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#1010771 - Sun Sep 15 2013 08:37 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Jess Walter's collection of short stories "We Live in Water". I really can't emphasize enough what a good writer this guy is. Wonderful stories, and from a viewpoint we don't often see - he's really got "unemployed in the Pacific Northwest" covered.

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#1010828 - Sun Sep 15 2013 05:01 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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"Mistakes Were Made But Not by Me : Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts" by Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson.

Very readable overview of how and why we are drawn to self justification, even when we can rationally see that it's not in our best interests. This is one of best organized and most readable popular science books I've read - and the authors make their point very persuasively.

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#1010925 - Mon Sep 16 2013 02:54 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Thanks for the note agony. I'll probably check that book out when I get the chance. I enjoy reading books about sociology/psychology but so many of them are poorly researched, poorly written, too technical or with a heavy political slant.

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#1010931 - Mon Sep 16 2013 03:48 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Aronson is one of the leading researchers in the field, but you'd never know it by the easy style of the book. No real political bias that I could see - in the section on self-justifying war, George W Bush comes under some scrutiny, but so does LBJ. They are quite hard on their own field, too. Their main point is that all humans do this, so checks must be built into systems - we can't trust our own perceptions of confirmation bias.

I read a lot of this kind of thing, too, but seldom make it all the way through the book. This was a good one.

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#1011454 - Fri Sep 20 2013 12:09 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: agony]
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Originally Posted By: agony
Aronson is one of the leading researchers in the field, but you'd never know it by the easy style of the book. No real political bias that I could see - in the section on self-justifying war, George W Bush comes under some scrutiny, but so does LBJ. They are quite hard on their own field, too. Their main point is that all humans do this, so checks must be built into systems - we can't trust our own perceptions of confirmation bias.

I read a lot of this kind of thing, too, but seldom make it all the way through the book. This was a good one.


Yes, Aronson and Tavris really know their topic. It's not easy to present a message that's fundamentally unpopular (namely, that we humans are all prone to self-delusion and self-justification) in a way that's entertaining--but they pull it off.

I'd also recommend Tavris' book "Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion." That one, too, conveys a message that won't be welcome to all, in a highly readable fashion.
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#1012449 - Thu Sep 26 2013 06:30 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Diana Vreeland -Empress of Fashion. Mackenzie Stuart
It's very well written. I always think if you find the person really horrid then it must be well written. Coco Chanel said she was the most pretentious women she had met.
The fact that her mother was horrid too didn't help her I guess, but all the same you have to admire her energy and tenaciousness.It's interesting.
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#1013021 - Sun Sep 29 2013 01:11 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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"A Clash of Kings' by George Martin. It draws me in in spite of the fact that I am leery of fantasy series that go on forever!
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#1020869 - Thu Nov 14 2013 10:24 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Just been re reading GM Ford's Leo Waterman series - a good, and fun, PI series set in Seattle in the 90s. In style very reminiscent of early Robert Crais, back when his books were funny and full of wisecracks and plot twists, rather than the more standard fare they have been lately.

The book I just finished was "The Deader the Better". Wish Ford had continued with this series instead of moving on to the less entertaining Frank Corso series. Well plotted, funny, and about as moving and human as we want a PI story to be.

One thing I found interesting is that this book, and one other, "Cast in Stone", both use the same premises as two of John D MacDonald's Travis Mcgee novels. The similarities - in this case to MacDonald's "Pale Grey for Guilt", in the other, "Cinnamon Skin", are close enough that this can't be an accident. Don't get me wrong - Ford tells his story in his own fashion, not in MacDonald's, and once the story is set up, the plots go in their own direction. This isn't plagiarism, but rather homage, a shout out. I enjoyed watching the story play out, quite a lot, and this added a little extra dimension.

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#1020957 - Thu Nov 14 2013 05:31 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Read a couple recently of note. I picked up Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything". Not really what I was expecting; I guess I was expecting something like a history of random items in his home like the invention of the paper clip, no idea where I got that. Despite that, I found it very interesting written in layman's terms the basic building blocks of the universe. I'm not a science guy (as I think I've noted before) but still found it engaging, similar to a Neil Degrasse-Tyson book.

Also read "Lolita". I knew the basic premise, but that was about it. I found it hard to read because of the language style/words used. I spent a bit of time actually looking up words (not a bad thing) just to know what the really meant. I didn't understand any of the French (my copy wasn't annotated or anything) so that also made it a bit difficult. I did and didn't like the book. While I got the satire of it that is so talked about, the difficulty in reading it was an issue for me.

I think the best part of the book was the afterword by Nabokov. Should be required reading for everyone that things certain books should be "banned" and critics alike.

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#1020963 - Thu Nov 14 2013 05:57 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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You might really like his book "At Home: A Short History of Private Life" then - it's more what you thought "Short History...." would be.

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#1020965 - Thu Nov 14 2013 06:29 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
pyonir Offline
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Thanks agony, that might be where I saw that description and led me to believe that's what "Short History..." was about. haha. Makes sense. smile

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#1021372 - Sun Nov 17 2013 09:24 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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"My Movie Business" John Irving.

John Irving discusses his experiences with his books being made into movies, with most emphasis on "The Cider House Rules".

I read a lot of this sort of thing, one way or another, and what strikes me most about this book is how generous and fair minded Irving is. Some novelists have a love/hate relationship with their books as movies, some have a hate/hate one, but Irving really seems to understand that a movie is not a book.

Something he comes back to again and again is the relationship the audience or reader has with a character. In a book there is time - we spend enough time with characters to understand how, for instance, a sympathetic character can do an unsympathetic thing, and we forgive them because we have come to know and love them. In a movie we have minutes to establish the relationship that takes hours, days, when reading, so different choices of course have to be made.

This is an interesting look at the creative process, for those who are interested in that. It's not, even slightly, a celebrity gossip book, though - this is not the place for behind the scenes revelations on what, say, Charlize Theron is *really* like.

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#1021983 - Wed Nov 20 2013 05:46 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Sounds interesting, agony, I'll have to check that out.

Just finished up "People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo--and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up" by Richard Lloyd Parry. Some of you English (among others) might remember the story of Lucie Blackman when she disappeared in Japan. The book was well written, well researched and the story was pretty compelling. I found the discussions of how the Japanese legal system works fascinating. I hadn't heard of the incident, or if I did don't remember it, so it was all new to me. If you like true life mysteries, pick it up and give it a read.

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#1022080 - Thu Nov 21 2013 08:53 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: pyonir]
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"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling
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#1022138 - Thu Nov 21 2013 02:33 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: skunkee]
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Originally Posted By: skunkee
"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling


Oh, I read that. I actually had a better opinion of it than I did of the Harry Potter books.

I'll be interested to know how you end up assessing it. ^_^
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#1022693 - Sat Nov 23 2013 11:45 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Just finished "I, Robot" by Isaac Asimov. Probably a lot here have already read it. I'm not a science fiction fan at all, but thought the book was great! I think it's because it was still based on Earth (for the most part) and not unknown galaxies/planets/etc.

I was also pleased that it was nothing like the movie. I didn't think it would be, but thought there would still be some things the movie stole, other than the 3 laws. Pleasant surprise there too.

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#1026113 - Sun Dec 15 2013 07:00 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: pyonir]
skunkee Offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted By: skunkee"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling

Oh, I read that. I actually had a better opinion of it than I did of the Harry Potter books.

I'll be interested to know how you end up assessing it. ^_^


I think she writes very well but I find with this book she's taking too long to get to the point. There's too much description that wanders and you have to shake yourself to remember what it's all about.

I am embarrassed to admit that I have barely broken the spine of this one and have a couple of other books on the go.
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#1026670 - Thu Dec 19 2013 01:29 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: skunkee]
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Originally Posted By: skunkee
Quote:
Originally Posted By: skunkee"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling
Oh, I read that. I actually had a better opinion of it than I did of the Harry Potter books.
I'll be interested to know how you end up assessing it. ^_^


I think she writes very well but I find with this book she's taking too long to get to the point. There's too much description that wanders and you have to shake yourself to remember what it's all about.



Without meaning to insult or patronize Ms. Rowling, I would guess that she was hoping the book would be seen as a more "literary" effort than were her Harry Potter books. And when writers want to be Literary, they do tend to lay on the descriptive prose.

(If you persevere, I think you'll be pleased that you did. To my mind she did succeed in creating a well-shaped plot that does 'pay off,' as the saying goes.)
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#1026677 - Thu Dec 19 2013 02:37 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: Gheelnory]
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Thanks for the encouragement - I will persevere!
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#1026831 - Fri Dec 20 2013 02:05 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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World War Z by Max Brooks. I'm really enjoying it. Much better than the movie with Brad Pitt and of course the movie is not even close to the book. I think they took the title and how the virus is spread and that's it.


Edited by argus9 (Fri Dec 20 2013 02:06 PM)
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#1027101 - Sat Dec 21 2013 05:53 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: argus9]
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Originally Posted By: argus9
World War Z by Max Brooks. I'm really enjoying it. Much better than the movie with Brad Pitt and of course the movie is not even close to the book.


Sounds interesting. I can't believe how popular zombies are, these days: today I saw a magazine entitled "Zombies" for sale at the supermarket! I don't think the vampires ever managed to attain that honor. wink
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#1027150 - Sun Dec 22 2013 07:47 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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"The Child Catchers - Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption" by Kathryn Joyce.

Very interesting look at international adoption, and the ways this altruistic idea can often become abusive in practice. I'd expect this would be very useful reading for anyone thinking of adopting internationally, as a warning of what kind of practices, and even more, what kind of mindset, to be wary of.

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#1027157 - Sun Dec 22 2013 09:34 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: agony]
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"The Book of Negroes" - Lawrence Hill. It's excellent.
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#1029378 - Fri Jan 10 2014 07:30 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
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Just finished reading Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” because I was curious to learn what all the fuss was about (I read another book sometime back, “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead, which is essentially a tribute to the book. In the introduction, it was mentioned that editors were fearful of publishing it because it was hotly debated what genre “A Wrinkle in Time” fit under. While reading it, I could definetly see why. A rather complicated storyline, and I am not sure whether I would have read it so quickly had I not needed something to distract me from how lowsy I felt. I sort of felt like the beginning was better than the rest of the book, though I admit that knowing a few details prior due to the tribute kind of ruined it for me. Still, for one in need of a distraction, that is certainly what I got; and I now know the storyline better than the vague impression I got in “When You Reach Me.” I doubt very much, though, whether I’d have read “A Wrinkle In Time” had I not stumbled upon the tribute.
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#1031668 - Sat Jan 25 2014 04:40 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: Jazmee27]
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Among the books i'm starting now are Andrew Erdman's "Queen of Vaudeville: the story of Eva Tanguay", Jessica Kerwin Jenkins' "All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours", Thurston Clarke's "JFK's Last Hundred Days" and Winston Groom's "The Aviators".

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