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#1035926 - Wed Feb 26 2014 03:46 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
TriviaFan22 Offline
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Registered: Sat Apr 27 2013
Posts: 162
Loc: Texas USA
I am reading now Descartes' Meditation on First Philosophy.

I was a little surprised days ago when I opened the front cover to see that I only paid a dollar for it. In my town, we have four major book fairs every year run by two non-profits (one being the local library). They are held two in the Spring, two in the Summer. At the last one I went to, I was surprised how much philosophy they had. I got around a dozen books. (All last year combined I probably purchased 80 books).

But we do not live in a philosophical town. No, it seems all the Nietzsches, Descartes, and Kants, probably reached their last stop at that fair. They were selling variously for a dollar or two each.

In contrast, my college textbooks ran anywhere from around $60 to in one case over $200. I promise, when I get a chance to do it over again, things will go a lot differently. For one, I won't buy books.. I will look everything up on the internet. For one, I never should have had to pay $500 for boks my professors knew in advance they wouldn't even read out of. Am I calling higher education, or even education in general, a fraud? I think it's not far off the mark.

But the original point I'm getting to, is I paid a dollar for a book, that will probably offer me intensely more pleasure, but more importantly, insight and learning, than even all of those college books combined. And it only cost a buck.

And then an even better point I just realized... I budgeted probably around $200 on books all last year. I am confident, I have more to show out of that $200 than a great deal of students graduating out of a master's program.

Some of you are wondering what my point is in this post. I suppose if I had to put it in just a couple words... I would say education is something you have to do for yourself. And your heart isn't always in official studies. It may take a person quietly in solitude contemplating meaning and mission, before they can really go back out into the world and become a really amazing person. I was a youth who had no purpose. There was nothing I wanted to do. When I went to college, I still had no purpose. I guess when I think over that last line, I still don't have a meaning. But it's not through deprivation, it's simply I haven't found one yet. But I'm studying the classics and I think this makes me a unique person and someone who can eventually do great things.

Or this post might also have noted... The Gradual Decline of Western Civilization... and Descartes for a dollar. (Why should Descartes be going for a dollar? He's shaped the face of the Western world. Yet people are stampeding over others to get to the electronics section in Wal-Mart on Black Friday.)

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#1035936 - Wed Feb 26 2014 07:47 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
ren33 Offline
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Posts: 12125
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
Lol!
Quote:
Yet people are stampeding over others to get to the electronics section in Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

I like your thinking!
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#1035964 - Wed Feb 26 2014 05:00 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: TriviaFan22]
LBaggins Offline
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Registered: Thu Dec 22 2011
Posts: 1054
Loc: Georgia USA
Originally Posted By: TriviaFan22
I would say education is something you have to do for yourself. And your heart isn't always in official studies. It may take a person quietly in solitude contemplating meaning and mission, before they can really go back out into the world and become a really amazing person. I was a youth who had no purpose. There was nothing I wanted to do. When I went to college, I still had no purpose.


I agree that education is something you have to do for yourself, in the sense that the motivation to learn must come from within. I don't agree that it can't take place in an institution of higher learning.

I went to college right out of high school, because that was what you were "supposed" to do. I completely wasted, education-wise, a year in an excellent private college--not because there was anything wrong with the school, but because furthering my education was not my priority at the time. I was far more focused on the bliss of being out from under the crushing parental thumb for the first time in my life. I learned quite a lot that year, but not what the college was trying to teach, since I had no interest in the subject matter and attended class only sporadically.

After that I quit, moved into an apartment with a friend, and began working a series of odd jobs. I wrapped gifts in a department store, worked in an office (where I discovered that office work is NOT for me), and even pumped gas. Finally, I fell into education by accident when I needed a job and a guy I was dating who worked at the Georgia Retardation Center told me he could get me one.

Bang! I'd found my calling, without ever in my life having considered teaching as a career. After a few years as a teacher assistant, I decided that yes, this WAS what I wanted to do for a living, so now I needed to get a degree so that I could earn a living wage at it. I went back to school, and the experience was entirely different. Classes that would have held no appeal for me a few years earlier were now interesting to me, even those not in my subject area. Who knew that I would ever enjoy Math, for example? My experience as a T.A. was of great help with all my Education courses. I ended up with very good grades, and a B.S. and Master's Degree. And a career where I was fulfilled and could change lives for the better.

My second school wasn't "better" than my first. The change needed for success and satisfaction had taken place within me. The education was there all along; I just needed to be ready to receive it.

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#1035995 - Wed Feb 26 2014 08:18 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12125
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
Thanks , but please do not take this discussion, titled "What are you Reading?" any further away from its theme.
The next post should be about books, not education .
Feel free to start a thread in another forum on this subject.
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#1036721 - Wed Mar 05 2014 01:19 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
Snowman Offline
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Registered: Wed Oct 31 2007
Posts: 1613
Loc: London England UK            
I've just started reading "The Cold Six Thousand" by James Ellroy. I once started reading this about 10 years ago but then left it on top of a taxi when on holiday in Malaysia. Now I intend to finish it. It has been a few years since I read an Ellroy novel so I'm having to re-adjust to his brutal style of writing but I'm beginning to enjoy it again.

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#1036734 - Wed Mar 05 2014 03:50 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12125
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
I wonder if the Taxi driver enjoyed it ! Lol!
Welcome to books!
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#1036770 - Wed Mar 05 2014 10:58 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
Yes, I always find the first twenty pages or so of an Ellroy novel hard to take. And then I get into it, and by the end of the book wonder what the problem was.

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#1037074 - Fri Mar 07 2014 08:47 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
"The Fry Chronicles"

If you love Stephen Fry, as I do, you'll like this - it's sufficiently gossipy and newsy to be fun, while full of his trademark mostly-honesty and waffling on. If you find him annoying, you'll find this book even more so - there really is quite a lot of waffling on. It takes up roughly where "Moab is my Washpot" leaves off - (and the difference between the titles of these two books of memoirs tells you a lot about Fry - where he used to be, where he is now) and takes us to the beginning of "A Bit of Fry and Laurie".

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#1037273 - Sun Mar 09 2014 09:36 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: agony]
skunkee Offline
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Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
Posts: 10068
Loc: Burlington Ontario Canada  
"Guilt" by Jonathan Kellerman
After reading "The Book of Negroes" (which I highly recommend) and J.K. Rowling's latest offering (which I do not) I have returned to my first love, the murder-mystery.
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#1037499 - Tue Mar 11 2014 05:26 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
Nick Hornby's "Ten Years in the Tub" which is a collection of all his "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns for "The Believer".
I highly recommend this. Not only are there just scads of books brought to your attention that you would not have otherwise read - some of my favourite authors originally came to me through these columns - but there is a lot of good writing about reading. Most of it is fairly good fun, too.

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#1037502 - Tue Mar 11 2014 08:01 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
pyonir Offline
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Registered: Sat Apr 25 2009
Posts: 873
Loc: Minnesota USA
I recently read both "A Street Cat Named Bob" and "The World According to Bob" by James Bowen. Some may be familiar with their story, I was not before reading the books. The story is a pretty good one about love, companionship, loss and happiness. They kind of run the full gamut of emotions. I think they are books for just about anyone and just about anyone can take something away from the story.

Bowen is a street busker in London and a recovering heroin addict, who comes across a scrawny, starving, injured cat he calls Bob. The first book "A Street Cat" details their meeting, getting to know each other and struggles they both encounter on the streets of London. The second book covers their rise to popularity and fame both locally in London and globally. Both are highly recommended.


Edited by pyonir (Wed Mar 12 2014 01:12 PM)

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#1037573 - Wed Mar 12 2014 11:02 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
dg_dave Offline
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Registered: Sun Oct 05 2003
Posts: 22183
Loc: near Stafford, Virginia USA  
I picked up a book yesterday and started reading it this morning. I've only made it in a few pages, but wow! (That's really all I can say).

The book is titled God Loves Ugly & Love Makes Beautiful by Christa Black. Having known her personally and seeing it posted on her website, I wanted to get a copy of it (she and I graduated high school together in a smaller city in west Texas).
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The day we lose our will to fight is the day we lose our freedom.

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#1038066 - Sat Mar 15 2014 08:13 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
Lately I've been reading the novels of Sophie Hannah. She writes crime fiction, to a formula, but it's not like any other formula out there I've encountered.

Her series novels all have two narrative streams - a first person narrative by someone who seems to be a little deranged, and not necessarily a reliable narrator, and a third person bit set among the local police who are, quite frankly, sometimes more than a little eccentric themselves. Something completely inexplicable is going on, that doesn't seem to make any sense, and we can't quite tell who to trust. It's not always clear whether there has been a crime committed, or what that crime might be. Even when I've got a fairly good guess whodunnit, it's seldom clear what they did and more importantly why, until nearly the very end. She's very interested in the effects that various types of trauma have on behaviour - although many people in the books appear to behave very oddly, there's always a good reason for it, once you know everything.

I've been reading the books out of order, and that adds to the "what the heck is going on here" quality, as the various members of the police department have quite the soap opera going on among themselves.

Recommended, if you like readable detective fiction with a little something different.

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#1038077 - Sun Mar 16 2014 02:41 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12125
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
Wow! By an amazing coincidence, all the books I got from a recent Book Depository Sale day arrived this week and one of them is "Kind of Cruel" by Sophie Hannah. It looked good anyway from the blurb and the fact that it won an award, but I am really looking forward to it after reading what you say Agony Thanks.
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#1038095 - Sun Mar 16 2014 08:37 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
Sometimes some of the plot points are a little stretched, and now and then there is a bit too much of a coincidence, but on the whole her books are pretty good - I think you'll enjoy it.

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#1038970 - Sun Mar 23 2014 06:43 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12125
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
Yes it took me ages to find head or tail, but I think I am into it now! Thanks for the warning, I might have given up.
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#1039031 - Mon Mar 24 2014 07:57 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
That's pretty much how it went for me, too, yup.

"The End of Everything" Megan Abbott. Well, this one is almost too much. Too much truth, too much honesty, about the sexuality of early teens. I'm 56 years old, it's been a long time since I really felt what it was actually like to be 13. Excellent but difficult - fathers of girls might find this more than they want to know.

And re-reading what I just wrote, it makes the book sound like kiddie porn, which it most definitely is not. It's muted and understated, but very very real.

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#1039487 - Thu Mar 27 2014 07:21 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: agony]
skunkee Offline
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Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
Posts: 10068
Loc: Burlington Ontario Canada  
Just finished "Guilt" by Kellerman.
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Editor: Movies/Celebrities/Crosswords

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#1041575 - Sat Apr 12 2014 11:46 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
"When we were Romans" Matthew Kneale

A heartbreaking look at mental illness from the viewpoint of one of its innocent victims. Lawrence is a child-narrator whom you really come to love.

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#1041599 - Sat Apr 12 2014 04:45 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
pyonir Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Sat Apr 25 2009
Posts: 873
Loc: Minnesota USA
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" - Hunter S. Thompson

I finally got around to reading this and enjoyed it very much. I saw the movie a long time ago so didn't really remember much of it, but knew I liked it. I don't know if Thompson's other works are similar in writing style, but if so and anyone has recommendations that are similar to Loathing, I'd be keen to hear them.

"We can't stop here! This is bat country!" laugh

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#1041603 - Sat Apr 12 2014 05:07 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
My favourite Thompson book is "Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs" mostly because when I first read it, I knew nothing of his reputation as a gonzo journalist - it was just a book about a subject I was interested in.

You might want to try the other Fear and Loathing book, about the 1972 presidential election.

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#1041604 - Sat Apr 12 2014 05:40 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
pyonir Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Sat Apr 25 2009
Posts: 873
Loc: Minnesota USA
Thanks agony. It seemed that "Hell's Angels..." was well regarded during the little research I did. I'll have to check that one and the other Loathing book out.

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#1042689 - Sun Apr 20 2014 08:15 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
Rereading "Cashelmara" by Susan Howatch.

This kind of sprawling family saga is seriously out of date these days, but if you have a taste for it, Howatch does it very well. It doesn't hurt that this story of an Irish estate in the mid-late 1800s is actually a retelling of the history of the Plantagenet kings (as are her other big historical novels, "Penmarric" and "Wheel of Fortune"). The only hint Howatch gives to the reader is a little epigraph at the beginning of each section of the novel, as she moves from one viewpoint character to another. "Ah" you say "This character must be Edward II" and run off to Wikipedia to read up on him to see that, yup, that's who he is, all right.

In my opinion, Susan Howatch is second only to Norah Lofts in this genre. I'm having a nice time reading this.

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#1043030 - Wed Apr 23 2014 12:01 PM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: agony]
tjoebigham Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Sat Dec 25 1999
Posts: 2824
Loc: Fairhaven Massachusetts USA   
An edition of Ben Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanac" illustrated by Norman Rockwell.

tjoeb};>

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#1043975 - Wed Apr 30 2014 09:59 AM Re: What are you Reading mark2 [Re: ren33]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13358
Loc: Western Canada
"The Fake Inspector Dew" by Peter Lovesy. This is a real little gem - a period piece, set in 1921, beautifully researched. Some of the plot twists you'll see coming, some you won't, but either way it's enormous fun.

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