IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » History, Literature, and the Arts
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags favorite books , recommended books

Reply
Old 4th January 2016, 06:26 AM   #241
COLONEL
Sniper of the Galactic Universe
 
COLONEL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: The many voids of the Universe
Posts: 23,357
Gentlemen Bastards: On the Ground in Afghanistan with America's Elite Special Forces

by Kevin Maurer
__________________

Major Ashley-Pitt: In our experience, Americans are uncouth misfits who should be run out of their own barbaric country. Matthew Quigley: Well, Lieutenant...
Major Ashley-Pitt: Major. Matthew Quigley: Major. We already run the misfits outta our country. We sent 'em back to England.
COLONEL is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th January 2016, 08:04 AM   #242
Beelzebuddy
Philosopher
 
Beelzebuddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 8,539
Wolfhound Century, Peter Higgins

This book is very strong for much of its bulk. Set in Fantasy Stalinist Russia, it reads a bit like the Night Watch series hooked up with Princess Mononoke in Perdido Street Station. If you liked those things, you'll like this book.

But, in the eleventh hour the protagonist suddenly remembers he's had super powers the whole time and starts punching his way toward the macguffin, at which point the book ends with no plot resolution whatsoever. Which might explain why I found the book in a dollar store.

Apparently it's the first of a trilogy, but it left me with no desire to seek out the others.
Beelzebuddy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th January 2016, 08:25 AM   #243
SusanB-M1
Incurable Optimist
 
SusanB-M1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,766
A Scandalous Life' by Mary S Lovell, an excellent biography of Lady Jane Digby, mid-19th century beauty whose father was an Admiral in the Royal Navy and who, after four marriages, spent the last part of her life married to a Bedouin Sheikh. She was, it seems still considered beautiful when she died at the age of 74. No other biographer had had unlimited access to all her diaries, letters, etc. I am not at the end yet, but am enjoying it very much indeed.

Last edited by SusanB-M1; 6th January 2016 at 08:27 AM.
SusanB-M1 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th January 2016, 08:41 AM   #244
Bram Kaandorp
Master Poster
 
Bram Kaandorp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Limmen, The Netherlands
Posts: 2,534
The Alteration by Kingsley Amis.

I love the references to alternate history in the novel, which is itself an alternate history.

It even references The Man In The High Castle, which itself refers to an alternate reality novel.

Yes, I love meta.
__________________
Keep your questions terse, and your answers terser.

Wait, "terser" is a word, right?
Bram Kaandorp is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th January 2016, 08:45 AM   #245
KDLarsen
Illuminator
 
KDLarsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,664
Just picked up "Counts, Barons, and Smallholders" by John Erichsen & Ditlev Tamm, which describes the brutal dismantling of the Danish fiefdoms and their estates in 1919.

The background was a law passed by the Social Liberal (generally regarded as the party of smallholders) government, after and end to them had been promised (with the details left for later) in the Danish Constitution of 1849. Essentially all the large estates had to pay a tax of 20-25% of their value on top of parting out 1/3 of their land to smallholders.

The law was sent to the Danish Supreme Court, where the judges had to weight the law against the constitution - and against a society in upheaval and a Europe in the grip of revolution.
KDLarsen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th January 2016, 03:32 PM   #246
metacristi
Muse
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 759
Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian


A great book about Einstein's contributions to the development of early quantum mechanics, his impact was actually much greater than many are willing to accept today (people usually know only about his debates with Bohr in which he tried to show that quantum mechanics is not an accurate description of facts or at least that it is incomplete).

A warning though, although technically speaking the book is historical in nature (without going to great depths in what Einstein's private life is concerned) the reader should have 'under the belt' a serious course in quantum mechanics (remember the 'ultraviolet catastrophe' story?) to fully benefit from reading it*.

I have read half of the book so far, found it very interesting (confirming that the way scientific theories are 'invented' and corroborated are usually far from the flawless logic found in textbook treatises, even the most eminent scientists can do important mistakes in interpretation).

Finally I totally agree with the main thesis of the book, Einstein's work on this subject was indeed underestimated (as a side note here I dare say that even his opposition to the claims that QM is complete was not fruitless, one can still argue rationally on this line even today albeit accepting nonlocality; those who think that he became totally disconnected from real research and that 'should have gone fishing' during his last 30 years are profoundly mistaken, on the contrary his arguments proved him to have a thorough understanding of QM in spite of his strong defence of the principle of separability, discredited** later by Alain Aspect et al. experiments showing violations of Bell's inequalities).


*I can recommend Isaacson's biography "Einstein: His Life and Universe" for those who want more details about about Einstein's private life and Lindley "Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science" for an easier introduction to the history of quantum mechanics

**for all practical purposes, strictly speaking if the universe is superdeterministic the principle of locality (favorized by Einstein) is regained but since we do not know currently of any mechanisms to falsify or confirm superdeterminism one can agree that it is of 'bon sense' to accept the disconfirmation of the principle of locality (at least provisionally). Besides Einstein would have, probably, not liked the ideas of strong determinism or at least that Nature 'conspire' in such a way that we end up with the observations in the Aspect's type of experiments either
__________________
“It is often said that knowledge is power, but it might be more correct to say that [critical] thinking is power.”

ibn Warraq - Why I am not a Muslim

Knight Tube: Brendan O'Neill on identity politics

Last edited by metacristi; 30th January 2016 at 05:07 PM.
metacristi is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd February 2016, 07:32 AM   #247
tsig
a carbon based life-form
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 39,049
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I'm reading Caesar, Life of a Colossus, which is amazing.

Looking forward to Augustus next.
Thanks just got the book from Amazon.

I am also rereading "Time Enough For Love" an I am disappointed. It's really nothing more than a list of platitudes by Heinlein thru the lips of LL. Boring.
tsig is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th February 2016, 09:36 AM   #248
sackett
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Detroit
Posts: 7,168
Custer's Trials, A Life on the Frontier of a New America, T. J. Stiles, 2015. Just finished it, actually. It's a lively read, and not every book about Custer is that interesting.

Throughout, I kept looking for some reason to like the son of a bitch. Couldn't find even one. Howsomever, I couldn't find any reason to hate him either: he was just a shallow fame-chaser who generally refused to put in even a day's work at anything.

And he could sure 'n hell do battle, as a commander and in person. No wonder the Indians left his body intact; they wanted to fight him again in Shadow Country.
__________________
If you would learn a man's character, give him authority.

If you would ruin a man's character, let him seize power.
sackett is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th February 2016, 10:22 AM   #249
Captain_Swoop
Penultimate Amazing
 
Captain_Swoop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 39,186
Salvo, Classic Naval Gun Actions - Bernard Edwards.

Bit of a let dow.
It just seems to be a random collection of short accounts of well know actions.
He isn't trying to take anything from thrm or explore any feature of the action as it pertains to gunnery.
I am glad I never actualy paid snything for it.
Captain_Swoop is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 14th February 2016, 02:03 PM   #250
calebprime
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,001
_Who Killed Daniel Pearl?_ -- Bernard Henri Levy

I'm having mixed feelings about this book, so I thought I'd look it up on Amazon.

It has an unusually polarized customer-rating graph, with half giving it 5 stars, and 21% giving it the worst rating, 1 star.

One thing that I find annoying already is that Levy will ask a question, give a completely plausible answer from an eyewitness, but then continue to speculate as if that answer were unsatisfying.

For example, why did the video of the asassination of Pearl look a little strange? Answer from someone who participated: Because the tape jammed, they had to re-shoot after they'd already cut his throat.

But I gather that he's after something bigger than the facts of Pearl's death. And he's a good writer, if a little too in love with his own thought processes at the time.

Maybe this will grow, or maybe it will just be exasperating.

Not looking good. Review in NYRB December 2003 by one William Dalrymple:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2003...er-in-karachi/

Quote:
The second book about the murder, Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, by the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy (or BHL as he is known in Parisian gossip columns), is a more ambitious work, with pretensions to both original investigative journalism and novelistic prose; but it is deeply flawed, riddled with major factual errors, and in every way a lesser book than Mariane Pearl’s.

Although attempting to create a new literary form—what Lévy calls a romanquête—mixing reportage with John Berendt– or Truman Capote–like novelization, it is apparent from its opening pages that with Pakistan Lévy is way out of his depth. Who Killed Daniel Pearl? does, however, raise issues of great importance, for all that much of it is invented and its political analysis ill-informed and simplistic.

Last edited by calebprime; 14th February 2016 at 02:11 PM.
calebprime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 14th February 2016, 02:19 PM   #251
jimbob
Uncritical "thinker"
 
jimbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 23,604
I've just finished reading Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain’s Greatest Frigate Captain by Stephen Taylor

A couple of accurate reviews:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/b...or-review.html


http://www.theguardian.com/books/201...-taylor-review

Edward Pellew is a worthwhile subject of an autobiography, with little or no influence he rose through the ranks to become an admiral, was the captain of the only frigate to defeat a ship of the line, and considered his peak act the rescue of a crew who were being shipwrecked.

I might have got my current trivia question from that book.

Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
In 1816, the Royal Navy tried to arrange the release of Christian slaves from the Barbary coast.

Vice Admiral Charles Penrose wrote the following about whom?

"_____ having complained of the gout, begged that the fleet physician be sent to him. The whole delight of the poor man was gluttony, and he never in his life was known to show any semblance of exertion, except one night when he got out of his bed to murder his brother. "
__________________
OECD healthcare spending
Public/Compulsory Expenditure on healthcare
https://data.oecd.org/chart/60Tt

Every year since 1990 the US Public healthcare spending has been greater than the UK as a proportion of GDP. More US Tax goes to healthcare than the UK
jimbob is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd February 2016, 09:12 AM   #252
calebprime
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,001
Just borrowed from the library:

_The Man Who Wasn't There_ -- Anil Ananthaswamy

This has relevance, if anything does, to several discussions going on here.

The resemblance to a Sacks title must be de rigueur for books like this: neurological tales of how brain damage -- or a less specific disorder -- affects or destroys the sense of self.

Someone pointed out that you can't remove a few circuits from a radio, and then explain the subsequent howling noise as the result of removing the "howl-suppressing circuits". Sure. In the absence of full understanding, it's not clear what's a system, and what are isolated causes, but that is overthinking it.

There is a huge amount of evidence from neurology. Luria, for instance, had access to a very large population of patients injured in World War II.

Notably absent from such books, thank goodness, is a lot of philosophical speculation.

You can basically deconstruct a person's mind one part at a time -- everything he does, everything he experiences, everything he remembers, every skill he has, everything he likes, every aspect of his morality and caring and volition. What damage will cause what effect is very well known. And since there is individual variation, you can keep a patient awake, and test the results, one area at a time.

Is the brain a radio? What utter stupidity.

My basic orientation: If you want to understand conciousness, the way forward is studying humans and their brains, and the convergent evidence from trying to make A. I. work. Study human brains, human behaviors, and study computer simulations.

My opinion: This is a journey of a thousand miles, and we're making rapid progress: Several miles a day! But the basic framework is right, already.

Consciousness will, in maybe a hundred years, be a problem that dwindles in interest, just as the problem of what life is has dwindled.

In the intervening years, there will be more and more confusion about what is really human and conscious, and what is not. Heck, someone as highly-placed as Negroponte already says bizarre things about computers getting bored, as if he has no insight into what human boredom is. And, the movie A.I has it right:
As robots start to enter the Uncanny Valley of behavior that resembles human behavior, they will be treated with more and more contempt by some people -- the narcissism of increasingly small difference.

We will, in some century's time, have to give rights to computers.

In the mean time, we have bizarre arguments, "in principle", where someone will say that a thermostat is conscious. Good for a little jolt to one's thinking, maybe.

Neurology is the right perspective. The faux perspective of some philosophers -- those who "don't do neurons", or neurology -- that perspective of a thousand miles up, looking down through a keyhole, but with well-presented argumentation -- will be seen as useless: As useless as the actual moral prescriptions of Kant or Descartes. Sure, some bright philosopher got some things right, by luck.

Reasoning in the absence of robust evidence is useless wheel-spinning, like Pascal's Wager. Just wheels attached to nothing, with a nerdish misunderstanding about (or refusal to face) what's really at stake. In the case of the wager, what is at stake is human community, not some place in heaven. The man didn't castrate his own intellect, as Nietzsche said, exactly, but rather, he was someone who misunderstood his own experiences, his own emotional needs. Nietzsche, at least, tried to understand human psychology, which makes his little piecemeal insights useful and rich. The metaphysics and the big ideas, are, of course, mostly useless.

That's what I really think.

Now I'll read the book.

Last edited by calebprime; 22nd February 2016 at 09:15 AM.
calebprime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd February 2016, 08:17 AM   #253
TheAdversary
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 1,548
'Nietzsche, at least, tried to understand human psychology, which makes his little piecemeal insights useful and rich.
The metaphysics and the big ideas, are, of course, mostly useless.'

Interesting, my opinion is the exact opposite : Present-day psychology and mind-research, due to its adherence to Bayesianism, or Physics-envy, has
to concern itself with researching little piecemeal trivialities only. And in doing that, disregards the big, important ideas that Nietzsche wrote about.
Present-day mind-science is mostly useless except as the greatest danger to Liberty, as I argue here :

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=303769
TheAdversary is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th February 2016, 11:49 PM   #254
calebprime
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,001
Originally Posted by TheAdversary View Post
'Nietzsche, at least, tried to understand human psychology, which makes his little piecemeal insights useful and rich.
The metaphysics and the big ideas, are, of course, mostly useless.'

Interesting, my opinion is the exact opposite : Present-day psychology and mind-research, due to its adherence to Bayesianism, or Physics-envy, has
to concern itself with researching little piecemeal trivialities only. And in doing that, disregards the big, important ideas that Nietzsche wrote about.
Present-day mind-science is mostly useless except as the greatest danger to Liberty, as I argue here :

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=303769
Yeah. I mean: Eternal Recurrence is important only as a little thought experiment, as a little goad. Even if it were true, which can't be proven, it wouldn't matter: You don't experience your eternal recurrence, anyway.

Will to power is a good suspicious way to think about why someone might think the way she does -- for at least a moment. Why does so-and-so sincerely believe X? Because believing X makes him feel (at least momentarily) powerful in some way -- a feeling of increase. Ok, there's self-interest, there's self-delusion. Since the effect of that plays out in different ways, how it plays out is the only thing interesting about that. People always have mixed motives.

Psychological insights -- such as you gain from hanging around with Wagner, or reading François de La Rochefoucauld, or observing your own manic tendencies, etc. etc. -- don't really depend on scientific verification,

any more than as a composer I have to wait around for someone who does psychoacoustical research to confirm for me what I already hear and understand. This is why the work of, say, Daniel Levitin is pleasant enough for me, but of no vital interest.

Master morality/slave morality -- another stimulating idea that can get you thinking, even if you could never prove it. And, you better not think that those moralities actually play out in some obvious way, and go around trying to explain the mood of the electorate, or something.

This all is true of someone like Montaigne, too, in a completely different way. That is, his work will endure, even as science marches on. His account of his own experience is what matters, not what he believed about the science of his day.

-c

P.S. I'm a big believer in a separation of fact and value. Philosophy doesn't touch the facts. It only gives you some new imaginary vistas, and some ability to reject bad philosophy.

ps2: I'll read your link, even if I have nothing to say tonight, either way.

p23: Quick take. The Nietzsche I like best for being reasonable is the middle period -- Human to Gay, in shorthand. For great bombastic rhetoric, the late stuff. But he was already going nuts. It still has value for me, even so.

But I've never really been interested in this Nietzsche, even though it's a key passage from The Gay Science:

(not sure about the translation, just grabbed this to post)

Originally posted by Fred:

Quote:
Only as Creators! It has caused me the greatest trouble, and still causes me the greatest trouble, to realize that what things are called is unspeakably more imortant than what they are. The reputation, the name and appearance, the importance, the usual measure and weight of things each being originally almost always an error and arbitrary, thrown over the things like a garment and quite alien to their essence and even to their exterior- have gradually, by the belief therein and the continuous growth from generation to generation, grown as it were on- and-into things and become their very body. What was appearance at the very beginning becomes almost always the essence in the end and operates as the essence! What a fool he would be who would think it enough to point out this origin and this nebulous veil of illusion in order to destroy that which virtually passes for the world namely, so-called " reality "! We can destroy only as creators! But let us not forget this either : it is enough to create new names and valuations and probabilities in order in the long run to create new "things".
Sad but true? I don't care, for my own life, my own project. Names: meh.

ps3: (no, not Playstation): Nietzschian suspicion has maybe contributed to my being less credulous about Buddhism. You see this strange acceptance of Buddhism in the contemporary West. Sam Harris will even say something silly like we can't know if there's an afterlife -- I think, only because he has allegiance to Buddhism. He'll say the issue is complex. As a Nietzschian curmudgeon, you see that a Buddhist surface is being grafted onto deeper Christian roots. You see that there's this weird Buddhist cottage industry growing up around "mindfulness" and emotional intelligence. But that's really not so bad. Lots of good people with good intentions. Sure, when a religion gets transposed to a different culture, it changes. I would say it has no essence at all. But then again, those people have a lot of experience in what it's like to sit there. They really are the experts at that -- as long as you don't take it too far.

Last edited by calebprime; 25th February 2016 at 01:04 AM.
calebprime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th February 2016, 04:20 AM   #255
calebprime
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,001
_The Man Who Wasn't There_ by some guy who I lost interest in.

How would you impress upon your skeptical listener the big difference between Sacks and some fairly bright journalist?

Sacks was weird and put his freaky self into his writing. His writing is passionate. He never talks down.

(This is the feeling caused by the writing, rather than the reality. Maybe Sacks wasn't really such a nice guy, and maybe this guy gives to charity. I'm not talking about that.)



This guy -- Swamy whatever-his-name-is is just a journalist who is writing light stuff deliberately.

And, I feel the sting of certain quite judgmental words that he slips in there, almost by accident. His writing isn't bad, but he doesn't have an ear.

Someone's sensory processing is "defective" -- autistic sensitivity to sound, for example.

Sacks always was about what-it's-like-to-be.

The man is just another square careerist, and he puts himself saying nice bland things in too many scenes.

Sacks gets more and more interesting as you read. This guy gets more and more boring.

Not a bad book, but I wasn't willing to work to find the occasional new bit of information I'd never heard before.

Last edited by calebprime; 25th February 2016 at 04:22 AM.
calebprime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th February 2016, 12:58 AM   #256
calebprime
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,001
Just a stub, because I doubt I will actually read most of:

_Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology_

_Who is Ayn Rand_

_Philosophy: Who Needs It_


I volunteered in the donated book section at the library, and these cheap Signets showed up.

Now Dinwar is always saying that we can't judge her until we read her.

Almost fair enough.

Actually, what sort of people reads a book -- over a hundred years, and what those people say -- can be a big clue.

So far, I've read maybe 4 random paragraphs.

They were all laughably bad, in every way, except basic spelling and punctuation. Not even interesting to rebut.

Ok, intellectuals, or careful thinkers: Go with the thin slice, the Blink response, or go with the Dan O. careful-snail-crawling-in-a-straight-line approach?

See, I know the answer in advance.

It's going to be a complete waste of my time to read these books.

There's so much out there. The memoir by Ezra Pound's daughter:

http://www.amazon.com/Discretions-Me.../dp/B0015H7DNO

is an amazing, eerie read. Such a rich experience.

Ayn Rand, not so much.

Last edited by calebprime; 29th February 2016 at 12:59 AM.
calebprime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th February 2016, 03:26 AM   #257
gumboot
lorcutus.tolere
 
gumboot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 25,327
I've become kind of obsessed with books written by thru-hikers lately (think Wild or A Walk In The Woods). I must have read about fifteen of them in the last six months. Unfortunately I'm starting to suspect I've read all the good ones. On the plus side by the time I'm done I won't need to hike the Pacific Crest Trail because I've experienced it about ten times (it seems to be by far the favourite choice for thru-hiker books).

I've also picked out a random "you have to read these 100 novels before you die or a small orphan in Ethiopia will be sent a bajillion dollars by the Nigerian president" list and am working my way through it. So far I've enjoyed "The Three Musketeers", "The Wasp Factory", and "Watership Down". I found "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" so so, "A Town Like Alice" was a bit lightweight, and "The Little Prince" was weird. I'm finding "A Heart of Darkness" a bit of a plod so far (so I've gone back to thru-hike books).
__________________

O xein', angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti têde
keimetha tois keinon rhémasi peithomenoi.


A fan of fantasy? Check out Project Dreamforge.
gumboot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th February 2016, 03:47 AM   #258
calebprime
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,001
I've always liked reading me some Gumboot.

Heh, I remembered a little riff on Ayn Rand and the like -- from Robert Stone's _Outerbridge Reach_ -- a good book and a subject that has fascinated many other artists.

My hand copy:

Originally posted by Robert Stone speaking from the pov of, maybe, old-school gentility bewildered by a barbaric new world:

Quote:
It had been installed the previous week by a couple of former Navy electronic technicians. The ETs had been no help; ETs never were. ETs, as Browne knew well, were always science-fiction-reading autodidacts who tended toward Maoism, neo-Nazism or the philosophy of Ayn Rand. The two who had installed Nona's performance equipment commanded no diction other than that of New Age mysticism and computer-babble.

Last edited by calebprime; 29th February 2016 at 03:53 AM.
calebprime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th March 2016, 03:03 PM   #259
Polaris
Penultimate Amazing
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 11,396
Four of them currently (gave up on Hale's The Civilization of Europe in the Renaissance for a second time, but not final, time - it just expects too much prior knowledge to be a good single volume for a beginner on the subject).

Lyn Macdonald's 1915. I've been on a Great War kick for a few months now, and since I've had this one on my shelf since 2000 I figured I'd read the whole thing rather than mining it for its content on Neuve Chapelle, which was the reason I bought it. It's good - heavy on the firsthand accounts, which I very much appreciate. The only problem I find is that the title would be more accurate if it was The British & Commonwealth Experience in 1915. Perhaps there will be some Turkish accounts once it gets into Gallipoli, but since there has so far been zero French, German, Russian or Austro-Hungarian coverage, let alone accounts, I'm not getting my hopes up.

Samuel Hideo Yamashita's Leaves From An Autumn of Emergencies, which is a collection of eight Japanese diaries from WW2, including children, women, an old businessman, a kamikaze pilot and an IJA soldier (on Okinawa before and after the surrender). It's been slow going. The pilot's diary was interesting, but the old man's, with the exception of his take on the air raids, was pretty tedious - mostly complaining about food shortages. The soldier's has picked up, but since the rest of the diaries are civilian there's a chance I won't be finishing this one. I do have to add that the introduction about the Japanese home front has been the best part of the book so far, and it is definitely worth reading.

Hans Wijer's (editor) Eastern Front Combat. There are four combat memoirs in this, with the first two at Stalingrad, the second in miscellaneous spots around the Ostfront, and the final one during the Battle of Berlin. Now, I had high hopes for this one going in , I really did. The first account, of a Panzer Mk. III crewman, was good; it was interesting and readable, and you get the sense of morale, supply issues, the pros and cons of the armor involved from a firsthand POV, what the conditions and medical treatment was like, etc. The second, and unfortunately the longest, account however is turning out to be a chore, and feels heavily padded. It covers the experience of a Panzergrenadier junior officer, and for every paragraph about his personal accounts, there are two communiques (from the OKW and Wehrmacht) quoted, in many cases in their entirety. You can only read "Heavy enemy bombardment at Chemical Works. Panzergrenadier Regiment 103 beat off enemy infantry attack at Marinovka. 25 enemy tanks destroyed near Don canal" so many times before you pass out. Hopefully the next two accounts will be better, because it's turning into a chore getting there.

Louis Barthas' Poilu. Now this is a war memoir; it's a pity they aren't all like this. This was compiled by Barthas' grandson after discovering the original 1700+ pages of notes he took during the war, complete with mud splatters and having been gnawed by rats, in his desk decades after his death in 1952, and published on Armistice Day 1978. Some of the accounts have been filmed for the miniseries "1914" and the book and man were featured on the Youtube channel The Great War. Barthas was a Socialist and pacifist but was called to service and spent the entire war in uniform, most of it in the front lines. So far it is excellent - the man could write extremely well, despite being a laborer (barrelmaker) with no formal education - and will probably be the best war memoir I've read since With the Old Breed if the first 25 pages are any indication.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.

Last edited by Polaris; 5th March 2016 at 03:12 PM.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th March 2016, 04:21 AM   #260
Captain_Swoop
Penultimate Amazing
 
Captain_Swoop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 39,186
A bit of Roman Historical Fiction.

Reading some Simon Scarrow.
I started his 'Cato and Macro' series following the escapades of a Centurion of the Second Legion and his Optio through the invasion of Britain with Vespasian.

Quite good so far, half way through the second book.
Captain_Swoop is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th March 2016, 05:14 AM   #261
jimbob
Uncritical "thinker"
 
jimbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 23,604
Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
A bit of Roman Historical Fiction.

Reading some Simon Scarrow.
I started his 'Cato and Macro' series following the escapades of a Centurion of the Second Legion and his Optio through the invasion of Britain with Vespasian.

Quite good so far, half way through the second book.
Have you read Robert Graves's, "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God"?
__________________
OECD healthcare spending
Public/Compulsory Expenditure on healthcare
https://data.oecd.org/chart/60Tt

Every year since 1990 the US Public healthcare spending has been greater than the UK as a proportion of GDP. More US Tax goes to healthcare than the UK

Last edited by jimbob; 6th March 2016 at 05:16 AM. Reason: quotation marks to make it clearer
jimbob is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th March 2016, 05:17 AM   #262
Captain_Swoop
Penultimate Amazing
 
Captain_Swoop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 39,186
No, not my style I am afraid.
Claudius features in these, it was Claudius that ordered the invasion of Britain.
Captain_Swoop is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th March 2016, 11:23 AM   #263
wasapi
Penultimate Amazing
 
wasapi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 14,147
Rereading some Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet. Still enjoyable escape type novels. Their books led me to Robert Parker. Also escapism, but pleasurable on a rainy day.
__________________
Julia
wasapi is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th March 2016, 04:48 AM   #264
catsmate
No longer the 1
 
catsmate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 26,335
Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
Rereading some Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet. Still enjoyable escape type novels. Their books led me to Robert Parker. Also escapism, but pleasurable on a rainy day.
I'm re-reading Bulldog Drummond and Fu Manchu, for gaming research, while travelling. Interesting how both authors seemed to develop their primary antagonists more than the supposed heroes.
Also McNeile is a pretty poor writer, even without the fascism, xenophobia and anti-semitism.
__________________
As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
catsmate is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th March 2016, 06:39 AM   #265
Bikewer
Penultimate Amazing
 
Bikewer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: St. Louis, Mo.
Posts: 13,054
Just finished a nice little sci-fi number...."Usurper Of The Sun". Pretty cool first-contact novel by a Japanese author, Hosuke Nijiri.
Good attempt to show just how "alien" aliens might be.
Bikewer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th March 2016, 01:17 PM   #266
sackett
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Detroit
Posts: 7,168
Spitfire, John Vader, 1969. Weapons Book No. 6 in the Ballantine's Illustrated History of World War II. It's always instructive to read (or re-read) these old volumes, because they're mostly written by men who were actually there and who actually fought the fights.

No WW2 fighter more beautiful than the Spit. Something about those ogival wings catches you by the heart. And that fuselage so slim and fragile-looking, doing battle in a sky filled with gross beasts of enemies.
__________________
If you would learn a man's character, give him authority.

If you would ruin a man's character, let him seize power.
sackett is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th March 2016, 05:12 PM   #267
Hans
Philosopher
 
Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,792
Reading Genesis of the Pharaohs - the science and story of the origins of the ancient Egyptians.

http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Pharao.../dp/0500051224
Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th March 2016, 09:52 PM   #268
Polaris
Penultimate Amazing
 
Polaris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 11,396
Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Reading Genesis of the Pharaohs - the science and story of the origins of the ancient Egyptians.

http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Pharao.../dp/0500051224
I just had to add that to my wish list, since it's out of stock on Amazon and all.
__________________
"There's vastly more truth to be found in rocks than in holy books. Rocks are far superior, in fact, because you can DEMONSTRATE the truth found in rocks. Plus, they're pretty. Holy books are just heavy." - Dinwar

"Let your ears hear this beautiful song that's hiding underneath the sound," Ed Kowalczyk.
Polaris is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2016, 05:45 AM   #269
gumboot
lorcutus.tolere
 
gumboot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 25,327
Still haven't finished Heart of Darkness really is the literary equivalent of trying to ford a river of treacle. Crazy, illogical, badly made treacle.

Between attempts I finished a random fantasy novel called The Palace Job (Oceans 11 meets Dungeons and Dragons kinda thing). It's okay. Not sure if I'll bother with the sequels. Then I chewed through a further four thru-hiking novels (I really am obsessed) and pleasantly managed to find another good one called Girl In The Woods. Now I'm reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.
__________________

O xein', angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti têde
keimetha tois keinon rhémasi peithomenoi.


A fan of fantasy? Check out Project Dreamforge.
gumboot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st March 2016, 09:04 AM   #270
Captain_Swoop
Penultimate Amazing
 
Captain_Swoop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 39,186
Up to book 7 of the Simon Scarrow 'Eagles' Series.
Cato and Macro are in Judea working under cover commanding an Auxiliary Cohort on the eastern frontier, trying to root out traitors plotting against Claudious.

They left Britain with Vespasian at the end of book 5 after the capture of Caractacus and the suppression of the southern tribes.
Book 6 involved pirates in the Aegean and an expedition against them by Vespasian snd a sub plot involving the supposedly destroyed Sibylline Books.
Captain_Swoop is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th March 2016, 12:47 AM   #271
Zahl
New Blood
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1
"Le marécage des Ayatollahs: Histoire de la Révolution Iranienne"; I don't know if the book has been translated in English, but it means "The swamp of the Ayatollahs: A history of the Iranian Revolution".

Written by Pierre and Christian Pahlavi. Good book, accessible for the casual reader, offering useful background information about every important personality.
Zahl is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th March 2016, 10:20 PM   #272
Hans
Philosopher
 
Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,792
Started E. H. Jenkins' A History of the French Navy - and still reading Genesis of the Pharaohs
Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th March 2016, 04:28 AM   #273
COLONEL
Sniper of the Galactic Universe
 
COLONEL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: The many voids of the Universe
Posts: 23,357
I am reading the Newest Isaac Bell adventure by Clive Cussler. The library called me yesterday to tell me they just got it in. When ever they get a new Clive Cussler book in they call me.
__________________

Major Ashley-Pitt: In our experience, Americans are uncouth misfits who should be run out of their own barbaric country. Matthew Quigley: Well, Lieutenant...
Major Ashley-Pitt: Major. Matthew Quigley: Major. We already run the misfits outta our country. We sent 'em back to England.
COLONEL is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th March 2016, 01:11 AM   #274
catsmate
No longer the 1
 
catsmate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 26,335
Originally Posted by COLONEL View Post
I am reading the Newest Isaac Bell adventure by Clive Cussler. The library called me yesterday to tell me they just got it in. When ever they get a new Clive Cussler book in they call me.
I'm also reading The Gangster, it's a good series. I wonder how much of it is actually written by Cussler.
__________________
As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
catsmate is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th March 2016, 02:43 AM   #275
malbec
Muse
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 960
Antigravity propulsion by La Violette .
malbec is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th March 2016, 10:10 AM   #276
COLONEL
Sniper of the Galactic Universe
 
COLONEL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: The many voids of the Universe
Posts: 23,357
Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
I'm also reading The Gangster, it's a good series. I wonder how much of it is actually written by Cussler.
I'm not sure, he has a lot of cowriters lately. I have read every book he has written so far, I also enjoy the Oregon files series.
__________________

Major Ashley-Pitt: In our experience, Americans are uncouth misfits who should be run out of their own barbaric country. Matthew Quigley: Well, Lieutenant...
Major Ashley-Pitt: Major. Matthew Quigley: Major. We already run the misfits outta our country. We sent 'em back to England.
COLONEL is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th March 2016, 05:27 PM   #277
metacristi
Muse
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 759
Why String Theory? by Joseph Conlon


There are definitely good reasons to stick with it, at least at this moment in time.
__________________
“It is often said that knowledge is power, but it might be more correct to say that [critical] thinking is power.”

ibn Warraq - Why I am not a Muslim

Knight Tube: Brendan O'Neill on identity politics

Last edited by metacristi; 28th March 2016 at 05:30 PM.
metacristi is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th March 2016, 10:06 PM   #278
wasapi
Penultimate Amazing
 
wasapi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 14,147
Just found a fairly recent Patricia Cornwell. Always a good read.
__________________
Julia
wasapi is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th March 2016, 05:24 AM   #279
catsmate
No longer the 1
 
catsmate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 26,335
I'm on a London history kick, with an emphesis on the oddities, so here's my current pile.
Starting with the classics, London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd and The History of London by Walter Besant

The Sexual History of London: From Roman Londinium to the Swinging City, Lust, Vice, and Desire Across the Ages by Catharine Arnold. Terrible title, good book.
London's Sinful Secret - The Bawdy History and Very Public Passions of London's Georgian Age by Dan Cruickshank

David Long's The Little Book of the London Underground and Haunted London Underground by David Brandon and Alan Brooke. Plus, by the same authors, Tyburn: London's Fatal Tree.
Newgate: London's Prototype of Hell by Stephen Halliday
Christopher Winn's I Never Knew That About London.
Four books by Liza Picard; Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London, Victorian London - The Tale of a City 1840-1870, Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s and Doctor Johnson's London.
Two by Lee Jackson; Daily Life in Victorian London and Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth.

London's Royal Parks by Paul Rabbitts
London's Statues and Monuments by Peter Matthews
London's Docklands: A History of the Lost Quarter by Fiona Rule
The Black Death in London by Barney Sloane
A History of London in 100 Places by David Long
London at War: Relics of the Home Front from the World Wars by Alan Brooks
Bloody London by Declan McHugh
Attack on London: Disaster, Riot and War by Jonathan Oates
Georgian London: Into the Streets by Lucy Inglis
Tales From the Tower of London by Mark P. Donnelly
London Clubland: A Cultural History of Gender and Class in late-Victorian Britain by Amy Milne-Smith
Pepys's London: Everyday Life in London 1650-1703 by Stephen Porter
Imagined London by Anna Quindlen
__________________
As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
catsmate is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th March 2016, 07:08 AM   #280
KDLarsen
Illuminator
 
KDLarsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,664
Still slugging my way through Stephen King's 11/22/63. Lee Harvey Oswald has finally been introduced to the readers, and my god, were it not for his annoying, whiney persona, I'm almost willing to feel sorry for the guy.
KDLarsen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » History, Literature, and the Arts

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:13 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.