Kindle version of "Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth" by the pseudoscientist Henry Bauer (where he rejects everything from Big Bang to vaccines, but promotes a belief in the Loch Ness monster) and write a detailed point-by-point refutation online, but not sure I want to waste 14 dollars on... well, crap.
 
  • #72
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Tuesdays with Morrie. I know the author, and had to confess{shame faced} to him that I had not read it. He sent me my own copy:biggrin:
 
  • #73
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Imperial Hubris - Michael Scheuer
Manufacturing Consent - Edward Herman/Noam Chomsky
 
  • #74
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Way too much, since I'm going abroad in a month and there are all these books at home that I want to finish before leaving! But two that I'm trying to focus on atm are
The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose
The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics by Max Jammer
 
  • #75
Evo
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I was given a box of old paperbacks by a friend that didn't want them. I understand why. I've put them in the bathroom and have been reading them there.

DO NOT READ

Prince of Chaos or The Hand of Oberon by Roger Zelazny unless you are desperate.

Yendi by Steven Brust, don't even read it if you are desperate.

The Stars are also Fire by Poul Anderson. I thought I liked Poul Anderson. Unlikeable characters, not enough character building, disjointed story, no appeal, empty. You look at the book and wonder if he had to write it to meet a contractual obligation.
 

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